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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Truly, Madly, Deeply
2008-04-28 08:57
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

It's amazing, isn't it? Last year, the Dodgers lose seven in a row to Colorado. They get pounded; they get edged. This year, a reversal: a three-game sweep for Los Angeles. This year, when an error and walks load the bases, Jonathan Broxton gets a double-play ball. This year, Todd Helton's ninth-inning fly ball off Takashi Saito stays in the park.

Was there extra determination on Saito's part to not let Helton beat him again, and was that determination greater than Saito's last September to keep the Dodgers in the pennant race? The math doesn't seem likely, but who knows? Was it something conscious or mindless that influenced the synapses that caused Saito and Russell Martin to choose a certain pitch to throw and Helton a certain pitch to prepare for, that caused the microscopic differences between how Saito gripped and released that baseball then and now, and the infinitesimal variances between the timing and path of Helton's swing one time and the next?

So often, wins and losses are reduced to an aphoristic "Who wanted it more?" Did Helton want it more in September? Did Saito want it more on Sunday? I initially dismiss this idea as after-the-fact rationalization, but maybe there's something there. It can be a factor - one factor. There can be atmospheric pressure in the air above right field and in the minds of the ballplayers.

We break down every ballplayer's ability for analysis and expectation, we grow boyishly hopeful or tiredly cynical, but baseball remains a mystery that would stymie the combined efforts of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, of Sam Spade and Eddie Fitzgerald. We can know more than anyone would want to about a batter and a pitcher — until that ball rips into its pneumatic journey toward the bat. Then, it's a case of William Goldman's "Nobody knows anything," adapted from the silver screen to the green diamond.

No matter what we learn, baseball remains America's greatest unsolved mystery.

* * *

  • This was truly bizarre: Sunday, I was thinking what a great idea it would be to try to stage a conversation between Vin Scully and John Wooden. Today, I read in the Times that it's already going to happen, thanks in no small part to T.J. Simers.

  • Josh Wilker visits metaphysically with Steve Howe at Cardboard Gods.

  • Sully Baseball wonders if Hideo Nomo, recently released by Kansas City, is getting a proper farewell from baseball, particularly Los Angeles. He suggests signing him to a one-day contract to give him one more start in a Dodger uniform - but given his current ability, that could potentially turn into something sour. Better to have a pregame ceremony where we could cheer for Nomo again and thank him for the memories.

  • Comments (155)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2008-04-28 09:52:22
    1.   vegasblueman
    Great stuff Jon.

    I truly believe that Nomo deserves something from the Dodgers. He was our ace...twice.

    So great to finally see the boys string something together over the weekend.

    2008-04-28 09:55:03
    2.   Lexinthedena
    Hideo Nomo was one of a only true Dodger brights spots in the 90's My late grandmother and I watched his Coors Field masterpiece and she never stopped talking about it. I would love a "Hideo Nomo Day" at the Dodger Stadium.
    2008-04-28 09:56:47
    3.   bigcpa
    I think we need a Buckner-esque Piazza Day before Nomo Day. McCourt has no idea that a Piazza farewell tour would have gotten more pub in town than the Green Necklace.
    2008-04-28 09:57:12
    4.   underdog
    Agree about Nomo Day. Perhaps a question for Josh and company?
    2008-04-28 09:58:21
    5.   Lexinthedena
    Piazza should be the backup catcher.

    Nomo was a pioneer for Japanese baseball and holds a little more significance in that sense.

    2008-04-28 10:04:05
    6.   vegasblueman
    2 - Not to mention he was the only bright spot in 2002-2003. Those years were before Beltre's monster year, before Gagne's streak, and as Green started to decline. I think I recall a game in which Nomo pitched a complete game and drove in the winning run. Anyone help me out?
    2008-04-28 10:05:54
    7.   Daniel Zappala
    0 Part of what makes baseball great is its combination of randomness and skill. Much of what decides the game is overall skill -- we all want Martin catching the majority of games and Penny pitching every 5 days. But a lot of individual moments come down to randomness -- did the bat hit the ball a little off-center? Did the batter swing a little too early, or did the pitcher leave the ball a little up? You never know what you are going to see.
    2008-04-28 10:06:47
    8.   Ken Noe
    Both deserve the honor of a day. But while Nomo seems done, surely Piazza would be an upgrade over Passed Ball Bennett.
    2008-04-28 10:10:03
    9.   regfairfield
    8 Would it really be any fun to see Piazza play once every two weeks? Would he want to?
    2008-04-28 10:10:21
    10.   Bob Timmermann
    Back in Aught Three, Nomo had just one game where he drove in any runs. He drove in three against the Redbirds on July 17 in a 6-3 win. It inlcuded a homer.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN200307170.shtml
    2008-04-28 10:11:22
    11.   Bluebleeder87
    really nice read Jon & great weekend for my Dodgers!
    2008-04-28 10:11:53
    12.   ToyCannon
    I've never understood the point of the pre-game ceremony. The place is half-filled, everyone is milling around getting food, or visiting, and the last thing they pay attention to, is the pre-game ceremonies.

