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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

With Penelope Cruz as Manny
2008-10-27 13:24
by Jon Weisman

It's strange, but I can't remember when I've had less interest at the outset of a Dodger offseason. That's partly the reason for my mini-vacation in recent days. It's not that I don't care what goes on with the team, but I've really reduced myself to a "wake me when something actually happens" state.

One thing I have wondered about, however, is the state of mind of the Dodgers and their fans should Manny Ramirez sign elsewhere. Having become addicted in a short time to his awesome display of talent, the mood around Dodger Stadium in his absence might be funereal. Might be downright angry. Might be hopeless.

I watched a movie this weekend, Elegy, which called to mind this dilemma. Elegy tries to offer a twist on a May-December affair between characters played by His Eminence Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz. One of the key points is that Kingsley's David is so enraptured by Cruz's Consuela, but also so convinced she will betray him, that he can't envision a future – with or without her. He's trapped. Who David was – his considerable talent and his thoughtful (if smug) personality – no longer matters, and when this Catch-22 inevitably leads to their breakup, David can't figure out where to go from there. (By the way, it's after this point that the movie's sad part comes.) Despite the talent in the Dodger clubhouse that Ramirez would leave behind, I suspect there will be a similar identity crisis if Manny suits up for another team in 2009.

Of course, an identity crisis pales in importance to a talent crisis, and it's how the Dodgers respond to the latter that matters most. One idea that has been floated by people like Andrew Grant at True Blue L.A. is that the Dodgers' best move in a post-Manny world might be to focus on pitching and defense. Even if the team loses Derek Lowe, the Dodgers have the resources to keep their pitching among the best in the National League. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has room for improvement on the defensive end, an improvement that could come more easily than trying to solve all the team's offensive problems. If you want to know whether better defense can make an impact, look no further than Tampa Bay. A Dodger team that smothers the opposition will contend, even if the core of the lineup is Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and James Loney.

Of course, I'm not against improving the offense – I believe in the importance of the home run as much as anyone. The defense-first approach is just something to consider. The question is, does Los Angeles have the stomach for it? Even though pitching and defense supposedly defined those glory Dodger teams of the 1960s that so many people look back upon so fondly, is 2009 destined to be a buzzkill without Ramirez?

A team pursuing this strategy needs the courage of its convictions. It needs to be assertive. It needs to sincerely and passionately make the case, because Spring Training offers too much time for others to fill in the blanks with their own assessment.

And then, the strategy needs to work. The 2003 Dodgers won 85 games, even though the second-best hitter on the team was arguably Jolbert Cabrera. The run prevention was that good. You can win that way. I don't know if the 2009 Dodgers can match the 2003 squad for keeping runs off the board, but I don't see any way that the '09 club, even without Ramirez, will be as offensively challenged as the '03ers.

Manny Ramirez would be great for the Dodgers in 2009. Frankly, the team could frontload a contract and, if it managed its finances properly, simply accept overpaying him in the later years of his deal as the cost of doing business. They could even pay him and trade him, just like the Red Sox did. But the Dodgers don't have to sign Ramirez to win. They just need to have an alternative that makes solid performance sense, that's convincing. No matter what happens, the Dodgers need credibility.

Penelope Cruz is the bee's knees, but you have to be prepared for life both with her or without her. Either way, you need a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Comments (148)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-10-27 14:34:51
1.   Eric Enders
Well, at least we still have a dead ringer for the young Ben Kingsley, Cory Wade.
2008-10-27 14:38:23
2.   D4P
Pairing Ben Kingsley with Penelope Cruz is like pairing a great actor with a terrible one.
2008-10-27 14:39:16
3.   Harold M Johnson
I'm actually really excited for this off-season because it seems to me that for the first time in awhile, the Dodgers' needs are less than the $30-$40m they have to spend.
2008-10-27 14:39:59
4.   Harold M Johnson
2 Penelope Cruz is actually an amazing actress. If you've only seen her American work you're seeing her act in her 3rd best language.
2008-10-27 14:40:48
5.   D4P
the Dodgers' needs are less than the $30-$40m they have to spend

2B or 3B

That's a lotta needs.

2008-10-27 14:41:43
6.   Eric Enders
" the Dodgers' needs are less than the $30-$40m they have to spend."

But are they? The Dodgers' needs include:
1. Left fielder who can hit
2. Frontline starting pitcher
3. Three starting infielders

Even if we assume DeWitt helps fill #3, that's still a lot of important spots to fill.

2008-10-27 14:41:55
7.   Eric Enders
Or, what he said.
2008-10-27 14:43:06
8.   D4P
I originally wrote both 2B and 3B, but then remembered that DeWitt had "earned" a starting infield position.
2008-10-27 14:43:54
9.   trainwreck
Why do we need two starting pitchers?
2008-10-27 14:44:16
10.   Eric Enders
4 Does she speak Basque, or what?
2008-10-27 14:44:36
11.   KG16
given the unbalanced schedule and the NL West's park factors, pitching and defense might not be a bad focus. According to ESPN's park factors, the NL West parks ranked as followed:


Dodger Stadium/29/24/30

I'd like to see Manny back, but not at any price. I'm only willing to go a few steps past the unreasonable line.

