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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Preventing Good Starting Pitchers From Going Bad
2005-06-03 09:21
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Grading on a slight curve, Dodger rookie lefthander Derek Thompson has successfully navigated two starts. And it's that curve that's worth talking about this morning.

Thompson has lasted five innings in each, allowing two runs in one game and three runs in the other. He was not knocked out in either game, and in fact finished each start with a shutout inning. The reasons he left each game have been because he was due to go over 100 pitches in his sixth inning (95 pitches in game 1, 89 in game 2) and because his spot in the batting order happened to come up - each time with runners on base.

In other words, Thompson might have been able to get through one more inning on the mound, but it would not have been worth the risk to try under most circumstances, and certainly not with a scoring opportunity at hand. (Happily, pinch-hitter Mike Edwards delivered hits on both occasions.)

So there was every reason to be satisfied with Thompson's performances, though neither Thompson game was a quality start by the conventional definition - hence the curve. When your kid eats his veggies, you don't force seconds down his throat.

The downside of a pitcher throwing only five innings is that your bullpen is asked to throw nearly as many innings as your starter. But if this isn't occuring every day, it's hardly a problem. And in baseball, almost nothing occurs every day - that's the beauty of the game.

Meanwhile, the five-inning Thompson twins further illustrate the benefits of removing a questionable starting pitcher an inning early rather than an inning late. Yes, the Dodger bullpen sometimes bleeds like an ambushed Bonnie and Clyde and no, you wouldn't want to hit for Brad Penny in the fifth inning if he's cruising like it's PCH at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. The philosophy doesn't need to be taken to ridiculous extremes.

But, going into a game, if your starting pitcher's ERA is roughly the same as the middle relievers' ERA, by the time the sixth or seventh inning of a close game rolls around, fatigue is likely to have made your starter less effective than your middleman. Let me say this again: The starter who was a better pitcher than the reliever when the game began, who was a better pitcher than the reliever in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, in most cases goes from better to worse as the game enters the final innings.

So the bargain you strike when you let that starter pitch in the late innings - trying to eke out another effective inning from the guy who has already thrown five to seven, trying to spare your bullpen an extra inning of work, is like blowing your bubble gum past its breaking point. Your starting pitcher might not make it through his next inning, you'll have to go to your bullpen anyway, and you're facing a larger deficit - one sticky mess. If you sacrificed a pinch-hitting opportunity in the process, call up Don Rickles so that he can add the perfect insult to your injury.

As in the case of Thompson, the Dodgers need to be aware of the point where each of their starting pitchers goes from more effective than less effective than their relievers. It's not a matter of knowing the future, but rather understanding the probabilities. And of course, it's not going to be the same for Derek Lowe as it is for Jeff Weaver, for Brad Penny as it is for Odalis Perez. But that point comes for everyone - and you have to make your move before it comes.

If Giovannni Carrara or Duaner Sanchez is going to allow a run in his appearance, better that he does it before a starting pitcher self-destructs. The cost of taking a starter too soon is cheaper than the cost of taking him out too late.

* * *

Update: All because I mentioned Don Rickles, people are sharing stories about Las Vegas in the comments. The stories about Vegas in the 70s made me think of my mother's father, Papa Erwin.

When I was eight years old, in 1976, Papa Erwin, who was a character out of a Damon Runyon story, got married at Circus Circus. (My mother's mother died in 1970). Seems to me that Circus Circus, by name alone, was the best hotel for a kid's first trip to Las Vegas. My memories, however, are really only of coming and going. We flew in from Los Angeles for the wedding, but my father had such a loathing for Las Vegas that he refused to stay the night, and we flew back the same evening.

My grandfather was a doctor theoretically, but the only thing anyone ever saw him practice was dealmaking. Something was always going on, and he never showed up at our house in the same automobile twice. It took about three years for my parents and aunt and uncle to sort out his estate after he died. (How did he die? A diabetic, he ate an entire strawberry shortcake one day in 1987 and went into a coma that he never came out of.)

When my mom was a girl, and it was my grandfather's turn to make her lunches, he would give my mom and her sisters Hershey bars, and they would trade for their lunch at school.