    The 7th inning stretch when the place is at peak capacity makes more sense to me. A nice collage of his greatest Dodgers moments, a walk to the mound, an ovation and then back to the game. He gets a real send off instead of tepid acknowledgement by the pre-game crowd.

    John Philip Gurnee

    2008-04-28 10:13:14
    13.   KG16
    9 - I think between spelling Martin and Loney, Piazza could probably get a game or two a week. Plus, there will be the stretch when he can DH in interleague play... and again in October.
    2008-04-28 10:16:08
    14.   Disabled List
    I agree with 12 , although I don't think the players would enjoy stopping play mid-game for a ceremony.
    2008-04-28 10:16:26
    15.   Jon Weisman
    12 - Well, that'd be fine with me - except there's a time limitation there unless you really intend to throw the pitchers off their games. But I guess it'd be worse for the visiting pitcher, so count me in, JPG.
    2008-04-28 10:17:58
    16.   Kevin Lewis
    8

    I had a very proud moment this weekend when my wife and I were watching the highlights of Friday night. After the passed ball, she asked me, "What happened to Lieberthal?" I mean, my wife likes to watch the games with me, but to know our backup from last year, I was impressed. Sadly, I couldn't explain to her why we didn't resign Lieberthal.

    2008-04-28 10:20:10
    17.   Bob Timmermann
    To get a big crowd for a pregame ceremony, you have to hold it at the scheduled start time and then delay the start. Just tell the pitchers, so you don't get an incident like Mike Mussina in Toronto complaining about a pregame ceremony for a beloved deceased announcer.
    2008-04-28 10:22:42
    18.   D4P
    How would people feel about renaming the "ceremonial first pitch" the "ceremonial first catch"...?
    2008-04-28 10:23:35
    19.   still bevens
    Would it be impossible to sign Piazza to join the team when rosters expand in September? If we were playoff bound we could use his help.
    2008-04-28 10:26:12
    20.   Bob Timmermann
    19
    Do you think Piazza would still be in shape after taking that much time off? I would like to see Piazza end his career in a nice way and not leave us with the memory of Eddie Murray from 1997.
    2008-04-28 10:31:51
    21.   Zak
    Just don't delay the start for a Brad Penny game. And if you're gonna, let me know. I'll sit in right field with my glove on waiting to play catch.
    2008-04-28 10:39:59
    22.   al bundy
    Any chance a contact w/ the Dodgers will secure the text of Vin's speech at Pepperdine and post it somewhere? Jon, do you have a contact you could ask?
    2008-04-28 10:40:20
    23.   Ken Noe
    9 13 19 Piazza, if he's kept in reasonable shape, would be an upgrade on Bennett, certainly as a DH but even as an occasional backup. Yes, he would cost more, but since when has Ned been a good steward of McCourt's money? Martin might be more inclined to sit a bit if it's for Piazza. I don't see any negatives in at least offering to let him finish his career in LA.
    2008-04-28 10:45:24
    24.   Kevin Lewis
    19

    That was a really cool story. How fun would that be?

    2008-04-28 10:46:24
    25.   PalmdaleSteve1
    23

    Big lead late in a game, Nomo throwing to Pizza....what a way to close the book on both of them.

    That would be class.

    2008-04-28 10:46:47
    26.   Disabled List
    If Plaschke threw a fit when Brad Penny refused to give up #31 for Greg Maddux, what will he do if Penny doesn't give up the number for returning hero Mike Piazza?

    This issue needs to be dealt with and resolved before any further discussion about Piazza's return to the Dodgers can take place.

    2008-04-28 10:49:49
    27.   bigcpa
    Not sure if this has been pointed out before, but Jones leads the team in P/PA with 4.5- well above his career avg. He's actually 3rd in the league behind old friend Werth and F-Dome (Ethier and Martin both are in the top 11). I've noticed lately he's waiting for a strike to take the bat off his shoulder. He's let a few cookies go by on 2-0 counts. It was the Herges AB in the 8th yesterday that sent me hunting:

    Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Jones struck out swinging.

    Overall his selectivity is a good sign. But during this AB with Dewitt/Pierre due up, the Steve Lyons voice in my head was calling for some "situational hitting."

    2008-04-28 10:50:19
    28.   Bob Timmermann
    Any rebroadcast or retransmission of the accounts and transcripts of Vin Scully's commencement address at Pepperdine without the express WRITTEN consent of the President of Pepperdine University is strictly prohibited.
    2008-04-28 10:53:50
    29.   Louis in SF
    In addition for a Nomo Day or one day contract, what might also be considered is a real role in development or scouting. He was a definite trailblazer, persevered and reinvented himself at least twice. I have to think that would add some serious cache to Dodger efforts in Japan. I still have a Dodger Nomo shirt with his first number from the Dodgers
    2008-04-28 11:07:49
    30.   Eric Stephen
    6
    Not to mention he was the only bright spot in 2002-2003

    I have to disagree here. Nomo was great, but the entire pitching staff was outstanding in 2003. Some highlights:

    Brown - 211 IP, 169 ERA+
    Nomo - 218 IP, 130 ERA+
    Alvarez - 95 IP, 170 ERA+ (totally unexpected from a minor league FA)

    The bullpen:
    Gagne - 82 IP, 335 ERA+ (Cy Young; 55 for 55 in saves)
    Mota - 105 IP, 204 ERA+
    Quantrill - 77 IP, 231 ERA+
    Shuey - 69 IP, 134 ERA+
    Martin - 51 IP, 114 ERA+ (best inherited runner strander in LAD history - http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/PcYa)

    The entire pitching staff had a 128 ERA+ in 2003. Nomo wasn't the only thing memorable.