2008-10-27 14:45:27
12.   Jon Weisman
2 - Are you making an analogy based on looks? Penelope Cruz is a wonderful actress.
2008-10-27 14:45:35
13.   Harold M Johnson
The number of holes the Dodgers have is not equal to the amount of money they need to fill them.
2008-10-27 14:46:05
14.   Eric Enders
Martin-Loney-Hu-Furcal-DeWitt-Kemp-Ethier would be a hell of a defensive team, regardless of who ended up playing left field.
2008-10-27 14:46:34
15.   Harold M Johnson
10 One of her best films in the Italian Language "Don't Move" for which she won the Italian equiv of the Oscar.
2008-10-27 14:47:02
16.   Eric Enders
It seems to me that if 2 were intended as a comment on Cruz's acting skills, it would have omitted the word "like."
2008-10-27 14:48:48
17.   KG16
16 - i read it as an analogy.
2008-10-27 14:57:37
18.   bigcpa
I think he's making fun of analogies.
2008-10-27 14:57:55
19.   scareduck
13 - yes, exactly. And people haven't generally realized that the Yankees and Mets will both have similar sets of issues as the Dodgers, and will be bidding on similar players.
2008-10-27 14:58:01
20.   D4P
A quick check on The Google shows that the only movies in which I've seen Ms. Cruz are "All the Pretty Horses" (which I thought was meh) and "Vanilla Sky" (which I don't remember at all).
2008-10-27 14:59:43
21.   D4P
Why do we need two starting pitchers?

Because after Billingsley, Kershaw, and Kuroda, Ned won't feel comfortable giving the remaining rotation spots to players currently on the roster. He'll pay for an expensive starter, plus a Loaiza-type (the latter of which we'll eventually pay to sit on our bench or someone else's after he's DFAed).

2008-10-27 15:02:24
22.   Dave60
0 I reached the age of baseball awareness during the 1961 Dodger season. I love pitching and defense. Pair Kershaw as Koufax and Furcal as Wills with a league-average offense and I'll happily relive my childhood.

That's a great point that others will write your "story" during spring training if you haven't already written it yourself.

2008-10-27 15:03:54
23.   Eric Enders
That assumes Penny's option will be bought out. I still think the right move is to pick up his option. This year's problems notwithstanding, $7.25 million for a guy who started the All-Star Game in 2006 and led the league in wins in 2007 is an acceptable risk.

I think between Penny and McDonald we have the #4 starter covered.

2008-10-27 15:04:01
24.   cargill06
21 I think Joe is pretty high on J Mac.
2008-10-27 15:05:14
25.   Jon Weisman
Fun story:

2008-10-27 15:06:46
26.   Indiana Jon
4 I don't even have to turn the sound on and hear the language to know that Penelope Cruz is amazing. Oh, you said amazing actress. Well I'm less qualified to judge that I guess.
2008-10-27 15:06:49
27.   bhsportsguy
Here's my question, the Dodgers gave up the lowest amount of runs in the NL and the second lowest in baseball. They gave up almost 1/2 a run less than they did in 2007 and even better than when compared to 2006.

The last time they gave up fewer runs was in 2003.

I do think that getting better in these categories is a good idea, I don't know how much better you can get.

Does anyone think that the Dodgers can do what Tampa Bay and Philadelphia did this year? Tampa Bay gave up 273 less runs than they did in 2007 and Philadelphia gave up 141 runs less. (Tampa Bay scored 8 runs less this year while Philadelphia scored 95 runs less)

2008-10-27 15:10:19
28.   franklin
5 ,6
Higher ticket prices and a little playoff payoff could allow $50M* available for FAs in 2009. With that budget, seems possible to mix and match the following combos to fulfill the three needs...
1. LF power: Manny/Dunn/Burrell
2. SP: CC/Lowe/Penny/??
3. middle infielder, leadoff: Hudson/Furcal and use internal options to fill SS or 2nd.

*also assumes McCourt will look at the $50M as a real possibility since the ~$30M sinkhole to Jones/Schmidt ends the following year (although I believe there would still be bonus $$ to be paid)

2008-10-27 15:12:04
29.   cargill06
The Dodgers used to play "Low" whenever Derek Lowe pitched. Next year, "Return of the Mack" when ever James McDonald pitches.
2008-10-27 15:17:18
30.   Xeifrank
5 out of the last 7 blog entries Jon has made have TV/Movie related analogies or entry headlines. Jon is on quite a roll. In all fairness, I hope Jon is putting baseball and sports related analogies and headlines in his Variety articles. :)

For example his review headline of the latest James Bond movie could read something like, "Not Much VORP in New Bond Flick!". Let's give those entertainment minded folk a taste of their own medicine.
vr, Xei

2008-10-27 15:25:37
31.   Eric Stephen
Perhaps a more palatable headline would be "Quantum Solace a Home Run" or "HSM3, Max Payne Bury Bond's Latest at Box Office."
2008-10-27 15:27:55
32.   cargill06
I agree completely with Jon, as I said in a previous post all I would do is sign, CC, Furcal and lock up Kershaw, Billingsley, Kemp, Martin and Ethier.

