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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

I'm Going to a Baseball Game Tomorrow
2005-06-10 09:09
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

In 1996, the Dodgers had a 13-game homestand, and I attended all 13 games. That was my year of being single and between jobs, as they say, and I saw 70 games that season (in case you were wondering how I ever got the games attended in the Dodger Thoughts sidebar up so high).

This weekend, the Dodgers are wrapping up a 13-game homestand, of which I'll only attend Saturday night's game.

My goals for attending games have dwindled with each passing year since '96. Half the home games was my goal until a few years ago. Last year, I manged to get to 25 percent, most of them before my son's August birth. This year, it will be some amount of work just to get to double digits. Not since 1992, when I spent most of the year in Washington D.C., has my Dodger attendance been this low.

(None of this, of course, undermines my ability to write about the Dodgers, right? Right?)

Even the games that I've gone to haven't been completely rewarding this year. We've taken one or both toddlers to three of the five games I've been to this year, including a wonderful Opening Day, and they do pretty well before losing it around stretch time. I love being at the games with them - I love the idea of it and I love the reality of it - but I've rarely got my attention on the field for 10 consecutive seconds.

Then, of the two games I went to without the kids this year, one was this - a game that briefly left me wondering whether I would ever go back.

Saturday night, it's just my wife and I at the game. We've got a friend from work babysitting, I've got my health back, and I even have time to freelance Friday night and Saturday morning so that I don't have to feel bad about not working at night.

Nothing in front of me at the ballpark except food and a baseball game. It's gonna be nice.

* * *

Top Dodger draft pick Luke Hochevar is scheduled to pitch for Tennessee at Georgia Tech in a Super Regional (round of 16) game at 1 p.m. today. Outfielder and third-round pick Sergio Pedroza will be in action for Cal State Fullerton against Arizona State tonight at 7.

Innings 1-4: Hochevar struck out the first two batters in the fourth inning, giving him six strikeouts out of 10 total outs, then got into trouble before allowing an unearned run. The game is 1-1 after four innings; Hochevar has allowed two hits, two walks and a hit batter.

Inning 5: Hochevar's fifth inning sandwiches a walk and a wild pitch with three strikeouts. Still a 1-1 game. Georgia Tech's Blake Wood has held the Volunteers to an unearned run, allowing one hit, one walk and one hit batter and striking out three in five innings.

Inning 6: Two strikeouts give Hochevar five in a row, but again he can't close out the inning. A single, a double and a balk bring home the go-ahead run for Georgia Tech. Hochevar then hit his second batter of the game before escaping further damage. Six innings, 11 strikeouts, but losing, 2-1.

Inning 7: A hit and no strikeouts, but no runs allowed by Hochevar.

Inning 8: Hochevar's day is over: seven innings, five hits, two runs (one earned), three walks, 11 strikeouts, and reportedly 136 pitches. (He had six days rest since his last appearance, in which he went eight innings.) Tennessee put two runners on in the top of the eighth but didn't score, so he can only lose or have no-decision.

Inning 9: A one-out, two-run homer by No. 8 hitter Rob Fitzgerald takes Hochevar off the hook and puts Tennessee ahead, 3-2. Volunteers reliever Sean Watson locks down the victory in the bottom of the ninth.

Comments (94)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-06-10 10:05:18
1.   brendan glynn
I'll be attending Saturday nights game as well as Sunday day game.

I have a dilemma for Sundays game. I'll be sitting in the Dugout Club Seats, Section 3. I plan on wearing my Team Depo and Ghame Over T-shirts. I want to give both the exposure the deserve but I don't want to be that Clown waving at the camera that we all hate.

Can I get a special dispensation from DT or be absolved of my attention grabbing tactics on Sunday?

2005-06-10 10:16:19
2.   Bob Timmermann
I'll be at Saturday's game as well. My counter for this season is at 1-5, so I don't know if I should go to anymore.

Since August 15, 1999 when I got my present scorebook, the Dodgers are 15-23 when I see them at Dodger Stadium.

On the road, they are 1-0 in St. Louis and 0-2 in Colorado.

Overall record of 16-25.

From 1999 on, I seem to have a knack for going to games pitched by guys named Perez, either Carlos or Odalis. I actually went to a game when Carlos Perez was the winner and Greg Maddux was the loser.

