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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Something Can Go Wrong-O, Here in the Tomko
2005-12-27 10:56
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Hi - good to see you all again.  The Brett Tomko signing is old news, well-discussed in the holiday chat comments, so I won't give you much more than my two pesos. (The parents of Raffi fans can explain the headline.)

Tomko is a below-average pitcher, with two seasons of above-average, park-adjusted ERA out of nine in his career, and two seasons even within shouting distance of average in his past five:

Year/ERA+ (100 is average, per Baseball-Reference.com)
1997: 125
1998: 97
1999: 92
2000: 98
2001: 81
2002: 85
2003: 79
2004: 110
2005: 92

The main arguments for Tomko are that he's a control pitcher (fewer than three walks per nine innings), that he has pitched well in Dodger Stadium (2.93 career ERA there) and that he's an innings-eater, averaging nearly 200 the past four years. Those arguments are not without relevance, but they should be seen as part of the overall picture.

Just before Thanksgiving, I questioned the value of an innings-eater. 

(Jeff) Weaver is valued for his innings-eating skills, but are there other ways to eat those innings? Can they be swallowed more cheaply than Weaver would digest them? The going rate for an innings eater - based on what guys like Weaver, Derek Lowe and Odalis Perez command - is about $8-10 million per year. Instead of spending that kind of money on a pitcher who is going to make a difference every fifth day, maybe it's better to spend that kind of money on a hitter who is going make a difference every day.

If you use a 99-Cent Store brand starting pitcher, you would have to ask more from your bullpen. You'd probably end up carrying a seventh reliever to help pick up those middle innings your starter would sometimes miss. But if you have better offense, you're less likely to need that 25th roster spot for a position player anyway.

The Dodgers won half the battle - they got an innings-eater at a discount rate: $8.7 million guaranteed to cover two seasons. In doing so, they have reduced the need to carry 12 pitchers, opening a sixth bench slot for position players.

But I'm not convinced that Tomko is exceptionally suited for Dodger Stadium, based on the sub-100 inning sample size available. Given that Dodger Stadium favors pitchers in general, the probability remains that more often than not when Tomko pitches, the opposing pitcher will be better.  More often than not, if Tomko wins, it will be because the Dodger offense was better than the opposing offense.

If this signing has been assigned to the "It's Not My Money" Department, and/or if the money saved in picking Tomko over Weaver was used to help pay for position player depth, it's fine. Tomko will probably be one of the 11 best major league pitchers in the organization on Opening Day, and his presence will help at the outset. It will encourage Chad Billingsley or Edwin Jackson to pick up a major league job through the front door instead of catching a major league job dropped desperately from the third story of a burning building. 

But don't be fooled - Tomko was less expensive than Derek Lowe or Odalis Perez or Jeff Weaver because he's just not as good. He might be the best the Dodgers can do right now, and you can evaluate the signing on those merits. But Tomko has not, in the sincere sense, filled a slot in the Dodger starting rotation.

Comments (111)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-12-27 11:27:09
1.   MartinBillingsley31
Good assessment.

You get what you pay for.

That's why if you can't afford to pay for quality, you'd better have some prospects available and ready to step up.

2005-12-27 11:32:50
2.   CharlieBrown
Isn't ERA+ a little unfair to starting pitchers? A guy who throws 200 innings of 4.50 ERA ball is worth a lot more than a guy who throws 70 innings of 4.50 ERA ball. The reason is that by eating those innings, the bottom half of your pen (the worst guys on the staff) pitches fewer innings. So isn't ERA+ mixing starters with relievers? Tomko has a career 2:1 K/BB ratio, which is decent, and he doesn't give up an obscene amount of home runs. Pencil him in for at least 180 innings of slightly below league average ball.
2005-12-27 11:38:54
3.   Jon Weisman
2 - "Isn't ERA+ a little unfair to starting pitchers?"

Yeah, suppose so.

"Tomko has a career 2:1 K/BB ratio, which is decent."

Yes and no. It means the ball is in play a lot, and you have to see what happens there. Which leads us to:

"he doesn't give up an obscene amount of home runs"

I'm thinking park effects play into this. Compare his St. Louis and San Francisco totals.

"Pencil him in for at least 180 innings of slightly below league average ball. "

Fair enough, although didn't the Giants drop him out of the rotation at one point last year? I think Tomko could end up in the Elmer Dessens swingman role sooner than people think.

2005-12-27 11:47:01
4.   OaklandAs
Tomko is one of those pitchers who is consistently below average, but consistently above replacement value. Using Baseball Prospectus' stats, here are Tomko's numbers for "Pitching Runs Above Average" :
+16, -2, -10, -3, -8, -5, -26, +3, -1

Looking at Pitching Runs Above Replacement, Tomko has:
+51, + 51, +24, +22, +1, +45, +26, +49, +51

Stats like PRAR do award credit to pitchers like Tomko who throw a lot of "average" innings.

2005-12-27 11:47:32
5.   caseybarker
2-
I agree. It would be helpful to evaluate the complete 11 or 12-man staff when deciding which pitchers to sign.
2005-12-27 11:53:19
6.   caseybarker
3-

Your last point is a good one. If one or two of our young pitchers are ready this season, they could push Tomko--especially if another starter is acquired. The Tomko signing may have been an effort to set the bar at a reasonable level for Houlton/EJ/Billingsley.

2005-12-27 11:53:39
7.   regfairfield
2 Yes, he does actually give up obscene amounts of home runs. He gave up 35 in the year before he went to San Fransico (the second least home run freindly park in baseball) when he suddenly became average in the category. Since his strikeout rates have been slowly, but steadily declining, I'm not going to congratulate him for some breakout achievement.
2005-12-27 11:55:16
8.   Jon Weisman
4 - How does Weaver's PRAR compare?

