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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

At Least Billy Beane Didn't Write This One
2009-01-26 09:35
by Jon Weisman

There was some hysteria over the weekend regarding the upcoming book The Yankee Years. The cover indicates that it was written by now-Dodger manager Joe Torre and Tom Verducci, which I suppose makes it logical for people to think that the negative quote about Yankee players and management came from Torre. Sports Illustrated columnist Verducci tried to bud-nip some of that talk.

The book is not a first-person book by Joe Torre, it's a third-person narrative based on 12 years of knowing the Yankees and it's about the changes in the game in that period. Seems to me the New York Post assigned this third-person book entirely to Joe Torre and that's not the case. In fact, if people saw that Post story they probably noticed there are no quotes from Joe Torre in it. Joe Torre does not rip anybody in the book. The book really needs to be read in context. ...

This is the result of hundreds of interviews with not only Torre but players, front office executives, executives of other teams, players on other teams. It's a 477-page book about 12 years of baseball history. Again, it's not a Joe Torre first-person book, so there's a lot of reporting that's presented in there in addition to Joe's insights.

Smart people will judge the book upon actually reading it and not reading preliminary reports prior to its publication. Once you understand the context of the book you understand the information. It's not a tell-all book. Anybody who reads it will understand that. ...

Comments (270)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2009-01-26 09:44:55
1.   silverwidow
It's obvious that the front office values the #17 pick, but I'm still wondering why Juan Cruz's name was brought up a few weeks ago. A ploy to get Mota to sign quicker?
2009-01-26 09:45:27
2.   Jacob Burch
As it's the post, none of the shoddy reporting surprises me, although it's sort of odd that they'd give Torre a byline at all, given the amount of contribution Joe Torre seems to give per this TV interview. I understand it's probably to sell books, but still seems fairly misleading.
2009-01-26 09:58:30
3.   D4P
The Dodgers have hired longtime major league coach Lee Elia as a special assistant to General Manager Ned Colletti, and the two go all the way back to the 1980s with the Cubs. has seven special assistants.

Must be nice to be able to give cushy jobs to your friends. And to have friends who can give you cushy jobs.

2009-01-26 09:59:20
4.   Disabled List
I really couldn't care less about this whole "controversy." But it does irk me because it perpetuates this notion that Joe Torre is primarily the Once and Former All-Glorious Manager of the Yankees, and that he's essentially enjoying his retirement now. He's only doing his current job with the Dodgers because he doesn't like golf or lawn bowling.
2009-01-26 10:01:40
5.   Branch Rickey
I will certainly reserve judgement on Torre until the book actually comes out. Perhaps he did nothing wrong. But if there's a tell all book about the Yankees that has his name on it, I think he may have at least made some judgement errors. He seems like a better guy than that and I hope that's what we'll find.
2009-01-26 10:02:21
7.   Jon Weisman
3 - Why exactly are people (not just you) bothered about this? Why do we assume these people won't contribute? I get that it's possible they won't. But why the assumption? Do we want the Dodgers to skimp? Is Lee Elia's salary going to cost the Dodgers a key player?
2009-01-26 10:07:39
8.   CanuckDodger
This Torre controversy just calls attention to what I have long believed to be a scandal in modern publishing -- books being published whose authorship is officially attributed to people who didn't actually write them. The book is by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci? So that means they co-wrote it? No, Tom Verducci wrote it, and Joe Torre just gave Verducci a lot of interview time. But the publisher and Verducci know that they are BOTH going to make a lot more money if a book about the Yankees can be sold with Torre's name in great big letters on the cover, so Torre is promised a nice payday to let his name be used. Thus do all parties -- publisher, writer, and big-name celebrity -- become complicit in a lie, a fraud. Is it unfair that Torre is taking flak for the content of the book, a book he didn't write? You know, he took the money and he put his name on the cover, so even if he didn't even READ the damn thing, I say he is RESPONSIBLE for the content. Put your name on something, and you have to stand by it -- or somebody should MAKE you stand by it.
2009-01-26 10:08:05
9.   Bob Timmermann
How did a Tom Verducci book merit a Michiko Kakutani review in the NY Times?
2009-01-26 10:09:11
12.   D4P
First of all, I'm not sure we've ever been given a description of what a Special Assistant to the GM does, and why a team needs 7 of them. (The fact that Mueller just stepped into the job after getting hurt didn't exactly say much for the position, at least not in my mind).

Second, we're not given much (if any) insight into how the Special Assistants are chosen. Is there a job announcement? Does the team interview candidates? Are there specified qualifications and standards? Or, is it just up to the GM to give cushy jobs to his/her buddies?

Overall, without greater (or even any) transparency into what these people actually do or whether/how they actually contribute, to me the job seems to be primarily about rewarding friends, keeping "baseball guys" involved in the game, spreading the wealth, etc., not so much about filling a critical need for the team's success.

