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About Jon
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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
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7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Bloody Confused!
2008-08-07 21:10
by Jon Weisman

Chuck Culpepper, whom I've mentioned in these parts before (he wrote this article, for example), is really a superb sportswriter. He has written a wonderful book called Bloody Confused! that I'd like to recommend to you. It's sort of a combination of Bill Bryson and Nick Hornby, although very much an original: a humorously sharp nonfiction piece about how Culpepper reached the limit of dealing with the American sports scene and headed over to England to dive blindly into that country's soccer culture.

I think my disinterest in soccer has long been part of the official record here, so you can imagine that if the book got me excited, you don't need a love for soccer to enjoy it. I'm not sure you even need a love for sports. But if you do like the game ... so much the better. It's just a thoroughly charming, entertaining tale.

Here's an excerpt:

Ten days after moving to London in February 2006, I went to see the club called "ChelseaTheyBoughtTheirTitle." Two generous lawyers invited me. I had heard much about ChelseaTheyBoughtTheirTitle and marveled that when English people around the country spoke of this club, the seldom settled for the roper terminology, "Chelsea," but always opted for the more demanding elocution of "ChelseaTheyBoughtTheirTitle," almost as if they were manifestly incapable of pronouncing "Chelsea" without affixing "TheyBoughtTheirTitle."

Chelsea, by then, epitomized the swanky London decade. It played in a swanky London neighborhood, in semi-swanky Fulham on the edge of utterly swanky Chelsea. Long a mainstay in English football and occasionally a powerhouse, Chelsea had become a full-on powerhouse in 2003 by that most time-honored of methods. A magnate had bought it – Roman Abramovich, Russian oil, born in 1966, one of the twenty richest people on earth – and had used that money in one of the noblest places a man can use it: on salaries that would enable the fans to watch their club beat the living hell out of the loathsome other clubs.

On this day, Sunday, February 25, 2006, Chelsea would play some straggler from the south called Portsmouth. I knew very little about this Portsmouth, save for some vague reckoning that it probably sat by the water. We had a Portsmouth in my home state of Virginia, close to Suffolk, Norfolk, Hampton, Windsor, Southhampton, Sussex, and Virginia Beach, as we're incapable of thinking up our own names save for the odd "Virginia Beach," which we concocted on our own by standing on a beach, then noticing we were in Virginia. In the spectacular wastefulness of the teenage years, I'd spent many nights among friends in Portsmouth, the Virginia version, driving around and around and around and around and around with no destination, much like NASCAR. I even lived in this derivative, Virginian Portsmouth for a year at age seventeen when our parents moved us from adjacent Suffolk while they finished our new house. I spent much of the year wallowing in spite that they'd moved us twenty-five minutes from our friends.

I often wonder why anyone has children.

For the 3:00 PM kick-off of Chelsea versus Portsmouth – if I'd gone about one year prior, I might've mistakenly taken a train to Portsmouth – we met at 12:30. From the station the London lawyer, Duncan, an understated and kindly sort of about forty, began shepherding myself and Jerry, my great friend for twenty-five years, a New York lawyer, and one of a smallish assortment of Americans who prefer the Premiership to American sports. Duncan led us through a maze of streets away from the stadium hubbub, to a fine gumdrop of a pub I could not find again if you gave me three hours and one London A-to-Z map guidebook already turned to page 99.

The pub half-teemed with Chelsea fans, but with the real deals, the long-sufferers, those who knew Chelsea before it changed its name to ChelseaTheyBoughtTheirTitle. These people had weathered lean decades before striking Russian oil. They had not just straggled in from Tokyo or Chicago or Mayfair professing satellite TV devotion after Abramovich helped turn Chelsea into a global brand. Even Jerry had signed on in the 1990s, safely before the Roman Empire.

In a small ring of six Chelsea fans, then, I stood for more than two hours, talking, listening, learning and drinking enough beer to stagger a large farm animal. We chatted about the leaner Chelsea years, about the astounding fitness of rugby players, about some upcoming expose of an alleged gay orgy among Premiership players, about how Americans watched women's soccer during the 1999 World Cup but Britons never would, about how they'd love to have Wayne Rooney on Chelsea, about how most Britons can't abide the NFL's abundant halts. It was sublime, this pregame. To a wayward sportswriter, these hours proved so magical, so alleviating of life's puny worries, that I realized at once I'd spent two decades missing something. ...

It only gets better. Do consider giving it a buy.

Comments (173)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-08-07 21:25:01
1.   Greg Brock
This sounds brill. I'll definitely buy it.
2008-08-07 21:26:33
2.   trainwreck
Gay orgies are probably not going to help futbol's image in America.
2008-08-07 21:26:54
3.   Eric Stephen
I'm going to check it out from my local library. Then I won't read it.

Then I'll auto-renew the book twice, and still turn it in a day late.

2008-08-07 21:30:10
4.   Greg Brock
Oh, and Chelski are wankers.


2008-08-07 21:31:04
5.   Alex41592
Book looks intriguing.

D'Backs lose 6-4. Back to 1 1/2.

2008-08-07 21:35:24
6.   Jon Weisman
In Britain, the book's title is "Up Pompey."
2008-08-07 21:44:07
7.   underdog
Nice. Thanks for the recommendation, Jon. I have added to my Amazon wish list. As a fan and player of soccer, I guess I'll like it even more! ;-) He is a great writer, indeed.

Btw, speaking of great writing, after watching it for the second time, may I once again recommend "In Bruges." Rent it. Great writing.

2008-08-07 21:45:45
8.   The Dude Abides
I second the vote for "In Bruges." Hilarious, sad, and thought provoking.
2008-08-07 21:51:06
9.   Suffering Bruin
Outside of Brock, I don't know too many soccer fans. I asked a buddy who lived in England; he said, "Think NFL in America." Well, nothing gets covered more than the NFL (see Favre, Brett). "Now double it," he said.

I gotta go overseas before I die and get to one of those games. Cool excerpt, Jon. Thanks.

2008-08-07 21:51:16
10.   overkill94
7 8 I'll third that!
2008-08-07 21:51:45
11.   MJW101
If Ned does bid adieu to Kent ($9M), Nomar ($8.5M), Furcal ($13M), Beimal and Lowe ($10M) then he should be able to fit Blake ($9M) & Manny ($20M) into the 2009 budget, plus cover the scheduled increases for Pierre & Jones, the arb increases for Martin/Saito/Broxton and the resigning of Park.