As I tried to point out, there are multiple threads to the Tomko signing.

Did they overpay?
How much will it help?

The Dodgers might not have overpaid, but that doesn't mean Tomko will help much.

2005-12-27 11:58:45
9.   Jonny6
At our house, we're partial to the "old-school" Raffi these days. "Baby Beluga" is the current favorite, complete with full body wiggling. I sometimes wonder if these kids songs have been permanently affixed to my brain. I'ts one thing to find myself humming Baby Beluga a few hours after leaving the house, but I fear these tunes might spontaneously pop into my head years down the line. It scares me a little bit.
2005-12-27 12:03:33
10.   CeyHey
Crap you said Baby Beluga and now those nightmare songs are returning to ruin my day after 4 years of peace.
2005-12-27 12:07:26
11.   Penarol1916
9. Oh, they will, and if you have kids years later, you'll be surprised at how quickly it all comes back, frankly, I find having The Wiggles sticking around in my head preferable to the songs from the latest Hillary Duff CD.
2005-12-27 12:08:42
12.   OaklandAs
8 Here are Weaver's numbers in the same two stats:

Pitching Runs Above Average:
-4, +13, +11, +16, +3, -21, +1, +1

Pitching Runs Above Replacement:
+42, +68, +74, +48, +23, +18, +60, +59

For their Careers, Weaver is at +22 (PRAA) and +392 (PRAR), while Tomko is -37 and +322. Over the last two years, Weaver is +2 and +119, while Tomko is +2 and +100.

Weaver has pitched more innings the last couple of years than Tomko, mainly due to Tomko's ineffectiveness rather than injury. But it's not clear that Weaver is worth an extra $3-5M per year than Tomko.

2005-12-27 12:13:38
13.   FirstMohican
"A guy who throws 200 innings of 4.50 ERA ball is worth a lot more than a guy who throws 70 innings of 4.50 ERA ball."

Not if you're losing 130 innings from a pitcher with a potentially lower ERA.

Unless I misunderstand ERA+, it is only unfair the same way AVG is unfair to position players when compared to pinch hitters.

2005-12-27 12:14:45
14.   Sam DC
All Hail Dan Zanes, the anti-Raffi.

And RIP Vincent Schiavelli -- Mr. Vargas from Fast Times among many other roles (including saith the AP article something in Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Also learned reading the article that the voluptuous Mrs. Vargas was played by Lana Clarkson, recently murdered at Phil Spector's home.

2005-12-27 12:17:32
15.   regfairfield
12 For those stats, it's pretty important to mention that Tomko has pitched two less years than Weaver.
2005-12-27 12:20:40
16.   regfairfield
I mean more. Dang it, I read that over several times and everything.
2005-12-27 12:21:12
17.   Jon Weisman
14 - Yeah, we love Dan Zanes.

I was less shocked that Vincent Schiavelli died than to find he was only 57. I think I loved him most on "Taxi."

2005-12-27 12:23:03
18.   dsfan
The key to Tomko is he makes it more likely that Billingsley/Jackson begin the year in the minors, where they belong.

Tomko, mediocre as he is, is something of a shield for the kids. Not a good one, clearly. And I'd sign another veteran, say B. Kim, to a low-cost deal to give the rotation another option.

But it goes back to the kids. The LAD simply must get better, much better, at developing their own pitchers, rather than trying to patch together a rotation with veterans every year.

Asking less of Billingsley is the wise move. He needs a changeup and better fastball accuracy. And starting his work-service clock in June, rather than April, could be worth several million dollars down the road.

As for Jackson, the LAD botched his development in 2003. Colletti appears to have learned from the mistakes of others there, although I fear that the damage to EJ is largely irreversible.

And one small asset that Tomko gives you for down the road is flexibility, as I believe he could be a good middle reliever or set-up guy. He's a two-pitch guy whose K rates likely would go up if he moved to the bullpen.

I dislike Tomko as a pitcher. He's stubborn and soft, and he absolutely caved in the Giants' biggest game last year, at SD in Sept. But given the marketplace and the still sketchy status of several pitching prospects, getting him at that price wasn't awful.

2005-12-27 12:41:34
19.   FirstMohican
18 - "The LAD simply must get better, much better, at developing their own pitchers, rather than trying to patch together a rotation with veterans every year."

Not a huge follower of Dodger prospects, but other than EJack, how have the Dodgers failed in pitching development? The Dodgers' handling of Driefort didn't give him a weak tissue disease (or whatever he has). The Dodgers' handling of Gagne seemed to have worked out. Was it the Dodgers' fault that Miller and Kuo have gotten injured (serious question)?

Maybe they just haven't had as many touted prospects in the recent past as many people assume they have.

2005-12-27 12:48:08
20.   regfairfield
19 I think that's the thing. When was the last time we had a home grown pitcher as a fixture in the rotation? Gagne? Prokopec? That's now four seasons since we had a home grown starter in the rotation, not counting Houlton.
2005-12-27 12:53:37
21.   Nolan
I think we've got to look at this signing not just through the lens of "Tomko: Good or Bad?" but within the overall context of the organization.

We're not one pitcher away from a WS or the NLCS - we're several players away. And the thinking is that those several players are currently in AA and should be left alone until they're ready. Current free agent signings are highly relevant in that regard - we want to make sure we've got enough money available down the road to take care of these players' arbitration years AND enough money to sign that one guy when our young team really is one pitcher/hitter away from the WS. Until that happens, we want to avoid embarrassing ourselves and, possibly, remain competitive in the division.