2009-01-26 10:11:33
13.   Jon Weisman
8 - Torre did read the thing, according to Verducci, and stands by the content. It's just, apparently, that the reporting about what the book says is inaccurate.

I haven't read the book, so I don't know.

I agree with you that listing Torre as an author makes this all problematic.

2009-01-26 10:13:32
14.   underdog
Sounds like Andy Pettitte is going to go back to the Yankees, from multiple sources. In case anyone was still hoping the Dodgers would sign him to a 1 year deal.
2009-01-26 10:14:14
15.   Tripon
From what you pay for a special assistant, you might be able to fund the Dodgers shuttle for 2009. At least I would like to see what Elia's job entails before I make a judgment to see if its just Coletti's hiring a friend because he can, or that Elia was brought in to contribute in a significant way.
2009-01-26 10:14:14
16.   Jon Weisman
12 - I'm not saying all of that isn't plausible. But after about the 10th sneering remark about this (again, it's been a group effort in the blogosphere), I find it just as annoying that people assume these assistants are useless. The lack of information doesn't mean that they don't contribuute.
2009-01-26 10:17:22
17.   underdog
There's a classic (big time rule 1 violating) quote from Lee Elia on his Wikipedia page that always makes me laugh. Came after a game against the Dodgers but his vitriol was aimed at Cubs fans. It's classic. I'd put him on staff just on the basis of this quote.
2009-01-26 10:17:27
18.   underdog
2009-01-26 10:19:23
19.   Xeifrank
These (and many other) types of books are the part of sports that I have zero or very very little interest in (as well as chat about who belongs in the HOF or not). I love the game, the hot stove and the stats.
vr, Xei
2009-01-26 10:22:03
20.   D4P
I hadn't seen or heard anything about the Elia signing until just now.

The lack of information doesn't mean that they don't contribuute

No, but the lack of transparency makes it seem like there's something to hide, whether there is or not. Not that it really matters: owners can do what they want with (including, waste) their own money as they see fit.

2009-01-26 10:22:29
21.   bhsportsguy
15 I may be in the minority on this but why do the Dodgers have to fund a shuttle? Now, I think they should work something out with the City of LA on this issue. And its not as if the City of LA doesn't make a sizable amount of sales tax revenue from the Dodgers that could be portioned out to pay for this service.
2009-01-26 10:23:50
22.   das411
At least Jose Canseco writes his own books!

/take that, Joe Torre

2009-01-26 10:25:03
23.   berkowit28
From Tony Jackson on Verducci's Torre book:

"But the source basically echoed what Tom Verducci said in his interview, that it isn't nearly as much of a hit job on the Yankees as it is being made out to be in the New York tabloids. I also heard from TWO sources today, both of them close to Torre, that almost everyone who appears in the book was contacted by either Torre or Verducci to give them a heads-up on what was written about them, and that none of those people took exception to any of it."

2009-01-26 10:25:16
24.   Jon Weisman
20 - Lack of transparency? Has anyone even asked the question? I haven't. The beat writers haven't. I sincerely doubt it even occured to them that they had anything to disclose.
2009-01-26 10:26:06
25.   bhsportsguy
20 Is there any large institutions that are transparent in what their employees and management do for their salaries?

Yes, this is a Dodger blog and its focus is on what they do but it seems at times there is expectation that do more than any other business when it comes to being open about what they do and who does it.

2009-01-26 10:27:33
26.   Jon Weisman
Q: Why did you hire Lee Elia?

A: The guy has 10,000 years of baseball experience. I've met with him and he has a lot of good ideas. We could have hired someone else or done nothing, but we concluded he would be a great addition to the team.


Whether or not Lee Elia actually does help the team, what could you expect besides this?

2009-01-26 10:31:21
27.   Bob Timmermann
My FOIA request to the Dodgers has gone unanswered.
2009-01-26 10:31:22
28.   Jason in Canada
The interesting thing that I heard in Verducci's interview with Dan Patrick was why Joe Torre eventually left the Yankees.

Patrick asked if there was some sense of betrayal, to which Verducci denied saying it was more of a philosophical difference with Brian Cashman attempting a more "new school" approach with the stats and Torre being "old school" favoring scouting, intuition, etc...

That was a real shocker.

I guess the Dodgers are "old school" enough for him to be comfortable.

2009-01-26 10:32:44
29.   silverwidow
Here's a pretty good Top 10 Dodgers prospect list with brief write-ups:

2009-01-26 10:35:42
30.   Humma Kavula
8 As someone who has ghostwritten, is currently ghostwriting, and will likely ghostwrite in the future, I think there is a long and proud history of writing under somebody else's name.

Politicians rarely write their own speeches. They discuss what they would like to say, and have a speechwriter write the speech. Do you have any issues with that? Is that a lie?