I can still hear Papa Erwin's voice, clear as the clearest day, whenever I think of him giving his idea of a French lesson. "Parlez-vous français? Chevrolet coupé?"

Comments (83)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-06-03 10:26:03
1.   everett
taking out a rookie earlier rather than late also increases his trade bait attractiveness...
2005-06-03 10:26:32
2.   Brian Y
I was happy Tracy removed him but I don't know if he removed him to just try and get the extra bat in there to pinch hit rather than have Derek bunt. Either way, I'm glad the move was made and it was the right move.
2005-06-03 10:36:12
3.   Bob Timmermann
It looks like Thompson hadn't yet batted in 2005 in Jacksonville. In 2004, he was 1 for 27 with 3 sacrifices
2005-06-03 10:48:28
4.   Nagman
Do you think in Thompson's case, it is more the coddling of the young pitcher's psyche, i.e get him outta there while the going is good, or at least not bad?
2005-06-03 10:54:50
5.   Jon Weisman
I think that did happen - but my point would be that Thompson isn't the only pitcher on the staff with a psyche. We all need to feel good about ourselves.
2005-06-03 11:03:28
6.   Rick
Nice writeup, Jon -- I agree wholeheartedly.
2005-06-03 11:27:32
7.   Art H Tracy
Well said - especially the part regarding the starter's performance tending toward the middle relief with each successive inning. I also wonder if making a habit of pulling the starter an inning early rather than regularly allowing them to pitch to the point where they struggle would significantly cut down on injury risk?
2005-06-03 11:43:00
8.   Landonkk
Not to sound like Scott Erickson, but Thompson didn't have the best defensive performance behind him last night. Werth blew a catch that was ruled a double, and Perez probably should have made a play on the rocket that whizzed by him. The kid has looked tough and is making a case to take the 5th spot for good once Perez recovers.
2005-06-03 11:51:03
9.   regfairfield
Keep in mind it takes four or five starts for the league to adjust to a pitchers stuff. Look at Joe Blanton in April vs. Joe Blanton in May.

The fact that he's off to a good start is a good sign, but the real test is if he can make the necassary adjustments once the league figures him out.

2005-06-03 11:58:42
10.   Brian Y
I do wonder if he would be better if he was completely healthy. I know he said his knees will never be 100% and that has to effect his pitching somewhat. Decreased velocity maybe?
2005-06-03 11:59:29
11.   dzzrtRatt
I think it's an enormous relief Thompson's doing okay. It takes pressure off the Not Ready for Big League prospects like Jackson and Billingsley. Thompson might never be a #1 or #2, but he's letting other potential stars develop at the right pace if he's able to continue pitching with the ability and poise he showed. If this season turns out well, we'll owe a lot to him.
2005-06-03 12:08:45
12.   LetsGoDodgers
Jon, I wish Jim Tracy could appreciate the last sentence in your main blog entry today. I feel it sums up his biggest deficiency, especially when you consider the size of the bullpen.

I am very happy with Thompson's results to-date, but I have my reservations about his second time through the league (considering his youth and inexperience at the ML level). Probably best to stick him in the bullpen at that time. OP et. al. should be healthy by then.

Maybe Erickson can take his spot in the Jacksonville rotation...

2005-06-03 12:24:40
13.   Sam DC
April 26 Game Chat:

bigcpa 2005-04-26 18:32:507

5th starter in waiting...

Derek Thompson AA
22ip, 31k, 6bb, 0hr, 4.09 ERA

Plus he wears a nifty shell necklace like Lowe

2005-06-03 12:25:21
14.   Brian Y
What makes you think Erickson would be better the 2nd time through the league in AA?? LOL
2005-06-03 12:34:50
15.   LAT
Jon, nice '80's reference to the Thompson twins. If only you could have worked in the lyrics to Hold Me Now.
2005-06-03 12:40:23
16.   LAT
Sam,
On the other hand Jerome Willimas of the Giants past and now with the Cubs also wears the pooka shell necklace and he has been having a hard time as of late.

Jon, you really hit the nail on the head. Better to pull the starter early and have Gio or Duaner give up a one run bomb than come in after Weaver/or the pitcher de jur has put two on and then caugh up the 3run shot.