The Tomko signing seems to further these goals. He's cheap and short term and he's not god awful. Like Mueller, he's insurance against bringing up Billinglsey before he's ready.

Colletti has really done a good job this off-season. He's put together a team that should be able to compete in a very weak division and he' added prospects to an already rich system. Most importantly, he's avoided taking on any long-term liabilities and preserved future flexibility.

2005-12-27 12:55:46
22.   MartinBillingsley31
Anyone know who has options and don't out of all these guys?
osoria
schmoll
kuo
houlton
jackson
choi
aybar
robles
repko
2005-12-27 12:58:29
23.   bigcpa
Random Hot Stove Dodger Tivo Callback
April 18, 2004

Last night in a fit of Tivo boredom I stumbled on this Dodgers/Giants game at Pac Bell. It featured Weaver vs. our very own Brett Tomko. The game was notable on a few counts. Weaver allowed a booming double to Bonds in the 1st, a Bonds solo HR to leadoff the 4th and "for good measure" a 2-run shot by Bonds in the 6th with FIRST BASE OPEN. Weaver had some bizarre quote after the game about not facing Bonds before and wanting to go after him.

In the 5th Beltre hit a 3-run shot onto the short RF porch which seemed to indicate he had finally learn how to hit. Vinny said now that Beltre has begun to hit the other way, the league better watch out. Encarnacion followed with a line drive homer and David Ross made it 3 in a row. With Ned Colletti looking on, Tomko was removed after dutifully eating 5.2 innings.

The Giants closed it to 7-6 with Gagne in to save it. He struck out Feliz, walked Durham on a borderline pitch and struck out Snow. With Bonds on deck he froze Grissom with a 70 mph "rainbow curve" on the black to end it. The sweep completed a 9-3 start, the best since 1983 I believe.

Two night earlier was the infamous Gagne vs. Bonds matchup when Bonds pulled one foul into the bay on a 100 mph pitch and then homered to CF on a 101 mph pitch. If anyone has a tape of that one please let me know. Must have that one in the archive.

2005-12-27 13:16:24
24.   FirstMohican
20 - I agree with you, but my question was about development. Unless you're saying poor development is the reason for the low yield.
2005-12-27 13:19:21
25.   Daniel Zappala
Remember that in baseball "average" performance comes from a few players being way above average and lots of players being below average. Talent is not evenly divided among players, or for those with a stats background, there is high variance.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2032

This might be obvious to many, but I'm relatively new to the more advanced baseball stats.

This means that replacing Tomko with EJ or another minor leaguer will likely result in significantly below average performance. That's why Tomko can get paid his $4M per year. It's not like any old AA/AAA pitcher can put in an average performance.

Viewed in that light, Tomko is acceptable to me as a placeholder until something better comes via trade or the farm.

2005-12-27 13:26:04
26.   Marty
I have a feeling that we will be doing a lot of complaining about Tomko this year. I don't think anyone in Frisco is sorry to see him go.
2005-12-27 13:28:25
27.   regfairfield
26 That's pretty much how I look at it. I acknowledge that it's not a bad deal monetarily, but, well, Tomko sucks and we aren't going to care how much money he makes while he is getting bombed.
2005-12-27 13:35:51
28.   Warren
If we are going to use your preferred stat (ERA+) then Tomko at 92 is better than DJ Houlton at 79, Odalis Perez at 89, Edwin Jackson at 74, and only slightly worse than Jeff Weaver at 96.

Dollar for dollar I'll take Nomar, Furcal, and Mueller with our staff over Choi/Seanz, Robles and Aybar with a Kevin Millwood type pitcher and Jeff Weaver back.

2005-12-27 13:41:22
29.   dsfan
Mohican,

Sorry for the vagueness -- I wasn't saying that the development staff, unimpressive though it's been, is solely responsible for the LAD poor results with homegrown starting pitching.

Although I do believe a franchise's development acumen gets hugely undervalued by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and many other minor league analysts who focus so heavily on the individual player, I meant to say that the LAD as an organization simply have done a poor job overall of producing homegrown starting pitchers in the last five years, perhaps longer.

It's such a crucial area, yet it gets overlooked while fans and the media take a micro view in debating the merits of Brett Tomko or Elmer Dessens or other veteran starters the LAD have been forced to shop for in recent years.

Within the NL West, the LAD have shown an amazing ineptitude on this front.

While the LAD were getting almost nothing from their homegrown starting pitchers the last five years -- and yes, Gagne was a marvelous conversion -- the Rockies were producing Cook, Francis, Chacon and Jennings; the Diamondbacks were producing Webb and Capuano (bad move to trade him) shortly after they'd pumped out Patterson (now an ace) and Penny (now a well-paid Dodger).

The Padres came up with Peavy, whose salary was $750,000 when he won the majors ERA title two years ago. They also produced Lawrence, who gave them about 1,000 innings for low dollars; and Tim Stauffer, who as a rookie gave them vital innings last year.

The Giants produced Lowry, Williams, Cain Foppert and the Liriano kid who's creating a lot of buzz for the Twins.

Yes, this stuff goes in cycles, but given their revenues, international reach and pitchers park, the LAD have been incredibly bad on this front in recent years.

Yes, the current batch of LAD pitching prospects get a lot of praise, but I'm not sure Arizona's Nippert/Mock and San Diego's Carrillo/Wells are any less capable.

It'll be interesting to see just how talented these kids are. And it'll be interesting to see if Colletti/Little/pitching coach/Collins can create the optimal environement for Billingsley/Jackson/Orenduff/Elbert to succeed.