2009-01-26 10:38:09
31.   Jason in Canada
Interesting article on the Dodgers rebuilding with "old and crippled" players.

We told another baseball junkie about the signing of 41 year old Ausmus. The immediate response was surely as a coach.

(sorry if the article has been posted already)

2009-01-26 10:38:42
32.   Humma Kavula
By the way -- Jon, I hope everything goes OK this week at work. Nikki Finke is making dire predictions. I am hoping for the best for you.
2009-01-26 10:39:48
33.   Jon Weisman
30 - The question I'm having is whether this was a traditional ghostwrite, or whether it's just a regular old Verducci book that uses Torre's name to goose sales. What Verducci seems to be saying is that this isn't a traditional ghostwrite.
2009-01-26 10:40:33
34.   Jon Weisman
32 - Thanks.
2009-01-26 10:41:49
35.   Humma Kavula
33 That's true... and I guess we won't know what it is until we see the book.

Chances of me buying this book approach nil.

2009-01-26 10:47:33
36.   silverwidow
Zack Greinke just signed a 4-year extension with KC. No terms yet.
2009-01-26 10:49:26
37.   Hollywood Joe
The Special Assistant Debate is a new low in Dodger secret cabal paranoia that we sometimes wander into in our discussions

If, at it's very worst, the hiring of Elia is simply baseball taking care of it's own and is nothing more than spending dollars to employ an old baseball guy who gave his life to the sport...well, I still dont have anything against it. If there is an ounce of value he brings in addition to that, well great!

If baseball takes care of the old guys by creating jobs so that they have an income and a reason to come to the ballpark, well then who are we to comment and moan about it?

25 is absolutely correct, baseball is already more of a fishbowl than any other normal industry, to expect them to list out the functions of the entire organization and the reasons for each hire are beyond

2009-01-26 10:49:30
38.   bhsportsguy
35 My favorite "as told to" books was when Reggie Jackson had two books with the same title "Reggie," one with Bill Libby and the other with Mike Lupica.
2009-01-26 10:51:07
39.   Hollywood Joe
BTW Bob, 27 made me laugh

Too bad we can't blame Cheney's office on this one

2009-01-26 10:52:50
40.   chris in illinois
27 You must have submitted your request during the dying days of the Bush administration; Obama already has put in writing his intention to be more responsive to FOIA requests;)
2009-01-26 10:53:30
41.   ToyCannon
Special Assistant kind of loses it's luster if everyone in top management is a special assistant. It is like having 7 Vice Presidents.

Nothing wrong with Ned handing out jobs to his cronies if Frank wants to pay for them, but I do think it is worth some mirth.

2009-01-26 10:56:42
42.   Jon Weisman
41 - I don't disagree with you but I can only speak for myself in saying that the mocking has been overdone. I agree with 37 .

I would say this is more like having a healthy Cabinet.

2009-01-26 10:57:08
43.   Humma Kavula
Maybe it's, um, "special" assistant, if ya know what I mean.


OK, back to -- as Michael Chabon put it -- the long, spiraling chute, greased with regular paychecks, into the Tartarus of pseudonymous hackdom.

2009-01-26 10:57:50
44.   Hollywood Joe
41 I live for mirth

It is the assumption that everything the Dodger front office does is somehow a conspiracy of either evil or stupidity to deprive us the smarter than average fans our rightful joy and success...well that one loses the laugh potential when not countered with the occasional spice of optimism and happiness

2009-01-26 11:02:29
45.   ToyCannon
Come now, BHsportsguy always provides counterbalance to negativity whenever the need arises.
2009-01-26 11:05:30
46.   Bob Timmermann
The Red Sox have both an Assistant General Manager and an Assistant to the General Manager.
2009-01-26 11:06:05
47.   ToyCannon
Exactly, the difference being that Ned was saddled with some of his cabinet so he continues to bring in those with his same opinions. That might be healthy for his sense of well being but I wouldn't call that healthy for the Dodgers if the old Cubs are where gospels of knowledge are going to be weaned from.
2009-01-26 11:10:29
48.   D4P
In theory, what might someone like Lee Elia know that, say, Tommy Lasorda doesn't, that could justify Lee's salary (whatever it is)?
2009-01-26 11:12:16
49.   Hollywood Joe
44 - surely he does, as do many others

...and we all seem to take turns at different points being the "down guy" or the "happy gal"

I am sure every poster here at one time or another has either made me laugh, made me smarter about baseball, made me smarter about something other than baseball, or just plain brought me an ounce of happiness while I read their post. I know that is true because I come here every dang day

2009-01-26 11:12:45
50.   Bob Timmermann
"What did Lee Elia know and when did he know it?"
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2009-01-26 11:12:55
51.   Jon Weisman
48 - You can't be meaning to set me up as easily as you just did :)
2009-01-26 11:15:04
52.   ToyCannon
Let us say you came in to power but one of the people you were saddled with was an old blowbag who had plenty of knowledge but it wasn't worth the effort to acquire it. Then you had the opportunity to hire an old friend who had been your mentor and whose knowledge you respected, with the plus that you enjoyed talking with. Just a guess.
2009-01-26 11:16:53
53.   delias man
Is anybody looking at picking up Front Office Manager for Xbox or PS3?