    One of the more memorable moments of 2003 was when Brian Jordan obliterated future Dodger and then Padre Gary Bennett at home plate, introducing him to the world of NFL-caliber hitting. (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN200304160.shtml)

    Oh yeah, also in 2002, Odalis had the two near no-nos.

    2008-04-28 11:09:57
    31.   Daniel Zappala
    26 What would have happened if both Maddux and Piazza were on the Dodgers this year?
    2008-04-28 11:11:32
    32.   Daniel Zappala
    29 cache -> cachet
    2008-04-28 11:11:41
    33.   bhsportsguy
    Times are desparate in the land of Brown and Gold Taco

    Found this note in a SD Union column about Jake Peavy's game on Sunday.

    Friday, Peavy was moved to lobby for the 40-year-old Kenny Lofton as a means of infusing the Padres' lineup with some of the speed it so plainly lacks.

    Before anyone gets any ideas, I don't think they are willing to take the Dodgers' number 4 outfielder.

    2008-04-28 11:12:00
    34.   Bob Timmermann
    32
    Computer geek!
    2008-04-28 11:12:59
    35.   Eric Stephen
    31
    Then we'd have 2 more HOFers to add to the current group of Kent, Martin, Loney, Kemp, Billingsley, Kershaw, and Broxton! :)

    (These are just the no doubters, by the way. I'm not including the fringe candidates.)

    2008-04-28 11:13:43
    36.   bhsportsguy
    Just a thought, isn't it possible that Piazza is done. Its going to be May in a few days and if every AL team passed on him, why does anyone think he could play anymore.
    2008-04-28 11:14:39
    37.   Jon Weisman
    It's like John Shelby never existed.
    2008-04-28 11:15:06
    38.   Eric Stephen
    33
    I don't know if it's especially prevalent here in SD, or if it's a trend in most MLB cities, but I've heard a lot of complaints about the Padres lack of speed from their fans. It's like the first thing they bring up, followed by the strikeouts.
    2008-04-28 11:16:24
    39.   Eric Stephen
    37
    Ha! Is T-Bone the only 31 to win a world championship with the Dodgers?

    This sounds like a Baseball Almanac question. To the bat cave!

    2008-04-28 11:17:55
    40.   vegasblueman
    30 - Fair enough. I guess I just had some fond memories of Nomo really gutting it out for us back then. Thanks for the stats, how quickly we forget. Especially with as much turnover as we have had the last 10+ years.
    2008-04-28 11:18:27
    41.   Jon Weisman
    36 - I think that's possible. I think it's just more the idea that he'd be more fun to have around than Gary Bennett and not much less productive, if at all.

    But I'm certainly past waiting for it to happen.

    2008-04-28 11:19:22
    42.   Bob Timmermann
    38
    So you're saying that Padres fans are all slow? Do they make them race at the end of the game or something like that?
    2008-04-28 11:19:26
    43.   KG16
    23 - reading the latest column in the Times about Martin taking days off (I think it was Helen Elliot), I doubt Martin would be willing to take games off if the risen Roy Campanella was the other option.

    That said, I've always believed in letting legends finish their careers on their terms. So, whatever Piazza wants to do, I'm fine with it, I just hope it's playing in a Dodger uniform.

    26 - I was always surprised that the Dodgers let Penny wear 31, I always figured it'd be an unofficially retired number until Induction Day, when it would be formally retired. But then I remember that was the old Dodger way.

    2008-04-28 11:24:01
    44.   Bluebleeder87
    30 I was gonna say you forgot Darren Dreifort but checking Baseball-reference dot com he was pretty average in '03
    2008-04-28 11:24:33
    45.   jujibee
    33. I know you didn't want this to lead into this discussion,(a buddy of mine and I had this conversation yesterday) but JP would be a good fit for SD. With the huge outfield and big gaps, that park would use more of his abilities. Edmonds is a time bomb and would be a nice 4th outfielder for them. Then, you throw in the fact that Giles would hit right behind him, and the Padres really seem to be a good fit, except for his weak arm.
    2008-04-28 11:26:15
    46.   KG16
    38 - station-to-station baseball is boring.

    One of the things I've loved about the Dodgers so far is the fact that they're willing to run a bit more (except Loney needs to stop) and are constantly trying to stretch singles into doubles.

    2008-04-28 11:26:45
    47.   Ken Noe
    36 41 Piazza in 2007: 8HR/44RBI/.275/.313/.414. Bennett: 2HR/17RBI/.252/.286/.335 (and this year .143/.143/.143).
    2008-04-28 11:29:24
    48.   Xeifrank
    If Piazza was the backup catcher and Martin got hurt, would Piazza then be able to catch 75% of the games? Could his body handle it? And can he still throw out runners? Just asking.
    vr, Xei
    2008-04-28 11:30:38
    49.   Eric Stephen
    42
    So you're saying that Padres fans are all slow?