2005-06-10 10:22:34
3.   Colorado Blue
Enjoy the games boys... I think it'll be a good series against a tough club. I'll be enjoying it from the confines of my Denver suburbia family room. Of course I'll be able to fast-forward past the Grawboski Stare of Disbelief.
2005-06-10 10:24:24
4.   Bob Timmermann
Saturday's game has the promise of being quick. Silva and Lowe are both guys who throw lots of strikes and walk very few. The only thing that could be a fly in the ointment is that either pitcher could give up a ton of hits.
2005-06-10 10:24:51
5.   Xeifrank
Have fun at the game Jon. Fatherhood is very rewarding but also time consuming at the same time. My little girl was burn end of June, a month or two before your boy. I don't mind staying at home watching the game on T.V., if it means I get to be home and put her to bed at night. But we all need to get out of the house every once in a while without the kid(s) in tow. Glad you have a babysitter who can pinch hit for you guys. We are lucky, we have grandparents nearby. On a sidenote, my daughter just learned how to walk two weeks ago and she already thinks she is a world class sprinter, often taking nose dives into the carpet or one of the bean bag chairs strategically placed in the living room.
vr, Xei
2005-06-10 10:25:58
6.   db1022
I'm a first time father as of last May, and have been a faithful Dodger attendee most of my life. Prior to becoming a dad, I attended about 8-12 games / year (I live just outside of LA). In all of those years and games, never did I once leave early. Never, never, never - not even the 7 hour, doubleheader marathon one hot July day in 1992.

Now, though, I've been to about 5 games since becoming a father, and have left early everytime. I took my son to his first game last year, when he was 5 months old. We've been to about 3 this year.

Really can't wait until I take him and he's old enough to completely share in the experience.

Heck, maybe we'll even stay until the end.

2005-06-10 10:38:45
7.   gvette
Don't forget, tomorrow night is "Hollywood Stars Night", so get there early to cheer on Tommy Lasorda's favorite entertainer, Tony Danza.

It could be worse though,in the 80's the Dodgers would trot out Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Billy Barty with prop bats for the same tired short/tall gag every year.

2005-06-10 10:39:05
8.   Bob Timmermann
Xei,
I hope your little girl was born and not burned.
2005-06-10 10:45:19
9.   Loogy
As your child gets older and maybe wants to attend sometimes with you, remember and expect the "ALE" principle.
"Always Leave Early"
Those elementary ages and younger, kids just can't sit around the entire game.
2005-06-10 10:52:50
10.   Xeifrank
8. haha! I saw that after I submitted the post. It wouldn't be a Xeifrank post without either a typ*o, missedspelling or garamarral mistake. Only burns she has gotten have been carpet burns sliding into home plate. :)
vr, Xei
2005-06-10 10:53:51
11.   Bob Timmermann
Last year, I went with two of my brothers and my oldest brother's oldest child, who was 6 at the time. It was going to be his first major league game.

We were at Busch Stadium and we bought bleachers seats. But it was a long, long, poorly played game between the Cardinals and Brewers. Dan lost interest around the sixth. But there were plenty of games in the back of the stadium to keep him interested. I went with him to some game where you try to hit a ball out of a pitching machine. There is a video of a pitcher you watch to try to pick it up.

I flailed away on five pitches. The ball came from about 30 feet away so it was tough. And it was Pedro Martinez throwing anyway.

One thing that might be problems for younger kids is that they are so far away from the action. I think it's hard for them to keep up with the action.

Dan had been to minor league games and he's seen Cape Cod League games. I remember him asking me if I followed the Wareham Gatemen much. Or if I got any good Pawtucket PawSox news. That's who he had seen while on vacation in that area.

2005-06-10 10:54:26
12.   Bob Timmermann
#10,
OK, no call to Children's Services....
2005-06-10 10:54:47
13.   Colorado Blue
Coors Field is pretty good for the kiddos... I take my 7, 5, and 3 year olds. They can make it in their seats until the 7th inning stretch, then my wife or I will take them to a little play area that is usually stacked 3 high in children. They don't care though. And, there's no parking issue... a 2 block walk and we're on the train home. All-in-all a good experience; but it isn't the same as being at a Dodger's home game.
2005-06-10 10:56:27
14.   the OZ
When I was a kid, my Dad would grill me on multiplication tables on the way out of the parking lot after games.

I can't drive down Stadium Way without thinking "7x7=49, 7x8=56, 7x9=63..."

It worked, too. On weekly quizzes, I never missed an answer. File that away, new dads: when stuck in traffic after games, make your kids learn math.

2005-06-10 10:57:03
15.   Landonkk
I just got my ticket for tonight's game, my third of the season. The Dodgers are 1-1 when I attend (opening day and a loss to Washington), so tonight will be my own personal rubber match!

I have opportunities to go to a lot more games, but I honestly feel that if my goal is to watch the game closely (judging pitching effectiveness, AB quality, close plays) the best place is in front my TiVo, alongside Vin. I had a ticket waiting for me to the clincher last year, but decided that I had to be able to "see" the game. That is the only time that I actually wish I was at the stadium, when I have to miss out on the shared jubilation. Plus I live 90 miles north, so there is quite a drive that figures into my decision.

GO BLUE!

2005-06-10 10:58:50
16.   Jon Weisman
Nothing like calculating batting averages and ERAs in your head during your formative years to develop math skills.
2005-06-10 11:03:34
17.   Rob M
I haven't gone to a ton of games, but I've managed to make some good ones:

Hank Aaron's last game in Dodger Stadium. This is a vague memory - I was only about 5.