I am interested in the online mode where you are against 29 other GM's.

2009-01-26 11:18:53
54.   D4P
where you are against 29 other GM's

And 7 X 29 Special Assistants...!

2009-01-26 11:19:23
55.   Hollywood Joe
48 - My first thought is who cares

My second is maybe nothing

My third is maybe nothing but they draw different conclusions from that knowledge. Maybe the same knowledge in each of their brains, shaped by years of different experiences, results in two wildly divergent views

or maybe Elia is just another old guy that does 20 hours worth of work, some community outreach, goes down to the minors to check on a coach...and dies sometime in the future a baseball man for the last 60 years of his life.

The Ned we get (and in general I am not a fan) is the Ned we get. No matter how many Lee Elias get hired or don't get hired is going to change that

2009-01-26 11:20:53
56.   Hollywood Joe
52 compelling and efficient
2009-01-26 11:21:51
57.   Bob Timmermann
The Cubs have a GM.
They have an assistant GM.
They have a Director of Baseball Administration.
They have a Senior Advisor.
They have six Special Assistants to the GM.
2009-01-26 11:25:19
58.   Jon Weisman
How many English professors are enough? What can one English professor provide that another one can't?
2009-01-26 11:25:40
59.   Daniel Zappala
Happy Chinese New Year, everyone.
2009-01-26 11:27:44
60.   bhsportsguy
59 It is the Year of the Broxton.
2009-01-26 11:28:02
61.   Bob Timmermann
About 10 years ago, I was on a vacation in Canada and I had to sleep over in Vancouver one night because the flights were very difficult. (I was actually vacationing in the NWT and Yukon.)

I turned on the TV in my hotel room and there was a sports discussion show with several Vancouver sports writers. It was July.

The Canucks had just named Stan Smyl as an assitant coach. The writers, about six of them, spent 15 minutes debating what Stan Smyl's job would be.

Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.
Same as it ever was.

2009-01-26 11:35:02
62.   Kevin Lewis

I thought you were kidding. I was wrong.

Isn't that kind of mode already built into the MLB2K experience?

2009-01-26 11:36:47
63.   CanuckDodger
30 -- I'm not going to knock a professional ghostwriter, if only because it is hard making any kind of living as a writer. But I don't think that applies to Verducci in this case. He is a known writer who can easily sell a book he wrote on the Yankees with only his name on the cover -- just not as many books as will be sold because Torre's name is on the cover.

As for speeches, if we are talking about politicians' speeches, everybody knows they have speech writers, and little time to write their own stuff, even if they could write speeches well. Besides, political speeches are almost instantly forgotten, sometimes even before they are finished.

But you know what I do have a big problem with? It is politicians, or other people who are college educated, "authoring" BOOKS without writing them themselves. Senator John F. Kennedy's Profiles In Courage was completely ghostwritten, and I believe he accepted awards for writing the thing! Nowadays, ghostwriters usually get some kind of credit on politicians' books, but it is still appalling that politicians should need that kind of help -- I mean, help beyond an editor whipping their original drafts into shape.

Just think about American presidential memoirs of the last several decades. Ghostwritten, and still, for the most part, badly written. Now think about how in the 19th century a complete ignoramus like Ulysses S. Grant, in his post-presidency retirement, could write a two-volume memoir whose prose practically sparkles. Consider further that he probably wrote it drunk. A very long time ago, even very simple, uneducated people in the English-speaking world could write eloquently. Have you ever seen Ken Burns' Civil War TV series? Listen to the well-composed letters, just letters home, written by ploughboys-turned-soldiers who barely had any formal schooling at all. Now, in an age of universal public education, American heads of state, retired from office and with plenty of leisure, can't do anything more than ramble into a tape recorder. It is just sad.

2009-01-26 11:39:24
64.   Jacob Burch
62 There hasn't been a franchise online mode as far as I remember. As far as single player, I'm not sure what makes it appealing.
2009-01-26 11:40:24
65.   Jon Weisman
"A very long time ago, even very simple, uneducated people in the English-speaking world could write eloquently."

Well, some of them could. I doubt everyone wrote like Sullivan Ballou.

I'm not putting Grant down, but I think Grant had a lot more time on his hands then Kennedy did.