    Put it this way: I beat a few of them in a 5k.

    2008-04-28 11:31:24
    50.   Eric Stephen
    46
    Haven't all (or all but one) of Loney's CS been busted hit & runs?
    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2008-04-28 11:34:01
    51.   Ken Noe
    48 I don't think so, but I also don't think Bennett would catch 75% if Martin went down. Surely Torre would transition to May pretty quickly.
    2008-04-28 11:34:20
    52.   Jon Weisman
    46 - Furcal and Kemp are aggressive on the bases. Martin is somewhat. Putting aside the busted hit-and-runs, who else in the lineup is? Certainly, I don't think this team is more aggressive on the bases than past Dodger teams.
    2008-04-28 11:37:21
    53.   bhsportsguy
    47 Piazza was just a DH last year.

    Piazza is just not a viable player to have on NL team anymore because you can't use him as a PH because you can't burn the backup catcher, so you have a player that might play 5 games a month.

    I think the Dodgers have 9 games where they can use a DH, so ultimately the most games he probably plays is around 30-35 games.

    Would Piazza settle for that type of season?

    2008-04-28 11:37:31
    54.   D4P
    If Piazza was the backup catcher and Martin got hurt, would Piazza then be able to catch 75% of the games? Could his body handle it? And can he still throw out runners?

    Can Bennett throw the ball to the pitcher's mound...?

    2008-04-28 11:37:39
    55.   Ken Noe
    By the way, today's the last day of classes for me, so to celebrate, I bought a gnome. Had to go to E-bay though...Dodger Shop is sold out of gnomes.
    2008-04-28 11:39:46
    56.   Eric Stephen
    37 ,39
    Dodger champs to wear #31
    1965: 3B Don LeJohn
    1988: CF John Shelby
    2008-04-28 11:43:13
    57.   KG16
    52 - I seem to recall Ethier and/or Jones stretching a couple of singles into doubles, same with Loney.

    Might be faulty memory on my part.

    2008-04-28 11:44:26
    58.   Ken Noe
    53 Bennett's only played in three in April, so he may end up playing 30-35...Lieberthal got into 38 last year. Piazza might get you 45 DH-ing against the AL. Now would he want that, I don't know. His options seem limited, and he might want to play in DS again. It's all theoretical anyway; like Jon, I don't expect it to happen.
    2008-04-28 11:45:39
    59.   Jon Weisman
    57 - I'm sure they have - but it's not as if that kind of thing hasn't always happened.
    2008-04-28 11:45:53
    60.   underdog
    BH has it right. I know Bennett looks bad behind the plate with his passed ball the other night and his "I'm saving my arm" on his weak tosses back to the mound but I've heard that he calls a pretty solid game and is generally a capable backup, whereas Piazza is literally not capable of catching - neither throwing out runners nor calling a game well - and don't think any of the Dodger coaches would be confident in him coming in there. I think if Golden God forbid Martin got hurt, they would probably call up someone like May to backup Bennett. (Or heck, re-sign Lieberthal, which is what I'd hoped they'd do in the first place.)
    2008-04-28 11:47:28
    61.   KG16
    59 - I dunno, just seems like it's happened a bit more frequently this year.
    2008-04-28 11:51:37
    62.   Terry A
    The heck with Piazza. Wake me on Chad Krueter Day.
    2008-04-28 11:52:27
    63.   regfairfield
    Since conventional wisdom says that you can't put your backup catcher into the game for any reason, Piazza wouldn't be able to play first or DH.

    I really do want to know what the odds of two specific players getting hurt on the same day is. I imagine it's quite low.

    2008-04-28 11:54:10
    64.   underdog
    Hmm, on the other hand, the Yankees could use more catching depth these days... Gary Bennett to the Yanks for.. uh, cash considerations? Call up Lucas May. Done!
    2008-04-28 11:54:53
    65.   Terry A
    63 - What if the two players are Darren Dreifort and Nomar Garciaparra?
    2008-04-28 11:55:50
    66.   regfairfield
    60 I thought Piazza's only weakness was his arm. I don't remember any complaints about weakness in other areas of his game.

    Doesn't one of the coaches call the game anyway?

    2008-04-28 11:56:54
    67.   Xeifrank
    Bucs Dugout Semi-Finals
    (Worst GM contest)
    #1 Sabean vs #4 Bavasi
    #2 Wade vs #3 Colletti

    Bavasi currently leads Sabean. Colletti's match hasn't started yet. vr, Xei

    2008-04-28 11:57:24
    68.   kinbote
    One of the things that stood out to me from yesterday's game was Cory Wade's outing. His curveball is excellent, he appears to have outstanding control, and he doesn't look afraid to throw his fastball for strikes. Granted it's the smallest of sample sizes, but I really like what he adds to our pen. I could see him sticking around as a durable and dependable middle inning option.
    2008-04-28 11:58:14
    69.   Andrew Shimmin
    Pepperdine has an archive of five, non-consecutive commencement addresses. Vin's isn't one of them; at least not yet.

    http://www.pepperdine.edu/pr/speeches/commencement/default.htm

    I sent CSPAN an email, a month or so ago, begging them to record Vin, and show his speech when they do their big weekend of commencement addresses, but never heard back. They were in town for the LA Times Festival of Books, anyway, though. So, fingers crossed.