Game 3, 1977 NLCS. Elias Sosa balks home the winning run to give the Phils their only win of the series.

Game 2, 1978 World Series. Bob Welch strikes out Reggie to end the game. I was sitting with my dad in the fourth row behind the Dodger dugout.

1988, Orel Hershiser goes 10 shutout innings to break Don Drysdales scoreless innings record. Drove down to San Diego to see this one. My friends and I knew that it would have to be a scoreless tie after 9 for a shot at the mark. With the Dodger offense that year and the way Orel was pitching, it seemed likely somehow. We were rewarded. Drysdale came on the field to congratulate him after the 10th. We left in the 11th, and San Diego eventually won in 16.

1988 NLCS, game 5, Shea Stadium. I moved to NY that fall. Got a seat so high up in RF that I couldn't see part of the field. Tim Belcher got the win, Gibby homered.

2004. The clincher against the Giants. Impossible bottom of the 9th with Finley's grand slam. Bedlam ensued.

Last year, Division Series. Saw the Lima shutout from the RF pavilion.

2005-06-10 11:05:42
18.   Bob Timmermann
I would think that any future renovations to Dodger Stadium would include places for families to mingle and kids to run around.

If you want to see antsy kids, look at families that take little kids with them to college football games. Big crowds, bad views, and the games take four hours.

2005-06-10 11:08:40
19.   Jon Weisman
As long as I can remember going to sporting events - dating back to when I was about five - I can't remember ever wanting to leave. This was even before I knew what was going on on the field. I could stare forever through my dad's binoculars with the electric zoom. Sometimes, I would point them at the peristyle scoreboard of the Coliseum and just watch that, over and over.
2005-06-10 11:09:10
20.   molokai
If it hadn't been for baseball I would have no math skills. My dad weaned me on a slide ruler something I'm sure most of you have never heard of.
I'm expecting the Dodgers to take 2/3 from the Twins. We were lucky to miss Santana and the rest of the pitching staff is not scary. It will be fun to see how many walks Radke gives up to the Dodgers on Sunday. He is on a historic pace and the Dodgers love to walk.

I really liked the Beltre piece this morning. Still hopes he turns it around as I have no reason to wish bad things upon him and couldn't care less if Depo is proven correct if it means that Beltre really was super fluky.

Oh and take this with a grain of salt but supposedly the A's and Dodgers are both interested in Joe Kennedy from the Rockies.
From Ken Rosenthal
The Dodgers, however, also are among the teams interested in Kennedy, who is 3-6 with a 7.07 ERA after going 9-7 with a 3.66 ERA last season. The Rockies also are willing to trade righthanded starter Shawn Chacon.

2005-06-10 11:13:39
21.   CT Bum
Enjoy the game Jon, hopefully you'll bring us luck.

Living out here on the Mason/Dixon line in Yankee/Red Sox territory (Connecticut), I'm lucky to get to 1 Dodger/Met game a year.

I did make it out to LA for a game last Sept! Woo Hoo! My Dodger Stadium record is 2-1.

You SoCal-ers are incredibly fortunate to get to see the Bums live and in person so frequently, with relative ease.

That said, I'll be in my easy chair dialed in tomorrow night.

2005-06-10 11:17:50
22.   Im So Blue
16 - That's exactly what we were doing when we were at the Dodgers v. Expos on April 30, last year. The kids (then 7th/10th graders) were calculating batting averages as the hitters came up. I especially remember our buddy Jason Grabowski, who entered that game with a batting average of .063. We figured out how many ABs he had so far (16), and his new batting avg after each AB. He brought his avg up to .100, going 1 for 4.
2005-06-10 11:21:26
23.   Jon Weisman
Molokai -

We had slide rule lessons in elementary school - say around 1975. It was the era of the big metric system push. You could tell that the teacher, as old as she was (she might have been my age today for all I know, but she seemed old), knew that the slide rule was headed out the door and that it was a waste of time.

I was the first kid in my class with a calculator, around the same time. I got it from the Sears Wish Book. How excited I used to get when the Wish Book arrived in the mail each year. Practically having a Proustian moment here.

2005-06-10 11:21:40
24.   Colorado Blue
RE: 20 This morning's Denver Post had an entire article dedicated to trade rumors surrounding the Rockies pitching staff... no mention of LA at all, just Oakland. But that doesn't mean other teams aren't interested. Supposedly Jason Jennings is on the block as well, but I think CO will want a King's ransom for him.
2005-06-10 11:34:17
25.   Colorado Blue
In regards to Hochevar and any hopes for a quick signing, the following is from the Dodgers website:

Scouting director Logan White said he is confident that Hochevar wants to play sooner than later, and is confident a deal will be reached, but said he cautioned owner Frank McCourt that a year-long stalemate like Weaver's was a possibility.