The trick is getting Manny for no more than $20M per year and no more than 2 years. Bora$ has Ned's number in more ways than one.

2008-08-07 21:55:09
12.   Greg Brock
9 Underdog, Hallux Valgus, Penarol, a few others around here love footie. Bob likes it.

SB, I can pick a team for you. Or, at the very least, tell you which ones you cannot support.

2008-08-07 21:57:12
13.   Greg Brock
Also, relegation is a wonderful concept, and teams in MLB would try a little harder if they faced the risk of being demoted to AAA.
2008-08-07 21:58:07
14.   Eric Stephen
Why would Manny agree to a contract of exactly the terms of the option years he wanted so very much to get rid of? To get Manny on a short-term deal (2 years) it needs to be much more than $20m per. Manny is probably looking for length, 4-5 years. I'm guessing somewhere in the 4/$80 range gets it done.

Also, with no moves and all free agents leaving, the 2009 payroll will be about $96m. That includes all arb raises. It also assumes the non-Loney infield will be some combo of Abreu/Hu/DeJesus/DeWitt.

There's some money to play with to be sure though.

2008-08-07 22:01:10
15.   Tripon
"I didn't say [the Dodgers] were sticking it to me," he said. "I'm sticking it to myself by not playing well."

...That's not what you said Juan Pierre.,0,1362308.column?page=2

2008-08-07 22:01:14
16.   natepurcell

Because Boras would get the commission on it whereas if the Red Sox (or any other team) were to just pick up his options on his current contract, Boras gets no commission.

2008-08-07 22:02:30
17.   Lexinthedena
7 8 I would like to know why you thought In Bruges was good. I thought it was aweful, with the exception of a few very amusing scenes.

14 If Abreu could return to form, an infield of DeWitt, Hu, Abreu, and Loney would be fun.

2008-08-07 22:02:37
18.   natepurcell

I think Furcal and Nomar come back but Blake leaves.

2008-08-07 22:07:26
19.   Tripon
While I like Blake, its clear he's itching to move back to the Indians, and with the way Marte's playing, the Indians have to be welcome back Blake with open arms.
2008-08-07 22:09:13
20.   natepurcell

Blakes also going to be 35 and he isn't a HOF hitter like Manny. It doesn't make sense to give him an extended contract.

2008-08-07 22:09:45
21.   underdog
Dodger Stadium reviewed on Big League Stew on Yahoo today:
2008-08-07 22:12:36
22.   Alex41592
A middle infield of Furcal and Orlando Hudson would be fun to watch. Dewitt, Furcal, Hudson and Loney would be an excellent defensive infield. Also, not too shabby with the bat as well. DeWitt could take more time though.
2008-08-07 22:13:08
23.   silverwidow
Madison Bumgarner is having an INSANE year for the Giants in Low A.

125/18 K:BB

1.70 ERA

They're going to have a ridiculous rotation in a few years.

2008-08-07 22:14:24
24.   underdog
17 I can see how the film would be a matter of personal taste. I thought the writing, and the characterizations were quite sharp. It could have been your average hit men in hiding movie but it went for something more than that. I had a few issues with the ending parts, but overall it worked for me. I also can see how the shifts in tone might make someone uncomfortable - from humor to pathos, violence to drama - but I actually found the shifts pretty seamless for the most part. I also love Brendan Gleeson. Because the writer/director is a playwright by trade there were times it did feel like a play a bit (even called to mind Waiting for Godot) but generally in a good way for me. Maybe it's a matter of expectations. It was also packaged as an "action-comedy" and that's a bit misleading. Anyway, to each their own!
2008-08-07 22:14:57
25.   Tripon
20 A two to three contract isn't out of the question. Blake'll be productive at least for the first two.
2008-08-07 22:16:03
26.   Tripon
JP: Everybody knew about Rickey (Henderson). That was probably my era's force. Him and Vince Coleman, when I was younger. But the guy I most tried to pattern myself after was Kenny Lofton and Tony Womack. Those guys were in my age bracket when I was in high school and college that I really watched.

Tony Womack? ...No wonder Torre loves Juan's game.

2008-08-07 22:19:38
27.   MJW101
14 Abreu will probably not be with the LAD in 2009. Manny alone would eat up the savings from the departure of the FAs assuming the owner does not increase the 2009 budget. Ned's most recent moves put the 2009 team in a poorer position talentwise.

18 Furcal with a bad back and Nomar with a bad body should be avoided at all costs. Neither one should be counted upon to play a MLB position for any length of time.

2008-08-07 22:22:32
28.   Tripon
27 Tony Aberu, Dodgers prospect, and a guy who was hurt in spring training and just fell off the earth. Not Bobby Aberu, current Yankees outfielder.
2008-08-07 22:23:28
29.   LogikReader

Iiiiiiiiiinteresting. SoSG apparently chimed in to this review.

I have a friend who's from San Diego and a big Padres fan. He went to Dodger Stadium for the first time on the Reserve Level and said he thought the stadium was the worst he'd ever been to. He thought it was horrible.

And I didn't get that at all. I agreed that "well it's not going to be the best and I'd be in favor of a new ballpark eventually." But the way he just trashed the place kinda hurt my feelings! DS is many things, but it's not a dump, and for him to tell me that Qualcomm was better, looking back, was pretty insulting.

Dodger Stadium, for a place that's nearly 50 years old, is still lookin' pretty good. The beauty that surrounds it... it's like a National Park. You'd never know you were in the middle of the the West Coast's Largest Metro. Fewer distractions, no goofy mascot, and MLB's greatest field surface. Symmetry in motion! Padre fans have it all wrong. My friend said they do a much better job keeping up Wrigley Field, but having never been, I'll leave it to the rest to compare.

2008-08-07 22:24:35
30.   LogikReader
My friend's first Dodger game happened to be last Saturday, when Manny hit his first HR.
2008-08-07 22:24:41
31.   Eric Stephen
I would be shocked if Boras wouldn't receive commission on option years. That can't be standard practice.