That would be fantastic and I would be very happy, would the payroll go up or down with that?

2008-10-27 15:28:40
33.   Jon Weisman
30 - Hmm, that does seem a bit much, even for me. I guess it's just that time of year.
2008-10-27 15:30:46
34.   NoHoDodger
Its the off-season for Dodger Fans, so I don't want to think too much about 2009, yet.

But it's never tiring talking about Penelope. If you want to see a young Penelope, try to find Belle Epoche, Abre Los Ojos (the original version of Vanilla Sky), or Jamon Jamon.

I'm pretty sure that you get to see skin in all three. Notwithstanding, she has the most voluptuous face out there.

2008-10-27 15:32:54
35.   Eric Stephen
If Hamels and the Phils end it tonight, the Dodgers have until next Monday to exercise or decline Penny's 2009 option.

They would have until Thursday, November 6 to decide on Gary Bennett's option ($50k buyout or $900k).

2008-10-27 15:35:45
36.   ToyCannon
Small sample size. As Harold said check out her Spanish movies like Volver or Todo sobre mi madre. Probably having a great director helps.
2008-10-27 15:38:15
37.   ToyCannon
I agree, I've said all along I'd like CC more then Manny not that I'm holding out hope for such a thing.
2008-10-27 15:40:05
38.   underdog
I highly recommend Penelope Cruz in All About My Mother, Volver and (the very underrated) Live Flesh. All Pedro Almodovar films. I'm sure Ben Kingsley was just fine acting against her - both talent-wise and, er, looks-wise.

Re Elegy: File it with a thousand others under "Book is better than the movie."

2008-10-27 15:41:00
39.   underdog
It's starting to sound more and more possible that CC ends up re-signing with the Brewers, though I'll believe it when I see it.

I still think he ends up either in California, or in NY.

2008-10-27 15:41:02
40.   Eric Enders
So I finally got around to watching the premiere of Life on Mars. I really wanted to like it, but boy was it painful. I ended up turning it off after 45 minutes.
2008-10-27 15:55:17
41.   underdog
Steve Henson has an amusing piece up on Yahoo:

"For Philly fans, winning is torture"

>>In spite of the good vibrations, the inner Philadelphian – the one who cheered when Michael Irvin got carted off the football field with a neck injury – is always aching to come out in any form. Phillies fans this October are like pit bulls wagging their tails, seemingly rehabilitated until one false move turns them savage.<<

Makes me root even harder for them to lose, but maybe winning will cure them of all the evil. Hard to imagine...

2008-10-27 16:05:32
42.   KG16
35 - part of me would love to see the reaction around here if Bennett's option were picked up. but i can be a pretty twisted person sometimes, so we'll write that desire off to that tendency.
2008-10-27 16:05:51
43.   Eric Stephen
I do think that getting better in these categories is a good idea, I don't know how much better you can get.

Part of it is getting better, part of it is replacing parts to tread water. The league-wide downward scoring trend contributed to a 79-run improvement in run prevention. The ERA+ in 2007 was 109, and was 115 in 2008 (this updated number isn't yet on the B-R league page), so the pitching gap wasn't too wide.

In 2007, the Dodgers gave up 727 runs, good enough for 4th in the NL. Yet 59 of their starts came from guys with a collective 5.86 ERA (~78 ERA+).

In 2008, the Dodgers gave up 648 runs, 1st in the NL. Yet they still had 29 starts from guys with a collective 5.77 ERA (~79 ERA+).

This year, Billingsley's improvement and simply playing a full season contributed greatly to the team's improvement. Hopefully Kershaw takes that mantle this season.

Penny, or Penny's replacement, figures to be better in 2009 than Penny in 2008.

Add in the CC > Lowe factor, and there's still plenty of room for improvement.

2008-10-27 16:12:24
44.   underdog
If they don't re-sign Gary Bennett, who will we have to blame for any Dodger-related woes (and by extension, the world's)?
2008-10-27 16:13:55
45.   KG16
41 - I reject the pit bulls are bad dogs line. beyond that, it's probably good for the psyche of a city to win a title every so often, just as it is good for a city to lose one every so often. Philly would probably be better off with the Eagles winning rather than the Phillies, but there's some poetic justice to the first team to 10,000 losses winning the world series the next year.
2008-10-27 16:14:47
46.   Eric Enders
We can still blame Gary Bennett. He doesn't have to be around.

Sort of like how a pitcher gets charged with runs that score after he's already in the shower.

