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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Grimm Dodger Tales
2003-07-02 08:26
by Jon Weisman

Am I the last guy to figure out why managers kick dirt onto home plate? It wasn't until I saw home plate umpire Ted Barrett bend over to sweep away the dirt left behind by Jim Tracy's two swipes of the foot Tuesday night that I clued in. What a petulant if hoary baseball tradition that is...

Onto my typical schizophrenic recap ...

The Lumpy Bell Curve of Attendance: There are 48 seats in front of my row in the Loge Level of Dodger Stadium leading up to the Big Dropoff. Throughout the game, I charted the number of bodies filling them, to offer my faithful readers of when people arrive and depart.

7:03 - 05 (National Anthem)
7:11 - 07 (First pitch)
7:19 - 14 (Bottom 1)
7:24 - 12 (Top 2)
7:30 - 14 (Bottom 2)
7:36 - 22 (Top 3)
7:51 - 24 (Bottom 3)
8:07 - 32 (Top 4)
8:15 - 28 (Bottom 4)
8:23 - 30 (Top 5)
8:33 - 30 (Bottom 5)
8:40 - 32 (Top 6)
8:45 - 35 (Bottom 6)
8:53 - 35 (Top 7)
9:15 - 29 (Bottom 7)
9:24 - 30 (Top 8)
9:31 - 27 (Bottom 8)
9:38 - 16 (Top 9)

Given the six runs the Padres scored in the top of the seventh, this section held it together pretty well. (If you're wondering why I haven't charted the bottom of the ninth, although I did stay until the end, please see the rule about leaving early in my previous entry, "We Show Up.")

Cannons & Peashooters: Ryan Klesko's leadoff home run in the seventh was estimated to be 449 feet. Also throughout the game, I charted the distance of every ball the Dodgers hit over the infield. Here's how they ranked:

Shawn Green1CF350'
Alex Cora4CF350'
Dave Roberts1LF325'
Fred McGriff4RF325'
Adrian Beltre7LF*310'
Fred McGriff9LF*290'
Alex Cora3RF*270'
Shawn Green3LF270'
Cesar Izturis5CF240'
Mike Kinkade7RF240'
Mike Kinkade4LF*225'

*denotes a hit. WHAP stands for Weisman Halfway Accurate Projection.

Basically, for an entire game, as I feared and yet sickly hoped might happen at the outset of this experiment, no Dodger reached the warning track, and only a handful hit balls that would have left your average city park softball field.

The Dodger Stadium scoreboard noted that Padres pitcher Brian Lawrence led the National League in groundball outs in 2002 - so this is even less of a surprise.

They're On To You: Jolbert Cabrera, he of the eight hit-by-pitches in 160 plate appearances, ran to first base holding his elbow after an 0-2 pitch came too far inside in the bottom of the fifth. However, Barrett called him back to the plate. Barrett did not rule that Cabrera hadn't tried to get out of the way; he said that the pitch missed Cabrera entirely and called it a ball. Cabrera argued (joined by Tracy), then struck out.

It Loomed Large Then: With one out in the top of the sixth, Xavier Nady of the Padres on second base and the Velcro peeling away from the Dodgers' 1-0 lead, Donaldo Mendez hit a routine grounder to second baseman Alex Cora. Immediately, everyone assumed the play would be at first and Nady would advance. But Cora threw a BB past Nady and nabbed him at third. Great play - smart and well-executed.

Today's "Green Means Stop" Observation: In the bottom of the sixth, Green hit a grounder to Mendez, who sent a no-respect, slow, high lob to first base to put out the now-lumbering Dodger outfielder by two steps.

Vestiges of Optimism? In the top of the seventh, with Klesko's tying home run in the books and runners on first and third, the Dodgers played the infield back for Gary Bennett, ready to concede the go-ahead run and ask themselves to score three to win. I'm sure some people might have questioned this, but the offensive depression hasn't gone so far to my head that I did.

The Uniform Changes Everything: Fans largely booed San Diego's Dave Hansen, Dodger career leader in pinch hits, when he came up to bat in the seventh. Makes no sense to me - this guy did everything the Dodgers ever asked of him except hit in his one full-time opportunity in 1992. I'm sure glad Manny Mota didn't finish his career with another team.

Falling Further Down the Organizational Ladder? Dodger coach Glenn Hoffman served as the warmup catcher for Tom Martin in the top of the ninth.

Fast and Furious: I scoreboard-watched the Angels' 7-5 victory over the Rangers, and was amazed at how fast the innings flew by. The teams finished their 12-run, 16-hit game in 2:16.

Better than Jose Gonzalez, 1991: My attendance at the game was rewarded with a Jason Romano plate appearance. Called strike. Called strike. Whiff.

The Dodgers' post-game radio guest was: No one.

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