The reason Manny wanted to opt out now is because its easier to cash in a 4-5 year deal while still productive at 36 than it might be to get a 2-3 year deal at a (possibly) declining age 38.

2008-08-07 22:29:49
32.   JayB
I don't understand the love affair that some people seem to have with Hu. I saw nothing offensively when he was up with the Dodgers earlier in the season; nothing that leads me to believe he is the answer at s.s.???
2008-08-07 22:33:30
33.   Xeifrank
Missed the game for the most part. I spent most of the game mountain biking down Sulfer Mountain in Ojai. I was riding with a St Louis Cardinals fan/relative, so it was nice to atleast win the last game of the series. When I read the Gurnick piece about Torre tinkering with the idea of batting Ramirez 3rd, batting the pitcher 8th and Pierre 9th, I laughed a little and cried a little. I thought to myself, how can they go from utter contempt for a sabermetric approach to considering doing something so progressive. I'm not a big fan of Pierre getting a lot of playing time, but the move from leadoff to 9th would surely give us a couple of tenths of an extra win. :) It's the forward thinking, that came completely out of nowhere that perked my interest.

I will pass on the British sports book. Thanks for the preview though.
vr, Xei

2008-08-07 22:34:57
34.   natepurcell

Why? Boras wasn't the agent when Manny's current deal was brokered.

2008-08-07 22:35:41
35.   Eric Stephen
Oh. Duh. I wasn't even thinking about the agent switch.

Cue Emily Litella.

2008-08-07 22:35:48
36.   Tripon
32 Hu's the most ready SS guy we have in the minors, plays fantastic defense, and Berroa is our current starting shortstop. It is not as if Nomar, or Furcal is healthy enough to play, and Berroa simply isn't a starting SS.

Also, Hu apparently had vision problems which seems to cleared up at the moment. Hard to hit a ball if you can't see it, and since his vision cleared up, Hu's been a much better hitter.

2008-08-07 22:37:36
37.   Dodgers49
I wonder what Bowa thinks of the Dodgers' chances:

>> For the record, Bowa said, he expects the Yankees to make the playoffs.

"I still think they're going to find a way," he said. "They've got a lot of veterans over there who know how to win." <<

2008-08-07 22:43:23
38.   Lexinthedena
24 Gleeson was great. Farrell was not. Constantly "acting". I found the transitions to be everything but seamless. Much of the witty hit man back and forth felt very contrived, and the vanity of the love interests was presented without much consciousness which made wonder of it was even realized. The scene with the "alcoves" guy was great. And the Fiennes/Gleeson moments were well done. Horribly edited, for all of its amorality it was pretty shallow at the end of the day. Your not the first sharp person who I know who dug the film, so my critique may be worth what you paid for it:)
2008-08-07 22:43:40
39.   Greg Brock
Yankees players left over from the last WS championship are:

Derek Jeter
Something that resembles Jorge Posada
Andy Pettite

Larry Bowa has Baseball Tourette Syndrom. He just shoots it out involuntarily.

2008-08-07 22:47:03
40.   Xeifrank
39. Did Mariano Rivera play on that team too?
vr, Xei
2008-08-07 22:48:37
41.   Gagne55
40 He did. Also, Pettite isn't really "still there" since he left and came back.
2008-08-07 22:49:59
42.   Tripon
Its kind of amazing that A-rod hasn't been to a world series yet. I keep on thinking he was part of the 2003 Yankees team that last went to the World Series, but A-rod's no Arron Boone.
2008-08-07 22:51:29
43.   Greg Brock
40 Yeah, forgot about Rivera.

My bb-ref-fu is weak.

2008-08-07 22:52:25
44.   Lexinthedena
39 Yeah, but they know how to win.
2008-08-07 22:53:42
45.   LogikReader
It could still happen. I picked the Yanks to win the division, after all. But percentage-wise, I think it's Tampa, then everyone else.

Here's a fun statistic. You know, the Braves have the worst record in games decided by 2 runs our less this year. But would you believe the Red Sox are 4th on that list?

2008-08-07 23:07:05
46.   xaphor

Must be a Southern thing as I don't recall anyone using this phrase in this way. Then again I often turn a blind eye to anything the Chelsea Rent Boys do to keep Stretford Rangers from the title.

"roper terminology"

My family has its own recognized jargon? Who'd a thunk it. :)

"3:00 PM kick-off"

[whistfully] Those were the days...

2008-08-07 23:20:49
47.   Deuce
We complain about Torre (with good reason sometimes) but how would we like it if Bowa was running the club? If Either was in the lineup, would Torre consider batting him 9th? Just asking.
2008-08-07 23:23:35
48.   trainwreck
We should not have such low standards that we don't complain about a manager just because they are not the worst manager there is.

Joe, much like Grady, has a good personality and is a good guy, but when it comes to managing he just falls in line with the others.

2008-08-07 23:27:35
49.   Greg Brock
We should not have such low standards that we don't complain about a manager just because they are not the worst manager there is.


By the by, have we done an official (or semi-official) "I'm going to be at the picnic" thingy yet?

2008-08-07 23:34:01
50.   trainwreck
I know Eric Stephen is going and he's going to rock the party.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-08-07 23:37:20
51.   Eric Stephen
It's true. I rock the party that rocks the body.
2008-08-07 23:41:10
52.   trainwreck
An MC Lyte reference, I love it.
2008-08-07 23:47:55
53.   Tripon
48 49 The way I look at it is that there's few managers that into account modern stats such as slugging or OBP(I know Branch Rickey advocated it, but you still see guys like Dusty Baker resisting it.) Out of the old school managers, Torre is probably one of the best. Torre is what he is, and to expect him to suddenly be in favor of things such as OBP or traditional stats such as BA, or RBIs is well, a bit silly.

The Dodgers problem is that they're not looking for a manager that is a bit of a risk taker, and is looking to develop and implement some of the newer ideas. Torre represents stability if only because he isn't easily replaced like Grady Little is. You simply can't fire Torre like you could with Jim Tracy or Grady Little. His reputation and the fact he won four world series simply won't allow McCourt to do it unless he's willing to take a huge rep hit himself.