Boras is so evil...

2005-06-10 11:40:43
26.   Jim Hitchcock
Yeah, the Wish book. I mean, I'd go through all the big catalogs to, but as a kid, that was it.

Later on it was the Radio Shack catalog that got me going. I still have the last issue they ever printed...it's about seven years old now. I once had a salesman rolling when I started giving him guff about the girl on the cover looking like Michael Jackson.

2005-06-10 11:41:31
27.   Jon Weisman
CBlue -

I think the hostility toward Boras can be overwrought.

Hochevar can choose to settle right away and get a nice contract. It's his choice.

He may not want to do that. He may think he deserves more, and he may be right. So he gets Boras to negotiate.

It's not Boras' fault that baseball isn't an utter free market (and I'm not trying to argue whether it should be or not). In order to get more money for his client, a holdout is Boras' only tool.

If he's reporting the offers accurately, and the client has every opportunity to accept any of them, I don't see why Boras is bad.

The only problem one should have with Boras is if he spreads disinformation, or if he were some truly Jim Jones-like manipulator. Perhaps the jury is out on one of these counts.

Beyond that, if there's a year-long stalemate, blame the client or the team. They have the decision-making power.

2005-06-10 11:55:32
28.   Bob Timmermann
Draft picks holding is out is what baseball was like back before the Messersmith decision. Every year somebody on some team would hold out. It started in the 1870s and persisted through the 1970s.

Very few players hold out now because there is no good reason to. Fernando Valenzuela held out briefly before the 1982 season, I believe, but he had no leverage.

If Eric Gagne had turned a season like his 2002 season in 1972, he would have missed all of spring training. But all Gagne could do was take what the Dodgers were renewing him for.

Once you sign the pro contract, there are only two ways to get a raise:
1) play really well
2) have the Yankees vastly overrate your ability (see Wright, Jaret)

2005-06-10 12:06:33
29.   Christina
Question for the parents out there - instead of leaving early with the kids, why not arrive late with the kids? Not only do you get to see the end of the game, but they may also enjoy the whole experience better knowing that the end isn't that far away and that they'll get to see it.

Jon, my only problem with Boras, and agents like him (hello Postons!) is that I'm not sure they're taking their clients' best interests into account. Now some of their clients do have "get every dime possible" as their first priority, and so that jells perfectly with Boras and his ilk, but some of these kids just strike me as not having the personal strength to disagree with their experienced professional agent, and sometimes that really screws them over. Maybe not so much in baseball, where the hold-outs missing a year of the minors probably won't be THAT bad in the long run, but in football, the holdouts can really end up screwing themselves over. They miss training camp, etc. and end up losing the starting job that would often have been theirs to someone else who then performs so well that the hold-out remains stuck on the bench even after signing. Those are the cases where I do question whether the agents are thinking about their clients' best interests at least as much as about maximizing their own commissions.

2005-06-10 12:15:24
30.   bigcpa
Hey Brendan- 1/2 an inning of Team Depo exposure, that's all I ask. If you could just stand up and "pop the shirt" like Bradley, that'd be greeeaaaat.
2005-06-10 12:19:01
31.   Jon Weisman
Christina -

Paragraph 1 - right now, it's all about naptimes.

Paragraph 2 - obviously, there is something that distinguishes Boras from other agents, and what you say likely has a lot to do with it. But I still don't think it's right to demonize the agents and consider the players the victims. The client needs to know what he wants. If the agent is being straight with the client, the client should be able to make an informed decision.

Take Jered Weaver. Boras probably told him that he could get X amount of dollars and that it was worth holding out for. Weaver ended up signing for less than X. Is that Boras' fault? Only if Boras guaranteed the result that didn't happen.

2005-06-10 12:25:00
32.   Bob Timmermann
I get the day off. There is an afternoon game at Wrigley between the Cusb and Red Sox. And it's quickly turning into a Cubs rout.

Whaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!
Whaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!

I need naptime I think. Or maybe I will just go out and look for a sofa.

It's 5-1 Cubs in the third.

2005-06-10 12:32:42
33.   molokai
Yeah, the Wish book. I mean, I'd go through all the big catalogs to, but as a kid, that was it.

Way off topic but the Sears wish book was my life line when I lived in Germany as a kid. The Xmas I'll always remember was when Sears screwed up our order and my parents realized that nothing was going to be under the tree if they waited for Sears to redo the order. So they went shopping locally and I'll never forget my German presents. Two weeks later the Sears stuff arrived and my family (four brothers) had another Xmas. My only regret is that when we moved back to the states all my cool stuff was lost including my baseball cards/comics/gummy candy(originally from Germany). Actually the best news was that my Dad wasn't sent to Vietnam and we returned home as a complete family.