2008-10-27 16:16:14
47.   MC Safety
32 Glad to see you've come around on CC.
2008-10-27 16:16:16
48.   Eric Enders
The only Philly team I don't find obnoxious is the Flyers and that's probably because I don't know enough about hockey to find them obnoxious.
2008-10-27 16:18:31
49.   fanerman
Gary Bennett has signed a little-known $0, one-year "rolling" contract extension, that gives the Dodgers and their fans the ability to keep him as their "designated scapegoat," even if Bennett decides to play for another team.
2008-10-27 16:19:57
50.   Eric Stephen
The Scapegoaters Association is not going to like that contract. Luckily, they have no shortage of people to blame.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-10-27 16:21:17
51.   Eric Enders
49 Tom Niedenfuer breathes a sigh of relief. Now he can quietly live his life outside the spotlight and concentrate on his family's reality tv show.
2008-10-27 16:24:46
52.   LogikReader
Penelope Cruz is a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

[runs and ducks]

2008-10-27 16:25:41
53.   Eric Enders
Or, you know, into.
2008-10-27 16:25:48
54.   Eric Stephen
Earlier today I saw an article from last week about "original Ray" Miguel Cairo buying two tickets to Game 1 in Tampa.

The article mentions that Cairo and Randy Winn are the only two active original Rays, since they were on the first 40-man roster in club history. Since they used that criteria, our man JJJ got the shaft. Johnson (first pitched for TB on 4/23/98) is the other 1998 Devil Ray still active in the bigs.

2008-10-27 16:28:41
55.   bhsportsguy
One thing that I noticed in looking at 2008 pitching stats, Tampa Bay's had 5 pitchers with 27 or more starts for a total of 153 starts.

That is a stat that will be hard to repeat.

2008-10-27 16:28:51
56.   bhsportsguy
One thing that I noticed in looking at 2008 pitching stats, Tampa Bay had 5 pitchers with 27 or more starts for a total of 153 starts.

That is a stat that will be hard to repeat.

2008-10-27 16:31:17
57.   Eric Enders
If Miguel Cairo bought tickets to a game in Tampa then he was probably surprised when nobody showed up. (Sorry, pet peeve of mine.)

In 1995 the Dodgers' double-play combo at Class AA was Miguel Cairo and Wilton Guerrero. Who would have thought Cairo would end up having by far the longer career?

2008-10-27 16:33:22
58.   Eric Stephen
I purposely corrected myself in the second paragraph to avoid the lonely "Tampa". I completely missed the first error. D'oh!
2008-10-27 16:35:03
59.   Jon Weisman
56 - And yet the comment was so easy to repeat :)
2008-10-27 16:36:55
60.   Eric Stephen
Only the 1922-1923 Yankees have pulled off the five 27+ start group in back-to-back years.

2008-10-27 16:37:06
61.   Eric Stephen
Only the 1922-1923 Yankees have pulled off the five 27+ start group in back-to-back years.

2008-10-27 16:37:55
62.   Jon Weisman
60-61 - Back-to-back indeed! You guys are on today :)
2008-10-27 16:38:58
63.   Eric Enders
We'll need a ruling from the committee on whether 60-61 qualifies as a true double post.
2008-10-27 16:40:16
64.   Eric Stephen
Exhibit A: I changed the links.
2008-10-27 16:42:00
65.   Jacob Burch
I grew saddened that my iambic trimeter poem I did in three seconds got lost in the shuffle. But this solid commenting has brightened my mood.

I've decided to go forward with the essay/semi blog project, hopefully domain'd "," but now I'm starting to think I should wait until Spring Training. Decisions, Decisions.

2008-10-27 16:43:00
66.   Jon Weisman
62 - Not a true double-post, but it still works for my amusement.
2008-10-27 16:44:31
67.   bferb
If we could somehow sign CC and deal for Holliday, I would be pretty excited and we'd still have plenty of money to fill out or IF. Problem is I'm sure we'd have to give up McDonald just for starters in a Holliday trade. What do you all think?
2008-10-27 16:46:00
68.   Eric Stephen
Incidentally, the 1922 Yankees lost the World Series in 5 games (4-0-1), and came back to beat the same team (Giants) the next year 4 games to 2.

Both teams had an outfielder named Whitey Witt, whose name delights me.

2008-10-27 16:47:09
69.   Eric Enders
67 I think a Holliday trade probably starts with Kemp and McDonald.
2008-10-27 16:50:04
70.   bferb
69 Kemp AND McDonald would be a little steep for one year of Holliday. Kemp is a solid major leaguer at this point, and although we are all still waiting for the upside, its not like he's just an unproven minor league prospect we are packaging.
2008-10-27 16:52:26
71.   Eric Enders
70 I agree. I wouldn't do it. But I'm guessing that package is at the low end of what the Rockies would be asking for.
2008-10-27 16:53:26
72.   Eric Enders
McDonald with the Rockies would be sort of scary for both parties anyway. Extreme flyball pitcher.
2008-10-27 16:56:01
73.   Eric Stephen
For a half season of Teixeira, the Angels gave up a starter at the same position (Kotchman) and their #6 prospect (Marek; according to BA).

McDonald was rated #7 in the Dodger organization, but would be higher now.

A Kemp-McDonald is not that far fetched (and probably isn't enough).