2008-08-07 23:48:50
54.   Tripon
Also, Kuroda is our most expensive pitcher? I like the guy but he isn't worth $12/$13 million a year.
2008-08-07 23:49:27
55.   Zak
Thanks for the heads up Jon. I love soccer, the Serie A, the EPL, the La Liga... heck I'm even watching Olympics soccer. I will definitely check out his book. It's funny you mentioned Nick Hornby, because I missed that reference at first, read the excerpt and thought of him. And then I saw you mentioned him already. One of my favorite Hornby book is still High Fidelity though although I like Fever Pitch a lot too.

Underdog, I'm with you. I loved "In Bruges" too. If you get a chance, youtube Luke Kelly's "On Raglan Road" song. It's from the movie when Colin Farrell and Clemence Poesy are sitting in the plaza at night. Love that song.

2008-08-07 23:51:25
56.   Zak
54 I guess I've gone completely nuts, but I thought we signed Kuroda for 4 years at 36 million or something. I truly expect my memory to be playing tricks on me though.
2008-08-07 23:52:02
57.   Eric Stephen
It's all about timing. If the Dodgers just signed any one of Billingsley, Penny, or Lowe on the market they would command more than Kuroda's salary. Kuroda just happened to be a FA last year.

Lowe's contract looked huge when he signed it, too. Now it looks like a great bargain.

2008-08-07 23:52:49
58.   Eric Stephen
3 years, $35.3m

2008: $12.3m
2009: $10m
2010: $13m

2008-08-07 23:54:24
59.   trainwreck
I am not Frank McCourt, so I do not have to worry about PR issues. Frankly, I am a blunt person. Probably to a fault. So PR reasons for doing things will never fly with me.
2008-08-07 23:54:39
60.   Greg Brock
53 It's not "silly" to hope that people continue to study and improve on their craft, no matter how old they are.

I learn new and exciting stuff about my field every day. And that's all stuff that's already happened. I can't imagine how fulfilling it is to a scientist.

Joe Torre has a responsibility to be on the cutting edge. I don't care how old he is.

2008-08-07 23:54:53
61.   Zak
Thanks. I fully expected my recollection to be a case of wishful thinking.
2008-08-07 23:56:29
62.   trainwreck
Jason Schmidt should be our ace, that is what we signed him for. Just imagine how sick our rotation would be if he performed like he did in SF.
2008-08-07 23:58:17
63.   Greg Brock
If Joe Torre has time to jump into a Rip Curl e-bomb for Allstate or schill for Bigelow Tea, he has enough time to read The Hardball Times.
2008-08-08 00:01:23
64.   Tripon
60 The other extreme would be a guy like LaRussa though. A guy who is constantly tinkering, and messing with his team. While he may not be a big proponent of sabermetrics (well, maybe he is, but I haven't read he is.) He's doing silly stuff like batting his pitcher 8th.

Are there any managers who regular employ the use of sabermetrics in use? The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Terry Francoa, and that's more of a function that his GM actively targets guys with high OBP like Ortiz.

2008-08-08 00:03:01
65.   trainwreck
Joe Madden and Bob Geren.
2008-08-08 00:06:07
66.   Eric Stephen
Manny Acta has said some sabermetrically inclined things in interviews. But he has also batted Felipe Lopez and Willie Harris leadoff, so there you go.
2008-08-08 00:06:53
67.   Greg Brock
Manny Acta, first and foremost. And Trey Hillman.
2008-08-08 00:07:09
68.   trainwreck
I hate Tony La Russa and ARF. They build this giant, nice center in my hometown of Walnut Creek. I call it the (rule 1) homeless center. Plus, they called the cops on my friends and me, because we humped their bushes shaped like dogs. We were trying to make art, alright.
2008-08-08 00:08:37
69.   regfairfield
Batting your pitcher eighth isn't silly.
2008-08-08 00:08:42
70.   trainwreck
Yes, I forget Acta and of course, my man, Torey Lovullo!!
2008-08-08 00:09:09
71.   Greg Brock
But he has also batted Felipe Lopez and Willie Harris leadoff, so there you go.

He manages the Nats. There's a problem with that decision-making group, and it ain't Manny Acta.

2008-08-08 00:14:28
72.   Greg Brock
69 No, it's not. And as much grief as people give Tony LaRussa (and I do as well), he's always willing to try different things.
2008-08-08 00:16:31
73.   Eric Stephen
I wish one of the different things TLR would try was sunglasses without tint, especially at night.

Acta = Nats

2008-08-08 00:17:38
74.   Eric Stephen
Off topic, but "Vitamin String Quartet" is pretty awesome.
2008-08-08 00:19:02
75.   trainwreck
Yeah, you have to give the man credit for trying things out.
2008-08-08 00:20:15
76.   Tripon
Closer Takashi Saito, who is recovering from a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow, was scheduled to play catch Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

The rehabilitation schedule calls for Saito to increase his throwing over the next three weeks and begin pitching off a mound in the last week of August.

Saito last pitched July 12 against Florida.,0,1329294.story

2008-08-08 00:21:06
77.   Tripon
68 Humping bushes shaped like dogs is art?
2008-08-08 00:22:26
78.   trainwreck
Agree with you on that one.

My favorite work for a soundtrack is Goblin for Suspiria.

2008-08-08 00:23:04
79.   trainwreck
That was a joke. We were teens trying to do a Jackass/Sketch show.
2008-08-08 00:24:02
80.   Greg Brock
I love the Nats. The city on a hill, new stadium, nails unis, tons of corrupt pols willing to buy luxury boxes...What a great setup.

Now quit ruining the whole thing by letting Jim Bowden be in charge.

2008-08-08 00:25:20
81.   Deuce
59 Bravo. Unfortunately, as Dodger fans we must realize that PR drives much of the way they do things.
2008-08-08 00:29:48
82.   trainwreck
I realize that, does not mean I have to agree with it.
2008-08-08 00:30:22
83.   bhsportsguy
a. You can never go to far.
b. If I am going to get busted, its not going to be a guy like that.
2008-08-08 00:30:58
84.   trainwreck
I think winning creates the best PR. I believe in putting the best lineup out there to win.
2008-08-08 00:37:02
85.   bhsportsguy
Why is everyone so testy tonight?
2008-08-08 00:37:59
86.   Eric Stephen
Abe Froman?
2008-08-08 00:40:03
87.   Deuce
Would Ferris make a good manager? Might like the squeeze play. Was a Cub fan...
2008-08-08 00:41:00
88.   Deuce
86 The sausage king of Chicago.
2008-08-08 00:45:09
89.   trainwreck
Real mature, guys.