2005-06-03 12:42:30
17.   LAT
Anyone notice SF has lost 7 in a row.
I feel a tear forming.
2005-06-03 12:44:18
18.   Bob Timmermann
Arizona acquires bullpen "help" from the Giants.

Matt Herges joins the DBacks in exchange for career minor-leaguer Doug Devore.

Herges will just need to play for the Rockies to complete his tour of the NL West.

2005-06-03 12:47:43
19.   DougS
re: #11
Absolutely. Thompson's job is to buy time, not to provide the Second Coming. If he can keep giving us some decent starts and keep the Dodgers in the game whenever he's out there, he'll have accomplished quite a lot for a AA pitcher from whom nothing much was expected (the prophecies of bigcpa notwithstanding).
2005-06-03 12:48:34
20.   LAT
Wow! I didn't realize AZ bullpen was that hurting. Herges single-handedly killed the Giants pen. If he had not blown so many saves last year the Giants may well have won the west. Well I guess the fans will have a new goat instead of Russ Ortiz. (Bob, I know that for you no one will ever replace Russ at the top of the goat list.)
2005-06-03 12:51:59
21.   Bob Timmermann
I don't particularly care for Herges. The DBacks are assembling an "Axis of Evil" style pitching staff.

Remember how fans were upset when Herges was traded for Mota? Remember? People loved Herges. Vin would gush about him and how he overcame difficulties and family problems. And how Todd Hollandsworth married Herges's sister (or some relative).

He will always be the greatest replacement player in Dodgers history. He's got to be better than Mike Busch.

2005-06-03 12:54:18
22.   gvette
We can only hope that D.J. Houlton is as useful in his first start as Thompson has been. Hopefully,these two may become the Hartley/Neidlinger of the 2005 season.

The Thompson Twins?? Weren't they the only 80's band NOT on that cheesy reality TV show on NBC last night? As for the great Don Rickles, at over 80, he's still headlining in Vegas at the equally vintage, and soon to be demolished Stardust!

2005-06-03 12:55:28
23.   Brian Y
Yet not that many people cared when Matt Luke left us. He was a decent little pinch hitter too. Oh well.
2005-06-03 12:58:31
24.   Bob Timmermann
Luke had a lower profile position than Herges. Luke wrecked his shoulder when he was with the Angels and was never able to make it back.
2005-06-03 12:59:55
25.   Xeifrank
Over/Under for Jeff Weaver tonight is 6 1/3 innings. Last night Thompson missed the over/under by 1/3 of an inning as he was taken out for a pinch hitter.
vr, Xei
2005-06-03 13:03:29
26.   gvette
Herges also won a lot of games as a middle reliever; did a lot of PR and appearances for the club;played forever in the farm system; and sacrificed as a replacement player for the team.

Thank God (and Evans/Wallace/Tracy and Colborn) that despite all that, they never made Herges the closer here.

2005-06-03 13:13:42
27.   Brian Y
Anyone know how much longer we are going to go on with Erickson? What happens when Dessens and Odalis come off the D.L.?? Erickson and who?? And when are we gonna realize Robles is not the answer and doesnt make a good bench player? He hits bloopers, seems to swing at anything, and we have Antonio Perez to back up at 2B and SS. And did you see him playing the OF yesterday?? The ultimate utility guy!
2005-06-03 13:17:33
28.   Sushirabbit
I'll take the over (against rational judgement), and I'll up you one HR by Weaver. If that happens, we might even do another 12-2. Well, a man can dream, can't he?

Here's hoping Perez can go a whole game without some sort of youngster mistake.

2005-06-03 13:19:26
29.   Fearing Blue
I decided to do a breakdown of the Dodgers 2004 pitching staff vs. the Dodgers 2005 pitching staff. The values are the %-age chances for each result during a plate appearance for each staff:

2004: 17.61% K; 9.50% BB/HB; 2.94% HR; 69.94% BIP
2005: 15.81% K; 8.15% BB/HB; 3.13% HR; 72.91% BIP

and the breakdown of balls in play:

2004: 21.90% 1B; 6.64% 2B/3B; 71.46% OUT
2005: 22.90% 1B; 7.43% 2B/3B; 69.67% OUT

Since I was evaluating the pitching, I ignored errors. Basically, anything not counted in another category was considered an out in play.

