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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
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

'It's Downright Weird'
2007-05-04 07:40
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Dusty headline

Dusty pic The 26-year-old came from Atlanta - and just plain struggled.

Dusty Baker had been acquired in November 1975 to be the Dodgers' center fielder of the present and future. But as Ross Newhan wrote in the Times on July 4, 1976, while the nation celebrated its Bicentennial, Dusty Baker and the Dodgers wondered what had gone wrong. Dusty lead

Four years earlier, Baker had received MVP votes after an outstanding first full season in the majors: .383 on-base percentage, .504 slugging percentage, 142 OPS+. At the end of that season, he was an outstanding 23-year-old in a lineup with Hank Aaron - and things could only get better, right?

Well, though Baker remained productive, his offense tapered over the next three seasons, with OPS+ marks of 117, 108 and 109. Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record, then headed back to Milwaukee and eventual retirement. The Braves sank into the depths of the NL West.

But then a trade to the Dodgers, near Baker's hometown of Riverside, seemed to be just the thing to rejuvenate his career.

Dusty part 2 It didn't happen. By summertime, Baker had to fight just to be in the Dodger lineup.

As Newhan noted, Baker homered in his first at-bat with the Dodgers, then went silent. He OPSed .680 in April, .587 in May and .546 in June. From May 1 to June 30, he slugged .270. Dusty - glove




And so, of course, everyone went into confidence-building and problem-solving mode - not that these two tactics didn't butt heads.

Dusty stance

Having racked up 296 plate appearances in the first half of the year, Baker only got 125 in the second half. His stats bounced back slightly in July - .375 on-base percentage, .383 slugging percentage - but he also began battling injuries. From August 1 on, Baker went 12 for 64 with three walks, two doubles, two homers and nine strikeouts. He finished 1976, the year he turned 27, with a .242 batting average, four home runs, a .605 OPS and a 74 OPS+.

And that offseason, the Dodgers traded left fielder Bill Buckner to get another slugging center fielder: Rick Monday.

But the following season, all the problems vanished. If anyone had predicted Baker would do in 1977, they wouldn't have rounded up many believers before the season. Baker's on-base percentage of .364, career-high slugging percentage of .512, OPS of .876 and OPS+ of 133 smashed his previous year's numbers, and were key in sending the Dodgers into the World Series. And after one more slightly subpar year in '78, Baker racked up strong offensive seasons from 1979 all the way through his final Dodger season of 1983 (and acromonious departure).

Sometimes, a slumping player is just done. But other times, even when the slump seems to have no end, a solution waits - even if it takes a month, even if it takes a year. Sometimes, you have to have the faith that the promise you've seen in a young player at the major-league level was not just in your imagination. It's a clumsy process, without a doubt, but life is nothing if not clumsy.

Wilson Betemit will never be Dusty Baker as a hitter, but it's something to think about as we wait for him to hit his first home run of the season.

Dusty end

(Thanks to Bob Timmermann - and best wishes on this day, by the way - for locating this Times article.)

* * *

I think this is Bill Plaschke's best column in years. It's not Jim Bouton and Ball Four, but it's a real eye-opener about clubhouse life - while the general thrust may not surprise you, the details are fascinating.

When the star Dodger routinely showed up for day games still drunk from the previous night, the clubhouse guy knew his role.

"It was my job to protect the team," Dave Dickenson said. "That's what I did."

Dickenson said he would pour a cup of beer and place it in the dugout bathroom. The star player would sneak there between innings for a drink, and continue drinking throughout the game.

"The guy couldn't play with a hangover, so we had to keep him going," Dickenson said. "Hey, he played great, and nobody complained." ...

* * *

Awesome: The ever-evolving Baseball-Reference.com will now present Dodger organizational statistics, major and minor leagues together, organized by position as well as level. Hitting has already arrived; pitching is coming soon.

Comments (233)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-04 08:18:25
1.   Benaiah
Thanks for the link to that Plaschke article, Jon. Very interesting stuff.

B.R. is just amazing. The site keeps getting better and better.

Two things of interest:
C, Lucas May 22, Vero .319/.379/.628/1.007 with 8 home runs.

22 might be a tad old for Vero, but that is still impressive.

2B, Travis Denker 21, Vero, .339/.377/.464/.841. Nice to see Nate's one time favorite sleeper finally hitting in Vero after falling apart there twice. 21 isn't all that old, but he is the longest of long shots at this point.

2007-05-04 08:19:30
2.   Daniel Zappala
Fascinating topic, Jon. I had no idea Baker struggled like that, as I only remember him from about '78 onwards. I'd love to hear what some scouts think of Betemit and his fuure. I'd be willing to sit and wait on him for the whole year if people really thought he would have a chance of becoming an above-average third baseman for the Dodgers.

I broke my year-long ban on reading Plaschke this morning, even before you linked his article, because I found the topic interesting. I guess if it was one of his best columns in years, then I made the right choice. I wonder why he can't write like this more often, using a more fact-based story rather than trying to inject his own opinions about players and the direction of the organization.

2007-05-04 08:21:11
3.   ToyCannon
What a miserable year that was for Dusty. Later he became a favorite but in 76 he was a victim of my scorn as in my younger days I had no problem letting players who were underperforming hear about it. Plus he was traded for my favorite player so booing him came naturally in 76 when he stunk up the place and stunk up the place he did.

Didn't get in last night but here is a shout out to Golden State. WoooHoooo

2007-05-04 08:22:16
4.   ToyCannon
1
Except they are no longer playing in Vero but in California.
2007-05-04 08:28:27
5.   Andrew Shimmin
I don't get how it hurts the integrity of the game for "rich snots" to ask clubhouse attendants for a towel or a beer. Or how the attendant is diminished by it. Or how a hundred grand a year (or, even half that) is minimum wage.
2007-05-04 08:30:07
6.   JoeyP
The Betemit debate revolves primarily around what people expect from him.

With Dusty Baker, I think everyone expected Dusty to do reasonably well. They were surprised when he didnt.

With Betemit, probably half expect him to be decent, and others arent really surprised he's doing so poorly bc they have no expectations of him.

That clubhouse attendant story was a good read. It just sort of underscores however why I enjoy football much more than baseball. Its hard to respect a game in which players are allowed to drink during the game. The major leagues is no place for beer league softball behavior IMO. If I owned a team and found out that was happening, I also would have fired the attendant and suspended the player.

Its a colorful story.
But I find that sort of behavior not at all endearing or charming.

2007-05-04 08:33:44
7.   ToyCannon
6
Plenty of HOF were drinking before, during, and after games. If you don't think your football players aren't on serious drugs to help with pain and performance your deluding yourself.
2007-05-04 08:41:39
8.   Jon Weisman
JoeyP needs to get a copy of North Dallas Forty.

As for Betemit, again, again, again, it's not that we expect him to hit like Baker - it's that he's not hitting even at the level he has established. He is currently hitting so far below his established level that if you're not surprised, you should be.

2007-05-04 08:46:41
9.   Penarol1916
8. Exactly what I was thinking until you beat me to it.
2007-05-04 08:53:11
10.   Daniel Zappala
Given that he's had two years in a row with an OPS+ above 100 and that he's at 31 (!) this year ... I say we cool it on Betemit, let him play every day, and wait to see how he's doing in August, when maybe LaRoche will be ready.
2007-05-04 09:00:31
11.   Benaiah
So far the Dodgers are getting a total line of .205/.263/.246/.509 from the number one spot in 135 PAs. That is about 12.3% of all the plate appearances working out to an OPS+ around 40*

Other Spots
.331/.375/.398/.773 (Martin was good here, Pierre has a relative to expectations servicable .708 OPS)
.284/.336/.414/.750 (Nomar has got to hit better, he has been extremely mediocre expect for with RISP)
.303/.384/.431/.815 (Kent has outperformed his spot with a .852 OPS, but his high BABIP and low HR rate predict a slight regression)
.255/.352/.425/.777 (LuGo has a .812 OPS even with a low BABIP, this should go up)
.273/.368/.374/.741 (Martin has a .892 OPS, but Betemit, Clark and Valdez are keeping the aggregate low)
.300/.368/.460/.828 (Fluky, Ethier has gotten most of the ABs and has a .750 OPS here but five other hitters have combined 29 PAs over 1.000 OPS)
.186/.265/.268/.534 (Betemit has been terrible, but actually only has 38 PAs here, Martinez has 42 and a .539 OPS to show for it)
.176/.267/.264/.530 The pitchers are outperforming the lead off men and equaling the 8 spot.

To sum all this up, the Dodgers should see massive improvements in the #1 and #8 spots, slight decreases in the #7, #2 and #9 spots, and slight improvements everywhere else. The Dodgers have been pretty terrible on offense despite scoring a decent amount of runs, hopefully improved performance from LF, CF, SS and 3B will make up for good luck so far.