Deuce's comments made me think of Top Chef, which makes me think of Padma.

God, I love Padma.

2008-08-08 00:47:51
90.   Greg Brock
85 I'm not testy. I resent the implication that I'm testy.

You're the testy one, Testy McTesterton.

What's your problem, jerk?

You wanna take this outside, tough guy?

You know what else is testy? Your face.

2008-08-08 00:49:11
91.   Eric Stephen
Glad to see she came to her senses and kicked Salman Rushdie to the curb.
2008-08-08 00:49:39
92.   trainwreck
I don't think anyone is testy. Maybe some translations have been lost in the tubes is all.
2008-08-08 00:53:53
93.   trainwreck
But she is dating a 68 year-old now, so I do not see much difference. As a part Indian, I favor the brilliant Salman over this guy.

Really, she should be with me, because I would truly love her and appreciate her like no other. Plus, I don't have gray hair down below.

2008-08-08 00:55:42
94.   Eric Stephen
I had no idea! Rushdie is way cooler than Vaudeville Face or whomever she is with now; you are right.
2008-08-08 00:56:37
95.   Eric Stephen
You know when I will be testy? At roughly 8am, when Zombie Eric will be sitting at my desk at work.
2008-08-08 00:58:39
96.   Greg Brock
92 I was kidding. This BH person and I go to about 15 Dodger games each year. And we bought UCLA basketball tickets together. We're BFF! BFF, I tell you!
2008-08-08 01:02:21
97.   trainwreck
I was not talking about you. I know you are joking all the time.

I must admit I do take BH seriously, perhaps, too seriously. He's a crafty one.

2008-08-08 01:06:00
98.   Eric Stephen
One of these days, Greg Brock will offer profound and serious advice to you, and you will simply ignore it! :)
2008-08-08 01:08:31
99.   Greg Brock
You know when I will be testy? At roughly 8am, when Zombie Eric will be sitting at my desk at work.

Come on, man. Give up the big bucks and get into education. We work 180 days out of the year.

I don't know how much dough I give up by working outside the private sector, but working 180 out of 365 is very nice. And, of course, it's for the kids.

The kids, man. Think about the kids. And the 180 days. But also the kids.

2008-08-08 01:10:19
100.   Eric Stephen
It's an even better option if one doesn't have the big bucks* to give up.

*No whammies!

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-08-08 01:11:56
101.   trainwreck
I took him seriously when he talked about helping his pregnant student, which seriously made me appreciate there are people like him out there.

But the rest of the time, I imagine him as Tim Heidecker from "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job."

2008-08-08 01:15:34
102.   Eric Stephen
I've never seen nor heard of that show before; I'll have to add it to the rotation.
2008-08-08 01:16:55
103.   trainwreck
It is very weird and very stonerish.

I suggest searching for the videos of John C. Reilly playing Dr. Steve Brule. Very good.

2008-08-08 01:25:22
104.   bhsportsguy
I think you are all rightgeous dudes.
2008-08-08 01:26:01
105.   bhsportsguy
103 First fall practice report tomorrow.
2008-08-08 01:28:12
106.   Greg Brock
101 I can't imagine a greater feeling than when a student says "You are my favorite teacher, and because of you I'm going to major in History/Philosophy in college."

I just usually say "Wow, thanks" and go off and cry. It's like a punch in the gulliver. In a good way.

2008-08-08 01:29:19
107.   trainwreck
I am anticipating you report, my friend. I am extremely excited about our young talent. I love the 08' class and think they will do real damage in the coming years.

Frankly, it is so ridiculously awesome to have Norm Chow on our staff. I am still in bliss.

2008-08-08 01:34:32
108.   trainwreck
Yeah, that is truly special.

I can't think of a joke after this, so I just want to say, "I flippin hate Jeff Kent."

2008-08-08 01:42:21
109.   Marty
All this back slappin makes me think of my favorite Pulp Fiction line. Which I can't repeat here.
2008-08-08 01:45:47
110.   Greg Brock
109 Let's not all start...Slapping each other's backs.
2008-08-08 01:47:03
111.   trainwreck
If it's good enough for English Premier League players, it is good enough for us.
2008-08-08 02:00:38
112.   dodgerstang
I don't comment often, but here goes...

I was looking at the pitching matchups for the giants series this weekend and saw that again we miss Tim Lincecum. We missed him in the last series with the Gs as well. At first, I thought this a blessing, seeing as I don't want to watch my guys like Kemp and Martin and Loney looking foolish up at the plate. And I want the Dodgers to win. Then I kinda wished we got to see our guys go against the anti-billz as it were. Chad is a rock and Lincecum is a stringbean (and possibly only 13). I know we'll get to see plenty of this kid in the future, and with the season being what it is, and needing to win games and all, I guess I'll take it.

Play Andre, but if not, bat pierre ninth and teach kemp how to make it easy for him to run his fastest.

2008-08-08 02:07:46
113.   trainwreck
Totally agree with you, about Lincecum. I hate the Giants with passion, but I like to watch Tim Lincecum pitch and I want to beat him.

Watching great pitching is the most entertaining thing in baseball for me.

2008-08-08 02:12:32
114.   dodgerstang
Yeah, good pitching is beautiful. It's nice to know we get to watch Billz and Kershaw for the next few years at least.
2008-08-08 04:02:06
115.   Marty
110 Very good
2008-08-08 06:47:38
116.   Sushirabbit
Ta-tonka on shirt woot. (For the Bison lovers). I'm wearing a shirt today that would probably get me fired from Variety.
2008-08-08 07:09:23
117.   Matt Conroy
I've heard Culpepper interviewed on World Soccer Daily and will definitely be picking this one up. May even get a copy for my buddy Tom, who is a Portsmouth fan. ChelseaTheyBoughtTheirTitle is my team, though I am a season ticket holder for our local disaster of an MLS team - the Red Bulls - as well.