    2008-04-28 11:58:20
    70.   kinbote
    67 WE for Colletti? :)
    2008-04-28 11:59:41
    71.   regfairfield
    67 Wade should destroy Colleti, thankfully.
    2008-04-28 11:59:42
    72.   Jon Weisman
    Inability to call a game has never been a standard criticism of Piazza as far as I know.
    2008-04-28 12:06:57
    73.   Eric Stephen
    68
    A quick search of Wade's minor league numbers shows very good control there as well: 2.03 BB/9 and a 4.11 K/BB ratio over 386 minor league innings. Granted, he does seem to have been old for his leagues (this is his age 25 season, and he only spent a partial season as high as AA), but control is definitely a part of his game.
    2008-04-28 12:07:15
    74.   vegasblueman
    A pretty interesting Live Chat just finished up over on ESPN dot com with Jayson Stark. They were debating the worst free-agent pitching contracts of all time. The debate starts with Zito vs. Hampton. But two Dodgers get special memtion. Never guess which two...
    2008-04-28 12:10:27
    75.   Eric Stephen
    74
    Speaking of bad pitching contracts, there was a story in Dodgers magazine about Chan Ho Park and Greg Miller, and the circle of baseball life or something like that. Miller was drafted with the compensation pick received by the Dodgers when Park signed with Texas.
    2008-04-28 12:12:27
    76.   bhsportsguy
    According to Bill James Online, the Dodgers top 11 players (4 outfielders, 6 infielders and Martin) have had 34 opportunities to score from second and they have scored 23 times.

    The Dodgers propensity to hit ground balls (1.4 ration of ground balls over fly balls), hurts them as they are among the league leaders in GDP.

    2008-04-28 12:14:45
    77.   ToyCannon
    Not only are the Padres old and slow but their two best prospects are flailing in AAA.

    Headley is doing a 2007 Loney AAA act after being sent down even though he was probably the best offensive outfielder they had. Antonelli isn't doing any better.

    2008-04-28 12:18:21
    78.   Bob Timmermann
    69
    Andrew don't get all supplicant with C-SPAN. It's beneath you. You can't let Brian Lamb boss you around.
    2008-04-28 12:20:05
    79.   ToyCannon
    The Baseball HQ minor league analyst had this to say when I asked him about Wade and if he could have a role in the Dodger bullpen in 2008.
    " perhaps in a match-up role, but he doesn't have enough fastball or quality complementary stuff to hold-down a more responsible role."
    2008-04-28 12:21:26
    80.   bhsportsguy
    77 I thought the initial reviews of Antonelli were mixed at best. However, the inability to hit in the PCL can be considered a definite problem.

    78 I thought he left C-SPAN.

    2008-04-28 12:21:52
    81.   Reddog
    I guess Zito's contract is worse than anything Ned has done. But maybe not - cumulatively, Ned has spent more on his bad signings than what SF spent on Zito. And so we end up with more mediocre players on our roster, blocking the development of guys like Repko.
    2008-04-28 12:22:12
    82.   Eric Stephen
    77
    The two local sports radio stations have abandoned their usual blind support of the team this season and have been openly critical of the Padres. The city is awash in a sea of panic right now, and it's quite refreshing for me.
    2008-04-28 12:26:44
    83.   Andrew Shimmin
    78- I did throw in a shot about their thinking that Pat Morrison is the only L.A. resident of any importance.

    The problem with C-Span is that there's no leverage--they not only don't care about ratings, they refuse to submit to having their audience measured. So, the only tools left are self-abasement or threatening physical violence. And you have to do those in the right order. . .

    2008-04-28 12:29:31
    84.   Jon Weisman
    Did anyone hear my daughter's radio debut Friday at 7:35 p.m. on 710 AM?
    2008-04-28 12:29:43
    85.   ToyCannon
    Just to add to the 2 1/2 year old debate on Jayson Werth and center field.

    From Rotowire:
    "Jayson Werth (OF) PHI 4/28/2008
    Shane Victorino, whom Werth has replaced in centerfield, is expected to return back from the DL on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Manager Charlie Manuel has been impressed with the way Werth has stepped up in Victorino's absence and has said he will find a way to keep Werth in the Phillies' lineup. Though Werth likely won't play everyday, Geoff Jenkins struggles present Philadelphia with the option of keeping him in center and moving Victorino to rightfield, where he played last season."

    2008-04-28 12:30:14
    86.   underdog
    66/72 - You might be right about that. I was thinking more about the more recent Piazza rather than his history in general, and even that might not be fair. And based it on opinion/scouting pieces on the web that may not be fair. (There was also a piece posted on Dugout Central recently about how Piazza wasn't as bad defensively as some may think. So there are arguments for both sides. His arm was never his strong suit, shall we say.) But scouting reports vary on his game-calling, and some feel like that's overrated anyway. But how comfortable pitchers are with a catcher isn't overrated. At any rate, I always dreamed of him coming back to the Dodgers, too, but like you guys, have basically given up on it.

