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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Not Pointing Fingers Today
2003-06-16 08:33
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Unusually bored on a hot day in the Valley in my usual position in the outfield at our Sunday morning softball pickup game, and with our team well out in front (not that these leads usually last), I requested a few innings at shortstop. Unfortunately, the first grounder that came to me took a bad hop (or was it just me?). Anyway, it went off my right index finger - a key typing finger, it should go without saying. To paraphrase Michael Jackson: "It's black. It's blue." But for peace in our times, I will persevere...

Ascension
The dawn comes with only three major league teams holding better records than the Dodgers, who are back on pace to win 95 games and who hold a 1 1/2-game lead in the wild-card standings over the fading Montreal Expos. The Dodgers have won 20 of their past 28 games and 31 of their past 45 - that's .674 ball for a month and a half.

According to ESPN.com, of the 19 teams with records of .500 or better, the Dodgers have played the easiest schedule. Further, in July, the Dodgers play only nine games against teams with .500 or better records: six against St. Louis (four at home and only two on the road - how's that for a break) and three at Philadelphia.

But for the next two weeks, it gets Serious. Rigorous. Arduous. Six against San Francisco, six against Anaheim. How will it go? Well, the first nine will all be played in hard-core pitchers' parks, so it's hard to imagine that there won't be one low-scoring game after another - which means it could go any way you like...

Cabrerathon
Jolbert Cabrera is becoming a bonafide story. After 130 plate appearances, Cabrera has an OPS of .850 and an EQA of .297. He has also shown that he can field anything that comes to him, as long as it's hit in the air. Taking grounders and throwing the ball - that's another story. The shot up the middle that caused the bizarre infield-single-turned-game-saving double play Sunday was a ball of Cabrera's glove that Alex Cora would have likely fielded cleanly.

Brian Dohn of the Daily News writes that Cora is bumming about being benched so that Jim Tracy could keep Cabrera's bat in the lineup against Cleveland's left-handed starters. The interesting thing is that so far this season, the right-handed Cabrera is hitting better against righties, and the left-handed Cora is hitting better against lefties.

It's a clear sign of Tracy's committment to Adrian Beltre, who of course isn't hitting anyone at all, that Cabrera isn't taking more time at third base. It is also clear that until Cabrera proves he can't hit, he should be playing. I'm honestly just not sure it should be at second base - or only at second base, at any rate. Second base and shortstop are where Cabrera's offense is mitigated the most by his defense. Tracy should work him throughout the outfield and corner infield positions...

Strangest Move of the Weekend
When I criticize a Jim Tracy decision, it shouldn't be taken as an overall indictment of him as a manager. Tracy does a thousand things right - and doesn't get credit for them, because there's nothing noteworthy about making the right decision. There's nothing to discuss. But when he does something wrong, boy, it's glaring.

He made a move Friday that really blew me away. In the ninth inning of a tie game, Cora was on third base with one out. Tracy sent Dave Roberts in to pinch-run for Cora. Given how fast Cora is himself, think how little an advantage you gain by this move. Now think about what you lose - a great defensive player in a tie game, and the ability to use Roberts in a more pressing situation...

Call the AMA
Prostate cancer is a powerful disease, and the Dodgers were nearly powerless to join the fight against it. With every home run hit last week raising money for CaP CURE, the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate, the Dodgers contributed one, by backup catcher Dave Ross. Should the Dodgers consider making a separate donation - or at least start keying the CaP CURE to Eric Gagne saves?

By the way, the Dodger season totals now stand at 40 home runs, 36 sacrifice hits.

As for Ross, his three-hit performance Saturday reinforced my position that the Dodgers need a third catcher so that Ross can be used more often. Daryle Ward will presumably replace Bubba Crosby on the roster, but again, Jason Romano's value as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement is a luxury the Dodgers can't afford. (Of course, I'd still be happy to lose Ron Coomer, but I've given up hope of that happening...)

Can We Still Make Axel Foley References?
Finally, I hope I haven't brought this up before, but have you ever heard how much Fred McGriff sounds like Eddie Murphy? It's quite something. As McGriff was interviewed on the radio last week, I was transported to Beverly Hills Cop: "I'm not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe again..."

Agents of Peace
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Milton Bradley and Paul Lo Duca, who made peace Sunday just like the Hatfields and the McCoys, are represented by the same agents: Seth and Sam Levinson.

No Littleball for Little
Nomar Garciaparra of the Red Sox has 12 freakin' triples already this season. Sunday, he hit his 12th - along with three doubles - against the Astros. Yet in the 14th inning, Garciaparra took it upon himself to sacrifice. According to the Boston Globe, Red Sox manager Grady Little was "livid" - at least until Manny Ramirez followed with a game-winning single.

Still, a warning. Dodgers ... don't try this at home.

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