2005-06-10 12:35:31
34.   molokai
I'm optimistic that Luke will sign quickly. The Dodgers know they have to give him top 10 money. For some reason I also think that when they were negotiating with Colorado they were asking for more then they expect to get. If you were Boras would you want your client to sign with the Rockies if he was a pitcher? Talk about a dead end.
2005-06-10 12:39:46
35.   Colorado Blue
Jon/Christina,

My hostility towards Boras is in half-jest... I agree with both your point and Christina's as well. Players choose Boras because of a certain M.O. they like (read maximum $$$). But, I also think that Boras fishes the waters for the young stars and probably sells them a bit of snakeoil in the process.

Actually, I think that signing bonuses to draftees should be capped or it will get to the point that some prospect with potential gets $10M. What's the right number? Who knows, but I think agents wheeling-and-dealing based on big-league potential is ludicrous. Who represents a draftee's rights other then his agent? If the answer is no one, then why don't the MLB owners come up with a more reasonable system of checks-and-balances? If they can institute revenue-sharing and a luxury tax, then surely they manage signing bonuses.

2005-06-10 12:44:18
36.   db1022
#35 - Wasn't there some sort of alteration to the draft signing bonus after the Matt White/Travis Lee debacles a few years back? They both signed for ungodly bonuses, and I seem to remember something coming of it.
2005-06-10 12:45:49
37.   db1022
#29-1 - It's not necessarily about attention spans with me (mine is just now 1 year old) but about bedtimes. Arriving late still comes with an 11pm bedtime.
2005-06-10 12:54:47
38.   Steve
Yeah, it's how long you keep the kids up. You could give them three naps during the day, and past about 9:30, they become absolute basket cases. Particularly when you have to haul them back to the car and drive home with them after the game.
2005-06-10 12:55:12
39.   Christina
Jon, I agree that not all of Boras's clients are victims. Certainly not anyone who's already gone through signing his first contract, for instance. And yes, the clients should know what they want, and yes, there are draft picks who do know what they want.

But I do think there's a certain segment who don't, or are facing other pressures. These are kids with no professional experience either in sports or in negotiations, who don't necessarily have the confidence to be sure of what they want. Maybe their most trusted advisors--not just their agents, but also their families--are caring only about the quick payday. I don't think it's quite as simple as whether Boras/Postons/etc. are guaranteeing that they can get X money, though you're right that that would be wrong; I'd like to know if they're being upfront with their clients about the risks of holding out in certain cases. Call me crazy, but I'm a little skeptical about that. I wouldn't be surprised if their "advice" is more along the lines of "You're so talented, you don't need to worry. You can hold out and collect a huge payday and still be a starter long-term". Or, on the flip side, for the worrywart clients, emphasizing the need for making as much money as possible on the first contract by playing up the possibility of a career-ending injury early on. It's not just the player who might be swayed by that kind of talk, it's also his family, who is not exactly disinterested and in some cases may care less about Sonny's long-term career prospects than about as many quick bucks as possible. Like some agents.

Again, I don't think this applies to all players. They're not all victims swayed by eeeeeeevil agents/gold-digging family members. I'd say it's probably a distinct minority of the clients. But that minority, I do feel a little sorry for, the young kids who aren't yet that well-equipped to make solid decisions for themselves and still rely primarily on the advice of the people around them.

Then there's a majority, IMO, who are making reasoned decisions - they may not work out, but the agents aren't ripping them off either. And then there's the minority at the other end of the continuum who are just spoiled brats who expect everyone to lie down for them and out-Boras even Boras.

2005-06-10 13:05:41
40.   Jon Weisman
Fair enough, Christina. Like I said, it comes down to information vs. disinformation.
2005-06-10 13:17:37
41.   Bob Timmermann
I just hope Matt Harrington isn't reading this blog.
2005-06-10 13:24:23
42.   brendan glynn
#30

Count on it.

2005-06-10 13:24:35
43.   molokai
I just hope Matt Harrington isn't reading this blog.

Just think how thankfull Colorado is that he spurned their generous offer 5 years ago.

2005-06-10 13:27:42
44.   Colorado Blue
This article sheds some light. Apparently there are legal ramifications to limiting signing bonuses officially:

http://tinyurl.com/cxq4q

2005-06-10 13:30:32
45.   Xeifrank
Article in local paper praising Jeff Weaver and also making out the "Quality Start" stat to be the most important stat for a starting pitcher. Any thoughts on this statement? Below is brief text from the article. vr/Xei
>
2005-06-10 13:31:15
46.   Xeifrank
Text got cut off... here it is.

One of the more recent additions to baseball's statistical toy box, the quality start -- six or more innings pitched with three or fewer runs allowed -- may be the best measure of a starting pitcher in the era of bullpen specialization, indicating as it does a pitcher's ability to get to the late-inning setup man and closer with a minimum reliance on middle relief.