2009-01-26 11:41:46
66.   goofus
Make-work jobs for old broken down baseball players? If I remember right baseball players have a pretty good retirement plan, probably more than most of us ever make working, and they can start collecting it at a very young age. I too am old, and living on a not very healthy pension, but I'd still like to see them use that money to make work for young men with families who need jobs. I don't put baseball people or anyone else up on a can-do-no-wrong throne...
2009-01-26 11:51:05
67.   ToyCannon
Ulysses S. Grant was a West Point graduate. You could be last in your class and still be smarter then the average bear.
2009-01-26 11:51:44
68.   dianagramr
Given his age, perhaps the question should be amended to " ... and does he still remember any of it?"

Al Stewart is gonna have a tough time writing THAT song.

2009-01-26 11:52:00
69.   Eric Stephen
Plus, he never fell for the old "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb" line.
2009-01-26 11:52:26
70.   Jon Weisman
66 - What percentage of the baseball workforce do you suppose that the Lee Elia's of the world represent?

Again, I'm not speaking specifically to what Lee Elia's qualifications are. But - speaking to the forum - the notion that every hiring of a older baseball man is immediately suspect strikes me as an unfortunate kind of bias.

2009-01-26 11:52:42
71.   Bob Timmermann
I also doubt Grant would have been promoted to general and been put in charge of the Army of the Potomac if he had been a semiliterate drunkard.
2009-01-26 11:55:10
72.   Jacob Burch
Uh oh. I think Bob has opened the floodgates for an epic Canuck Civil War post.

It's been a while, I guess.

2009-01-26 11:55:20
73.   CanuckDodger
65 -- Ballou's letter is only one letter of many read aloud in that series, and since he was an officer, I wasn't thinking of him when I talked about ploughboys-turned-soldiers with little formal schooling writing well. Though not as memorable as Ballou's, many of the letters written by the commonest of Civil War soldiers were beautiful, even if it was a rugged kind of beauty.

And I mentioned Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs in the paragraph AFTER the one in which I mentioned Profiles In Courage, and I contrasted Grant's memoirs with presidential memoirs of the last several decades. So those would be books produced when the modern presidents were, like Grant, retired.

2009-01-26 11:57:28
74.   Xeifrank
59. Xin Nian Kuai le

Hot pot and dumplings for dinner at home last night and again tonight!!! And some good stuff packed in my lunch today. :)
vr, Xei

2009-01-26 11:57:54
75.   underdog
January, when young Dodger fans thoughts turn to flights of fancy, and Lee Elia, and Civil War.
2009-01-26 11:58:53
76.   ToyCannon
As impressed as I was with the writing that Ken Burns showed us, you must remember he had lots of letters to cherry pick the best from. He wasn't interested in showing how ignorant the masses were but how beautiful the few were.
2009-01-26 11:59:26
77.   Humma Kavula
75 Seriously. This has been one boring hot stove league. Pitchers and catchers report in, what, 20 days?
2009-01-26 12:07:19
78.   CanuckDodger
72 -- Semi-literate, Bob? I thought it was clear that I was calling Grant a VERY literate drunkard. And dumb. Grant was a dumb, highly-literate drunkard. So my historical studies have informed me. Although, when it comes to his memoirs, I read parts of them in my university days, so I am not just relating an opinion of the prose that is second hand. It was Mark Twain who published those memoirs, by the way. He too thought highly of Grant as a writer.
2009-01-26 12:07:46
79.   dianagramr
From a chat going on right now:

cubfan131 (IA): Are you much of a sports gamer? Any plans to pickup MLB Front Office Manager?

Kevin Goldstein: As weird as it might sound, I'm not a sports gamer at all, except for the fantastic Hot Shots Golf franchise, which I almost treat as more of a puzzle game it it's roots. By the way, I heard that Front Office game is HORRIBLE.

2009-01-26 12:17:30
80.   CanuckDodger
76 -- I brought up Burns' series because I didn't know how much people here have read about that period, or if anybody here is a Civil War buff, but a lot of people who aren't that interested in the Civil war have seen the Burns' series. I LOVE American Civil War history and have read a lot about that era. My readings suggest to me that Burns' letters were not at all unrepresentative. And I don't think he chose letters based on how eloquent they were. Burns used letters that conveyed relevant information, or just subjective feelings, depending on what aspect of the Civil War he happened to be covering at the moment. I imagine eloquence was a bonus to Burns.
2009-01-26 12:23:05
81.   Slipstream
A few days before his death, Ulysses S. Grant wrote:

"I do not sleep though I sometimes doze a little. If up I am talked to and in my efforts to answer cause pain. The fact is I think I am a verb instead of a personal pronoun. A verb is anything that signifies to be; to do; or to suffer. I signify all three."

This passage has been analyzed at length by semioticians.

2009-01-26 12:23:28
82.   Bob Timmermann
I would pay to see a Ken Noe-Ken Burns debate.
2009-01-26 12:26:48
83.   bhsportsguy
82 The part of "Ken Burns" would be voiced by Sam Waterson.
2009-01-26 12:27:20
84.   Tom Meagher
I would like to know how many special assistants were consulted before the Loaiza trade. Over/under is "at least one."
2009-01-26 12:28:03
85.   Bob Timmermann
I have found a substitute for going to Vegas and playing slots. One of the two washing machines in my building has had a variety of problems with the coin box and each time I go to use it, it fails to work in a different way.