2008-10-27 16:57:00
74.   bferb
72 Good point. I would like to see Holliday in Dodger blue, but I can't really see what package we could send. Rockies number one request is young starters.
2008-10-27 17:00:20
75.   bhsportsguy
62 I remove ('s) from Bay in the second post.
2008-10-27 17:02:44
76.   Bob Hendley
0 - Very minor point, and one that begins with Mr. Roth, but my wife, Consuelo, would never forgive me if I didn't say something. I don't believe that the name Consuela actually exists as a Spanish given name, outside of books and scripts written in English.
2008-10-27 17:04:45
77.   bferb
73 Despite BA's ranking, the Angels weren't high on Marek, and turned him into a reliever prior to last year. He never had a season comparable to McDonald.

Kemp's OPS+ was 10 - 15 pts higher than Kotchman every year and Kemp plays a much more valuable position, although Kotchman was major league ready.

If the Rockies expectations are that high, no way a trade gets done.

2008-10-27 17:15:22
78.   Marty
Mike Singletary is my new hero. He has made the NFL interesting again.
2008-10-27 17:15:39
79.   Eric Enders
For another perspective, the most recent "Bad Altitude" post deals with the issue of a Holliday trade.
2008-10-27 17:33:38
80.   D4P
The thing that often got overlooked about Mike Singletary was the intensity of his eyes when he was waiting for the ball to be snapped.
2008-10-27 17:35:54
81.   Tripon
Scott Boras is the agent of too many players. I wonder how many he actually has personally met. I bet he doesn't even know what Tony Aberu looks like!
2008-10-27 17:37:41
82.   Eric Enders
Boras lives in L.A. and goes to a lot of Dodgers games, so he's probably seen Abreu play a lot. I wouldn't be surprised if he has other clients he's never met, though.
2008-10-27 17:57:52
83.   Gen3Blue
As I think the path to the play-offs involves keeping an economical core together, while winning short series involve great pitching, I am tempted to keep MacDonald in case he evolves into a good starter. Therefore I would rather trade Kemp and Loney for Holiday rather than lose Mac. But of course I would rather not.
2008-10-27 18:34:04
84.   ToyCannon
Has any Dodger fan seen Tony Abreu play alot?
2008-10-27 18:36:55
85.   ToyCannon
Lakers open tomorrow against the young Trailblazers. Finally a chance to see what all the fuss is about.
2008-10-27 18:46:05
86.   Bob Hendley
41 - Not to forget the Eagles-Skins Body Bag Night.
2008-10-27 19:01:33
87.   Eric Stephen
I'm looking forward to seeing Portland play. Fernandez/Oden could make them something special, and soon.
2008-10-27 19:04:58
88.   JoeyP
Ty Willingham out at Washington.

At what point does he stop getting head coaching jobs?

2008-10-27 19:20:20
89.   KG16
I'd rather have Halladay than Holliday.
2008-10-27 19:26:25
90.   Dodgers49
Dodgers Mailbag:

When will the Dodgers decide if they are going to sign Manny Ramirez?

In last week's mailbag you said the club hasn't given up on Jason Schmidt. Why not?

If a player needs three years of MLB service to be eligible for salary arbitration, why are Russell Martin and Andre Ethier eligible already?

How will the fact that Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng did not get the Seattle general manager's job impact the Dodgers?

Is Tony Abreu healthy?

2008-10-27 19:57:23
91.   Jon Weisman
88 - Before he got to Washington, he was 65-52-1 and took Stanford to its only Rose Bowl in the past 30+ years. It's not as if he didn't earn the jobs he got.

He might be done as a head coach now, but your implication that he hasn't deserved the jobs he has gotten is off base.

2008-10-27 20:05:10
92.   Jon Weisman
Lonnie White the latest departure from the Times sports department:

2008-10-27 21:23:54
93.   Eric Enders
90 The first graf of Gurnick's answer to the Ramirez question is unbelievably disingenuous. He's already preemptively making excuses on behalf of McCourt.
2008-10-27 21:27:56
94.   Eric Enders
Way to scare the heck out of me, Jon. I momentarily misread those first six words as "Logan White the latest departure from..."
2008-10-27 21:36:46
95.   bhsportsguy
Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ruben Amaro will be named the next GM of the Phillies 24-48 hours after the end of the World Series.
2008-10-27 21:39:46
96.   bhsportsguy
92 I met Lonnie White once, same day I met Bill Plaschke, at the LA Times Book Festival at UCLA.
2008-10-27 21:41:53
97.   Bob Timmermann
Tell Ruben to do some laundry. The wait may be a while.
2008-10-27 21:49:57
98.   Eric Enders
Two ex-Stanford players are GMs now, Amaro and Kenny Williams, with A.J. Hinch waiting in the wings. Am I missing anyone?
2008-10-27 21:59:43
99.   Brent Knapp
The following is a question re: TV technology. I'm in the market for a TV (looking at 52" LCDs) and think I'm settling for the SAMSUNG LN52A550. It has everything I want except it is not 120 hz. From my research it is roughly $300-500 extra for that and I don't think it's worth it. Anyone here have any opinions on that matter? Also, I have only looked at LCD's. Should I be looking at plasmas too?
2008-10-27 22:50:55
100.   CajunDodger
Not an expert on TVs, but we got Samsung 42" with the 120 hz refresh rate and it is one of the most satisfying things I have ever bought. My wife and I looked at this particular model in three stores and the picture looked better than anything else at all three (and it was $500 less than one of the Somy Bravias that we looked at).

