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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

Loney Will Be Fine
2007-04-04 23:21
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

James Loney, as Randy Jackson (not the ex-ballplayer or Jackson 5 member) would say, I feel you, dog.

But I'm not alarmed by Loney's frustration, expressed most recently through Ken Gurnick at MLB.com.

When told Saturday night he was being sent back to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, Loney was told by management that he's ready for the Major Leagues, but the opportunity doesn't currently exist. Loney then told the team if a trade to another club is necessary to create that opportunity, he'd welcome it.

"He didn't demand it. He suggested it as an option," said Joe Urbon, Loney's agent. "He was the best hitter in the Minor Leagues last year and they re-signed Nomar Garciaparra for two years. If James only gets to the Major Leagues when Nomar gets hurt, he could be sitting around until 2009. No one wants to be a Dodger more than James. But he's disappointed and frustrated. As he said, he can't help the [Dodgers] in Las Vegas." ...

Urbon said the club's response to Loney's comments was "diplomatic." Urbon also said Loney understands the club can afford to keep him on ice as insurance for Garciaparra, who has an extensive injury history.

"On that point, no one can fault them. They are the envy of every organization to have that luxury," said Urbon. "But don't say to the player you can't sit on the bench after signing a guy ahead of you for two years. It's hard to accept."

Loney's situation, I have to say at the risk of once more revealing my utter self-absorbtion, reminds me much of my own when I was pursuing sportswriting full time.

I was still working toward the long-term goal of becoming a columnist and the more immediate carrot of the soon-to-be-available UCLA beat, for which I was next in line. So I was willing to do the grunt work. For that matter, the belief that once I got a story, even a tough story, that I would tell the story better than anyone else, buoyed me. ...

On another Friday, a few weeks later, Vacek told me I wouldn't get the UCLA beat. They were going to go outside the paper to hire someone (it ended up being Mark Alesia of the Press-Enterprise, if memory serves). Vacek told me I needed more seasoning. I said I had broken plenty of stories and that I didn't think this decision was right.

Vacek then said, essentially, that he was tired of staffers coming into his office all the time asking for promotions, which astonished me. Ambition was now a character flaw. This was too much. I was 24 years old. I was way the hell too old to listen to that kind of blustering.

An acceptance from the Master's in English program at Georgetown already in hand, I decided to give my two week's notice on my way back to my desk and officially did so Monday morning.

I paid a pretty steep price for going my own way. Peers of mine at the Daily News and the Times, not to mention writers a decade younger, are all over the place holding major beats and writing columns and appearing on radio and television. And in the years that passed, I learned that almost no job is perfect. They each tend to come with their own stresses or unpleasantness or lack of fulfillment, in one fashion or another.

Obviously, that did not close the door on my writing about sports completely, and it's nice to do it now on my own terms. ...

The point I'd like to make is that frustration itself isn't a sin, and I think the Dodgers understand that. Loney's words won't change what's important in Ned Colletti's mind: a) what's Loney worth on the trade market and b) what's Loney worth to the Dodgers. In short, Loney can help the Dodgers while in Las Vegas, by reinforcing or increasing his value.

No matter the frustration, no matter his eventual fate, Loney can only help himself and his team by being productive. Unless he's got plans to learn literary theory in college, that's what I expect he'll be.

* * *

Regarding the Dodgers' plans to have the entire team wear No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, I guess we should be grateful the names are on the backs of the jerseys. Unless all those names say "Robinson."

I probably shouldn't joke, though it strikes me inescapably as a little goofy, almost like everyone's trying a little too hard. However, in intent at least and perhaps even in execution, it's a wonderful gesture. I'll be at Dodger Stadium that night, and I think I'll need the entire night in context to judge.

Comments
2007-04-04 23:31:27
1.   Bob Timmermann
So James Loney really wants the UCLA beat or do I need to read more carefully?

The worst part about that was the stupid USC beat writer at the time who was likely making your life a living hell.

2007-04-04 23:32:04
2.   Michael D
I think what will happen is Nomar will go down and Loney will come up. If Loney does well then, they will figure out a way to keep him up.
2007-04-04 23:53:01
3.   Greg Brock
Loney's frustration is most likely compounded by the fact that he is blocked by a player that is:

A) Not really a first baseman
B) Right handed
C) One of the shortest first baseman in the game
D) Probably not going to outperform him, and costs 20X more
E) Has never seen a pitch he wouldn't swing at
F) Is not as good a fielder

Or maybe those are just my reasons for frustration. Anyhoo, Mustache trades Loney and I go ballistic. Hang in there, James. Most of us are just as bitter as you are.