    You know what's funny? I'd completely blocked out that he ever played with the Padres until now. It's like it never happened.

    2008-04-28 12:31:28
    87.   bhsportsguy
    82 You cannot go into the season with no LF, a walking poster for the DL in center and declining skills aging RF and believe that you will score enough runs to win.

    It also sounds like the team is beginning its annual blast at Petco Park's effect on their offense.

    2008-04-28 12:33:13
    88.   underdog
    79 That report on Wade just sounds wrong to me, though granted I'm basing my feelings on him on small sample size of seeing him in spring training and then his few appearances so far in the games that count. As well as his minor league stats which show good control. Guess we'll see, but I feel better about him helping the team than the BHQ guy.
    2008-04-28 12:33:51
    89.   bhsportsguy
    84 I have not yet (as I was at the game with Greg Brock), but here's a link to hear a podcast.

    http://tinyurl.com/53ku7f

    2008-04-28 12:34:16
    90.   Jon Weisman
    86 - How about his hallowed Florida career? Twelve percent of his career triples total came with the Marlins!
    2008-04-28 12:36:04
    91.   Marty
    The Roger Clemens story just keeps getting weirder.
    2008-04-28 12:38:47
    92.   underdog
    90 But I don't loathe the Marlins!

    It's up there with Orel pitching for the Giants. Every time someone tells me that happened I stare at them like someone with dementia being told what their name is, as if hearing it for the first time.

    2008-04-28 12:40:40
    93.   Jon Weisman
    89 - About the 39:20 mark.
    2008-04-28 12:43:56
    94.   bhsportsguy
    93 She comes in just as Jon talks about his favorite subjects, middle relievers.
    2008-04-28 12:45:48
    95.   bhsportsguy
    93 I have no idea of what she said, maybe she screamed bring up Kershaw.
    2008-04-28 12:51:58
    96.   Jon Weisman
    She broke through the no-fly zone of the house. She could have gone all shock jock on me and there would have been nothing I could have done about it ... except pull the plug on the interview.

    New security measures for future interviews will be implemented.

    2008-04-28 13:02:35
    97.   ToyCannon
    91
    This might be the strangest turn yet. 15 year old girls are used to boys with acne on their backs so maybe that was the draw.
    2008-04-28 13:04:31
    98.   MC Safety
    What a stupendous weekend.

    I'm pretty nicked up from Coachella, and I'm only about 70 percent, but I made it, and I'm able to post. It was definitely one for the ages.

    And 10 runs in the first with 2 out?!?

    What?

    2008-04-28 13:10:49
    99.   Jim Hitchcock
    98 Yes, and very, very satisfying.

    I think a good nickname for James Loney might be `The Breeze', as in `They Call me the Breeze', by JJ Cale.

    2008-04-28 13:14:16
    100.   Bob Timmermann
    The scary thing is that Jon's daughter actually has satellite radio because she's a big Howard Stern fan.
    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2008-04-28 13:16:24
    101.   Linkmeister
    Completely o/t, but after watching the PBS show about Roberto Clemente last week I remembered I'd never read David Maraniss's bio of the man. I got it from the library and read it over the weekend.

    I give it 4 1/2 stars.

    2008-04-28 13:17:54
    102.   ToyCannon
    Ticket info on the Vin/John charity talk off.
    http://tinyurl.com/5g7fod
    2008-04-28 13:18:50
    103.   silverwidow
    Andy LaRoche is getting a lot of hits for Jax, but is missing extra-base power.

    Oh, and Mario Alvarez is big waste of a 40-man roster spot. He should be outrighted/DFA'd.

    2008-04-28 13:19:31
    104.   ToyCannon
    How appropiate that it is being held at Chick Hearn Crt.
    2008-04-28 13:24:04
    105.   ToyCannon
    Yeah, I think I'd rather have Dequam LaWesley Wright right about now instead of Mario. I wonder which scout/assistant vice president talked Ned into thinking Mario was worth a 40 man spot and Wright wasn't?
    2008-04-28 13:24:59
    106.   Eric Stephen
    101
    I give it 4 1/2 stars

    Out of 5, or 10?

    2008-04-28 13:27:25
    107.   Eric Stephen
    105
    That's a cool name. This may be shocking, but he is the only Dequam in MLB history.
    2008-04-28 13:34:17
    108.   ToyCannon
    107
    Yet, he goes by Wesley instead of Dequam or LaWesley. Go figure
    2008-04-28 13:36:23
    109.   Eric Stephen
    108
    I think Wright wanted a chance to make an MLB roster so he asked the Dodgers to leave him unprotected, and Colletti replied, "As you Lawish".
    2008-04-28 13:36:57
    110.   natepurcell
    Lucas May is becoming a good prospect.
    2008-04-28 13:37:10
    111.   silverwidow
    Speaking of relievers, Wade > Troncoso

    I hope the brass feel the same way.

    2008-04-28 13:39:12
    112.   natepurcell
    111

    I like Tron Tron's stuff better. But Wade might be more mlb ready at this moment. I think over the long haul though, Tron Tron's going to perform better.