I expected to see a larger discrepancy in HR numbers (only 7%), but the two areas where we seem to be hurting the most are Ks and BIPs. We're striking out 10% less and about 10% more hits are falling in (due to the combination of more balls in play and a higher BABIP). For all the Dodgers who were on the 2004 and 2005 staffs, I also did individual breakdowns. I'll post those later.

2005-06-03 13:21:56
30.   Fearing Blue
#27: We should pick up Jimenez to displace Robles. He's a switch-hitting 27 year-old who plays 2B, SS, and 3B. Besides, he's widely considered a jerk, which fits right in with our team profile.
2005-06-03 13:25:48
31.   Nagman
#22, whatever bacame of Hartley or Neidlinger. I remember their success that summer but don't remember hearing much after that.
2005-06-03 13:30:46
32.   Sushirabbit
I think Nakamura gets another look before we go and get Jimenez....
2005-06-03 13:37:21
33.   Marty
22. I saw Rickles at the Riviera in '76 or '77 with the Mills Bros.(!) We had seats right by the stage. I had hair down to my shoulders then. At the end of the show, Rickles was shaking hands with everyone by the stage. When he got to me he said "Who are you supposed to be, Custer?". It cracked the table up.
2005-06-03 13:47:33
34.   db1022
#21 - I could be wrong, but I think Jason Phillips was a replacement player?
2005-06-03 13:50:12
35.   Bob Timmermann
Phillips was drafted by the Mets in 1997 so he was post-strike.

There aren't too many replacement players left: Donnelly, Herges, Mahay (?), Millar (?)

2005-06-03 13:55:51
36.   Xeifrank
33. Marty, that's a great little story.
vr, Xei
2005-06-03 13:56:35
37.   Nagman
Damian Miller, the catcher for the Brewers was a replacement player, wasn't he? I thought I read something about how his name was not on the Dbacks WS Championship t-shirt because of his status with the union.
2005-06-03 13:56:41
38.   db1022
I just seem to recall somebody recently being mentioned as one, and I was very surprised. Thanks for the correction.

And - as I'm sure Dodger players check in here regularly - Jason, my deepest apologies :)

2005-06-03 14:03:25
39.   Bob Timmermann
Maybe Jason's high school in La Mesa went on strike in 1994 and he scabbed there.
2005-06-03 14:05:51
40.   Eric Enders
I think Brian Daubach, Cory Lidle and Kerry Ligtenberg are all still in the majors, if only barely.
2005-06-03 14:13:10
41.   gvette
#33- Marty, I saw Rickles a couple of times at the Desert Inn, right before Wynn closed it. He probably had the same act that you saw 20+ years before. What's amazing is that the crowd was mostly in their 20's -30's; like Tom Jones, Rickles has been around so long that he's retro cool. Unlike Wayne Newton, who will never be cool.

#31- I know Mike Hartley got traded for Roger McDowell in 91 and bounced around as a middle reliever for about 4-5 years with a few other teams. Neidlinger didn't make the team in 91, later went to other organizations (Padres??)but didn't make it past Spring Training, and never made it back to the majors.

2005-06-03 14:29:55
42.   dzzrtRatt
I saw Don Rickles in Vegas too, and I noticed that he actually never tells jokes. He doesn't do anything requiring the slightest amount of wit; he just harasses people. And yet, for some reason, people laugh at him. There must be something inherently funny about the words "hockey puck" and "...for a half-hour."

He was great in Toy Story, though.

2005-06-03 14:32:16
43.   Langhorne
I'm sorry to hear the Stardust is closing. It's the last of my favorite hotels to go and the real setting for the events chronicled in the movie 'Casino'. The Sands, The Dunes, the DI, they're all gone.

A few years back I was at a game and between innings on the Diamondvision they showed several Dodgers answering the same question. The question that night was,"Who's the best dressed Dodger?" The unanimous answer: Matt Herges. So he's got that going for him.