The quality start was a Weaver speciality in 2004, as he met that standard in 25 of 34 starts. Only Randy Johnson (with 26) had more; tied with Weaver in second place was Minnesota's Johan Santana.

2005-06-10 13:48:31
47.   Bob Timmermann
Never show up Frank Robinson when he takes you out of a game. The Nats traded Tomo Ohka to Milwaukee for Junior Spivey.

The Nats also picked up Ryan Drese.

2005-06-10 13:50:58
48.   GoBears
Wow - Spivey really has bounced around for a guy who was supposed to be the next big thing after his rookie year. I'd say this helps Washington's bid to win the East.
2005-06-10 13:53:38
49.   Rob M
I like the quality start stat. It's often pointed out that 6 IP/3 ER allowed equates to an ERA of 4.50, which isn't very good. The truth is, over the course of a whole season, a pitcher's ERA is the average of great starts, good starts and some terrible starts. The terrible starts are the ones that you want to avoid. If a pitcher consistenly gives you 6 and 3, you'll win a whole lot of those games.
2005-06-10 13:54:05
50.   GoBears
Hey, anyone with tickets for Saturday's game that they can't use? The game appears to be a sellout (other than some $85 seats), and while the online scalper folks have some reasonably-priced seats, the delivery charges are kinda high. If you're in the LA area, I'd be happy to pick them up in person. I need 2.
Thanks. And to Jon - I apologize if this is an inappropriate use of bandwidth.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-06-10 13:54:06
51.   Colorado Blue
Ouch! From an article by Jerry Crasnick:

Matt Harrington began playing independent league ball and has since become something of a professional draftee, getting drafted three more times, but the offers are now so meager and the expectations so low that he has yet to sign a contract. He's washed up at 22, and he pays the bills working at a Target store in the offseason.

2005-06-10 13:55:11
52.   regfairfield
46- I don't think anyone would doubt that 2004 Weaver was a well above average pitcher.

2005 Weaver scares me, but, he seemed to start to heat up around this time last year too, so maybe he is salvageable.

2005-06-10 13:58:10
53.   Bob Timmermann
Washington is just the third team for Spivey, so he's not exactly Mike Morgan.

Jeffrey Hammonds also announced that he was retiring. Jon will weep.

I wonder if Washington will send Rick Short back to the minors. I interviewed him in 2003 when he was playing in Japan. He seemed to be really homesick. He's always been a good AAA hitter and he probably could have done well in Japan, but sometimes it's hard to make the social adjustment.

2005-06-10 14:00:18
54.   Bob Timmermann
I have one extra seat for Saturday's game. That's probably not much help. And if you went, you would have to sit next to me and listen to me complain about how much I hate Hollywood Stars Night.
2005-06-10 14:05:18
55.   Christina
45 - I like the Quality Start stat tremendously, far better than the W-L stat, which can be seriously distorted by a pitcher's run support or lack thereof. After all, even undeniable aces do not throw shutouts every single game.

Did you know Danny Haren and Mark Mulder have very similar lines? Yet their W-L records are almost exact opposites. Guess what the difference has been?

My own particular rule of thumb is that if a pitcher gives up 2 earned runs or less a game and loses, it's the offense's fault. If a pitcher gives up 3 earned runs, it's a push. More than 3 earned runs, and the pitcher deserves the loss.

2005-06-10 14:06:27
56.   db1022
#53 - Vidro is supposed to be coming back soon. Odd move picking up Spivey. Maybe Vidro has taken a step back.
2005-06-10 14:09:22
57.   GoBears
54: Thanks, Bob, but I need 2.

56: I'd forgotten about Vidro. Maybe another trade is in the works.

2005-06-10 14:09:26
58.   DougS
Re: Christina vs. Jon vs. Scott Boras
Christina, I agree with your assessment and said something similar about Boras and Adrian Beltre in the comments recently. I argued that Beltre probably made a decision against his best interests by pursuing the $ and going to Seattle, in part because the fans here would have cut him more slack on account of his slow start and his inevitable regression to the mean. I didn't blame Boras as such, but I did note that the way the system is set up, agents have every incentive to emphasize the $ value of a contract and not nearly as much incentive to consider other issues. Jon is quite right to point out that it's up to the player to make his own decisions in the end. But 25 years old is still pretty young--or so it seems at my age. ;-)
2005-06-10 14:10:09
59.   Bob Timmermann
Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers are holding a Women's Iniative softball clinic.

It will be hosted by Jamie McCourt, Manny Mota, Eric Gagne, and Oscar Robles.

Oscar Robles?

2005-06-10 14:11:44
60.   Bob Timmermann
57,
OK, but you're missing out on the chance to listen to me whine in person instead of online.

It shouldn't be missed.