2005-12-27 13:46:30
30.   Robert Daeley
Cool article that starts out with the latest Mark Prior rumor ("...a three-team deal that had Prior and pitcher Barry Zito headed to Crabtown, pitcher Erik Bedard bound for the Oakland A's and Miguel Tejada en route to the North Side.") but then has some interesting discussion about Prior's problematic delivery:

http://tinyurl.com/8k9ge

2005-12-27 13:52:31
31.   LetsGoDodgers
26 and 27 - you both hit the nail on the head.
2005-12-27 13:54:04
32.   natepurcell
Yes, the current batch of LAD pitching prospects get a lot of praise, but I'm not sure Arizona's Nippert/Mock and San Diego's Carrillo/Wells are any less capable.

nippert is good, but tires easily going into the 5th inning. It could be due to the first year of coming back from TJ but he needs to work on his stamina. Carrillo is good too, but right now is a two pitch pony- fb and curveball. He is a lot like orenduff, polish college pitcher with a low 90s fb that needs to work on developing a third pitch.

the other two arent that good.

2005-12-27 13:55:38
33.   natepurcell
i personally think the twins are super good at developing their pitchers.
2005-12-27 14:05:16
34.   Jon Weisman
29 - But is it about development or about drafting? I don't see you making a distinction. Even the best-developing team couldn't turn me into a major league pitcher.

Remember, the recent Dodger drafts have only been regarded highly since late 2003, when skepticism about the June 2003 draft gave way to optimism.

2005-12-27 14:05:40
35.   natepurcell
I think jackson can be saved. I dont think the damage done to him has been irreversable.

one reason for this is scott boras. Jackson's agent is the devil himself. 2 years ago, after many were labeling jackson as the next doc gooden, boras was probably already preparing the 7 year 120 mil offersheet for any team that want to sign jackson during his yr 26 free agent year. Now, after a year and a half of struggles, boras is see that contract vanishing. Before the 2004 season, remember when boras had that long "talk" with beltre and what was at stake for his future? I probably think the same has happened for jackson. Who set up this winters training at gagnes house... two boras clients.. maybe boras? who knows.

might be alittle conspiracy theory here but i boras is going to do everything in his power to get jackson back on track for the sole reason of that huge contract in his free agent year. hes going to hire the best sports pyschologists for jackson, hes going to make him work harder and harder and his going to turn him around.

wow, do i have more trust in boras' greed then in the dodgers ability to develop pitchers!?!? i dunno, i think my scenario might be a little be looney tunes!

2005-12-27 14:06:44
36.   LetsGoDodgers
33 - I'd say the A's knew a thing or two about developing pitching. I say "knew" because I felt Rick Petersen was a large part of it. Whether that trend continues remains to be seen. Nowadays, they do a good job of getting ML-ready arms from other teams.
2005-12-27 14:14:17
37.   Penarol1916
29. That sounds like pretty much the same argument that has been going on with Rob abot the entire Dodger's minor league production in recent years, not just pitching. The argument against you is that the talent was just not there due to a lack of draft picks from the insane Malone era signings, a lack of focus on development and talent evaluation and other factors. Most people will argue that this has changed with the introduction of the Logan White drafts and you can't judge the Dodgers and their ability to produce something from the farm until this crop has had a chance to mature after years of poor drafting.
2005-12-27 14:17:32
38.   trainwreck
36-
The A's rotation is even better than when Peterson was in charge. Young has done more with Harden then Peterson ever did. Curt Young also helped Zito to rebound, not to mention helping Blanton and Haren blossom in their first full seasons. Peterson was overrated, look at the Mets he has not done a ton with that team. I heard he was the one that said he could turn Zambrano around, ooopps. These pitchers are more products of the entire A's system, every pitching coach at each level is on the same page. Young worked with all of these guys and they all have been successful (he was a minor league pitching coach). The A's draft the right talent and they know how to work with them.
2005-12-27 14:18:42
39.   natepurcell
i saw Munich last year, and i hope everyone goes sees it. its one of the best movies ive seen this year. really really good. the acting was great.
2005-12-27 14:18:56
40.   natepurcell
oops, i saw Munich last night
2005-12-27 14:21:55
41.   FirstMohican
Another fan of Munich here. I had low expectations and reservations about it, and I came out pretty satisfied and entertained.
2005-12-27 14:24:06
42.   natepurcell
same here. i didnt really know what to expect. It had a lot more action then i thought it would. really entertaining film.
2005-12-27 14:45:22
43.   Vishal
how's the chronic-(WHAT?)-cles of narnia? has anyone seen that?
2005-12-27 14:50:02
44.   Marty
I finally rented "Saw" the other day. I enjoyed it. It was interesting seeing Westley from Princess Bride in the lead role. Boy, he's aged a bit, but haven't we all.
2005-12-27 14:52:05
45.   LAT
43.

Narnia is actually very good. I thought it would be really cheezy but I was pleasently suprised. My kids, 10 and 11 yrs loved it. In the begining you think to youself this is absurd, beavers don't really talk (softball joke potential here) and a few minutes later you think its completly natural that the animals speak. The story is pretty good but predictable, the movie is beautiful and sentimental.

2005-12-27 14:54:59
46.   LAT
BTW, years ago I read an article in the WSJ or some such paper about how much $$$ Raffi makes and it was astounding. The Wiggles who I HATE HATE HATE) make considerably more. And as I recall, we are talking tens of millions.
2005-12-27 14:55:44
47.   Penarol1916
45. Is it any better than the BBC miniseries that aired all those years ago? I'm not talking about how realistic those animals are, but those little kids in the miniseries were great and I'm not sure I could ever picture anyone else in those roles.
2005-12-27 14:57:33
48.   Penarol1916
46. Of all the terrible music that my children have subjected me to over the years, The Wiggles are among my favorites.
2005-12-27 15:09:31
49.   jasonungar05
King Kong was great. Munich is next....