2007-05-04 09:00:40
12.   imperabo
So Hancock was drunk, smoking pot, speeding, talking on his cell phone, and not wearing a seatbelt.
2007-05-04 09:03:20
13.   Benaiah
11 * I can't figure out how to calculate OPS+, but Furcal has a .548 OPS and a 46 OPS+ so I figured that a .509 OPS+ would be about a 40 OPS+.
2007-05-04 09:04:38
14.   JoeyP
7--I think there's a major difference between taking pain killers to play a football game, and drinking beer during baseball. One could be argued as necessary, while the other is purely voluntary.

I agree with you that the clubhouse culture of baseball hasnt changed much over time.
Maybe its because baseball has never been a game that required peak physical conditioning and performance?

Can you imagine any NBA or NFL player drinking beer on the sidelines during time outs?

2007-05-04 09:05:04
15.   Branch Rickey
5. I totally agree Andrew. With all due respect to Jon who I think wrote one of his most interesting posts of the year today, I think Plashcke's article was typical Plaschke slanted emotional garbage. In case it wasn't clear (and apparently it wasn't), drinking during the game is NOT allowed. That a fired clubhouse boy says it happened once is not much of a story. Referring to players as rich snots seems inappropriate. I'm not saying none of them are, some are some aren't (snots that is- most are rich).
If players asking the attendants to do things like wash their cars is a story, please go to your local golf club. He explicitly said that he didn't get them drugs, never saw steroids (which by the way, is more of a story) and has only one story that sounded inappropriate to me.
Other than that, it was just a chance to take a shot at how the snot players exploited the poor clubbie by not always bumping his salary by $50K per year.
2007-05-04 09:06:24
16.   Bumsrap
6
If I owned a team and found out that was happening, I also would have fired the attendant and suspended the player

I can't go along with such a double standard. Either both are fired or both suspended. But before anything is done the new rules have to be discussed and given a date for their implementation.

The only thing I have against Betemit is that he is getting off to a slow start using Loney's spot to do it.

2007-05-04 09:18:55
17.   Jon Weisman
15 - I don't know, I feel like that what you're focusing on wasn't the point of the story.

I think it illustrates the hypocrisy in baseball, where people turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior (I'm not talking about bad tipping) - and then wring their hands publicly when someone gets in an off-field incident or tragedy, wondering how it could have happened.

2007-05-04 09:31:11
18.   Jon Weisman
14 - But you find taking painkillers, to use your earlier quote, "endearing or charming?"
2007-05-04 09:33:16
19.   Bob Timmermann
Camille Johnston is quoted as saying the clubhouse atmosphere is different under Colletti and Little.

Because Tracy and DePodesta were both straight out of the Animal House school of management.

I would expect that when Davey Johnson was in charge, the clubhouse probably had a lot of shenanigans.

2007-05-04 09:35:36
20.   underdog
18 I was just wondering the same thing.

Good read, Jon. I was also curious because I couldn't remember, who the Dodgers traded away to get Dusty Baker in that trade. It was Jimmy Wynn, Tom Paciorek, Lee Lacy, and Jerry Royster - which must have seemed like an awful lot back then, even for a young budding star like Baker. Even if at least a couple of those players were well past their prime. I wonder what i would have thought of it back then had I behind older than a toddler who didn't know "trade" from "parade." But it surely seemed like a good one within a year.

2007-05-04 09:39:41
21.   Doctor
Hey guys- check this out-

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6764122

In particular:

"…Like it or not, power rules all in the modern game, and the Dodgers don't have enough of it…"

I usually ignore statements like that, but decided to look at last years successful teams and check it out….

The 8 teams who made the playoffs ranked as follows in HR totals: 5,6,7,12,16,23,27,28.

If you take that avg = 15.5 ranking, the 8 playoff teams were right at the median for the league (slightly below, actually). Clearly there is more to the story….
I do worry about reversion to the mean on avg. with runners in scoring position.

Thoughts?

2007-05-04 09:40:00
22.   underdog
Funny that I wrote "behind" when I meant "been" - I must need coffee, so I should get off my been and get some.
2007-05-04 09:41:07
23.   underdog
21 Check out the previous thread for some thoughts on that Perry column. Overall, opinions were mixed on it. He made valid points but seems to be overrating power (some of us thought).
2007-05-04 09:43:22
24.   Bob Timmermann
20
The Dodgers reacquired Lacy in the 1976 season along with Elias Sosa once Mike Marshall had worn out his welcome.
2007-05-04 09:45:29
25.   Doctor
wow, you guys are quick.
2007-05-04 09:48:50
26.   Jon Weisman
I don't know that Perry was overrating power. He basically said if you don't have power, you had better have some great ways to compensate - and he argued that he doesn't think the Dodgers will ultimately have that, even with pitching.

I think you can make a case that a) power does matter generally but also b) the Dodgers might squeak by this year because their pitching is better than last year, even if their hitting is worse, at least at the moment.

2007-05-04 09:51:07
27.   Vishal
[25] your moniker makes me think of the nameless medical hologram on star trek: voyager.
2007-05-04 09:54:34
28.   underdog
24 Years before another Mike Marshall would wear out his welcome. That's right - I remember Lacy on the Dodgers as a kid, so now it makes sense. He was a good pinch hitter as I recall.
2007-05-04 09:55:30
29.   Branch Rickey
17- They really don't turn a blind eye to behavior. In fact, they keep a much closer eye on behavior than most employers probably do. Yes, Josh Hancock died while drunk driving. So if an accountant has a DUI, does his employer take responsibility for allowing it? Do ballplayers have more DUI's than the general poulation?The teams don't allow drinking during the game and would quickly suspend a player who they knew to be doing it. Yes, there's beer in the clubhouse. There's also dinner in the clubhouse but not at the accounting office. The point is, what did the Dodgers explicity condone or even look the other way on that was inappropriate?
What is the assumption of how it SHOULD be?
And BTW, in the end, this guy still loves the players. It's the McCourts who fired him and newsflash... say you don't like your boss at the company softball game and the possibility of getting fired comes into play.
2007-05-04 09:58:57
30.   Doctor
I am very upset with Tony LaRussa, he should be ashamed. As should the fans who game him a standing ovation in StL. Nice message/ precedent.
2007-05-04 09:59:22
31.   underdog
I wonder less about the team responsibility in this case and more about his friends and family - was he drinking and toking alone? Maybe he was, but if not, did no one try to keep him from driving himself home? I'm just wondering aloud. Just as I was when someone I knew a little bit nearly died the same way.
2007-05-04 10:00:37
32.   Branch Rickey
One more quick point- being a baseball player involves endless hours on the road, on planes, in hotels and clubhouses. These are adults and this is the bulk of their time. A little bit of slack to be adults is appropriate.
2007-05-04 10:05:45
33.   Bob Timmermann
I was going to post this on the Griddle, but you're already discussing the topic, but what do you think of Bernie Miklasz's column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch?

http://tinyurl.com/yoomsp

2007-05-04 10:06:23
34.   capdodger
27 "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop!!"
2007-05-04 10:07:33
35.   Doctor
Doctor?
2007-05-04 10:08:48
36.   imperabo
26 Seems to that saying "power rules all in the modern game" after a season where making the playoffs didn't correlate at all with hitting home runs is clearly overating power.
2007-05-04 10:09:26
37.   ToyCannon
24
That may be the only trade in Dodger history where my two favorite players(Wynn/Lacy) were dealt away in the same deal.

From the article is sounds like things haven't changed a bit from Ball Four days. Spoiled children playing a child's game with the only difference now is that they are now millionaires doing the same thing. Good to see the beaver tradition is still going strong.

2007-05-04 10:10:21
38.   katysdad
28 - Lee Lacy as a pinch hitter:
G 297
AB 253
R 32
H 66
2B 9
HR 8
RBI 31
BB 33
SO 59
HBP 1
SH 2
SF 3
GIDP 4
.261, .345, .391, .736
.286, .339, .410, .749 (career averages)
2007-05-04 10:11:08
39.   Jon Weisman
29 - Those are some good points, I have to admit, though I still think it's a worthwhile topic to explore in a column.
2007-05-04 10:13:31
40.   Branch Rickey
33. What I fail to see is his link between any of those people's death and their careers.
2007-05-04 10:14:29
41.   Jon Weisman
33 - Man! Miklasz had the opportunity to write the same exact column after the LaRussa arrest, before Hancock's death, and did just the opposite, defending LaRussa. And he doesn't even bring up LaRussa's arrest!

He writes:

"And that's another reason why it's way past time to stop being overly polite about alcohol-related, or drug-related, tragedies involving current or former athletes in St. Louis. "

I wrote an e-mail to Bernie after he defended LaRussa and standing ovation fans in March, suggesting he was not taking this seriously enough, and he disagreed with me pointedly.