2005-06-10 14:12:14
61.   Bob Timmermann
The Brewers wanted to move Spivey because they are going to bring up super-prospect Ricky Weeks.
2005-06-10 14:13:49
62.   Jon Weisman
53 - weeping planned for Game Chat Thread tonight

The quality start - I've become warmer to it over time - but it's still flawed. It's just too much shorthand. Walter Johnson goes 16 innings and allows four runs - not a quality start. I exaggerate because I love.

If you're going to the trouble of counting quality starts, why not just look at ERA and IP/start and leave it at that.

2005-06-10 14:14:44
63.   db1022
Vidro is out until mid-july. Washington is looking to build on their current hot streak rather than wait on Vidro to come back, I guess. Its a gamble considering Spivey is useless when that happens, and Ohka had been a decent starter.
2005-06-10 14:17:36
64.   db1022
#61 - It's certainly easy to see Mil's motivation for the deal. Getting an adequate starter for a .236 hitting stone-handed 2B is good enough. Clearing a path for stud Weeks makes it that much more of a steal.
2005-06-10 14:24:18
65.   GoBears
RE Quality Starts: I agree that the stat summarizes so much that it throws out info, but its main advantage is that it speaks to consistency in a way that ERA and avg IP don't. Granted if ERA is really low and IP/gm really high, then they must also be consistent. A "better" measure than QS would be just to look for low variance in IP/gm and ERA/gm. But that's less user-friendly for those who don't like stats. Personally, my biggest problem with the QS is the same as with the Save - it's too lenient. I'd make it 7 IP and 3 runs or perhaps 6 and 2.
2005-06-10 14:27:36
66.   the OZ
63 -

They could be hoping Spivey gets hot during the next month, then flip him to someone else for a spare part when Vidro returns, like a good bench hitter or a LOOGY or something. If not, Spivey could be a better-than-average backup going into a playoff push. I just don't think the Nats can hold on to their tenuous lead with a number of more talented teams behind them.

I'm not a real Spivey fan, either, so this analysis represents a best-case scenario for the Nats - I don't expect Spivey to be particularly useful.

2005-06-10 14:32:05
67.   Jon Weisman
Hochevar update up top.
2005-06-10 14:35:10
68.   db1022
anyone know of a good resource for team by team salaries and contract lengths?

dugout dollars was good, but is out of date.

2005-06-10 14:37:22
69.   Jon Weisman
65 - what does the consistency mean, even. What are you saying about two pitchers, one with 20 quality starts and an ERA of 4.50, the other with 10 quality starts and an ERA of 4.00. The first pitcher is probably getting blasted in his non-quality starts, giving you no chance of winning. The second pitcher, with fewer quality starts, isn't pitching many shutouts, but is actually more consistent at giving you a chance to win.

Jeff Weaver had a decent 2004, but the fact that he and the Twins' Santana led the leagues in quality starts should illustrate how much is left to chance with that stat. Anyone think Weaver was a Cy Young candidate last year?

2005-06-10 14:40:05
70.   bigcpa
We should be thankful the QS stat exists if nothing else to expose the useless Win stat. My hatred of the Win stat has reached neurotic proportions. Is there a single play-by-play guy that will take a stand and refuse to quote it? Alan Schwarz has written some great stuff on the subject, but I feel like I'm wandering alone arguing evolution vs. creation in the bible belt.
2005-06-10 14:44:41
71.   Sushirabbit
Weeks looks really good. In the 51s series with the Sounds the only player that looked better, was, you guessed it, Nakamura.
2005-06-10 14:52:27
72.   Christina
70 - you're not alone. I'm right there with you.
2005-06-10 15:00:35
73.   Langhorne
#70 It's not creation, it's "intelligent design".
2005-06-10 15:04:08
74.   Langhorne
Hochevar is melting down a bit. After getting two outs in the 6th he's given up a single, a double, a balk and a HBP. But he gets out of it, giving up one run and the Vols are down 2-1. Still, Luke has 11 strike outs in six innings.
2005-06-10 15:07:02
75.   Christina
"what does the consistency mean, even. What are you saying about two pitchers, one with 20 quality starts and an ERA of 4.50, the other with 10 quality starts and an ERA of 4.00. The first pitcher is probably getting blasted in his non-quality starts, giving you no chance of winning. The second pitcher, with fewer quality starts, isn't pitching many shutouts, but is actually more consistent at giving you a chance to win."

I don't think this is entirely accurate. In the latter, you're speaking of a pitcher who, if his team is winning the non-quality starts, is really just more lucky in getting bailed out by his team's offense. Send him to a team with an offense not as great and his loss count will ratchet way up to more closely match his non-QS count.

But pitchers with quality starts should be winning their games. If they're pitching at an ERA below 3.0 for their quality starts and not winning, then it's the fault of the rest of his team. Send THAT pitcher to a team with a better offense and you'll see his wins match his QS count better.