In the same vein, I would highly recommend Joe McGinniss' The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. He follows the ups and downs of a tiny Italian club over the course of a season and it is a fantastic read, even if McGinniss comes off as a bit of an ass.

2008-08-08 07:38:08
118.   Disabled List
From the Times: The possibility of the Dodgers' acquiring Greg Maddux has re-emerged, as the four-time Cy Young Award winner has cleared waivers, according to baseball sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because moves on the waiver wire are kept secret. The Dodgers were in talks with the San Diego Padres about acquiring Maddux in the days leading up to the trade deadline but could not agree on how much of the Maddux's salary they would pay or which prospects to trade...
2008-08-08 08:00:42
119.   Disabled List
Bud Selig has ordered an investigation into the Manny trade, according to Dan Shaughnessy:

2008-08-08 08:19:20
120.   LogikReader

What is it with Bud Selig trying to take away our star power? First he stops the Vlad Guerrero transaction, now this.

2008-08-08 08:23:19
121.   JoeyP
Resident media wiseguy T.J. Simers reported that Manny twice asked the columnist to sit on his lap when Simers came around the clubhouse last weekend

Thats just weird.

The Red Sox are probably upset Manny's playing so well now, but Jason Bay has done pretty well for them so far:
.423/.500/.623 He's 11/26 at the plate.

2008-08-08 08:26:22
122.   LAT
118. Ugh. What is this ongoing fascination with Maddux. We don't need him and he is a marginal pitcher these days. As Chan Ho is starting to show, you can only rub the "old washed-up pitcher in a bottle" lamp so many times before you get burned.

120. IMO, Bud is a petulant child who lied to Pete Rose and has conspired to keep Barry out of baseball but he did not stop the Vlad deal. That was Frank's cold feet.

2008-08-08 08:36:47
123.   JoeyP
As good as Billingsley has been, I think this guy is still the best pitcher on the Dodgers:

64 IP
2 HRs
77 Ks
15 BBs
1.82 ERA

That would be Mr. Kuo.

He better start next year.

2008-08-08 08:41:28
124.   cargill06
123 I think it would be a mistake, I'd like to see him as a reliever, for a couple reasons, he is absolutley dominant in that role why change it? Also, he has stayed healthy for the first time in his career he maybe more suitable for a releiver role as far as health. It's not like we're going to be desperate for starting pitching in the future.
2008-08-08 08:41:58
125.   Eric Stephen
but he did not stop the Vlad deal. That was Frank's cold feet

Weren't Frank's cold feet because he wanted the sale to go through? There were rumors that Selig might not approve the sale of the club if the payroll was too high.

Vlad ended up signing with the Angels on January 14, and the approval for McCourt didn't occur until January 29.

2008-08-08 08:47:13
126.   Eric Stephen
I agree that it would be great if Kuo got a nice long run as a starter. I think Torre and staff believe that limiting Kuo's workload as kept him healthy and effective, though.

It might be a chicken and egg thing. Kuo is having success because he is a good pitcher, but his success might also be a product of limiting his workload.

Going into next year, the rotation locks are:

Penny (assuming his option gets picked up)

The 5th spot will be a battle between Kuo, Schmidt, McDonald, and [insert Sele type here].

If the Dodgers sign a free agent starter (CC perhaps?), that will tell us what their plans are for Kuo.

2008-08-08 08:49:15
127.   Eric Stephen
CHB couldn't resist this crutch:

"The Dodgers sold out Manny's first two home games, including record walk-up sales after the trade was announced last week. Manny got ovations for hitting foul balls and came out of the dugout for a couple of curtain calls. A lot of fans even stayed for the ninth inning."

2008-08-08 08:50:37
128.   JoeyP
Carlos Santana is continuing his good season for the Indians Advanced A affiliate-Kinston.

43 Abs (10 games)

At this rate, he's going to be in the majors sometime next year. Whether its in LF, 3b, or catcher---> his switch hitting bat is going to make him a very valuable player if he keeps it up.

2008-08-08 08:50:51
129.   ToyCannon
As much as I'm enjoying Kuo's season I see no reason to compare a relief pitchers numbers with a starters. If Kuo had to pitch the number of innings that Chad was throwing up, his numbers would rise, so while Kuo may have been the most effective pitcher when pitching, Chad is still the best pitcher on the team.
2008-08-08 08:52:04
130.   UVaDodger
Glad I refreshed the page, because i was about to post the exact same thing. Looks like cheap shots at LA fans will never get old. At least this time it is obviously sour grapes.
2008-08-08 08:52:31
131.   ToyCannon
He's going to climb from A ball to the major leagues in 12 months? I guess it could happen but we really ought to see what he can do in AA, it was just 12 months ago he was putting up a 650 OPS in Low A.
2008-08-08 08:56:44
132.   JoeyP
If Kuo had to pitch the number of innings that Chad was throwing up, his numbers would rise

You cant be for sure.
Maybe Kuo's the next Johan Santana.

Kuo's biggest problem with starting was walks. Now, unless his walk rate started going up with pitching more innings, I think he'd put up even better numbers than Billingsley.

I just hope they give him a legit chance next year.

2008-08-08 09:02:00
133.   ToyCannon
You could be right, I've always been a big fan of his stuff so this year has not been a surprise to me. 10 months ago we weren't even sure if Ned was going to find a spot for him.
2008-08-08 09:05:46
134.   cargill06
In 159.2 IP, 9 HR, 185 K's... wow, didn't realize his career numbers were that good.
2008-08-08 09:08:12
135.   LogikReader

How much of that was against the Mets? :)

2008-08-08 09:11:02
136.   Gagne55
The problem with Kuo is that he's had two Tommy Johns and another surgery last year. He's never thrown very many innings in a season. I have doubts about how long he could last as a starters before throwing out his arm.
2008-08-08 09:12:48
137.   Eric Stephen

Kuo has had the wherewithal to pitch more against the Mets than any other team, and he has amazingly allowed 1 run in 26 innings.

2008-08-08 09:14:51
138.   Hollywood Joe
Bloody Confused is an apt title for this thread!

Hard to believe that any folks in this world are still "not sold" on Russell Martin. He is a 25 year old catcher with a career OPS of over 800!!!

If he gets NO better through his prime years (and he still wont be in his prime for 2 or 3 years) he still belongs in the line-up for the next 10 years.