2007-05-04 10:17:25
42.   imperabo
30 Excellent point about the fans giving LaRussa a standing O. We need a little less open armed forgiveness and a little more moral outrage in our society I think. I didn't judge LaRussa too harshly, but those fans sent a clear message that drunk driving is nothing to be ashamed of.
2007-05-04 10:18:52
43.   ToyCannon
While I'm not a McCourt basher they do seem to lack a sense of humor. If I was a wrongfull employee discharge litagator I would have loved to work on his case. You would have thought that when they let him go they gave him a big chunk of change to keep his secrets to himself.
2007-05-04 10:19:20
44.   imperabo
41 I remember your article Jon. You were dead on.
2007-05-04 10:19:40
45.   dzzrtRatt
Hancock hit the trifecta: Drunkenness, speeding, and using a cell phone while driving. It's fortunate that no one else was killed.

It's pretty frightening when you're forced to pull off to the side of the road late at night, knowing the roads are full of drivers like Hancock.

I don't see how Tony LaRussa or Cardinal fans are implicated, however. I agree with "Branch Rickey" -- this kind of stupidity is pretty evenly distributed among all occupations. But if it was your friend, your coworker, someone in your family, it's still tragic; you're still entitled to feel sorrow at the loss. Memorials are for the living.

2007-05-04 10:22:27
46.   dzzrtRatt
45 Oh, wait. The reference being made to LaRussa was to his own drunk driving incident. Forgot about that. Sorry. Yeah, that standing O was lame.
2007-05-04 10:23:38
47.   imperabo
"I don't see how Tony LaRussa or Cardinal fans are implicated, however."

Society teaches people what is or is not acceptable behavior. Basically, the Card's fans are society in this case.

2007-05-04 10:24:48
48.   Branch Rickey
39- Thanks. I guess I agree it's a worthwhile topic. I Just wish it hadn't been a top page headline topic followed by a Plashckeesque story that stirs the blood. Especially on the day we find out Hancock died while driving drunk.

I totally agree that LaRussa should feel great responsibility for setting a terrible example. The day Hancock died I thought if he was drunk, that should have implications for LaRussa. We'll see.

2007-05-04 10:25:16
49.   regfairfield
21 Home runs don't correlate directly to playoff appearances, but they tend to correlate directly with runs scored. Here's the playoff teams and their rank in runs scored in the MLB.

Yankees: Runs: 1 HR: 5
Detroit: Runs: 8 HR: 6
Mets: Runs: 7 HR: 7
St. Louis: 14 Runs HR: 12
Oakland: Runs: 16 HR: 16
San Diego: Runs: 26 HR: 23
Dodgers: Runs: 10 HR: 27
Minnesota: Runs: 13 HR: 28

These don't matchup perfectly since on base percentage is a more important stat in terms of scoring runs, but in general, more home runs means more runs scored, and it takes a great team on base percentage and clutch performance to overcome a lack of power, something that both the Dodgers and Twins pulled off last year.

2007-05-04 10:27:16
50.   Benaiah
45 - With the obvious aside that it isn't smart to be doing any of those things, let alone all three, his accident was a fluke due to a parked tow truck in the road, not something like running a red light or driving in the wrong lane. I haven't read anything about how straight the road was, so I have no idea how visible the caution lights were at night. Speeding lowers how much time there is to react and drinking slows how fast reaction occurs, so obviously that compounded the problem. Still, many sober drivers might have been involved in a similar accident in those circumstances.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-04 10:31:39
51.   imperabo
50 How does that make it a fluke? People break down on the freeway all the time and towtrucks have to pick them up. The tow truck had it's flashers on, no doubt looking like a christmas tree visible from space. If a driver can't adapt to that situation he shouldn't be driving.
2007-05-04 10:32:16
52.   Jon Weisman
50 - It's sabermetrics. You increase your odds of things going wrong with each bad decision.
2007-05-04 10:36:31
53.   Doctor
Although as people, I do think the temptation to wield the sword of karma should be avoided.
2007-05-04 10:38:20
54.   JoeyP
14--Necessary. Pain killers are sometimes a necessary part of the game that in fact are enhancing peformance, and thus making a player more helpful to the team and more entertaining to the fans. I never said they were endearing or charming at all. But I understand the necessity.

Drinking beer during the breaks in the inning--thats not necessary at all. Its completely unprofessional.

2007-05-04 10:40:02
55.   Curtis Lowe
51 - So should the hundreds of other people that were sober that died in a car accident that day have not been on the road? Maybe alcohol wasn't the deciding factor in this crash maybe the tow truck guy didn't turn on his hazards or maybe they were dim or it was foggy.
2007-05-04 10:40:31
56.   Sushirabbit
Interesting convergence of topics.

I remember laughing at David Eckstein, when he said he couldn't drive a manual tranny, and that really he didn't drive that much anyway. If he's not into cars, and as a car guy I can appreciate that not everyone is, why should he drive or want a corvette? It is probably smarter not to do so.

If a team is like a family, and I think sometimes it really is for younger players especially ones far from home, then I think the team has some responsibility for both letting them unwind in their "home" when they are not on the field AND also teaching them how to do that responsibly.

For me with the case like Leonard Little who I thought the world of as a person and a player, it seems such a shame that a guy who has millions won't pay someoneelse to watch after him and drive him around... and that the teams and agents won't basically insure that that happens.

2007-05-04 10:42:38
57.   underdog
A fluke? So if the road had just stayed straight the whole way, and there weren't any pesky obstacles, cars or trucks in the way, he would have been totally fine. Even with twice the blood alcohol limit and pot in his system increasing the odds of him killing himself or killing someone else (it's a miracle that didn't happen). Yeah, it's a fluke.
2007-05-04 10:44:18
58.   imperabo
55 How in the world did you get that out of what I said? I'm just saying that hitting a towtruck isn't a fluke. The roads are covered with towtrucks. Unless you get hit by a meteor, or at least a moving car, nothing that happens on the road is a fluke. You have a responsibility to be prepared for everything. That's why your supposed to be sober. Stuff happens and you need to react.
2007-05-04 10:45:38
59.   ToyCannon
Your right, truly unprofessional but it was the rest of your assertion that I found lacking any sustance.
2007-05-04 10:47:46
60.   underdog
And then there's Paris Hilton.
http://www.imdb.com/news/wenn/2007-05-04/#celeb12

Anyway... how about that Braves-Dodgers series this weekend - think the D's have a chance of taking 2 out of 3?

2007-05-04 10:48:35
61.   Curtis Lowe
54 - How is drinking beer during a ball game unprofessional if the drinker is still producing? Beer calms and relaxes which is good for games like baseball.
2007-05-04 10:48:53
62.   Branch Rickey
Drinking beer during the breaks in the inning--thats not necessary at all. Its completely unprofessional.

Do you think that anyone on the face of the earth, including the person who did it (if in fact anyone did) disagrees with this?

2007-05-04 10:49:01
63.   Benaiah
57 - If he is coming around a turn going 12 m.p.h. over the speed limit (which is probably less than 1 standard deviation above the average speed on that road) and the tow truck was hidden by the curve, then maybe the alcohol didn't matter. I agree with Jon that all of those behaviors make an accident more likely, but driving is inherently dangerous behavior. This is a case where being drunk kept him from reacting to a somewhat extraordinary circumstance (why didn't the tow truck move the car over to the shoulder?) rather than being drunk causing the extraordinary circumstance. I am now defending him, I just want to point out that distinction.
2007-05-04 10:49:20
64.   Branch Rickey
62/61 I retract my question.
2007-05-04 10:49:51
65.   Benaiah
62 - Ha. See 61.
2007-05-04 10:51:23
66.   screwballin
5 I don't get how it hurts the integrity of the game for "rich snots" to ask clubhouse attendants for a towel or a beer.

Since the Mets attendant sparked this column, I assumed his point is that this hurts the integrity of the game when it crosses over into steroids and other illegal substances. Presumably some attendants, with their income dependent on not saying "no," would buckle and get the players whatever they asked for.

2007-05-04 10:52:28
67.   Benaiah
62 - I have had a drink before a high pressure situation (an exam, a date) in order to loosen up. There is an obvious difference between drinking and being drunk. If the player felt that drinking improves his play, then perhaps the question is: should Babe Ruth get an asterisk for all the P.E.D.s aka pitchers of beer he used during games?
2007-05-04 10:53:44
69.   scareduck
Is this Bill Plaschke's best story in years?

Yes.

The content is perhaps better, but the short, single-sentence structure reminds me of everything I hate about USA Today.

---

Anyway. Interesting story about Baker, but if your point is that Juan Pierre's 2007 is an anomaly, well, just go ask some Cubs fans.

2007-05-04 10:53:51
70.   ToyCannon
58
To true, I drive a miata and I'd be a dead man now if I just coasted while driving. Something may fly off a truck and bang me in the head and I'll attribute that to fluke but if someone cuts me off I'll only blame myself for not being on the lookout for it. If you see little cars always on the move it is because we have to be to make sure were seen. If I see someone on a cell phone next to me I move, talking to a friend, I move, next to a truck, I move, next to teenagers, I move, next to Giant fan driving, I move.
2007-05-04 10:53:52
71.   Curtis Lowe
67 - no.
2007-05-04 10:54:11
72.   imperabo
67 A driving exam? ;-)
2007-05-04 10:55:41
73.   Daniel Zappala
Anyone else find the STLtoday web site extremely, annoyingly slow? It can take up to a minute to load a page there, and I go there fairly frequently for Rams news so this isn't a one-time thing.
2007-05-04 10:55:56
74.   Jon Weisman
[edited]

68. PalmdaleSteve1
48

"totally agree that LaRussa should feel great responsibility for setting a terrible example. The day Hancock died I thought if he was drunk, that should have implications for LaRussa."