2007-04-05 00:09:43
4.   Andrew Shimmin
Wally Pipp was better than Nomar is.
2007-04-05 00:11:58
5.   Greg Brock
Wally Pipp had a career OPS+ of 104. Nomar's is 130.
2007-04-05 00:22:48
6.   Andrew Shimmin
His WARP3 the year before and after Lou Gehrig replaced him was higher than Nomar's last year, and higher than Nomar's projected WARP for this year; he had quite a glove, according to BP, anyway. I wouldn't know.
2007-04-05 00:26:24
7.   Greg Brock
I think we've all spend enough time debating "Wally Pipp vs. Nomar Garciaparra" on this site. It seems like we can't go an hour without battling over those two.

It's one of those arguments that will never die.

2007-04-05 00:27:10
8.   Greg Brock
Spend, spent, whatever. Words are stupid.
2007-04-05 00:27:52
9.   Andrew Shimmin
Wait, am I stats or scouts? I want to know which logical fallacies to employ. It's very embarrassing when you use the other side's.
2007-04-05 00:42:20
10.   Greg Brock
Once again, just so it's clear, I like Nomar. He'd be a fine third baseman. He would undoubtedly outperform Luis Gonzales in left. He has twins. His name is goofy. His batting music appeals to a key demographic.

Thanks, Beautiful. You just don't belong at first base.

2007-04-05 00:45:53
11.   Andrew Shimmin
Hey, if Wilson Valdez can play left, why can't Nomar?
2007-04-05 00:48:49
12.   Greg Brock
11 Yeah, I wasn't around DT when Valdez was put in left.

What was that all about? And why is Wilson Valdez on the roster? And who is Wilson Valdez?

2007-04-05 00:54:26
13.   Andrew Shimmin
Defensive replacement, double switch when Seanez came out. Grady used Merlin as a PH, earlier, and had already subbed in Kemp and Clark. It was either Valdez or Lieberthal.
2007-04-05 00:58:02
14.   Greg Brock
I put "Wilson Valdez" into the Google Translator. It came back as "Mike Rose"

It seems like we're doing an awful lot of position and player shuffling this early in the season. Throwing the kitchen sink out there to avoid the sweep in week 1 is pretty funny.

And by funny, I mean sad.

2007-04-05 01:01:47
15.   Andrew Shimmin
I forgot how much Grady loves double switching, over the off season. Grady Little would like to take the double switch out behind the middle school football field and make it pregnant.
2007-04-05 01:08:30
16.   Greg Brock
When American League managers move to the NL, they always fall in love with double switches, pitching changes, hitting and running, and completely overreacting. It's like they finally get to be managers.

Being an AL manager generally consists of filling out the lineup card, walking out to the mound for pitching changes, and arguing with umpires.

2007-04-05 01:36:28
17.   GoBears
Unless I blinked and missed a pitch, I think that, from Pierre's failed bunt to end the 4th, through his failed bunt attempt his next time up, every single Dodger swung at the 1st pitch. Of course, the 5th inning took 3 pitches total, but I think 8 of the 10 batters ended their ABs on one pitch (one with a hit) and the other two (Martinez, then Pierre's 2nd PA in the series) tried to do so. Perhaps I missed a pitch or two, but I think I have it right.

That's, um, not so good.

2007-04-05 01:38:14
18.   GoBears
16. Yeah, I was wondering if Little had ever just pulled a pitcher without a double switch. I'm sure he has, but he sure seems to think it's required.
2007-04-05 01:53:32
19.   GoBears
OK, re 16, it turns out I did blink and miss a pitch. One. Gonzales took one before singling in the 6th. But it also started one batter earlier than I'd remembered, with Schmidt.

So it was 5 1st-pitch hackers, followed by one pitch taken (for a strike), then 4 more before Martin actually took 5 pitches and walked. Nomar followed by lining into that DP on the first pitch, of course.

with 1 out in the Dodgers 4th:
Jason Schmidt: Strike swinging, Foul, Schmidt struck out swinging.
Juan Pierre: Pierre grounded bunt out to catcher.

Dodgers 5th
Russell Martin: Martin grounded out to third.
Nomar Garciaparra: Garciaparra flied out to center.
Jeff Kent: Kent flied out to center.

Dodgers 6th
Luis E. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Gonzalez singled to right.
Wilson Betemit: Betemit flied out to center.
Andre Ethier: Ethier flied out to deep left.
Ramon E. Martinez: Pickoff attempt to first, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Martinez grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, Gonzalez out at second.