I like an LCD over Plasma. Slightly less heat, deeper blacks, and a wider viewing angle (but only slightly).

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-10-27 23:05:44
101.   Tripon
Didn't Lonnie White do the picks for the L.A. Times? How will I handle my vices now!?
2008-10-27 23:07:48
102.   fanerman
99 100 Plasmas generally have deeper blacks and wider viewing angles (fairly sure about the viewing angles, very sure about the blacks). LCD's have better whites, or something. You're right that plasmas use up a bit more power than LCD's, but LCD's use a lot too. Yet another con for plasmas is that they dim slowly over their lifespan. However, the Pioneer Kuro plasmas are supposedly the best looking consumer TV around.

In general convenience trumps quality, so unless you care THAT much, getting an LCD is just fine.

I think 120 Hz is quite nice though. Blu-ray movies are encoded at 24fps, just like they are in the theaters. 120 Hz TV's can display the 24fps without doing any weird processing (each frame is shown 5 times in one second). If you don't quite get what I'm saying, TV's in the past have been 60 Hz. 60 is not divisible by 24. So your DVD player would have to do some processing (called 3:2 pulldown) to get the 24 frames to display properly and smoothly on a TV. Blu-ray and 120 Hz TV's generally fix that problem. It's not a HUGE deal, but the smoothness is quite nice. And BTW, TV's had been 60 Hz because broadcast TV is 30fps (in a nutshell), as opposed to film's 24, and 30 divides into 60 nicely.

The other "benefit" of 120 Hz is the frame interpolation. The TV can interpolate between frames, to make things look even smoother. Most of the time, I find the effect pretty weird, so I leave it off.

It's up to you, whether you think 120 Hz is worth it. I got my TV mainly to watch movies, DVD and blu-ray, so 120 Hz was pretty important to me. TV's and DVD players can do a very good job of 3:2 pulldown, so it's not necessarily a HUGE leap.

If you're wondering, I have a Sony SXRD. It's a rear projection TV (kind of like DLP, but not exactly). It's rated very highly (almost as good as the Pioneer Kuro plasma) but doesn't suck up power like a beast.

2008-10-27 23:21:06
103.   scareduck
76 - you'll have to explain that to my neighbor across the street from my old house, then.
2008-10-27 23:23:53
104.   Eric Enders
I guess any name exists as long as there is one person in the world who has it. If you'd asked me 10 years ago I would have told you Yuniesky and Jhonny weren't names in Spanish either.
2008-10-27 23:46:38
105.   LAT
Personally, I disagree about adding pitching and defense. While these may win games, I finally tasted big time offense and I want more. I began the season as Charlie Bucket and ended it as Augustus Gloop.
2008-10-27 23:49:06
106.   Eric Enders
We had big-time offense before Manny, but we traded it for Jim Eisenreich.
2008-10-27 23:52:04
107.   scareduck
102 - Viewing angle problems are mainly an artefact of the old projection-style LCD units that had gain screens. Newer direct-drive units don't have those to nearly the same degree. Blacks I can't speak to, and plasma adherents claim they're still better than LCDs, but for my money the difference in power consumption more than makes up for it. I can't see it, personally, but your mileage may vary.

The difference in plasma vs. LCD power consumption is non-trivial. I have read of people having to re-wire their house to install a new plasma TV. I ran a fairly quick survey in August of then-popular 50" plasma TV's and 52" LCD TV's. The power consumption ranged from 2:1 to almost 3:1.

We saw the difference between 120 Hz and 60 Hz refresh rates when we were in the market for a new TV, and there is just no comparison. For sports especially, the difference is staggering, and the picture quality is enormously improved, especially for motion.

I'm already on my second generation of HDTV; we bought a 42" Sony LCD rear projector for the 2004 Olympics. It's a fine unit, but it does have some issues with narrow field of views at the periphery, and it doesn't tolerate people watching much above or below the horizontal (i.e. you must be sitting to avoid losing picture quality). We moved the Sony into the guest bedroom, and have a couple Sharp TV's now, a 65" unit for the living room and a smaller 32" unit in the bedroom. Both have been fine performers, though you might consider using external speakers for the smaller TV, because there are volume issues for some reason, especially on HD broadcasts.

2008-10-28 00:02:01
108.   LAT
I barely understand a word of 102 but I know that I like my Samsung LCD a lot, more than the Pioneer plasma.
2008-10-28 00:05:24
109.   scareduck
107 - Also, one of the more annoying things about plasma is that the technology is, at base, a lot of little tiny neon tubes lighting or not lighting. This is expensive energetically, but it also introduces another problem: the gases inside the tube will slowly leak out. This is why plasma TVs have what is known as "time to half brightness". (Good luck finding this rating, by the way, because few sellers will level with you about this.) The less charitable term is "half life", because it's a measure of how long the unit will continue to display. I understand the "time to half brightness" durations have been dramatically increased in recent years, but this may be a case of too little, too late, as the next generation of LED displays will provide the advantages of plasma without the drawbacks.