So where does an employer, and a manager (LaRussa) treat employees conduct away from the job?

Are they to be your mother and nag you to death?

Your nanny who watches over everything you do at all times?

Or just totally clueless to anything other than getting the job done and winning?

I'm not sure I know, but consider what happens at your own work place. Where is that line (and baseball is a job) where the job gets into what you do away from the job, in short, where that privacy line?

LaRussa stepped up like a man and admitted his mistake when he had his DUI earlier in the year, but what else could the Cardinal organization do as a business for the rest of it's employees? Go all Colorado Rockies on them or what?

LaRussa goofed up, which I am sure he is totally ashamed of and regrets, but to put this on him because of what he has done, give me a break.

2007-05-04 10:56:40
75.   Sushirabbit
60 Yeah! We take 2 of 3 and I'm happy!

Actually, I'll just be happy to be able to watch the games and go to sleep before 11pm. :-)

Great bit about Baker. I wonder if that helps him deal with players going through slumps-- if it changes the way he looks at it and if so how. I think Betemit still has some nice upside, but I don't know how long you give him until you start seriously looking at alternatives. I know one thing, if the Yankees were interested in moving A-Rod, I'd give Hendrickson in a heartbeat, and Betmit, too. <-- That's joking.

2007-05-04 10:57:21
76.   Branch Rickey
68 You miss the point. Also, you have obviously not read the earlier posts in this thread where I made the exact point you are making. LaRussa shouldn't have been overseeing Hancock to make sure he didn't drink. He should have been setting a good example for him. That's the only responsibility at which he failed.
2007-05-04 10:57:54
77.   Jon Weisman
69 - I never said or implied that Juan Pierre's 2007 was an anomaly.
2007-05-04 10:58:18
78.   jasonungar07
I am still thinking, was it Mondy? Strawberry? Karros? Who needed the sauce during the game...
2007-05-04 10:59:35
79.   Doctor
2 of 3 Im thrilled, 1 of 3 is ok, 0 of 3 is a bummner (man).

3 of 3 I buy beers for every Dodger fan I see Sunday (as long as they are walking).

2007-05-04 10:59:55
80.   bhsportsguy
It will be interesting to see what the Cardinals do, if anything, being so closely connected to the Busch and Budweiser names.

In a strange way, the baseball schedule played a role in this accident. Had the Cardinals been playing a normal day game where the players would have to show up around 10-10:30, one would hope that Hancock would have been home or at least off the road by 5:00 a.m. Instead the Cardinals had a 7:00 CDT starting time which would be a normal night game in St. Louis.

One more thing, cars/tow trucks whatever, being stopped in the middle of the highway at night is my biggest worry when I am out driving at that time, I am always on the look out for those vehicles.

2007-05-04 11:02:18
81.   Branch Rickey
78. And that's a big part of my problem with this article.
2007-05-04 11:03:07
82.   Benaiah
77 - No, but that is a interesting reading of your story about an under-performing CF.

Pierre's line with runners on: (50 PAs)
.222/.217/.267/.484,
RISP (30 PAs)
.192/.185/.269/.454,
Bases Loaded (8 ABs)
.000 .000 .000 .000

2007-05-04 11:06:32
83.   Vishal
[79] i wonder how often in the past 20 years we have swept the braves.
2007-05-04 11:07:28
84.   ToyCannon
2 of 3 from the Braves and 2 of 4 from the Marlins whose young pitching problems is going to get our hitters going. I think we will be able to exploit the Braves bullpen if they really do move Villarreal into the rotation they will have a huge hole in the setup role this weekend with Soriano becoming the closer(Wickman to DL) and Gonzalez just not pitching well. Betemit will of course get going and I foresee a monster weekend. Since I've said that for 30 games I get no points if it actually happens.
2007-05-04 11:07:54
85.   Vishal
[69] i think the point was that maybe betemit's 2007 is an anomaly.
2007-05-04 11:09:09
86.   dzzrtRatt
78 I don't know about the players, but I needed a few belts to get through watching Karros, Strawberry & Mondi.

(just kidding!)

2007-05-04 11:15:50
87.   Bob Timmermann
The Dodgers swept a 2-game series in Atlanta to start the 1991 season.

In 1990, they swept a 4-game series from Atlanta at home and a 2-game series toward the end of the same season.

2007-05-04 11:17:21
88.   old dodger fan
Tomko has looked pretty good this year but he is 0-3 lifetime with a 9.15 ERA at Turner Field. Smoltz has looked good every time out this year except once. Smoltz is pitching on 5 days rest.
2007-05-04 11:18:15
89.   Vishal
[87]] so, we haven't swept a 3- or 4-game series from atlanta in 17 years, nor have we swept a series of any kind since 1991.

that pretty much squares with memory.

2007-05-04 11:18:21
90.   imperabo
I have to pass this quote on from Primer:

"Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, the tow truck came upon a disabled Geo Prism and stopped behind it with its yellow lights flashing to protect the car."

This accident was totally avoidable, but some irresponsible individual just had to get behind the wheel of a Geo Prism.

2007-05-04 11:19:58
91.   Doctor
Has anyone heard ANYTHING about Schmidt ? other than the Fox-rumor monger guy? The silence is killing me.
2007-05-04 11:21:33
92.   bhsportsguy
83 Okay, no more wishes for you:

Year Home Away Total
1986 5-4 3-6 8-10
1987 6-3 6-3 12-6
1988 7-2 7-2 14-4
1989 5-4 5-2 10-6
1990 7-2 5-4 12-6
1991 5-4 6-3 11-7
1992 5-4 1-8 6-12
1993 3-3 2-5 5-8
1994 0-3 0-3 0-6
1995 3-2 1-3 4-5
1996 3-3 4-2 7-5
1997 2-3 3-3 5-6
1998 1-2 0-6 1-8
1999 2-4 2-1 4-5
2000 1-2 1-5 2-7
2001 2-1 3-1 5-2
2002 2-1 2-1 4-2
2003 1-2 1-2 2-4
2004 2-2 1-2 3-4
2005 1-2 2-1 3-3
2006 1-2 2-1 3-3

During the 1970's and 1980's, the Dodgers won over 60% of the games agaist their Southeast division rivals, more recently, during the Braves long streak of winning division titles, the Dodgers have not fared as well.

1990s . . . 55-68, .447
2000s . . . 22-25, .468

2007-05-04 11:22:38
93.   old dodger fan
90 St Louis Times Dispatch says the Geo and the tow truck were in the far left lane, there was no evidence of Hancock braking although he did attempt to swerve at the last minute and he was talking on his cell phone. They estimate he was doing 68 in a 55.
2007-05-04 11:23:16
94.   GoBears
Great article, Jon. I did not remember Baker's struggles in 1976, though I remember the trade that brought him to LA quite clearly.

I'm still in Betemit's corner. I know he's a lot better than he's shown himself to be this year, and I'm optimistic he'll break out of his funk.

I have no idea what's going on in the clubhouse or manager's office, of course, but from what I can see, it seems that Little feels the same way. I like the way he's handled WB for the most part.

2007-05-04 11:23:54
95.   bhsportsguy
91 During the San Diego series, it was reported that Schmidt had begun to do some exercises but no baseball related activities.

Will Carroll of UTK/Baseball Prospectus does not expect Schmidt to be back before June.

2007-05-04 11:26:03
96.   Doctor
Well you have to figure 3-4 weeks from the fist "toss", which is isnt doing yet... Yea, Im a little worried.
2007-05-04 11:26:17
97.   Doctor
Well you have to figure 3-4 weeks from the fist "toss", which is isnt doing yet... Yea, Im a little worried.
2007-05-04 11:27:10
98.   Bob Timmermann
My biggest memory of Baker playing in 1976, besides him being really bad that year, was that Vin Scully always called him "The Rage from Riverside."
2007-05-04 11:27:31
99.   GoBears
As for the Plaschke article, well, I'm with Daniel Z. If that was his best in a long time, then I'm glad it was the first in a long time that I've read (not counting the deconstructions offered here or at FJM).

Here's what I get out of it: even if the subject matter was interesting (it was), and even if Plaschke didn't write anything particularly annoying in addressing the subject (he didn't - not really), the fact is that the man doesn't write well. I read the story thinking, how would a good writer, using no more than Plaschke's notes, have penned the piece? We really are spoiled here at DT.