    2008-04-28 13:41:02
    113.   evenatriple
    102 Do you know what the password or offer code is to purchase one of these tickets? It wouldn't let me proceed until I entered something in that box
    2008-04-28 13:41:12
    114.   Linkmeister
    Oh, sorry, thinking about Amazon's scale. 4 1/2 of 5. It's very good. Makes Clemente come alive as a complex human being as well as a wonderful right-fielder. Doesn't make the Dodger organization look very good in their attempts to hide him from the other teams in the Fifties.
    2008-04-28 13:43:02
    115.   bhsportsguy
    113 Tickets do not on sale until May 7th.
    2008-04-28 13:46:30
    116.   Humma Kavula
    110 That's why we call him the Silver God.

    And by we, I mean I.

    2008-04-28 13:49:13
    117.   Kevin Lewis
    Nice recovery in the interview, Jon. I can tell you were trying not to bust up at that point.
    2008-04-28 13:50:14
    118.   evenatriple
    115 Well, it looks like these $200 VIP tix are on sale starting today. But only if you have the right password or event code.
    2008-04-28 13:58:38
    119.   Bob Timmermann
    I'd give you the code if you had signed up for Baseball Toaster Platinum. Just $300 per month!
    2008-04-28 14:01:47
    120.   Jon Weisman
    You all think Bob's joking ...
    2008-04-28 14:02:37
    121.   CanuckDodger
    110 -- Lucas May hit really well last April too, but his batting average steadily eroded as the season wore on, so I am reserving judgment till I see if the same thing happens this year.

    111,112 -- Troncoso's stuff is more eye-catching, and he is a groundball guy, while Wade is a flyball pitcher who just pounds the strike zone. Wade is really atypical of pitchers in the Dodgers' farm system. He's the kind of guy you expect to see in the A's, Padres, Red Sox, or Blue Jay' organization.

    2008-04-28 14:05:25
    122.   kinbote
    Organizationally speaking, it's a good sign that we brought up Wade rather than Koplove. The latter, on the surface, has put up good numbers at AAA this year.

    Wade, Troncoso, & Brazoban all look like future bullpen stalwarts. Assuming the Minotaur & McDonald will continue to be groomed as starters, the interesting case will be Meloan. I'm guessing he'll go wherever the need is greatest.

    Dodger Pitching: We have a lot!

    2008-04-28 14:07:04
    123.   bhsportsguy
    119 That includes 24-hour web-cam access of the window sill where Bob puts his apples pies to cool.
    2008-04-28 14:07:43
    124.   Bob Timmermann
    With Toaster Platinum you get these other features:
    1. The answers to the rebus puzzles one day ahead of time.
    2. A boring historical anecdote that will include you in it every month
    3. The right to give James Loney a nickname of your choosing
    4. A link to the secret Dodger Thoughts threads that don't mention Juan Pierre.
    5. A special beach ball to take to baseball games. It has "irony" printed on it
    6. Danica McKellar will record a greeting for your answering machine or help you or your children solve hard math problems.
    2008-04-28 14:10:39
    125.   natepurcell
    121

    I'm moreso talking about his K/bb rates.

    His strikeouts are down and his walk rates are up. That bodes well that he is finally starting to get it.

    2008-04-28 14:11:52
    126.   natepurcell
    scratch that on the strikeouts, I don't know what number I was looking at.
    2008-04-28 14:12:40
    127.   LogikReader
    124

    Number 6.

    I dunno... it's kinda hard to opt into this when Carl Kasell will do it for free.

    2008-04-28 14:14:24
    128.   Bob Timmermann
    Will Carl Kassel solve math problems for you AND help you live out adolescent fantasies?

    I think not.

    2008-04-28 14:16:11
    129.   kngoworld
    124 How about automatic/instant comment updates. Thats worth the $300 fee alone. My refresh button could really use a break.
    2008-04-28 14:16:33
    130.   Daniel Zappala
    Is Wade being used before Proctor in the 7th inning now?
    2008-04-28 14:18:14
    131.   LogikReader
    128

    Toss in Jenna Fischer and we have a deal!! I would enjoy having her solve my math problems.

    2008-04-28 14:18:20
    132.   D4P
    130
    At least until Torre gets to know Proctor a little better.
    2008-04-28 14:18:31
    133.   berkowit28
    99 I think a good nickname for James Loney might be `The Breeze'

    I like "Popeye", that one of the Dodgers (Beimel?) used on FOX a couple weeks back.

    2008-04-28 14:19:22
    134.   Jon Weisman
    128 - When Wonder Years premiered, I was already of an age where my adolescent fantasies could only involve the nostalgic idea of Winnie Cooper, not Winnie Cooper herself. That's the tricky part.
    2008-04-28 14:19:27
    135.   LeeLacy
    99 That wouldn't be a bad nickname. Though The Breeze might be a better moniker for Andruw, considering the cooling gusts generated by his all-too-frequent swings and misses.
    2008-04-28 14:21:42
    136.   Marty
    My nickname for Loney is "The candy-colored clown they call the sandman"

    I don't know why it hasn't caught on.