I didn't realize there were so many permutations for the way for the mechanism to fail.

I'm out $3. I could have used that $3 to buy a small soda at Dodger Stadium.

2009-01-26 12:28:13
86.   Disabled List
I saw a little bit of "Wild Wild West" on TV last night. It seemed pretty stupid. Ulysses S. Grant was a character in that movie.

I'm very desperate for baseball season to start.

2009-01-26 12:29:57
87.   Kevin Lewis
I'm desperate for us to sign someone who will help the team to a decent contract for both sides.
2009-01-26 12:30:46
88.   dianagramr

My apt. just switched from quarters to a plastic "debit" card system.

I now have many many quarters to get rid of.

2009-01-26 12:31:14
89.   Bob Timmermann
The film or the TV series? Grant was a character in both.

If you watched the film, all I can say is "May God have mercy on your soul."

2009-01-26 12:32:30
90.   Eric Stephen
Maury Wills, in a nice comeback and a close race over Brett Butler, has been chosen by TBLA readers as the leadoff man for the all-time LA Dodger lineup.

Voting for the #2 spot will start sometime later today and run through Thursday.

2009-01-26 12:33:40
91.   Bob Timmermann
This last time, I put all the coins in, filled in the washer, and then I was told to "choose cycle."
And then it stopped working. I was so close to the Promised Land.
2009-01-26 12:37:27
92.   underdog
Maybe we should have signed Ulysses Grant to be Special Assistant.
2009-01-26 12:39:42
93.   delias man
79 I assume it would be pretty bad. Only 39.99 and the fact that I have a Best Buy gift card have me considering it.
2009-01-26 12:42:37
94.   Gen3Blue
18 That's a beauty of a quote, underdog.
It leaves no doubt about the kind of day Lee was having!
2009-01-26 12:44:29
95.   GoBears
I had a similar thought to Canuck's (first time for everything) watching that video clip from 1966 that Jon posted below. All of the interviewee ballplayers just seemed so well-spoken (maybe Wills least of all).

I think that in the "good old days" a much smaller percentage of the population got access to education, but those who did received a much better education than is the norm nowadays. That's not surprising really - huge expansion of the system will lead to a loss in quality unless resources expand accordingly.

Either that, or there was just a lot less to learn back then, so you could learn it better ;-)

A couple of friends went to see the Tonight Show taping the other day, and came back reporting on just how stupid Jay Leno's 'victims' were on his "Jaywalking" segment. This is where he, apparently, goes to Universal Citywalk or the theme park and asks regular people simple questions about stuff they should have learned in school or noticed if they have not been hibernating. And after what I'm sure is a ton of editing, they show some of the "dumbest" ones.

But I was thinking about the examples of the questions, and decided that even some of my best students, who really are smart and hard working, would have looked "dumb" trying to answer those questions. Because no matter how smart you are, if you're never exposed to something in a school that doesn't challenge you at all, you're not likely to learn it. And let's face it, a lot of stuff that everyone should know (e.g., where does "Four Score and Seven Years Ago..." come from?) is really just trivia. The importance of the speech is one thing. The recitation of a fancy way to say "87" is trivia.

California high schools (whence cometh most of Leno's victims) are, on average, execrable. I've been teaching UC undergrads for almost 20 years, and every year, the freshmen arrive knowing less than the previous year's freshmen. They're not dumber - they just haven't learned as much. And we wise old people who disdain their ignorance have no one to blame for this state of affairs other than our ... parents.

2009-01-26 12:44:35
96.   Jason in Canada
61 Keeping with the Lee Elia theme, Stan "the Steamer" Smyl is currently a "senior adviser" to current Canuck GM Mike Gillis.

As well as the brother in law of one of my co-workers.

2009-01-26 12:46:02
97.   old dodger fan
74 Gong Xi Fa Cai

Enjoy the meal. If the dumplings are authentic I am envious.

2009-01-26 12:57:24
98.   DougS
63 Umm.... To be fair to Grant, he was not drunk while writing his memoirs. He was in great pain, dying of oral cancer. He wrote the memoirs as a last, heroic effort to provide for his family, after a Wall Street chiseler (a friend of his son's, IIRC) took him for everything he had.

And if you really, honestly think that he was dumb, you need to read Keegan's The Mask of Command.

2009-01-26 13:03:48
99.   DougS
As for the more relevant matter of whether or not Lee Elia's hiring is mere cronyism, count me as one who could care less. I've benefitted in my professional life from knowing the right people, and I've been hurt by not knowing the right people. It's how things are in every business where there's money to burn.