2007-05-04 11:28:18
100.   bhsportsguy
87 Just to add something to Mr. Bob's comment. (And yes a little Get Smart refernce too)

Last Dodger 3-Game Sweep, at LA - 9/1989
Last Dodger 4-Game Sweep, at LA - 7/1990
Last Dodger 3-Game Sweep, at Atl - 6/1984
Last Dodger 4-Game Sweep, at Atl - 4/1988

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-04 11:29:18
101.   underdog
Yeah, I have very little confidence in tonight's matchup, given Tomko's history at Turner and on the road in general, vs. his home stats, and how well Smoltz is doing. But if Smoltz is off his game and they can get to the bullpen they'd have a shot. But I'm not placing many bets on tonight's game... Would definitely be nice to see Betemit break out against his former team.
2007-05-04 11:29:26
102.   Jon Weisman
Even more than Ralph Garr's All-Star Baseball card, Dusty Baker's .242 batting average in 1976 is etched in my memory.
2007-05-04 11:30:14
103.   JoeyP
How is drinking beer during a ball game unprofessional if the drinker is still producing? Beer calms and relaxes which is good for games like baseball.

No it doesnt.
Beer slows reaction time, which in baseball is a quite necessary trait.
It also dehydrates you, which could lead to cramping, physical exhaustion, etc.

Alcohol does not help athletic performance. I'm really surprised that anyone would actually believe this.

I guess you could suggest Babe Ruth was a great hitter even if drunk/hung over. But how good would he have been had he not drank?

Its like your cheating yourself, your team, and the fans that come to watch you when you deliberately do something that has a negative impact on performance.

2007-05-04 11:35:53
104.   Sushirabbit
Atlanta, eh, wasn't that where Donelly sent Sid Bream home on October 14, 1992?
2007-05-04 11:37:52
105.   underdog
Btw, I thought that was a nice story on Joe Beimel on Dodgers.com - kinda made me like him more (not that I disliked him, mind you, and had forgiven him for his screw-up last fall, but this made me appreciate who he is more.
2007-05-04 11:38:14
106.   Branch Rickey
98- My biggest memory of Baker has to do with bubble gum.
2007-05-04 11:39:48
107.   ToyCannon
103
Much like musicians, comics, and other people who perform in front of crowds it is possible that many athletes would not be able to handle it without some help in the beginning.
Many people think Mantle could have been the greatest player ever but maybe Mantle couldn't have played at all if he didn't drink due to the pain and shyness that afflicted him. Just saying there is always more then just saying these guys would have been better if they lived perfect lives.
2007-05-04 11:39:55
108.   Bob Timmermann
104
Donnelly was sitting in the dugout as the Pirates third base coach bemoaning the fact that Bream was going to score.
2007-05-04 11:40:08
109.   Benaiah
103 - There is a psychological aspect to the game and if beer allows the player to relax then it could have a positive affect. It can't make you run faster, but it might keep you from thinking while you are hitting (which is a good thing I think).

An absurd example: some people play beer pong better after they have been drinking for awhile. Their shots go in because it is muscle memory and the subconscious in control, rather than over thinking the process. This isn't a general phenomenon but it could be a specific one.

2007-05-04 11:40:08
110.   Curtis Lowe
103 - Do you have any studies that back this up?

I do alot of athletic activites better when I've had a few drinks(billiards,golf,disc golf,anything involving a board and yes ,sunday baseball) and saying no it doesn't relax is just not true otherwise alcohol wouldn't be a billion dollar industry.

Driving under the influence is wrong and a dangerous but the impact alcohol has on an athlete as he performs his sport is case by case.

The effects of alcohol are different for each drinker.

2007-05-04 11:40:27
111.   bhsportsguy
102 My memory of baseball cards are the player's middle names. Steven Patrick Garvey, David Earl Lopes, Donald Howard Sutton, Carl Reginald Smith (what a great name), and Johnnie B. Baker.

Of course, since the Reds were our chief rivals then, there was Peter Edward Rose, Joe Leonard Morgan, Johnny Lee Bench, etc.

2007-05-04 11:41:46
112.   Vishal
i definitely do a few things more smoothly after i've had a couple. i doubt playing baseball is one of them, however.
2007-05-04 11:43:28
113.   KBL
I definitely play better poker if I have had one or two drinks, but I always stop there.
2007-05-04 11:45:22
114.   bhsportsguy
107 Once when I was a stage manager for a charity event, I had a request for an alcoholic drink for our celebriy speaker (name withheld, but he would be probably a "C" or "D" level but everyone here would know him). Since the event was at the L.A. Convention Center, we were not allowed to have alcohol on the premises, so a couple guys took a commuter coffee cup, went to the Bonaventure Hotel, ordered the drink, poured it into the container and then brought it back to the show.

They gave it to him and he went on to give a great performance.

2007-05-04 11:45:38
115.   Bob Timmermann
The Braves third base coach in 1992 was Jimy Williams.
2007-05-04 11:45:52
116.   Vishal
by the way, thanks for looking up the atlanta info, guys. if i'd have known that was my only wish, however, i would've asked for something else. :)
2007-05-04 11:47:21
117.   Benaiah
112 - I know from experience that basketball and soccer are not things that get better after drinking. They get vomit and headache inducing, but not better.

113 - There is parabolic return that peaks at 1-3 drinks and then tapers off to zero as the number approaches infinity.

2007-05-04 11:47:21
118.   regfairfield
I do play baseball better after a couple beers, but that's only because I'm a complete head case who thinks way to much at the plate.

For a guy who has proven he can hit at the major league level the beer at the very least wouldn't help.

2007-05-04 11:48:20
119.   natepurcell
An absurd example: some people play beer pong better after they have been drinking for awhile.

LOL. beer pong, the ulimate sport.

2007-05-04 11:49:38
120.   Vishal
[117] i think it dips below zero well before it approaches infinity ;)
2007-05-04 11:49:55
121.   Benaiah
118 - How can you make those two statements back to back? So you personally know that a drink or two helps you relax at the plate, but you still think that no one in the majors is still uptight at the plate?
2007-05-04 11:51:02
122.   Branch Rickey
The question of whether alcohol might have some positive effects on playing baseball is, I suppose, debatable. Is anyone suggesting that it's an okay idea or that it isn't unprofessional?
I shouldn't even respond but alcohol is not as popular as it is because it helps people play sports. It's mostly popular because it impairs judgement and that has some effects that people enjoy.
2007-05-04 11:51:23
123.   Jon Weisman
All some pitchers need is the bottle cap off the last bottle of beer they ever drank before getting on the wagon.
2007-05-04 11:51:24
124.   Benaiah
120 - I thought about an aside like "as it approaches infinity (which is 10 in this case)."
2007-05-04 11:52:01
125.   Jon Weisman
123 - Actually, that should be:

All some pitchers need is the bottle cap off the last bottle of beer another pitcher ever drank before getting on the wagon.

2007-05-04 11:52:17
126.   bhsportsguy
116 If you go to Dodges.com, click "Fan Forum" and then go to the sidebar and click "2007 Media Guide", you should be able to get all the information like that without wasting your wishes.
2007-05-04 11:52:54
127.   Penarol1916
121. Because in order to reach the majors, you can't be uptight at the plate, or else your performance would never have been good enough to get to the majors, unless you drinking in little league and high school during games.
2007-05-04 11:54:16
128.   bhsportsguy
122 I don't know you but I appreciate your contributions to the game.

Seriously, you appear to have some access to those closer to the Dodgers and to Baseball in general, especially after the incident with Joe Beimel, how closely should they monitor this type of behavior?

2007-05-04 11:54:46
129.   Vishal
[124] i was suggesting was that 10 drinks would have a markedly negative effect on one's poker playing, rather than zero effect.
2007-05-04 11:55:31
130.   Benaiah
122 - I don't have a problem with it and I don't think it is unprofessional in this profession. It would be unprofessional for me to drink at my desk, but then I don't chew sunflower seeds and spit them on the floor, my boss doesn't get thrown out of the office a couple times a month and there are never, ever brawls involving my entire department charging towards another department in the company. They are playing baseball, not brain surgery.

One caveat being, pitchers drinking could be dangerous and thus, I don't support it.

2007-05-04 11:55:31
131.   Curtis Lowe
125 - Like the Simpsons episode where Homer and Barney compete to become astronauts?
2007-05-04 11:56:21
132.   Vishal
[128] isn't it the commenter formerly known as "greg s"?
2007-05-04 11:57:33
133.   Bob Timmermann
130
There are bench-clearing brawls all the time in the library.

The longstanding rivalry between the Literature Department and the Acquistions Department makes the Marichal-Roseboro incident look like a game of pat-a-cake.

2007-05-04 11:57:44
134.   bhsportsguy
132 Yeah, I know, just injecting whatever passes as humor on a Friday.
2007-05-04 11:57:51
135.   underdog
I can only imagine playing soccer after having a couple of brews. I have enough trouble getting keeping up in that non-stop sport. I would definitely be on the sideline wretching if I added alcohol to the mix. (I do like caffeinating myself before morning games, however. I believe that's slightly different.)