2005-06-03 14:32:19
44.   Nagman
gvette, thanks. My curiousity got the better of me so I went to retrosheet. Neidlinger's record consists only of those 12 starts with the Dodgers at the end of the '90 season. 5-3, 3.28 ERA. Your description of Hartley's career pretty much matched what I saw of his stats.
2005-06-03 14:34:26
45.   molokai
Great write up Jon.

Has anyone noticed that Dave Roberts is sporting an OPS of 810 after 144 at bats. He's also helped solidify the Padre defense by running all night between Klesko and Giles. Nice to see Henri Stanley peforming so well for us. I mean Las Vegas. Not a deal that Depo should be proud of.

By the end of the month the Diamondbacks will have added the best player in the draft last year and the best player in the draft this year in Steven Drew and Justin Upton. To go along with Connor Jackson/Carlos Quentin they have some serious blue chips that they can move. Since these are all hitters the odds are higher that they will become impact players as oppossed to our pitching prospects who could easily all become suspects as pitching prospects tend to do. Throw in the steal of Halsey/Vazquez from the Yankee's and the FA signing of Troy Glaus and they can live with the mistake of Shawn Green. I think very quickly the West is going to go from an easy division to a strong division and we better hope that Depo is up to the task. His best move to date might have been moving Green to Arizona to clog up the recall of Quentin.

2005-06-03 14:37:01
46.   molokai
Dauback is in AAA. Brett Butler went from being one of the best loved Dodgers to don't let the door hit you on your way out after it was revealed how he treated Busch. Nothing like a millionare picking on a guy trying to make a living to really show what your made of.
2005-06-03 14:55:07
47.   Bob Timmermann
I had confused Daubach with Millar. I think Millar is just weird. He's one of those faux-Texans. He is always described as a Texan with a "cowboy" attitude, but he grew up in Granada Hills, but he went to high school at Uni because his dad knew he wouldn't get to play at Kennedy or Granada Hills High.

Daubach is from Belleville, Illinois, which has produced other great players like T.J. Matthews and Larry Stahl. Jimmy Connors too.

2005-06-03 14:58:35
48.   Eric Enders
Millar was a replacement player too, though.
2005-06-03 15:01:46
49.   Bob Timmermann
Now I'm confused about my confusion.
2005-06-03 15:02:47
50.   LAT
#41 I saw Buddy Hacket a few years back at the Desert Inn. The guy was so funny I practically pissed myself. And vulgar--he cussed enough to make Redd Foxx blush. All the good ones are dead and we are left with the likes of Will Ferral and Co.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-06-03 15:16:04
51.   gvette
#43 Just for clarification, the parent company of the Stardust (Boyd Gaming) indicated that the hotel/casino WOULD be demolished in the near future for another mega resort development (3/6/05 Las Vegas Review Journal),but no timetable has been set, and the relic remains OPEN--Get your $7.95 Buffet breakfast while you can!

Is it true that the Mandalay Bay group actually owns the Las Vegas 51s and other minor league franchises?

2005-06-03 15:16:20
52.   Fearing Blue
In further trying to understand our pitching collapse this year, I broke down each pitcher for 2004 and 2005. I looked at the results of each plate appearance by its %-age chance. Here are the results for Perez (P) and Weaver (W):

P 2004: 16.26% K; 5.97% BB; 3.30% HR; 74.46% BIP
P 2005: 16.67% K; 5.21% BB; 3.13% HR; 75.00% BIP
W 2004: 16.36% K; 8.66% BB; 2.03% HR; 72.94% BIP
W 2005: 13.95% K; 7.48% BB; 3.74% HR; 74.83% BIP

And the breakdown of their Balls In Play is as follows:

P 2004: 19.45% 1B; 6.83% 2B/3B; 73.72% OUT
P 2005: 20.83% 1B; 5.56% 2B/3B; 73.61% OUT
W 2004: 21.26% 1B; 8.06% 2B/3B; 70.67% OUT
W 2005: 23.18% 1B; 9.09% 2B/3B; 67.73% OUT

I was surprised to see that Perez in 2005 is almost exactly the same as Perez in 2004. The inflated ERA is likely from hits being strung together at the wrong times. On the other hand, only allowing a .263 BABIP is partly luck, though he accomplished the feat last year as well. Thus, though he'll regress a bit as more hits fall in, overall he's still pitching very well.