Perplexed - what else do people want him to do to prove himself?


2008-08-08 09:14:56
139.   cargill06
137 It's clear he can't handle to postseason pressure, his playoff ERA against the Mets rose 1221% compared to his regular season ERA against them. It's obvious he can't handle the pressure.

(I am being sarcastic)

2008-08-08 09:15:18
140.   Gagne55
137 But not in the playoffs :(
2008-08-08 09:19:46
141.   gibsonhobbs88
120 - However, Bud Selig was largely responsible for pushing Peter O'Malley out of baseball ownership and he will do anything to keep the Dodgers from long term success. That is why he approved the sale from Fox to the McCourts because the McCourts were highly leveraged and still owed Fox a ton of money and Selig knew that would hamstring the Dodgers and keep them in line for a few more years. Selig to the fans in Blue L.A. is the baseball Anti-Christ!! The RedSox were the ones that were looking to trade Manny because he was a headache, we sent a top prospect as part of a threeway deal to Pittsburgh along with 2 minor league pitchers and the Sox got a productive OF to take LF and there will be peace in their clubhouse. Why would Selig care? It's free trade before the trade deadline! Selig should keep his big nose out of it. It's like Selig wants to hurt L.A. even if it is a case of cutting off his nose to spite his face. I mean increase of ticket sales of 30-50,000 over the first weekend, why wouldn't a Commish want that for the game unless he has a secret agenda!! Remember Selig had a major hand in pushing O'Malley out of the inner circle of the power committees in ownership, didn't listen to his pleas of reason prior to the strike of 94 to work with the union and Selig worked with his small market buddies, Reinsdorf and others to where O'Malley felt he had no choice but to sell the Dodgers to Fox. The City of LA and Mayor Riordan pulling the rug under O'Malley for football at Chavez was the other huge factor, but Selig did play a huge role in sending the Dodgers record stability of ownership down the drain.
2008-08-08 09:23:51
142.   cargill06
In Gurnick's game preview of today;

Former Giants left-handed pitcher Kirk Reuter was a guest of general manager Ned Colletti.

Is it me or does it seem like information is missing?

2008-08-08 09:25:37
143.   Doctor

Martin is great, but his defense has slipped a lot and he is having a slightly worse year than last year (basically the same year with a lower SLG%). It's the first real negative signs for a guy who is already holding off on a longer term deal b/c he knows the free agent market for him will be red hot. I have a feeling he wont be around for long, but who knows.... still a very good player, I don't think anyone doubts that.

2008-08-08 09:31:53
144.   underdog
I would argue that any slippage for Martin can be blamed in large part on not being rested enough his first two years. He needs more days off, pure and simple, and the team has proven, as it did yesterday, that they can win without him now. If he gets more rest, I think he'll be fine. He's still learning, so it's a little early to make assumptions that he is either regressing or won't get any better, imho. He's a keeper.


meanwhile, if this doesn't brighten your day, there's no hope for ya.

2008-08-08 09:32:08
145.   silverwidow
Matt LaPorta w/Cleveland (AA):


Carlos Santana has a very big challenge ahead.

2008-08-08 09:32:31
146.   CanuckDodger
132 -- You say Kuo's biggest problem with starting was walks. Don't you think that going to the bullpen might be why he has ceased to have that problem?

Kuo moving to the bullpen has allowed him to do two things, both of which explain his greater success as a reliever, and both of which would go away if he had to move back to the rotation:

1. According to Fangraphs data, Kuo's average fastball as a starter this year was 90.0 MPH (less than Billingsley's average fastball velocity of 91.3). As a reliever, Kuo's average fastball velocity is 93.3 MPH. Not having to pace himself for 5 plus innings obviously helps his fastball.

2. Again, according to Fangraphs data, as a starter Kuo only threw his fastball 73.9% of the time, but as a reliever he has thrown his fastball 81.8% of the time. Quite simply, a starter can't rely on his fastball as much as a reliever, and when Kuo has to throw other pitches with more frequency, he is apt to get in trouble because he admits that he does not have very good control over them (hence all the walks and high pitch counts as a starter).

Bottom line, Kuo is a pitcher who seems best suited to simply coming in and throwing his fastball as hard as he can and as often as he can, and that makes him a reliever, not starting material.

2008-08-08 09:36:27
148.   bhsportsguy
146 AKA the Jonathan Broxton argument.
2008-08-08 09:36:52
149.   Doctor

No doubt he is overused, again. They need to stop that.

2008-08-08 09:39:18
150.   regfairfield
The average reliever has better numbers than the average starter, even though the average reliever is a failed starter. Starting is simply harder, and converting will make anyone's numbers go up.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-08-08 09:42:38
151.   delias man
Anybody have any experience with this? Both of my Time Warner boxes literally blew up last night. Flames and all. Electrician this morning says breakers, outlets all are perfect. Blames it on the boxes.
2008-08-08 09:44:16
152.   Bluebleeder87
122 125

I'm confused as ever...

2008-08-08 09:52:38
153.   Jon Weisman
147 - The book doesn't glorify Chelsea.
2008-08-08 09:53:08
154.   cargill06
Divid Price in AA 57 IP, 16 BB, 7 HR, 55 K's
Kershaw in AA(last year and this), 86 IP, 36 BB, 4 HR, 88 K's

And Kershaw is 2 years younger, and a lot "experts" jumped off the Kershaw and on the Price bandwagon after a few rough CK starts, are you kidding me?

2008-08-08 09:54:30
155.   gibsonhobbs88
141 - was meant for 122 not 120. Bottom line, if you are a true Dodger fan, Bud Selig is not your friend! His commissionership has done more damage to the Dodgers than any commissioner has ever done. His obvious bias against the O'Malley's made me seeth that he was standing up there with them when Walter got inducted. If I was Peter, I would have refused to take a picture with the guy that pushed me out of baseball. Alas, Peter is a bigger man than me.
2008-08-08 09:56:24
156.   Eric Stephen
The timeline went something like this...

McCourt was in the process of being approved by Selig and MLB owners, but while the sale was going through McCourt was working behind the scenes with Dan Evans, the GM at the time.