Dodgers 7th
Matt Kemp: Kemp doubled to left.
Juan Pierre: Bunt foul, Pierre sacrificed to catcher, Kemp to third.
Russell Martin: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Martin walked.
Nomar Garciaparra: Pickoff attempt to first, Garciaparra lined into double play third, Kemp out at third.

2007-04-05 07:04:46
20.   Benaiah
I don't think this was a terrible series, given that Sheets is amazing, we split the other two games and at least didn't go home with our tail between our legs.

Some good news:
Jeff Kent and Russell Martin are hitting well, I think Kent is going to be a top 2B this year, defense be damned.

Kemp is hitting the ball hard and eventually they will start falling in.

Juan Pierre is not the anti-christ and will probably be within spitting distance of league average at his position this year (and he does make things interesting).

Despite the shakiness last night, our bullpen should be really strong this year, I would put Broxton, Billz and Saito against any other team's big 3 in a heartbeat.

Schmidt and Wolfe both looked pretty decent (though Schmidt kind of fell apart at the end).

In general, not a terrible series. I mean Betemit had 3 BB last night! I am pumped up for Dodger baseball.

2007-04-05 07:06:55
21.   Daniel Zappala
It's the Andrew and Greg show, followed by Late Night with GoBears.

Jon, thanks for introducing me to a great piece from 2005 that I missed (along with I'm sure many others). The great thing about a blog is that you can share your story in addition to your thoughts on the Dodgers, which brings a greater humanity to the site than is possible with a newspaper.

2007-04-05 07:23:22
22.   Terry A
The Andrew and Greg show plays well on Thursday morning, too.

I have laughed muchly reading this thread.

2007-04-05 07:29:29
23.   D4P
Juan Pierre is not the anti-christ and will probably be within spitting distance of league average at his position this year

He'll be better than average on BA and SBs, and much worse than average on OBP and SLG.

To expect anything else would be uncivilized.

2007-04-05 07:38:31
24.   Benaiah
23 - Last year CF in baseball put up a line of .269/.334/.426/.760 and .264/.334/.418/.752 in the NL. 2005 was comparable, though the NL was a lot better (.271/.333/.423/.757 and .275/.343/.439/.782 respectively).

Piere should easily be above average in batting average, about average in OBP and well below average in SLG. He could have a fluky year and be better in all three, but I doubt it. In short, he is about league average at his position. Plus, who was the last Dodger to bunt three times in a row?

2007-04-05 07:42:43
25.   Frip
What a situation we're in, when compelled by circumstances to see Nomar as but a thorn. Of all people, Nomar.
2007-04-05 07:50:53
26.   Bob Timmermann
I believe Antichrist has no hyphen and is capitalized.

You've got to give the Devil his due.

2007-04-05 07:55:11
27.   Dodger Tony
It's one thing to be frustrated and another thing to "go public" with it, albeit it is through his agent. The Dodgers have had a history of not taking too kindly to those who openly express discontent. It seems like that has been one of their bugaboos. Additionally, his trade value may have dropped for being perceived as "MAL-contented". Of course, none of this may be true, but that is the risk you take when anything of this relevance goes to the press. Especially where the Dodgers are concerned. This is an organization that runs like a covert black-ops society sometimes, in my humble op.
2007-04-05 08:27:24
28.   Terry A
26 - Is the Devil still down in Georgia, looking for a soul to steal?
2007-04-05 08:32:07
29.   PHilldodger
So does this mean that Loney will no longer be considered a "high character" guy?
In his defense, he views himself (with some evidence to back him up) as a major league ready first baseman. I fear what will become of Loney/Kemp/LaRoche/Billingsley in the next 12 months.
2007-04-05 08:50:16
30.   Hythloday
29 - I would think of Loney as a lower character guy if he took it quietly.
2007-04-05 09:52:04
31.   PHilldodger
30
I agree with you. My sarcasm didn't come across to well.
2007-04-05 09:53:27
32.   ishXdavid
Bob Timmermann... You crack me up.

I don't think the Dodgers can ever "try too hard" in regards to #42. Jackie's our legend, our icon who transcends the game, and gives the Dodgers a certain distinction that no other team in professional sports can approach. It's something that gives us a sense of pride even when we haven't sniffed a World Series since the Reagan administration.

2007-04-05 10:12:26
33.   Michael D
If Loney gets traded to the Devil Rays or anyone else for a bag of practice balls, what does he care? As long as the new team plays him every day I doubt he cares. Although he may not want to be stuck in Tampa Bay. So be careful what you wish for James.
2007-04-05 12:52:56
34.   underdog
Jon, your first post when Loney gets called up should be titled "Loney Again, Or..."

Just a suggestion.

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