Not that this is news, but Weaver in 2005 is distinctly worse than Weaver in 2004. He's striking out 15% less batters, giving up 85% more homeruns, and allowing hits to fall in 13% more often (by allowing a higher percentage of balls in play and a lower percentage of outs on balls in play). His only area of improvement is in walking 14% fewer batters. The gist is that Weaver's decline is just that. Hopefully, this is related to his "dead arm" phase, but if DePodesta could get something useful for him, he should probably consider it sooner rather than later. His rapid decline may be due to the fact that he threw almost 800 innings before his 26th birthday.

I won't type up the statistical breakdown for each pitcher (unless specifically requested), but here's my analysis:

Erickson as a 5th starter has been much worse than Lima (duh!). If he stays on the team when Dessens is brought up, I'll be stunned.

Brazoban is likely going to be better this year than last; his K-rate is up (23% vs. 20%) and his BB-rate is down (10% vs. 11%). His homerun rate is up (3% vs. 1.5%) but it's a very small sample size (2 in 133 BF in 2004 vs. 3 in 100 BF in 2005).

Sanchez has significantly improved his strikeout rate (17% vs 13%), while only slightly increasing his walk rate (11% vs. 10%), and keeping HRs constant (2.5%). Less of his balls in play are falling in, but a larger portion are going for extra bases. So far, 2005 has been a better year, but the two seasons will probably end up equivalent if his BABIP allowed regresses towards the mean.

Carrara hasn't been as bad as his ERA suggests. He's walking quite a few more batters this year (11% vs. 9%), but his K-rate is the same as last year, and he hasn't allowed a HR while facing over 100 batters. He's been getting hosed on balls in play, with only 59% turning into outs, which is mostly luck. He's probably a little worse than last year, but certainly not DFA material.

Alvarez, like Weaver, is having a bad year. His strikeouts (14% vs. 20%) are significantly down and batters are teeing off on him (7.5% HRs vs. 2.5% last year). Also, like Weaver, his walk rate is down (4% vs. 7%). Overall, he has been more effective in the bullpen, though I didn't breakdown the statistics that way. Hopefully, some R&R and moving back into a middle-relief role will get his numbers closer to last year. Otherwise, there's the distinct possibility that he's toast.

It's too early to make any definitive conclusions about Gagne, even with his decreased velocity. His K-rate is up (43% vs. 35%), his BB-rate is the same (8%) and his increased HR-rate is entirely due to the two he allowed his first day back from rehab (5.5% vs. 1.5%). On the other hand, he's pitched 8.1 innings this year vs. 81 last year, so anything can still happen. The early statistical returns are promising, even though the ERA doesn't show it.

2005-06-03 15:20:05
53.   Fearing Blue
#45: I thought moving Roberts was a classy move, though I agree he should have gotten more for him. Once we got Finley, it was clear that Roberts wasn't going to get much playing time.
2005-06-03 15:24:00
54.   LAT
#51. Man I must be getting old. $7.95 for the buffet breakfast--that's no bargin! You can get two Grand Slams for that price.
2005-06-03 15:38:16
55.   Marty
There's still some old-timey joints in Vegas. The Frontier, Riviera, Sahara, Tropicana (my parent's favorite back in the day) as well as the Stardust. What's striking to me about them is just how small the casinos seem compared to the new places. Plus they are usually three-times as smoky.
2005-06-03 15:38:34
56.   Jim Hitchcock
You know you're getting old, LAT, when you can remember the 29 cent breakfasts in Vegas...

Anybody remember Rickles in `Innocent Blood'? He was terrific in that.

2005-06-03 15:42:18
57.   DougS
Since Vegas and Don Rickles are still live topics on this thread, I'll go on record as a fan of his work. I've always enjoyed the speed and energy of his performance; Marty's story from post #33 is a classic. It's a pleasant surprise that he's still out there doing it, even though he's very much a product of a bygone age, a less touchy age. Didn't see Toy Story, but thought he was quite good in Casino.
2005-06-03 15:43:50
58.   bigcpa
For my next prophecy...