Evans was negotiating with Vlad, but the rumor is that Selig, in an effort to drive salaries down (what owners do, after all, but take it with a grain of salt), strongly urged McCourt to keep payroll low.

The story goes that McCourt wanted the sale to go through, so he adhered to Selig's wishes, effectively taking the Dodgers out of the bidding for Vlad.

2008-08-08 10:01:13
157.   regfairfield
154 Most analysis consists of going by what happened in the last two weeks. That way you can never be wrong.
2008-08-08 10:02:31
158.   tjdub
144 pretty cool. I've been stuck listening to two co-workers in the next office violate rule 5 all morning so I sent this to both of them to shut them up.
2008-08-08 10:03:59
159.   JoeyP
2. Again, according to Fangraphs data, as a starter Kuo only threw his fastball 73.9% of the time, but as a reliever he has thrown his fastball 81.8% of the time

I dont think he has had enough sample size as a starter to make really any arguments to suggest that his control gets way better as a reliever.

He's been a reliever most of his career after his initial injury in 2002.

2005: 34 games (3 starts)
2006: 37 games (14 starts)
2007: 15 games (11 starts)
2008: 23 games (3 starts)

I dont think 11 overall bad starts in 2007
should eliminate him from starting consideration.

It could just be a pitcher finally coming into his own (he's 27) and improving with age.

2008-08-08 10:10:11
160.   Alex41592
From Bill Shaikin of the L.A Times:

The baseball commissioner's office has not launched a formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Manny Ramirez trade and does not plan to take action against any party in the deal, his spokesman said today.,0,1264658.story

2008-08-08 10:13:48
161.   Eric Stephen
There are about 15 minutes left in the 48-hour window for Brian Giles to become a Red Sox, but it appears he will block the deal as he wants to remain a Padre.

2008-08-08 10:15:26
162.   schoffle

Do you know where fangraphs get there pitch velocity data? As a big fan of Kou I have not noticed any change in velocity (purely based on sight) and I wonder about that data as it is widely known that most MLB radars are not uniform (DS gun was increased by 2 MPH this year) and given that Kuo has only had 3 starts this year I would think that that data is insufficient to draw any conclusions on. Not to mention that during spring training he did not pitch more than 2 innings, as they planned on him not starting, only to have him begin the regular season as a starter, so if should not be surprising that he held back some in order to adjust on the fly. Personally, given how impressive Kuo has been I cannot understand why the Dodgers would not consider giving him a shot at starting, remember that in the past (heck this year alone) they have rationalized why is it better for him to relieve, and why it is better for him to start so no one really knows.


Actually as I recall Selig and MLB owners were supposed to vote in December which they postponed and it was noted that Selig and MLB owners would not approve the sale if the Dodgers added any addition debt (i.e. salaries). It was also rumored (and I think it was confirmed by Vlad's agent) that McCourt offered Vald a personal services contract in order to quell his concerns, but due to the league making a fuss about such contracts in the past Vald (or Vald's agent) got nervous and didn't want remain unsigned, which allowed the Angeles to swoop in.

2008-08-08 10:16:39
163.   regfairfield
I definitely remember Kuo hurting in his last few starts last year and only being able to get his fastball into the high 80s.
2008-08-08 10:16:42
164.   CanuckDodger
159 -- Sample size is irrelevant here, and you seem to think that if Kuo could go back to starting he could throw his fast ball just as HARD as he does as a reliever and just as OFTEN. Neither of those things is true, for reasons of baseball logic, as well as physical reasons in the case of keeping up the higher velocity for five or six or seven innings.
2008-08-08 10:17:27
165.   CodyS
144 You are arguing that Martin is doing worse this year than last year because he was overused last year and has residual tiredness that did not diminish his performance last year but lay dormant through the off-season and only now is rearing its head? That is your argument?
2008-08-08 10:24:40
166.   bhsportsguy
How many DTers would start off the story of their life like this?

"I grew up in a place called Southern California, in the San Fernando Valley"

In today's (free content)

2008-08-08 10:28:34
167.   Jon Weisman
166 - NPUT, and I declare myself winner.
2008-08-08 10:31:50
168.   Greg Brock
Lambo sounds like an incredibly smart hitter.
2008-08-08 10:31:50
169.   ToyCannon
Kuo has a breaking pitch, your acting like it doesn't exist. He does not need to throw it right now but that does not mean he could not get better command of it if moved in to the rotation. His command in Sept of 2006 was just fine in his 5 starts.

I think we can throw out his 2007 starts since his arm was obviously hurting. He has been invaluable to us this season out of the bullpen but I wouldn't discount him being given another shot in the rotation.

2008-08-08 10:36:57
170.   GoBears
155. Yeah, right. Look, I'm no Selig fan, not by a long shot, but conspiracy theories are tiresome. You know, unless Robert Ludlum is involved.
2008-08-08 10:40:44
171.   Deuces are Wild
Let's face it, we will not be able to get rid of Juan Pierre. So we need to find a way to get the best team out there. What we need to do is convert him to a second baseman. With his "work ethic" he should be able to go play winter ball and get a hang of it. That would minimize his arm weakness and his range can't be worse than Kent. I agree that we won't get Blake back, unless Ned pulls a well, Ned and signs him for 3 years/$27M. I think we have SS covered with either Furcal (re-signing at a discount, maybe even at 3/$27M) or Nomar (1yr/$6M?). Third base would be manned by DeWitt. That way we would have an OF of Manny, Kemp, Jones and Ethier (still one too many), and an IF of DeWitt, Furcal (Nomar?), Juan and Loney.
What do you think? Could Juan to 2B pick up steam?
2008-08-08 10:41:56
172.   Charenton

Did anyone see C Morton in the box score for the ATL game last night and think:

"I didn't know that Carl Morton was still pitching! He must have been hiding in the minor leagues for quite some time…"

After finally realizing it was Charlie and NOT Carl, I went to and found out that Carl Morton last pitched in a MLB game over…30 years ago…

2008-08-08 17:10:24
173.   DaDoughboy
Thanks for the recommendation Jon. I loved 'Fever Pitch' (the book, of course..the movie..? never happened). That excerpt reminds me of classic Hornby..
2008-08-10 18:02:17
174.   BlueinBerkeley
Thanks for the recommendation. Just bought this book for my English dad-he loves it!

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