I stumbled across this Webopedia discussion of the two technologies that appears like it might be useful to you.

2008-10-28 01:14:07
110.   Eric Enders

I'm watching next year's World Series at Rob's house.

2008-10-28 06:58:06
111.   BlueCrew Bruin
107 Ah yes, the volume issues are quite annoying with our 42" Sharp. I have to crank it way up when watching an HD channel only to later get blown out of the room if I switch to an SD channel. I've yet to figure out a way around it.
2008-10-28 07:11:34
112.   Dodger Dawg
Pitching and defense do win ballgames. That said you still have to score more than the other team. When a team scores runs it seems like pitchers relax and actually pitch better than when they have to worry that giving up 1 run will cause them to lose. The Dodgers haven't had a hitter like Manny since Piazza was traded. Every year they're looking to add power, well Manny provides that power along with the ability to get on base and drive in runs. Every team needs at least one player capable of winning the game with one swing of the bat. With due respect for our young players , none of them are that guy yet, Manny is, and if he leaves that production has to come from somebody else or you're looking at a 500 team at best, no matter how good the pitching and defense.
2008-10-28 08:11:58
113.   herchyzer
112 . What he said. I don't study modern stats at all. I may be talking out of my hat. All I know is, when we got Manny Internet posters somewhere were talking about his runs-added or something, and it wasn't that much, and was giving up LaRoche worth its? Well, hooey to that! A slugger like Manny changes the whole complexion of the team. I don't know if there's stats to measure what-all he brings, but it's a lot. IT SEEMS like there's more confidence throughout. There is for this fan, anyways.

I want my Manny!

2008-10-28 08:19:46
114.   Tripon
• The Braves want to keep their best prospects, like Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward and Gorkys Hernandez, and unless Atlanta and the Padres can find some kind of middle ground in their Peavy trade talks over the likes of Yunel Escobar and Jordan Schaefer and some pitching, San Diego figures to look elsewhere. The Dodgers remain an intriguing possibility, because they have the kind of young pitching that the Padres would need in return for Peavy; L.A. might have to part with Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw as the centerpiece of the deal for a division's rival ace and Cy Young Award winner.

2008-10-28 08:39:31
115.   underdog
114 Buster, please join Jon Heyman over there in the corner and remain quiet about the Dodgers until April. Or do I have to call your parents?
2008-10-28 08:47:56
116.   Kevin Lewis
After this weekend, I would have to say I would never wish food poisoning on anyone.

Oh, and I love my Samsung HDTV.

2008-10-28 08:51:35
117.   CajunDodger
I wonder what the Dodgers would offer. If I'm the Padres, I want the deal to start with Kershaw. The Dodgers may not mind this if they see Elbert and McDonald as providing the cheap depth that is needed.

I can not conceive of blacks being any deeper than on my Samsung, especially on an HD channel but I looked it up and you are correct.

2008-10-28 08:55:15
118.   regfairfield
113 Did he make Loney, Kemp, and Martin less confident, or are they just not team players?

When we got Manny, I said he was about a one win improvement over Pierre because he was going to hit like he did in Boston and play lousy defense. Instead, he hit .400 and played average defense. If you saw that coming, more power to you.

2008-10-28 08:56:57
119.   cargill06
114 That's a lot for a guy who has a 3.80 ERA away from Petco and whose HR rate doubles away from Petco, and whose K rate was the lowest it was in 5 years, and who had elbow problems last year. Just too many "and's" for my comfort.
2008-10-28 08:57:20
120.   Tripon
117 The Padres wanted Elbert and McDonald for a month and a half of Maddux. They're going to ask for the moon of the Dodgers for Peavy, which is one primary reason why we shouldn't trade with them.

Putting a extra surcharge of prospects on trading within the division is silly especially when you're not expected to contend.

2008-10-28 08:58:29
121.   Bumsrap
Unfortunately, I don't think Torre is impressed with Hu and that could lead to a big mistake. On the other hand, if Abreu plays healthy in a Winter league, the Dodgers would have a good infield package of Hu and Abreu for play or trade depending on what they wind doing with Furcal.

I personally would like to see the Dodgers sign CC and then wait for 2010 before they did anything else if they can't trade Jones and his entire salary and do it without taking back wasted salary in return.

Sign me up for great defense and pitching for 2009 and that may include no Furcal.