I can't see it helping much in baseball - anything that impairs your vision or slows your reaction times is not going to help. Maybe in slow-pitch friendly games of softball it's less of a problem (even then, beer didn't help my already poor judgment of fly balls...)
Beer pong is another matter, however. ;-)

2007-05-04 11:58:01
136.   Curtis Lowe
I agree entirely with Benaiah on this one though it would be nice to brawl with other depts. without the fear of losing my job.
2007-05-04 11:59:19
137.   Benaiah
127 - I agree that they would have to be talented at the plate sans alcohol, but life is a complicated and hazardous thing. I could see a million circumstances that would cause a player to tense up at the plate after years of being loosey goosey. I imagine that is what is happening with Betemit right now (not that I am saying he should just drink a few). In some specific cases perhaps such a player would see a marginal bump in performance do to a small amount of alcohol.
2007-05-04 12:00:53
138.   PalmdaleSteve1
Someone wake Bud Selig up please.

Baseball needs another poke in the eye right over alcohol abuse of players and coaches after the steroids mess like Barry Bonds needs to do a commercial for Barcaloungers.

Bud needs to wake up and get together with the players Union to put together a program run by the Union addressing this problem and do it now and publicly. Maybe draft some retired players who have had a substance abuse pasts and get them out to the parks as soon as possible delivering some hard words on the subject coming from the point of view from some guys who have been there, done that and got the livers to prove it.

I'd bet you that all Bud has to do is ask, and the owners will cough up the money to fund a program and some of the retired players would be honored to help the guys in the game today from going where they have been.

In my book, the Players Union would and should get all over this one.

2007-05-04 12:02:07
139.   das411
Wow, Carlos Zambrano, my fantasy team thanks you almost as much as Sam DC and anyone else who has been tracking the Nats' 1st inning troubles does!
2007-05-04 12:08:25
140.   jasonungar07
Speaking of humor, did you guys see the office last night. I thought it was so funny.
2007-05-04 12:09:41
141.   Branch Rickey
132- Yes, that was my former screen name.

128- I don't think they should monitor it any closer than they do these days. They really do keep an eye on things. I don't know if this is known info or not but the assistant trainer got fired over the Beimel incident because he didn't tell Colletti quickly enough. Again, these are grown men and should be allowed to act as such. And if they behave irresponsibly, it should be and IS addressed.

2007-05-04 12:11:37
142.   Sushirabbit
108, 115, 134 :-)

I was actually trying to be funny. I had NO idea that Donnely was third base coach for the Pirates at that time! I do remember that it was a Bonds throw to the plate. And Bream was pretty funny about the whole thing.

Also that was theyear of the Hansen, Harris, Offerman infield. Pedro's first year, too.

2007-05-04 12:13:05
143.   underdog
"Homer no function beer well without." - Homer Simpson

140 Shhh! I TiVo'd it! (I did watch the first few minutes with the hilarious flasher bit.)

2007-05-04 12:13:55
144.   dzzrtRatt
I studied French in school, never to much effect. If I'm around French-speaking people, I'm pretty much lost...unless I have a glass of wine or three. Then it all comes back to me, and I can converse away. This has happened on several occasions.

Also, when my son fell off a bed as a baby, I took him to the doctor. He saw nothing wrong with him other than a bruise. I asked him how this could be? He said it was because he "fell relaxed." People get injured from falls and crashes in part because they tense up, but because my son fell off the bed unexpectedly, he didn't know enough to tense up. The doctor then went on to say that this is why in crashes between drunk drivers and sober drivers, the drunk is more likely to survive, because he's more relaxed at the point of impact.

I have no idea if that's really true, but it seemed relevant to pass on here.

2007-05-04 12:18:31
145.   DXMachina
125 Which reminds me. When Jonathan Meloan makes it to the big club, can we call him "Mayday Meloan"?
2007-05-04 12:19:39
146.   bhsportsguy
145 Now that is funny. And yet sad since everyone knows that "Becker" was far and away Ted Danson's best work on television.
2007-05-04 12:21:47
147.   Tommy Naccarato
133 I've heard this before. A dangerous place that library.....
2007-05-04 12:23:22
148.   DXMachina
147 That's because it's quiet. Too quiet...
2007-05-04 12:25:23
149.   Tommy Naccarato
147 Quiet but deadly.

Don't ever get caught in a dark alley or corner of some aisle in English Literature. The people that hang out there are ruthless.

2007-05-04 12:29:27
150.   bhsportsguy
On today's laobserved.com front page is a reference to our fun filled discussion about jay walking. Again, just remember, people are watching so take heed before clicking "submit."
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-05-04 12:32:39
151.   screwballin
No one seems to be making a distinction between "drinking" and "getting drunk." The latter will surely impair your reaction times and judgment, but you can certainly do some of the former before that happens.
2007-05-04 12:32:58
152.   DXMachina
149 You don't want to get caught in the middle of a rumble between Austen fans and Bronte fans.
2007-05-04 12:33:25
153.   Jon Weisman
145 - Very good :)
2007-05-04 12:34:58
154.   Jon Weisman
Can anyone forget Cosell's famous call?

"Down goes Flaubert! Down goes Flaubert!"

2007-05-04 12:37:17
155.   capdodger
119 Beer Pong is for suckers... Beer Die is where it's at.

109 My hands are always softer after I've been plinked a couple of times.

2007-05-04 12:38:00
156.   Benaiah
151 - see 67.
2007-05-04 12:39:34
157.   JoeyP
122-- Exactly.

As far as baseball being a mental game---I disagree at least as far as hitting is concerned. Hitting IMO is almost entirely reactionary along with the learned muscle memory from thousands upon thousands of swing.

Alcohol can I suppose "relax your mind"--but a relaxed mind doesnt make your bat faster. Vision and timing seem to me to be really important in terms of hitting...and Alcohol impairs both.

Toycannon drew a parallel to musicians. I dont know liqour's effect on vocal chords vs motor skills--I'd believe they hurt motor skills far worse. Plenty of drunk people can still sing, and do--unfortunately.

2007-05-04 12:43:23
158.   Benaiah
157 - Alcohol could potentially allow a player to just react rather than thinking at the plate. If over-thinking weren't an aspect of hitting then their wouldn't be change ups.
2007-05-04 12:43:29
159.   screwballin
156
Yep, I saw that, followed by a bunch of posts seemingly saying that if you're drinking, you're drunk. I just wanted to add to the dissent against that notion.

OK, gotta go, my keg's almost empty.

2007-05-04 12:43:43
160.   Jon Weisman
151 - Not as much as most people think.
2007-05-04 12:45:27
161.   capdodger
Alcohol can I suppose "relax your mind"--but a relaxed mind doesnt make your bat faster. Vision and timing seem to me to be really important in terms of hitting...and Alcohol impairs both.

This is true, but overthinking at the plate can impair timing as much as, if not more than, a beer.

2007-05-04 12:47:02
162.   Benaiah
Alright, I have said the same thing over and over again enough, I am off to drive to Louisville. Don't worry, I am not drinking- until I get there anyway. Have a good weekend everyone and let's hope for a series win against the Braves (though it doesn't seem fair, the "brave"s versus the trolley "dodgers").
2007-05-04 12:49:09
163.   bhsportsguy
162 Cool, have a mint julep once you get there and are safely removed from your vehicle.
2007-05-04 12:49:15
164.   Branch Rickey
And beer is a efficient killer of overthiking to the point that the positive effects of that outweigh the negative effects on motor skills? I doubt it. But if so, let's get Betemit drunk tonight!!
2007-05-04 12:51:01
165.   capdodger
164 You doubt it based on what?
2007-05-04 12:53:33
166.   capdodger
164 A beer or two in the clubhoused might also be preferable to the distracting effects of a hangover.
2007-05-04 12:53:54
167.   screwballin
160 Did anyone else see the Steve Lopez column a few years back where he basically went to a local Police Department to consume a case of beer and a box of donuts? His point was to have them test him regularly to see how much it would take to hit .08. If memory serves, it took more than a few beers to get there. And I believe there is a school of thought out there that .08 is barely enough to affect most people.

I'm not disagreeing with you, Jon; I was simply objection to the thought that any amount of alcohol makes you drunk. Maybe I'm misreading.

2007-05-04 12:55:49
168.   screwballin
See, even LA Times columnists are allowed to drink on the job. :)
2007-05-04 12:59:55
169.   Jon Weisman
167 - I don't want to get into the semantics of what "drunk" means. It's all by degrees, but one drink can impair your judgment - significantly, depending on your tolerance - and not enough people accept this.

Operating a motor vehicle is inherently dangerous enough to yourself and others that "barely enough to affect most people" is worth trying to prevent.