    2008-04-28 14:23:27
    137.   Humma Kavula
    133 The nickname Popeye shall be reserved for ballplayers with the surname Doyle.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067116/

    2008-04-28 14:26:06
    138.   kinbote
    130 I think Wade is merely the designated "fresh arm" in the pen. If he happens to pitch well during this stint, he may earn a larger role. It may be a bad sign that Torre is already wearing out his key members of the bullpen. Thank goodness we appear to have depth in this department.
    2008-04-28 14:26:56
    139.   bhsportsguy
    134 Not sure how Jon has worked out the fact that Jenna Fischer (34 in March 2008) is less than year older than Danica McKellar (33 in January 2008).

    But then Jenna was just a girl growing up in the St. Louis suburbs back when The Wonder Years premiered.

    2008-04-28 14:30:54
    140.   bhsportsguy
    134 "The Wonder Years" premiered 20 years ago in March 1988.

    Jenna Fischers' first credit on IMDB.com was in 1998 and her "big break" was in 2005, 17 years after Winnie Cooper came into popular culture.

    2008-04-28 14:32:13
    141.   LogikReader
    Danica gets bonus points for being on "How I Met Your Mother"
    2008-04-28 14:37:36
    142.   Dodgers49
    26 If Plaschke threw a fit when Brad Penny refused to give up #31 for Greg Maddux, what will he do if Penny doesn't give up the number for returning hero Mike Piazza?

    IIRC, Piazza wore #25 his first year with the Dodgers. He then switched to #31 his second year. So maybe we could just give him Andruw's number. It doesn't appear to be doing anything for Jones.

    2008-04-28 14:41:52
    143.   Bob Timmermann
    Mike Lieberthal will retire as a Phillie:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=txphillieslieberthal&prov=st&type=lgns
    2008-04-28 14:49:06
    144.   kinbote
    I realize I don't share the same taste in art as many on this site, but this is arguably the biggest literary story of my lifetime:

    http://tinyurl.com/6g3nxx

    If anyone finds out any further publishing details, please share.

    2008-04-28 14:49:20
    145.   Michael D
    Sorry if this has been mentioned but ex Dodger prospect Chuck Tiffany pitched an inning for the Rays high A team over the weekend. He's now 23 years old. He's from my neck of the woods (well ok the next city over) and I know a lot of people who went to his high school so I hope he can have some sort of career.
    2008-04-28 14:49:55
    146.   Disabled List
    I don't want Toaster Platinum. What do I get with the $995 Baseball Toaster Diamond Double Secret Super Deluxe edition?
    2008-04-28 14:51:29
    147.   D4P
    I'm content with the Toaster Home Version.
    2008-04-28 14:56:42
    148.   underdog
    I would rather have the Flying Toaster Deluxe. For that one the blog doubles as a screen saver.
    2008-04-28 15:01:19
    149.   Bob Timmermann
    It's presently 91 degrees in Downtown L.A.

    Over in Chicago, it's presently 37 degrees with a light rain for the White Sox-Orioles game.

    2008-04-28 15:02:59
    150.   Sagehen
    So how does this signing of Lieberthal for one day work? Will the Phillies be sending someone down to AAA to make room on the roster for him? If a player retires, does the 10-day rule apply? Will the Phillies have to bring up a different player to take Lieberthal's spot the next day?
    Show/Hide Comments 151-200
    2008-04-28 15:03:29
    151.   Jon Weisman
    146 - Personal VIP service. Just speak to the concierge.

    New post up top.

    2008-04-28 15:05:54
    152.   Sagehen
    I think "Mike Piazza Day" will have to wait until either (a) he officially retires, or (b) he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. I think the latter. The wound is still too fresh, even after all this time. Do the Dodgers really want to open that scab, still there from Piazza's trade, even if it was from a previous administration?
    2008-04-28 15:08:22
    153.   Jon Weisman
    152 - Since the villains of the story are long gone, I don't see why not.
    2008-04-28 15:10:25
    154.   Andrew Shimmin
    144- How good would fifty index cards worth of a book have to be to overcome its not having an ending and never having been edited? I consider Pale Fire his great unfinished novel, since I gave up on it after a hundred some odd pages.

    This is a good reminder to destroy things you don't want your children to make public. Never leave till tomorrow what you can burn today!

    2008-04-28 15:11:50
    155.   Sagehen
    Nomo day, on the other hand ... he really was a pioneer. My brother lived in Santa Barbara during Nomomania, and when I came out to visit, he would call his Japanese conversation partner, and we'd all go to a game. The memories I have are not so much of watching Nomo but of watching him through Japanese eyes.

    I went and saw him in Candlestick at the height of Nomomania. You could see signs with Japanese lettering held up all over the stadium. For that one day, yes, you could safely root for the Dodgers in Candlestick park. That's how much Nomo transformed people's perceptions.

    When Nomo pitched his no-hitter in Colorado, I was living in North Carolina and heard about it on ESPN during the 7th inning. I called my brother and told him to turn on the t.v. For the next hour, we stayed on the phone, as he gave me the play-by-play.

    Forgive me for going on here, but Nomo is responsible for several of my greatest baseball memories. He deserves his day.

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