NL West as of July 1st:

LA 43-33 -
SD 46-34 1.5
AZ 43-37 2.0
SF 34-43 9.5

This assumes:
LA 17-8 (5-2 vs SD)
SD 11-14 (9-9 vs non-LA)
AZ 13-13
SF 11-14

Then we trade for Chavez and I get a TEAM DEPO tattoo.

2005-06-03 15:46:26
59.   gvette
LAT, guess we won't be seeing you at the $52 Sunday Brunch at Bally's.

Supposedly during his rehab stint, Gagne stayed at the terminally hip Palms, home away from home to various NBA ballers, rappers, actors, Britneys and Hilton sisters.

2005-06-03 15:48:06
60.   Jon Weisman
Fearing Blue, thanks for all the info.
2005-06-03 15:54:20
61.   Jon Weisman
I added some of my own Vegas-related memories up top in the main post.
2005-06-03 15:58:21
62.   Marty
59. That reminds me. Last time I was at the Mirage a couple years ago, I went over to a busy craps table and was standing next to these two guys who had an entourage and were throwing bundles of 100s on the table and making the dealers count them out and place them on the numbers. I think it was $5000 a bundle. I thought they looked familair and finally realized it was the Maloof Bros.! It's illegal to gamble in your own hotel so they had to go to another. A few minutes later Reggie Jackson joined them. I was standing right next to him. He is the rudest SOB I've ever met. Treated the dealers terribly. Everyone was running cold and I think they dropped over $30,000 while I was there. I lost $100.
2005-06-03 16:02:57
63.   Brian Y
I have met the Maloofs and they are nice and my father went to school with Reggie Jackson and said the exact same thing. Always bet on 6 and 8!! That's how you win in craps. Oh and 5 is good too :-)
2005-06-03 16:04:56
64.   Jim Hitchcock
Papa Erwin sounds like a great character. Conformity just ain't meant for some people, and we're better off for it.

The Circus Circus was indeed the place for kids in the late 60's. The entire upper deck just for us! When it first opened, they charged an admission to get in, if you can believe it. Nevada residents got in free.

2005-06-03 16:06:16
65.   LAT
#59 gvette, a few months ago wife and I stayed at the Palms. Had dinner at Nine, the resturant there. (Andrew Firestone,the bachelor was there promoting his wine. All the women were going nuts over the guy.) One of the specials was Austrialian lobster tail. This guy at the next table ordered one for himself and his date and threw a fit when the bill came. The lobster was $139 each. He was yelling at everyone claiming no one told him but I'm sure they did becasuae the waiter told us. Suprisingly, the resturant did not back down. He finally paid the bill but was swearing the whole way out. I was waiting for security to come kick his ass. I'm guessing he didn't get laid that night--she was mortified. Only in Vegas.

Then went to the Ghost Bar. What a scene. Lot's of talent but too young (as in probably using fake ID young). If you want good looking women (and who doesn't) the Hard Rock is better.

Anyway, it was fun and I want to come back in my next life as a Maloof brother, but it pales next to places like the DI and there is no reason to go back. Going to Wynn's next month. Vegas in July! Nothing like it.

2005-06-03 16:06:50
66.   Eric L
re 51:

The Mandalay Entertainment Group that owns the 51s and a handful of other minor league teams isn't the same as the people who own the casinos.

2005-06-03 16:20:07
67.   gvette
#65 LAT, It surely must be good to be a Maloof Bro.

Was at the Palms a couple of weeks ago, and saw George M. entertaining Paul Pierce and most of the Celtics in the casino. Those guys must have been on a plane west as soon as they got blown out of the playoffs. Most of the Kings, including Mike Bibby, were also there. Dennis Rodman, and his entourage were having a huge party at Rain.

Only baseball guy I saw in Vegas was poor Pete Rose, hawking his autograph to all takers at the Forum Shops.

2005-06-03 16:21:16
68.   Bob Timmermann
So Kirk Kerkorian doesn't own a AAA baseball team?
2005-06-03 16:23:50
69.   Bob Timmermann
It ends up I will be at Dodger Stadium tonight, but not tomorrow.