One of the things I got for the holidays was HDTV service and a DVR.

Any of you live here in Orange County, CA?

Basically what I need to know is..can I see Dodger games on HDTV?

COX is my cable company. It appears that they do not offer Fox Sports west, just Fox. I am wondering (without doing more research) if there is a "baseball package" or something i can buy

2005-12-27 15:09:39
50.   Sushirabbit
Cold Spaghetti, Cold Spaghetti...
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-12-27 15:12:14
51.   Sushirabbit
Doesn't COX offer a Extra Innings type package? On DirecTV, it is a package that you get that lets you see a whole bunch of the games on various team networks. I almost didn't get it last year, and then stumbled on to DT and had to get it again. Next year will be tough as I am considering Sounds season tickets.
2005-12-27 15:12:31
52.   LAT
47. I never saw the BBC series but one of the fathers I was with said that this was much much better than an earlier movie made in the '80s.

48. I would take Raffi over the Wiggles any day but my kids were growing out of that kind of music about the time the Wiggles were just becoming big-they were little more than a video on the Disney channel when my kids were real small. When they were toddlers Raffi gave them (and us) lots of happy times.

Now we stand at the entrance of that long dark tunnel known as female adolescence. I am told they have yet to invent a flashlight or any kind of lighting device that works in the dreaded Tunnel of Female Adolesence.

2005-12-27 15:15:10
53.   trainwreck
49-
I have Cox in SB and there is no HD and I do not get HD Dodger games. The baseball package is all FSN channels so there is no high definition there (unless your pakcage has a FSN high def channel). Basically only the high def channels are in real high definition, the basic channels just look nicer, but are not high def. The high definition channels are just the basic cable ones, TNT, Discovery channel, HBO, and two HD specific channels.
2005-12-27 15:15:54
54.   trainwreck
And ESPN has a high definition channel and so does ESPN2(but we do not get it).
2005-12-27 15:17:18
55.   LAT
51. I don't think EI is offered in HD. BTW, I never use my HD when watching a Dodger game (or any sporting event) becasue HD does not work with Tivo and I would rather have my Tivo to record games I miss or rerun close plays in slow motion so I can rant whent he ump gets it wrong.

caveat: Tivo works with HD if you have Direct TV but the Direct TV-HD-Tivo box is $600 (I think they are now offering $200 rebate).

More info than you probably wanted.

2005-12-27 15:17:37
56.   trainwreck
I think FSN says they have some high def games throughout the season, but it is not real hi def.
2005-12-27 15:38:47
57.   jasonungar05
Thanks guys. I figure I have 6 months of me calling COX everyday so they can get FSN on HDTV. According to the fox website:

Which teams will have HD games on Fox Sports Net HD in their respective regions?

In the NBA, the Spurs, Mavericks, Lakers, Timberwolves, Magic, Suns, Grizzlies, and Bucks. In the NHL, the Kings*, Stars*, Coyotes*, Wild*, Lightning* and Carolina Hurricanes*. In the MLB, the Astros, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Twins.

--

2005-12-27 15:47:39
58.   oldbear
Good post Jon.

The most troubling aspect of this deal is the thought the money spent on Tomko, could have nabbed us Brian Giles.

If you add 8.6mils to Giles' offer, I think we have a great chance to sign him.

Houlton and Bills in the 4/5, with Brian Giles in LF, is more appealing to me than Brett Tomko.

2005-12-27 15:50:14
59.   Bob Timmermann
My new nephew, who is 6 and has been in the U.S. for a month after being adopted from Guatemala, has made the song "La Bamba" his favorite. I thought he had picked it up in the orphanage in Guatemala, but he apparently had never heard the song until he played a CD of a bad mariachi band playing it. I let him listen to the Ritchie Valens version of it on my iPOD and he was quite excited.
2005-12-27 15:54:51
60.   Telemachos
40, 41, 45:

I'll be the grinch (somewhat)....

Narnia is Tomko: blandly mediocre (
Kong is Odalis Perez: staggeringly mediocre (when it's great, it's GREAT, and when it's bad, it's BAD.)

Definitely interested in seeing Munich and The New World. Hopefully they're better than the rest of the Dodger staff right now. :)

2005-12-27 16:00:33
61.   dsfan
Jon Weisman,

I didn't specify the causes of why the LAD have done such a poor job of producing homegrown pitching the last five years, if not longer, because it's impossible to pinpoint cause and effect.

Poor amateur drafting? Poor international signings? Poor instruction? Poor organizational planning? Incoherent pitching policies and philosophies? Bad luck?

All of the above to various degrees, I suspect. It's clear to me that other NL West teams, even those who play in hitters parks, have done a much better job on this front in that time span.

I do believe EJ was poorly handled by the organization. Jackson would've been better off coming up with Oakland, Minnesota, Atlanta, San Diego, perhaps even Boston.

Yes, Logan White's drafts are encouraging, but how many of his pitchers have yielded even decent returns in the majors?

I know several of Logan's pitching prospects were taken out of high school. I know it's early, but the SDP won the NL West last year in part because a starting pitcher drafted just two years earlier,
Tim Stauffer, gave them vital innings that veteran No. 5 starters failed to provide. Major league production is sexier to me than minor league rankings.