2008-10-28 08:59:21
122.   Eric Stephen
I'm still rooting for the Rays to win the remaining 2.39 games, but they really tempted fate by staying last night in Delaware.
2008-10-28 09:04:02
123.   Tripon
121 I think it has to do with the thinking that Hu would have a hard time passing a physical with his current vision problems. Can't trade a guy with a known aliment like that unless you're going with it eyes wide open. Pun not intended.
2008-10-28 09:05:03
124.   El Lay Dave
122 Crossing the Delaware River in bad weather (albeit in the other direction) worked out pretty well for General George Washington. Maybe it will work out for the Rays.
2008-10-28 09:07:52
125.   Bumsrap
123 - You wasted a good pun by not intending. You are right about Hu--he may not be the owl he needs to be.
2008-10-28 09:09:02
126.   Bumsrap
124 - while standing!
2008-10-28 09:09:39
127.   DBrim
123 - I thought that was fixed?
2008-10-28 09:10:03
128.   El Lay Dave
We Dodgers fans have to remember that we saw almost exclusively a very hot Manny hitting at a pace that cannot be kept up over a whole season. Manny's is still a GREAT hitter, but it can't all be like he was for two months here.

Manny in LA / amount of overall career average:
.396 / .082 BA
.489 / .078 OBP
.743 / .150 Slg%
1.232 / .228 OPS

(What was the worst stretch he had to endure here? 2-14 in Philly when LA got swept?)

2008-10-28 09:10:33
129.   Bumsrap
127 - It seems to come and go.
2008-10-28 09:10:36
130.   BlueCrew Bruin
Yay! Finally we get some more sports talk radio hosts trashing baseball. Thanks rain!

{please adjust sarcasm meters accordingly}

2008-10-28 09:10:57
131.   Eric Stephen
I remember John Madden saying in an interview that one of the greatest disappointments in his life was when he saw how narrow the Delaware River was.
2008-10-28 09:16:48
132.   delias man
Would Maddon come back with another starter to start the 6th inning? There is no tomorrow if they do not win.
2008-10-28 09:18:47
133.   underdog
122 It's still hard to believe they couldn't find alternate lodging in Philly last night. Maybe there was a conspiracy by the Philadelphia Hotel Assn. to close off all registration to any large groups who looked like baseball players.
2008-10-28 09:18:47
134.   Eric Stephen
Maybe Balfour for an inning, followed by Price until the game ends or something like that.

Then hope Shields can go deep tomorrow in St. Pete, followed by Johnny Wholestaff on Thursday.

2008-10-28 09:19:34
135.   El Lay Dave
114 Ridiculous. Jordan Schafer (Olney has it misspelled) was a minor-league HGH suspension this April. Why does Atlanta get reported as playing hardball regarding their best chips, but for the Dodgers the names Kershaw and Billingsley (!) get thrown around. Trading your top returning starter (Bills) or an expected, rising member of rotation (who else?) as part of a package to get a starter back doesn't fill any holes. And having Khalil Greene thrown in doesn't either. I call nonsense.
2008-10-28 09:24:58
136.   El Lay Dave
Not that you actually have to cross the Delaware River to get from Philly to the state of Delaware....
2008-10-28 09:27:37
137.   El Lay Dave
131 Sure, it's easy to cross now in the Winnebago....
2008-10-28 09:28:08
138.   Eric Stephen
Each player gets a single room in a "first class hotel", per the CBA, so they probably need 40+ rooms for everyone including coaches and staff. That might be hard to find just in general.
2008-10-28 09:29:21
139.   Tripon
Shields is starting game 6, with bullpen taking up the slack for the rest of game 5. Personally think its the wrong move because game 5 could easily go into extra innings. Can your bullpen last into the 11th, 12th, 13th inning while you're fighting for sheer life?
2008-10-28 09:32:00
140.   ToyCannon
Just like the Miggy rumors last fall. We had established players getting mentioned plus Kershaw while everyone else just had AA/AAA players being mentioned. Then he gets traded for a package that wouldn't have been as good as Kemp alone.
It is amazing how loaded the Braves minor leagues are even after the Vowel deal. They have been drafting up a storm the last few years.
2008-10-28 09:32:10
141.   Eric Stephen
I'm a little surprised Fox hasn't used the weather to lightheartedly promote "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
2008-10-28 09:33:49
142.   Eric Stephen
Price can probably go quite long to finish Game 5.
2008-10-28 09:36:16
143.   Eric Stephen
To win the series, the Rays need Shields to pitch 7 or more of the remaining 22 (or more) innings. He's probably better off pitching in a role he's used to (starting Game 6) rather than spreading him out between possibly Games 5 and 7.
2008-10-28 09:38:34
144.   Eric Stephen
I always get confused on this. With four days rest, which day is the "throw day"? Is it the 2nd or 3rd rest day?

I ask because today is Garza's 3rd rest day. If Game 5 continues today, might he be available for an inning or two if needed, or would his "throw day" have been yesterday?

Garza is a more realistic option than Shields in relief today (or whenever weather allows).

2008-10-28 09:38:50
145.   ToyCannon
In the AL he could but in the NL he might need to be pinch hit for in a key situation. It's called baseball and it is a whole different ballgame then the AL version.
2008-10-28 09:39:46
146.   Eric Stephen
I've been meaning to ask, why is Teixeira "The Vowel"? Is it just because 5 of his 8 last name letters are vowels? I feel like I'm missing something here.
2008-10-28 09:42:10
147.   Jon Weisman
2008-10-28 09:57:14
148.   ToyCannon
Isn't your question self explanatory?

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