2007-05-04 13:02:05
170.   bhsportsguy
167 Not reality but this reminds of the "WKRP in Cincinnati" episode where Dr. Johnny Fever kept drinking and his reaction time on this test the police kept testing him on got faster and faster.
2007-05-04 13:04:16
171.   capdodger
197 I pulled data on this a few weeks back. In 2005:

BAC=.00%: 26,558 fatalities
BAC=.01%-.07: 2,346
BAC>.07 14,539
BAC>.16 9,316

Souce: DOT

2007-05-04 13:26:21
172.   Branch Rickey
171- Like many statistics, this tells us nearly nothing. Perhaps only 9,316 people have ever driven a car and had a blood alcohol level of .16 and 100% of them have died.
2007-05-04 13:32:37
173.   capdodger
Don't be daft. It tells us that a greater perponderance of accidents and fatalities occur at levels of intoxication far higher than is possible from a beer or two.
2007-05-04 13:36:21
174.   s choir
172 I am ashamed to admit personal knowledge that not 100% of them have died.
2007-05-04 13:38:52
175.   underdog
169 I agree completely. All I know is, after one glass of wine I'm not feeling "drunk" but I am feeling a little tipsy. I can probably drive safely, but only if I've had food, and waited a little while. Granted, I'm probably a "lightweight" compared to some, but I can tell how fast it impairs my reaction times when speaking or in activities. So one or two glasses of wine or beer may not make me "drunk" in the Barney Gumbel sense, but it's enough for me to know that I'm reacting slower already. I guess I can't even see why there's an argument about this. But, hey, if someone here wants to play soccer against me after a coupla beers, have at it! Preferably this Sunday morning when we have a 9am game. ;-)
2007-05-04 13:39:49
176.   Branch Rickey
Okay. I'll try not to be daft. Does it matter what the percentages are or just the total numbers? Does it matter if even what you say shows there is a correlation between drinking and driving deaths and therefore, it 's best to try to avoid even a couple of beers. So we don't, ya know, kill any people unnecessarily?
2007-05-04 13:43:10
177.   capdodger
175 I wouldn't play soccer after drinking beer because it's just too darn filling for aerobic activity. Same as I wouldn't drink a quart of milk or OJ before I went out to run around.
2007-05-04 13:49:02
178.   Branch Rickey
171- And unless you believe that more that 1 out of every 11 people on the road has been drinking those numbers do show that even a .01-.07 correlates with deaths.
2007-05-04 13:49:59
179.   capdodger
172 No there aren't any rate stats. I'd like to see them as well.

However, I think it is possible to assume that there are more people (and miles driven) in the .01%-.07% category than in the >.07% or .16% category. Since the those who are more intoxicated kill more people (most often themselves or people they know) than I think we can assume that the fatality rate is lower for former than it is for the latter.

The greater (statistical) threat to the driving public is not wearing a seatbelt, but that hasn't been puffed up into a moral issue, I guess. Oh, and going too fast...

2007-05-04 13:50:37
180.   bhsportsguy
Sorry to bring Dodger baseball back to this forum.

Per Tony Jackson's blog, the Dodgers have activated then optioned Hong-Chih Kuo to Las Vegas. Still no word on Brazoban so he remains on the DL.

http://tinyurl.com/yro7r6

2007-05-04 13:51:18
181.   Doc Ellis
Drinking before a game is for amateurs.
2007-05-04 13:51:51
182.   jasonungar07
As a former high level soccer player I can tell you no way. You run like 12 miles a game. As a current high level golfer I can tell you yes way. I can see baseball being in the middle.

what the heck is daft?

-an album by Art of Noise ?
-Deleted articles with freaky titles?
-senseless, stupid, or foolish?

2007-05-04 13:52:00
183.   capdodger
178 I believe that is very well possible. How many people go out to dinner or a ball game, have a wine or beer and then drive home? That is the .01-.07 category.
2007-05-04 13:54:11
184.   KBL
I have seen people fail the .08 BAC after only one glass of wine. I imagine a lot of it has to do with size, food in stomach and the amount of alcohol... I would imagine
2007-05-04 13:55:22
185.   Branch Rickey
183 How many people on the road just went to dinner or a ball game? I'm not trying to be cute but I just think it's clear as can be that drinking and driving is dangerous. Yes, drinking less is less dangerous. But you have not shown stats that show a little is not dangerous. Gotta go to lunch now. Diet Coke only.
2007-05-04 13:55:55
186.   Marty
Speaking of drinking, has anyone seen the Hasselhoff footage going around? Man, he's got a drinking problem.
2007-05-04 13:59:34
187.   Bob Timmermann
180
Tony Jackson must be the only person in America who has that much affection for Delta Airlines.
2007-05-04 14:02:20
188.   capdodger
184 You asked if I thought I thought 1 in 10 people did it, I provided a sample where more than that do. I think you are being cute.

I also think this is likely going nowhere because we don't have useful rate stats.

2007-05-04 14:03:43
189.   capdodger
188 is for 184

I failed a breathalizer in college because I had just rinsed with Listerine.

2007-05-04 14:06:14
190.   old dodger fan
189 Did the judge buy it?
2007-05-04 14:07:41
191.   capdodger
188 is for 185

I swear I'm not drinking now. The Wilson Bridge is tricky in any state.

2007-05-04 14:10:38
192.   underdog
That's totally true - especially something like Guiness. The last time I had a Guiness I felt like I'd ingested an entire loaf of bread.

My favorite soccer moment was when a guy on my team showed up for Sunday game and immediately started moaning and clutching his sides a minute into the game. I asked him what was wrong. He said, "I had all-you-can-eat Dim Sum this morning." Before the game. Talk about daft!

The Hasselhoff thing - he did that video apparently to show him what he looks like drunk to help him quit drinking. Which could work, except he forgot as a celebrity other people, too, would eventually see that video.

2007-05-04 14:11:11
193.   capdodger
191 Didn't get that far. I was pulled over for running (California Rolling) a stopsign. Cop smelled it, did a field sobriety test (I passed), but wanted to try his new toy. Waterville had just recieved a nice little DHS or DOT grant for combatting terrorism or drunk college students or something. I blew a .09.
2007-05-04 14:12:02
194.   overkill94
Drinking to avoid a hangover is a great temporary solution. Sure it dehydrates you even more, but the relaxing effect of the alcohol curbs the debilitating hangover symptoms (headache, nausea, etc), which makes it easier to concentrate on the task at hand. I can see 100% how a player would want to do that during a game.
2007-05-04 14:16:52
195.   KBL
Lineup is posted on ITD

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Nomar, 1B

Gonzo, LF

Martin, C

Ethier, RF

Betemit, 3B

Martinez, 2B

Tomko, P

To echo a comment over there, does anyone know how effective of a hitting coach Murray has been? Is there any way to guage this?

2007-05-04 14:19:13
196.   old dodger fan
Kent gets the night off after a day off?
2007-05-04 14:20:37
197.   underdog
The hair of the dog has its merits, but I'll take the ol' lots of water/juice and especially B vitamins (and taking aspirin the night of) method of curing a hangover.

So the Kent-less line-up tonight vs. Smoltz, should be interesting.

I don't know about Murray as a hitting coach or how to gauge it - wondered that last year, too. I think hitting and pitching coaches can get too much blame or credit for how players are performing, but I do wonder if there's not a more effective hitting coach out there somewhere.

2007-05-04 14:22:04
198.   underdog
196 Yes, Little announced that on Wednesday I believe. Wanted to give him some extra time after the long week (starting with the 17inning affair) and the long trip. Not such a terrible idea, but seeing Martinez in there instead makes me have even less faith in the line-up. Gosh I wish we had Abreu on the team by now.
2007-05-04 14:22:09
199.   Curtis Lowe
Clam Chowder is the ultimate hang over cure.
2007-05-04 14:22:16
200.   Jon Weisman
196 - It's a Little tradition to try to do that - he thinks the more meaningful rest pays dividends.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2007-05-04 14:23:02
201.   capdodger
196 Grady probably wanted to give him two days rest.

197 I liked sparking water, yogurt and mulitvitamins. Now I just don't drink as much.

2007-05-04 14:25:35
202.   old dodger fan
The San Diego Padres today placed right-handed pitcher Clay Hensley on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to May 3) due to a strained right groin.
Hensley is 1-3 this season with a 7.62 ERA (24 ER/28.1 IP) over his first six starts.
2007-05-04 14:27:44
203.   bhsportsguy
195 Effective in what way? Even the example the person gives doesn't make sense because the Dodgers were one of the top offenses in the NL outside of hitting homers in 2006.

Why is the team not doing as well this year, first and most importantly, they have faced the best pitching in the NL on a consistent basis. Second, Raffy Furcal, like last year, is on extended spring training, hopefully he will start producing this month.

Ceratinly 3B remains an issue and more pop in OF would be great but there is nothing I see that the players are doing collectively as a group that would reflect on the hitting coach.

Even a team notorious in early count swingers still ranks in the middle of the league in walks despite no consistent power threat and the Dodgers don't strike out that much either.

2007-05-04 14:29:38
204.   KBL
203)

Thanks for the context

2007-05-04 14:35:08
205.   bhsportsguy
203 I am not endorsing the offensive makeup of the current roster but it bugs me when people start calling out to replace players/coaches and have no factual basis to make that argument.

Eddie Murray is not going to win any popularity contests but I have not noticed anything to say he is the reason why the offense isn't hitting the ball out of the park. That is a player personnel issue.