Indeed White's pitchers are showing more promise in the minors than many of the other draftees of recent LAD regime(s), but that's a pretty low bar to touch.

Does Terry Collins know what he's doing?

Who were the people that so thoroughly botched Edwin Jackson situation in 2003?

Why is Lasorda allowed to mess with Jackson, teaching him curveballs one day after the kid finally has a good game for Vegas?

Let's just say the LAD are overdue to get their act together.

2005-12-27 16:03:57
62.   Marty
I think I'll wait for The New World to come out on DVD. Malick makes very beautiful, very long movies.

I was really disappointed with "The Thin Red Line". Not because Malick didn't make a good movie, but because he changed it so much from what I was expecting afte reading the book. My father was at Guadalcanal in the first invasion wave and I was looking forward to a more historical movie on the campaign.

2005-12-27 16:04:34
63.   LAT
60. I should clearify my review of Narnia. I would not have seen it but for my children. There are far more adult (not the kind some of you are thinking of) that I would rather see. Capote and Walk the Line to name two. But for a movie to see with my kids I very much enjoyed Narnia.

I would be happy if Tomko turned out to be Narnia--an unexpected and pleasant performance without too many sad or gory parts.

2005-12-27 16:12:43
64.   LAT
62. Marty, I did not read the book but I thought Thin Red Line was the worst movie ever made. It was so bad I didn't want my $8 back, I wanted to be compensated for having given up two hours of my life and getting nothing in return. Really, Thin Red Line makes my top three of worst movies ever made. Can't think of two thers right now but if you woke me out of a sound sleep and asked me what the worst movie ever made was, I would come up with TRL without hesitating.

However, to put things in perspective Blazing Saddles, the Godfather and probably Chasing Amy would make my top three favorites.

Sorry Xei.

2005-12-27 16:17:28
65.   Jon Weisman
64 - My friend and I walked out on Chasing Amy, a movie with some of the most insipid plotting and dialogue I've ever witnessed.
2005-12-27 16:22:29
66.   jasonungar05
Funny on A Thin Red Line. I loved that book. But the movie needed an editor.

As for "The New World" I like the idea and it sounds great to me but I can't get into Colin Farell. I think he is way over rated.

He was really good in Minority Report and I enjoyed Harts War but they make these guys stars when they arent great actors, at least thats what I think. I look at Orlando Bloom the same way. Kingdom of Heaven would have been a much, much better movie if say Russell Crowe was the lead as oppossed to Bloom. And don't get me started on Farell as Sonny Crockett...

2005-12-27 16:30:44
67.   Marty
I really liked The Thin Red Line as a book. And since my dad didn't talk about his experience at Guadalcanal much (other than he actually had to kill a man at close quarters when a Japanese unit raided them), I was hoping to get a better idea on how harsh it was. That's why I was disappointed.
2005-12-27 16:33:01
68.   Bob Timmermann
Do films get shown on airplane flights faster now than they used to? I saw the Wallace & Gromit film on the way out to Chicago and that was just in theaters in October.

I passed on watching Polar Express on the way back as I was sleeping the sleep that cold medicine brings.

2005-12-27 16:34:04
69.   trainwreck
I think I will go see Munich on Thursday. Tonight I am going to go see Wolf Creek. As a huge horror fan, I have been hearing about this film for a year so I am really eager to see it.
2005-12-27 16:34:40
70.   Marty
Did anyone notice the Jeff Reardon story today? He was arrested for trying to rob a jewelry store in Forida. He's blaming his depression medication.
2005-12-27 16:38:34
71.   natepurcell
this is interesting:
http://www.drmikemarshall.com/ChapterThirty-Six.html

he teaches you to throw:
-Baseball Grip, Release and Spin Axis of my Maxline True Screwball
-Baseball Grip, Release and Spin Axis of my Maxline Fastball
-Baseball Grip, Release and Spin Axis of my Maxline Fastball Sinker
-Baseball Grip, Release and Spin Axis of my Maxline Pronation Curve
-Baseball Grip, Release and Spin Axis of my Torque Fastball
-Baseball Grip, Release and Spin Axis of my Torque Fastball Slider

and a bunch of other stuff. needless to say, marshalls theories on pitching are interesting.

2005-12-27 16:39:06
72.   trainwreck
He said he stopped taking his medicine and made him go crazy.
2005-12-27 16:53:02
73.   Bob Timmermann
70

Marty, I thought you paid closer attention. ;-)

http://griddle.baseballtoaster.com/archives/308329.html

2005-12-27 16:58:29
74.   LAT
65. "some of the most insipid plotting and dialogue I've ever witnessed"

That's what I loved about it.

Seriously though, the plot line raises some interesting issues. Why is it that no matter how much we may love someone, eventually curiosity or jealousy makes us need to know how many other partners they have had. Why do men need to believe their girlfriend is sexually inexperienced. Why is lipstick lesbianism sexy but male homosexuality is not (unless, of course, you area gay man). Do people choose to be gay. No need to answer these here but I thought the movie raised some interesting social issues.

2005-12-27 17:11:21
75.   Eric Enders
"Chasing Amy" is a guilty pleasure of mine; I love it even though I realize full well that it's a terrible movie.

I particularly like the scene at the comic book convention. ("What's a Nubian?")

2005-12-27 17:26:55
76.   alexx
I thought Wolf Creek was fun and terrifying, and i usually don't enjoy scary movies.
2005-12-27 17:36:14
77.   trainwreck
Haha what do you mean by fun? That word usually worries me when describing a horror movie unless its just a weird movie.
2005-12-27 17:36:37
78.   Bob Timmermann
Sign of a sick person:

I just sat through the entire Champ Sports Bowl and am now ready for the Insight Bowl.