Oh boy, my third Jeff Weaver game.

I hope I can stand the excitement. Perhaps I should give out my cellphone number so people can text me to tell me when Weaver should be pulled.

I think I just get 600 free messages a month.

2005-06-03 16:24:19
70.   LAT
Jon, woulda liked to have partied with Papa Erwin. Funny, I had an Uncle named Erwin. Owned the Chi Chi Club in Palm Springs in the 50s and 60s. Bet he had some stories but he never shared them. My grandfather Maurice was an avid horseplayer. He died when I was 14. Today I love the track and wish I could take him just to show him I know what I'm doing. Vowed I would teach my daughter how to read the racing form.
2005-06-03 16:24:23
71.   Langhorne
I loved the Desert Inn. As a young man I would dress up and go there to play craps. I was always the lowest bettor and youngest player at the table. But I was respectful and polite and they treated me very well. I had one really good run with the dice there once. I usually do okay at craps but not when I'm throwing the dice. This time I did very well. When my run was over the dealer looked at me and said, "Nice hand, son." And all the rich seniors at the table were applauding. I really felt like I had arrived.
2005-06-03 16:32:28
72.   Bob Timmermann
I haven't been to the Desert Inn since ten friends and I organized a big heist there. Too bad one of them died during it and our take was accidentally incinerated when his body was cremated.
2005-06-03 16:33:25
73.   Steve
Third inning, Bob. Now I won't have to bother you at the game!
2005-06-03 16:33:55
74.   molokai
Fearing Blue - Great stuff on # 52

Love all the Vegas stories.

Anyone been to Vegas to see the 51's? Thinking of going and looking for any pointers on best seats, how much, and so forth. When Guzman gets brought upto to AAA, a Dodgers Thoughts caravan to Vegas to welcome him would be pretty cool.

2005-06-03 16:38:30
75.   Jim Hitchcock
Steve, if the Weave is yanked in the third, we'll likely see Erickson.
2005-06-03 16:40:05
76.   gvette
#72 Bob, do you have an ex wife who looks like a young Angie Dickenson, or more like Julia Roberts?
2005-06-03 16:41:49
77.   Bob Timmermann
I got to see Erickson pitch Monday. I don't know if I can comfortably sit through two Erickson appearances in such a short time.
2005-06-03 16:43:00
78.   Bob Timmermann
My real name is Spyros Acebos.
2005-06-03 16:54:04
79.   gvette
#78- Bob, thought for sure you were more of a Sam Harmon/Duke Santos kind of guy.
2005-06-03 16:54:58
80.   heato
I have not read through all of the comments, so I apologize in advance if I am restating information.

Last night, Chad Billingsley's line:
7 IP, 12 SO, 3 H, 1 ER

2005-06-03 16:55:38
81.   Brian Y
Living here in Vegas I go to quite a few 51's games. They are okay but I get tired of the sloppy defense and baserunning. AAA Talent and Major League talent are definitely very different. Joe Thurston for instance makes a lot of mental errors in the field and on the basepaths.

Oh and for the guy going to the Wynn.....vastly overrated hotel! It's a carbon copy of the Bellagio.

2005-06-03 16:58:52
82.   Langhorne
I've never seen the 51's play but I went to a couple of Las Vegas Stars games. And in 1996 (I think) I saw a regular season game between the A's and the Tigers. Oakland had been renovating their stadium and it wasn't done in time for their home opener. They got special permission from MLB to play their first few home games at Cashman Field. It was fun to see a Major League game at a Minor League park. We were sitting eight rows from the field. My two memmories of that game are seeing a 9-6-3 triple play and the size of Cecil Fielders' arms.
2005-06-03 17:23:36
83.   Marty
71. There's nothing like getting applause after a good run at the craps table. I always bet the outside numbers. Tougher on you when the dice are cold, but you can get well quickly when they are hot. Best run I had was at Paris. A guy threw for 45 minutes. And he was betting nothing. By the time it ended I had $200 on every number. And I'm not that big a gambler. The person next to me had at least $700 on each number. He made a bundle.

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