When I was just starting out and didn't have a network built up yet, I used to think it was a little unfair that a boss might be inclined to hire someone he's worked with before. Once I'd been out in the world a while, I realized that it made perfect sense, because having familiar people around you makes things more comfortable, even if they might be no better than the third-, or fourth- or fifth-best person for the job.

2009-01-26 13:12:39
100.   ToyCannon
Some things never change.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2009-01-26 13:17:04
101.   Humma Kavula
For what it's worth, I am drunk while writing my memoirs. Well, not so much writing as typing.

Each evening, I drink, then update my Facebook status.

It's like a memoir, 140 characters at a time.

2009-01-26 13:30:29
102.   bhsportsguy
Andy Pettite has signed back with the Yankees for $5.5M base with up to $6.5M in incentives that can be added on.

I expect an Eric Stephen update to tell us how that affects the Dodgers's sandwich pick.

2009-01-26 13:30:49
103.   Paul Scott
the notion that every hiring of a older baseball man is immediately suspect strikes me as an unfortunate kind of bias.

I think this "bias" is more about Colletti than anything else. Had DePo just hired his 7th special assistant, I doubt anything would have been said, even if that assistant was one of DePo's "old Harvard buddies."

With Colletti, however, I think the idea that a hire of an old "baseball guy" with "Colletti connections" is reasonably consistent with expectations that this hire will at best be a waste of money and at worst be actually harmful.

With no additional information available or really ever expected about Elia, I think this conclusion is reasonable. That is, I have a record of what I can expect out of persons hired by Colletti. If that is the ONLY information I have and am ever likely to have, I think it is fair to assume that a new Colletti hire will suck at the same rate as other similar hires.

2009-01-26 13:34:00
104.   Eric Stephen
I expect an Eric Stephen update to tell us how that affects the Dodgers's sandwich pick

The Yankees didn't offer Pettitte arbitration, so no compensation. :)

2009-01-26 13:34:44
105.   silverwidow
102 Pettite signing has nothing to do with our pick.
2009-01-26 13:34:57
106.   dzzrtRatt
Just read that "famous" Lee Elia quote.

I guess it must be something quite rare for Chicagoans to hear cursing. Because otherwise, it's got to be about the dumbest thing I've ever seen. The manager of a 6-14 team cussing out the fans, not just because they booed after a loss, but because their very presence at the stadium indicated they were probably a bunch of unemployed bums.

To which I'm sure a lot of fans responded: "He's right. What am I doing throwing money away to watch this lousy team? Let Elia's crappy players play in front of an empty stadium while we go out and do something productive with our time."

I can't wait to learn what profound insights Colletti expects to get from this wonder boy. He'd be better off hiring Ulysses S. Grant. Drunk, semi-literate and dead, at least he won't insult the paying customers.

2009-01-26 13:35:24
107.   silverwidow
whistles and walks away
2009-01-26 13:36:13
108.   ToyCannon
How have other Coletti hires sucked? We have no idea whose opinions have been acted upon and whose have been ignored. You are as ignorant of the front office machinations as the rest of us. I don't even think we can intelligently conjecture who sits on which side of an issue.
2009-01-26 13:37:31
109.   trainwreck
I do not think there is any conspiracy with the special assistants. I just think we seem to keep adding a bunch and none of them seem to be helpful, because we still do things like give Brad Ausmus a million dollars.
2009-01-26 13:38:43
110.   trainwreck
Or maybe Ned just does what he wants anyways.
2009-01-26 13:38:58
111.   bhsportsguy
103 Then this all strikes me as being unfair. One of the criticisms against Depo was that he did not surround himself with advisors (something that Theo did do in Boston) who could one deflect some of the attacks and also provide at least a sounding board for him (even if in reality, he never used it).

Frankly, as ToyCannon said above, I think a lot of this is bored commenters waiting for something new to chime in on.

2009-01-26 13:41:24
112.   Kevin Lewis

I am tempted to finally pick up Assassins Creed.

I really hope MLB2K9 is awesome this year. I continue to miss the MVP series

2009-01-26 13:43:57
113.   trainwreck
I played whatever the most recent MLB2K game was and the swinging action was so hard.
2009-01-26 13:45:53
114.   Daniel Zappala
74 This is what I'm making tonight:

2009-01-26 13:47:49
115.   Jacob Burch
113 It's actually pretty fluid--it's the tutorial that is atrocious. It doesn't describe at all the correct action (I think it said you can take your step and 'release' to hit, and that's not true at all).

So a better tutorial/more indepth information on how to contorl the hitting system and fixing a few of the funny bugs (the "Key Game Play" moments was ALWAYS an inside the park homerun for me, no matter what the actual play was; the ridgid windy Jersey graphics) and it should be fairly nice.