I will say that Betemit's offense will probably fall under the realm of Murray (both switch hitters, etc.) so that will have to be watched closely, though you have to like Betemit's patience (and as most who have seen a few of his games, he has gotten in bowling terms, tapped a number of times) I am worried about his lack of ability to get the ball in the air, he seems to be hitting mostly ground balls or line drives with no chance of going out.

2007-05-04 14:40:12
206.   bhsportsguy
197 Certainly, fans of the Angels are more verbose in their complaints about the Mickey Hatcher, I think one reason is that the Angels make no excuses that they are a "see the ball - hit the ball" team that does not work counts at all. And that if you look at their stats, even their prospects, don't walk a lot, and are high average but low OBA in comparison kind of players.

When I hear word one from Eddie Murray what the Dodger philosophy is on this subject, I will let you know. But I do think from a player development side, it is looked at and worked on.

2007-05-04 14:42:22
207.   ToyCannon
From Catfish Stew "Oakland is sporting a truly ugly .234/.309/.355/.654 line of avg/obp/slg/ops"

After a month of baseball that is one ugly line.

2007-05-04 14:43:54
208.   Branch Rickey
I don't know about Murray as a hitting coach or how to gauge it
Well, the Dodgers had the best offensive output since moving to Los Angeles last year. And with a team that was not expected to do anything of the sort. And the Indians produced offensively when he coached a team full of rookies. So as I pointed out about a week ago, if it's fair to criticize Hatcher for the Angels doing nothing for an extended period, I think Murray deserves at least a little credit.

They were among the league leaders in run scored a week ago and have fallen to the middle mostly based on untimely hitting all week. Really untimely hitting. How many have we left on base? That should wash out in the long run.

2007-05-04 14:47:57
209.   ToyCannon
By the way what baseball-reference has done is awesome. Completely awesome.
2007-05-04 14:48:44
210.   underdog
202 I wonder if this is the latest trend - shutting down pitchers who have been terrible with some ailment or injury. See: Ortiz, Russ.
2007-05-04 14:50:01
211.   Jon Weisman
"When I hear word one from Eddie Murray what the Dodger philosophy is on this subject"

Eddie Murray is not the type to the Dodger philosophy on hitting in a crowded movie theater.

2007-05-04 14:52:33
212.   bhsportsguy
211 Eddie Murray is no Mickey Hatcher.
2007-05-04 14:55:27
213.   Branch Rickey
Eddie Murray is not going to win any popularity contests
Not with the fans (outside of Baltimore) and not with the media. With his teammates? he might.
Remember that when Ripken broke the record he thanked only four people in his speech: His father, mother, wife and Eddie Murray. He said Murray showed him how to be a professional baseball player.
2007-05-04 14:55:32
214.   Bob Timmermann
210
I saw the game when Hensley got hurt and he really did hurt himself.
2007-05-04 14:56:14
215.   Branch Rickey
212. Right.
2007-05-04 14:56:48
216.   underdog
I always loved Mickey Hatcher, but, seriously, I still can't believe he's lasted this long as a hitting instructor. Though I guess he's a good example of a player who got the most out of his ability. He was... scrappy and slappy.

Does anyone hear one word from Eddie Murray on anything publicly? He's kind of like a monk, I thought.

2007-05-04 14:57:48
217.   underdog
214 Okay, I'll take your word for it. But I'm still suspicious of Ortiz's DL. Was it that he stubbed his toe, or had a hangnail? I can't remember.
2007-05-04 15:01:57
218.   Bob Timmermann
216
Eddie Murray talks to a lot of people. He just doesn't talk to the media. And he's not just a guy who will do TV and nothing else. He's an equal opportunity media ignorer.
2007-05-04 15:02:35
219.   Branch Rickey
216- What do you want to know? Very private but very nice to anyone he knows at all. Does a lot for charity. Never got in trouble. Didn't even drink in his playing days. Married with two kids. Teammates seemed to universally like him.
2007-05-04 15:08:53
220.   KBL
219)

I am liking him more and more by the minute

2007-05-04 15:12:00
221.   jasonungar07
One ex dodger I do root for when were not playing his team.

Over the winter, Green discovered a flaw in his swing, mechanics he'd developed after surgery he'd never cleared out.

"I haven't felt like this at the plate since my good years in L.A., in terms of seeing the ball and taking pitches," he said. "It's very encouraging. My goal coming into this year was trying to get back to my best years. It's been a month, but it's been a good month.

"It feels good to be in control rather than just be reacting, rather than just trying to squeak out hits."

2007-05-04 15:15:21
222.   underdog
218 Yeah, that's what I meant by publicly. And I respect him for it.
2007-05-04 15:20:24
223.   Dodgers49
>>> Kuo performed well in a starting role for the Dodgers last September, but the club is expected to place the 25-year-old in the bullpen when he returns. He's considered still a few weeks away from being ready. <<<

http://www.nbc10.com/mlb/13260706/detail.html

I thought the consensus last year was that Kuo was better suited to being a starter.

2007-05-04 15:22:47
224.   Doctor
Tony Jackson- ITD

Also, Jason Schmidt enjoyed his first baseball activity since going on the DL more than two weeks ago. The right-hander played catch, making 40 hard throws at a distance of 50-60 feet. Trainer Stan Conte cautioned against reading too much into the development, saying it was just one step in a long process.

2007-05-04 15:26:09
225.   Sushirabbit
209 If Jon picked a baseball-reference.com page to sponsor I'd give to the cause.
2007-05-04 15:30:39
226.   Daniel Zappala
Looking at that baseball-reference list, Jaimie Hoffmann is in high A, plays half his games in CF (most of the rest in RF), and is OPSing .893. Baseball America rates him as our best defensive outfielder. He was a Gulf Coast all star at 3B 3 years ago, but hasn't since had as good a year as that, and this is his second time through high A. Still only 22. I can hope that we have a CF solution two years out, right?

I like BA's projected 2010 lineup:

Catcher Russ Martin
First Base James Loney
Second Base Etanislao Abreu
Third Base Andy LaRoche
Shortstop Rafael Furcal
Left Field Andre Ethier
Center Field Juan Pierre
Right Field Matt Kemp
No. 1 Starter Chad Billingsley
No. 2 Starter Jason Schmidt
No. 3 Starter Clayton Kershaw
No. 4 Starter Scott Elbert
No. 5 Starter Brad Penny
Closer Jonathan Broxton

2007-05-04 15:32:15
227.   Bob Timmermann
225
Go visit the Red Schoendienst page.

You can send me something through PayPal.

2007-05-04 15:42:22
228.   screwballin
From http://www.answers.com/topic/eddie-murray

Off the field Murray was renowned for his refusal to speak to the press. His personal avoidance of the media began in 1979 when a New York columnist wrote a disparaging article about Murray's family, right during the World Series. Murray was so upset by the piece that it seemed to affect his play as the Orioles were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games. After that the mercurial Murray declined almost every interview opportunity. "I don't need to see my name in the paper every day," he explained in a rare Sports Illustrated profile. "I only care what the other players know of me. I let my baseball do the talking."

2007-05-04 15:52:46
229.   Branch Rickey
228. I would say that about sums it up.
2007-05-04 15:55:48
230.   Jon Weisman
I hope you all enjoyed the you-are-there style presentation of Baker '76. New post up top.
2007-05-04 15:57:10
231.   DXMachina
I recall when Murray was with the Mets he was labeled a clubhouse cancer by the New York media, and a bad influence on younger players. Of course it was pretty clear that he was labeled that because he wouldn't talk to the media, not because he'd had any problems with his teammates.
2007-05-04 16:03:34
232.   Branch Rickey
Since it got LAT'd, screwballin posted a link to a great summation of Eddie Murray and his career. I'd love to see him A) get more credit for what he's done as a coach (he won't ask for it, that's for sure) and B) be a little more celebrated as one of the few HOFers closely associated with the Dodger organization.
2007-05-04 16:21:45
233.   underdog
226 Nice.

Though I think the inclusion of Jason Schmidt there seems like wishful thinking...

2007-05-04 16:49:25
234.   scareduck
206 - Certainly, fans of the Angels are more verbose in their complaints about the Mickey Hatcher, I think one reason is that the Angels make no excuses that they are a "see the ball - hit the ball" team that does not work counts at all. And that if you look at their stats, even their prospects, don't walk a lot, and are high average but low OBA in comparison kind of players.

You touch on the heart of my "Fire Mickey Hatcher" campaign:

http://6-4-2.blogspot.com/2006/06/petulantly-waiting-to-fire-mickey.html

Hatcher is merely the most visible head of the hydra; the problem rests with a player development system that succumbs to a dangerous fatalism about OBP, as though it were somehow a lost, black art whose mastery Angels prospects will never learn, so why bother? That is, Hatcher is in some ways a canary in the coal mine of developmental bad habits. It's one thing to say a player can't be found at a reasonable price who avoids the out; but it's quite another to presume such players cannot be drafted for and created on the farm.

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