2005-12-27 17:36:49
79.   Scanman33
43-Did you have Mr. Pibb and Red Vines? If so, did it equal crazy delicious?
2005-12-27 18:32:36
80.   Christina
Hi all - I lurk these days, but I do still keep up on threads (I noticed my name being taken in vain a couple of weeks ago).

I'm a little pessimistic about the Tomko signing, although I doubt it'll make or break the franchise's chances one way or another - but the thing that annoys me is that I had to spend Christmas with a Giants fan who couldn't stop snickering about the Giants offloading Tomko onto the Dodgers. There's definitely no love lost for Tomko up here in SF.

As for movie talk - I loved Chasing Amy, too. I especially like the beautifully layered speech Amy has after listening to Holden's ridiculous plan to fix the group dynamics - she's understanding of Holden's insecurities, tells him she loves him, and then slaps him for insulting her. I like Silent Bob's monologue, and I also like the way the film treats sexual orientation. Still, my favorite Kevin Smith film is, now and forever, Dogma.

As for Polar Express - Bob, you were smart to miss it. It's a nice children's book, but they should never have tried to make a 90-minute movie out of it. 30 minutes might've worked. I was sucked in by the IMAX 3-D version, along with a friend, and we were fighting sleep very early on and checking our watches. 90 minutes, but felt like 3 hours.

2005-12-27 19:00:26
81.   gvette
67--Marty, like your dad, two of my uncles, and my father in law saw combat(in Europe), and NEVER talked about it.

Doubt any movie (including the heralded opening sequence of Private Ryan) could ever adequately depict the horror witnessed, and the sacrifices made by these guys.

2005-12-27 19:00:56
82.   27indigo
79

That was far and away one of the funniest things I've seen on SNL in forever. It's almost entirely garbage these days but out of loyalty I still watch, hoping for something funny.

2005-12-27 19:03:43
83.   27indigo
80

I too loved Chasing Amy, but this was during its theatrical run. I think I liked it by default, having just been thoroughly amused with Clerks.

Looking back, and having watched it again recently, I'd have to now agree with Jon's "insipid" appraisal of the movie.

2005-12-27 19:11:02
84.   trainwreck
Pac-10 needs to start doing better in these bowl games to gain respect.
2005-12-27 19:21:13
85.   Clive Clements
43, 79 You can call him Aaron Burr from the way he's droppin' Hamiltons.

My friend says that those Magnolia Bakery cupcakes are very very good.

2005-12-27 19:24:17
86.   Steve
Thank Choi that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is safe from hands that might destroy it.
2005-12-27 19:26:20
87.   Bob Timmermann
84
No, just stop listening to Brent Musburger. ESPN has sent their Big 10 and Big XII booster club announcers to this game.

However well an injury-riddled, flu-ridden Arizona State team fares against Rutgers won't mean much to how well USC will fare against Texas.

2005-12-27 19:26:49
88.   dzzrtRatt
82 Both "Lazy Sunday" and another SNL video I quite liked, "Christmastime for the Jews" (maybe it's my fondness for Darlene Love and Phil Spector, maybe it's because every joke matches with precision what Jewish friends have told me their families do on Christmas) can be seen on youtube.com. The NY Times had a piece on the "Lazy Sunday" video, and prompted me to look for a cartoon made up of Nintendo images that was also a riot.
2005-12-27 20:26:53
89.   Sam DC
Wow, quite a few plot lines on here tonight . . .
2005-12-27 20:36:16
90.   Sam DC
My Christmakkah present this year was two tix to tonight's game between the Boston Bruins and the Capitals. Haven't been to much pro hockey; lord, what a fast sport. I went with a friend I haven't seen in some time and we were basically unable to speak to each other it took so much focus to keep up with the puck.

Saw some free hockey -- Bruins won 4-3 in OT. Caps phenom Alexander Ovechkin scored the most incredible goal on a breakaway. There was just no possible angle for him to get the puck into the net and yet he bounced it in off the upper crossbar corner. Wow.

The guy sitting behind us got called to the ice for a between-periods promotion and won two free plane tix anywhere in the US for hitting a puck from the goal line and getting it to stop in the face-off circle at center ice. Then he called his wife/girlfriend/mom?? ("Hi honey") on his cellphone when he got back to his seat and said he had won one free ticket.

Thanks for listening.

2005-12-27 20:42:54
91.   T Money
I've been on a movie binge the last few days and, in this reviewer's opinion, you can all skip such non-classics as The Producers, The Family Stone, Cheaper By The Dozen 2, Rumor Has It and Fun With Dick And Jane.

In the mediocre catagory, there's Memoirs Of A Geisha, The White Countess, Casanova, Mrs. Henderson Presents and Narnia.

But I quite liked King Kong, Brokeback Mountain, Munich and (for the artier crowd) Cache.

And I absolutely loved the new Woody Allen film, Match Point.

Like I said, I've been on a movie binge the last few days.

2005-12-27 20:45:45
92.   T Money
Of course, the previous came from someone who liked BOTH "The Thin Red Line" and "Chasing Amy." For what it's worth...
2005-12-27 21:00:43
93.   Jon Weisman
I've got I Heart Huckabees on in the background. Is it worth trying to comprehend?
2005-12-27 21:02:05
94.   T Money
Jon,

I despised that movie so much it made my teeth hurt.

But then again, I have friends who loved it.