If a team's got a consistent and potent offense, then the 20 QS guy is absolutely more valuable the 10 QS guy. That's 20 wins the team should be able to pull out plus the occasional lucky non-QS start, whereas with the latter pitcher it's only 10 should-wins plus the occasional lucky non-QS start.

If the offense is crap, it really doesn't matter whether the start is quality or not, because except for complete game shutouts--and how often do you see those happen?--the team's still going to lose most of the time.

2005-06-10 15:10:20
76.   Jon Weisman
75 - I didn't even mention the pitcher's win-loss record, so I don't know what makes you assume I think he's getting bailed out. I'm not talking about W-L records at all.

My point is this - the quality start stat is interesting but flawed. That's all.

2005-06-10 15:11:06
77.   molokai

Go Bears here is the link to Ebay for tomorrow's game. Lots of affordable tickets and most are sold by season ticket holders so they can email the ticket to you at a cost of 2.00 per ticket.
http://tinyurl.com/b6a72

Only the Dodgers charge their season ticket holders to email their tickets. For the Lakers/Clippers it is part of being a season ticket holder.

2005-06-10 15:13:48
78.   molokai
I wonder if Luke will throw 120 pitches today? Find out in about one minute. Looks like a Dodger to me.
2005-06-10 15:22:13
79.   Xeifrank
I would never call Quality starts anything other than a mediocre stat. It's not bad as it does count/keep track of a discrete positive event. But it is probably one of the better stats that is simple and easy to calculate. I would think stats like K/IP, K/BB, K/9, HR/9, WHIP and DIPS would be better. And I'm sure some of the Bill James stat heads know of a few other stats that are even better, perhaps... VORP, Win Shares etc... Quality Starts for example is not immune to park effects. Is a QS in Dodgers Stadium the same as in Denver or Houston?
vr, Xei
2005-06-10 15:26:00
80.   Jim Hitchcock
BTW, Jon...first calculator: TI or Commodore (hope you stayed away from the Craftsman calculators)?
2005-06-10 15:29:04
81.   Jon Weisman
I think it was TI. Nice white digital numbers. I liked to type 71077345 and then turn it over to spell out SHELLOIL. So easily amused.
2005-06-10 15:34:17
82.   the OZ
I haven't done the work yet, but I've been curious for a few months about whether a kind of Median ERA would be more accurate than the current Mean ERA?

Instead of some abstract number such as 3.87 or 5.15, you'd be guaranteed to have an integer or integer-point-five:

3, 4, 3.5.

This would give some idea of the number of runs a pitcher is likely to surrender in a given start. Median IP or Outs Recorded per start might be interesting, too.

The Median concept could also provide no added value beyond current mean-based models, but I think it's worth a test-drive.

2005-06-10 15:34:25
83.   natepurcell
well look as thrown 136 pitches so far. If he trots out in the 8th, i hope depo/boras call up the Vols manager and chew him out.
2005-06-10 15:34:54
84.   Xeifrank
81. 7734
2005-06-10 15:36:05
85.   Jon Weisman
83 - is that right, Nate? 136 pitches? The thing with college, through, is that in series openers, they often have six days of rest. It's in the CWS where things can get really dicey.
2005-06-10 15:43:07
86.   natepurcell
yep. ive kepted a pitch chart for hochevar for this game.

yea i suppose, he has had almost a weeks rest. hes a competitor out there though, thats for sure.

2005-06-10 15:44:08
87.   bigcpa
To defend QS is not to say it's without flaws. I like it as a measure of consistency as mentioned. But also because as a simple counting stat it has the best chance to win the hearts & minds of the casual majority who quote W/L stats.

That said I had to laugh when FSN put the 2004 graphic up with Johnson, Weaver, Santana listed 1/2/3. Talk about failing a smell test! Still I thought last year Weaver had carved a niche as a consistently mediocre, keep-you-in-the-game guy like Brandon Webb this year. If QS% doesn't correlate year-to-year maybe it's not a skill.

2005-06-10 15:49:37
88.   Jon Weisman
I just think if you're going to break people of W-L, don't settle for QS. Look, OPS appears with regularity almost everywhere now - two years ago, that was only a dream. Let's aim higher than quality starts.
2005-06-10 16:04:31
89.   Vishal
jon, i'll eat my dodger hat the day joe morgan starts quoting say, DIPS.
2005-06-10 16:06:45
90.   Jon Weisman
I'm not talking about converting everyone. :)
2005-06-10 16:14:43
91.   Jon Weisman
Seems like a good enough time to open the Game Chat Thread. See above.
2005-06-10 16:57:51
92.   Icaros
Bob,

I want the extra ticket, if it's still available (and if you'll have me). I sent you an e-mail.

2005-06-10 17:20:55
93.   Jim Hitchcock
Hopefully you'll bring him some luck, Icaros :)
2005-06-10 18:45:25
94.   Icaros
Well, I am part leprechaun.

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