2005-12-27 21:25:35
95.   Andrew Shimmin
The worst movie, bar none, ever made was "8mm" (http://imdb.com/title/tt0134273/). It made pornography and murder boring to a teenage boy; no mean feat. Honorable mention to Toys (with Robin Williams; man oh man was that awful) and Pay it Forward.
2005-12-27 21:37:28
96.   weatherman
Mallrats was the only "watchable" Kevin Smith movie. Oh, and We Were Soldiers is the only movie I have ever heard a Vet describe as accurate.

Furthermore, Gone Fishin with Danny Glover and Joe Peschi is the worst movie of all time followed closely by Return to OZ.

2005-12-27 21:40:41
97.   Andrew Shimmin
96- Rather than look those up, I'm just going to assume that you made them up. Worse than 8mm? Are you sure?
2005-12-27 22:01:36
98.   popup
I am not convinced by those who say the Dodgers have "ruined" E. Jackson. I spent the first half of last year watching a 20 year old kid pitch well in Triple A and then saw him pitch just as well in the major leagues for the Seattle Mariners. If you have talent you can play major league baseball no matter what your age. Jackson may not make it as a major league pitcher, but I for one will not point to his early major league call up as a reason why he failed. The best pitcher I have ever seen was as a major league pitcher when he was 19 and never spent a day in the minor leagues.

I have not seen Billingsly, but if he has a major league arm and major league command, I see no reason why he should not be in the rotation. It is not like putting him into the rotation would displace a pitcher like Koufax, Drysdale, Osteen or Sutton.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-12-27 22:04:43
99.   Bob Timmermann
93

I Heart Huckabees was a wrist turner for me. I must have checked my watch about 50 times seeing that wondering how much longer I had to sit through it.

95

I saw "Toys" in Luxembourg where films have two sets of subtitles, one in Dutch (actually the Luxembourg dialect of it) and another in French.

2005-12-27 22:08:17
100.   Steve
I would have to be convinced that the worst movie of all time was not either Virtuosity or Johnny Mnemonic. I thought at the time they came out they had entered some kind of contest.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-12-27 22:29:30
101.   Linkmeister
67 Marty, if you want a feel for Guadalcanal, try Richard Tregaskis's classic "Guadalcanal Diary." I read it when I was about fifteen and kept the copy around for a long time. It's quite a book.

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/boetl

2005-12-27 22:55:09
102.   Xeifrank
Dollar for dollar I'll take Nomar, Furcal, and Mueller with our staff over Choi/Seanz, Robles and Aybar with a Kevin Millwood type pitcher and Jeff Weaver back.

and dollar for dollar, I'll take Choi/Saenz, Bradley, and Aybar over Nomar, Lofton and Mueller.

All the Dodgers have done is rearrange the furniture, and at best added depth. But with all the money they've spent, we should've got more than this. The division is very very weak. The current team is probably a slight favorite to win the NL West. The team Depo had headed into 2006, plus the extra money to spend would've also been a slight favorite to win the NL West too imho. vr, Xei

2005-12-27 23:08:50
103.   LAT
Yes, Frank but did you like Chasing Amy or Thin Red Line? :-)
2005-12-27 23:10:32
104.   Xeifrank
By the way, thanks for having all the movie chat while I was away today. I can't really recommend any good movies. I prefer the ones that can put me to sleep. The last one I saw was on a 13 hour plane trip, with a crying baby pulling at the ear piece. All I remember is that there was a big tidal wave in New York city and then some big ice bergs floating around. I often wonder about the people who shell out the big bucks to make some of these movies. I would love to hear their thought process about how they think these movies will be successful. "Yeah, let's destroy LA with just tornadoes, and New York with tidal waves", and maybe we can get Al Gore to endorse it as a warning about global warming. The last decent movie I actually did watch, they killed off the main character with an assisted suicide. No thanks. If the movie says Made in the USA and it's not animated, 98% chance it's crap in my books. Bah-movie-humbug! :) vr, Xei
2005-12-27 23:21:15
105.   Scanman33
The worst movie I've seen in a long time was Bee Season. My wife and I decide to finally get out of the house and do something for the first time since our baby was born and we walked into this root canal of a movie. My wife and I walked out wondering WTF was that all about, but in an unfascinating way. I felt bad for the little girl in the movie because she seemed to actually have some talent, but this movie didn't do her any favors.

Garden State is still my favorite movie of the last couple years. My guilty pleasure was In Good Company.

2005-12-27 23:34:59
106.   Xeifrank
105. Sorry to hear that. A movie has to be really really bad to walk out of. I've probably walked out of a dozen or so movies in my days, even some highly acclaimed ones.
Just don't get me started... better head off to bed. vr, Xei
2005-12-27 23:44:02
107.   Andrew Shimmin
BTW, Steve, thanks for recommending Liar's Poker. I put it on my Amazon wish list back when you mentioned it, and found it under the tree two days ago. Have been enjoying it mightily, since.
2005-12-28 00:08:06
108.   GoBears
I don't watch a lot of movies any more. And I never watch new movies until I hear a unanimous endorsement from friends (I free ride on their hard earned preference orderings). But nothing will convince me that there could be a bigger waste of 9 hours of my life than this troika: Titanic, Remains of the Day, and The English Patient. And the same friend dragged me to all three. Now THAT'S friendship....
2005-12-28 00:33:38
109.   Andrew Shimmin
108- I hope she was good looking. . .
2005-12-28 00:40:27
110.   Vishal
[79]

haha i've had mr. pibb and red vines, but not together. i can't say for sure whether they are indeed "crazy delicious". that was a great bit though. they've got the old school vibe down. there was a great piece on slate about it.

2005-12-28 21:30:25
111.   FirstMohican
Cruel Intentions is the only movie I've ever walked out on.

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