2009-01-26 13:48:24
116.   still bevens
MBL2K is a horrible franchise. I should buy a PS3 just to play MLB The Show.
2009-01-26 13:49:42
117.   Daniel Zappala
MLB2K8 is pretty good on the Wii. You have to be able to adjust to both speed and location as a batter.
2009-01-26 13:51:32
118.   trainwreck
Wow, Mickey Rourke vs Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania.
2009-01-26 13:51:54
119.   Dodgers49
106 Just read that "famous" Lee Elia quote.

I had the "good fortune" to be in Chicago on business the week Lee Elia had his melt down.
Fun times. :-)

2009-01-26 13:54:03
120.   bhsportsguy
At least Blake Dewitt will have someone to hit bp off of next month.

2009-01-26 13:54:18
121.   Lexinthedena
The film critic from the New Yorker referred to Rourke's performance in The Wrestler as a "novelty performance" on the Charlie Rose the other night.

At least the WWE isn't snubbing him.

Ram Jam!

2009-01-26 13:55:11
122.   Paul Scott
108 I was speaking, of course, about his on-field hirings (players, managers and coaches) as those are - as you rightly point out - the only ones I have any ability to judge. I don't have (and am unlikely to ever be so given) any reason to believe that Colletti's hiring decisions for the front office reflect better, worse or the same wisdom as his on-field hirings. So again, I suggest this bias to which Jon speaks is an anti-Colletti bias (and one at which was reasonably arrived) more so than it is any other type of bias.
2009-01-26 13:56:28
123.   ToyCannon
Cool, this will be our surprise guy in 2009.
2009-01-26 13:56:42
124.   Eric Enders
I share Canuck's disdain for ghostwriting but not his conviction that it's a plague of modern publishing. I mean, does anyone really think that Christy Mathewson wrote "Pitching in a Pinch" or Babe Ruth wrote "Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball"? At least Verducci is getting co-author credit, which is something that never would have happened in the old days. Back then, the book would have been billed as "by Joe Torre" and that's it. If anything, the modern publishing industry is moving ever-so-slowly away from the ghostwriting concept. Now we even have pre-presidential memoirs which appear to have been genuinely written by the man himself, which is something that hasn't happened in a very long time.

In my previous job I was occasionally given ghostwriting assignments which I undertook with varying degrees of annoyance. Once I was ordered to help ghostwrite a speech that my boss's boss gave to the National Press Club. Since the guy was a total ignoramus, and a jerk to boot, making him look smart on TV wasn't exactly on my top ten list of desired things to do. I did it, but I wasn't proud of it.

Another time I was assigned to ghostwrite a book introduction for Hank Aaron, but the deal with Aaron fell through, and they ended up getting Willie Mays instead. So with a change of only a few words, the introduction I had written as Hank Aaron was changed to "by Willie Mays." I'm 99% sure Mays never even saw the text, but I have no doubt he cashed the check.

2009-01-26 13:58:27
125.   Kevin Lewis

I have been tempted, but I love the 360 games too much.

2009-01-26 14:02:07
126.   Dodgers49
90 Maury Wills, in a nice comeback and a close race over Brett Butler

Some of the most fun I've had as a Dodger fan were the times I spent sitting among 50,000+ fans in Dodger Stadium yelling, "Go, Go, Go" as Maury took his lead off 1st base. And even though everyone in the stadium knew he was going he would still beat the throw to 2nd.

2009-01-26 14:03:38
127.   Eric Enders
So I finally got around to listening to the new Springsteen album on NPR's First Listen. While I reserve the right to change my opinion, my first reaction is... what a piece of junk. "Human Touch" now has some serious competition for the title of worst Springsteen record ever.
2009-01-26 14:05:19
128.   Howard Fox
126 ....that mighty little waist....
2009-01-26 14:07:38
129.   Eric Stephen
What about the song "Human Touch?" I thought that was at least a good song. Not enough to save the album, but still.
2009-01-26 14:07:45
130.   Paul Scott
There is an industry convention for this. It is called "This Book by Famous Person with Actual Author." If Torre has his name along side another author without the appropriate "with" disclaimer then I think it is perfectly fair to attribute to him any blame to which you would attribute an author.
2009-01-26 14:07:47
131.   dzzrtRatt
Every time I look at MLB Trade Rumors I find myself amazed that Manny Ramirez' agent continues to look down his nose at $22.5 million/year, regardless of length. Manny's great, but the gap between him and, say, an Andy Pettitte is, in Boras' estimation more than $16.5 million per season? How much more? And how does he expect to convince anyone else of that?
2009-01-26 14:08:05
132.   Eric Enders
90 I voted for Davey Lopes, but I now wish I'd voted for Brett Butler if only to prevent the vastly inferior Wills from winning.

I guess the positioning throws a wrench in things, though. If you don't pick Wills as your shortstop, then who are you gonna pick? If I understand the setup correctly, by the time they get down to the #8 position in the batting order, the choices are going to be limited to whichever players both A) batted eighth and B) played whichever lone position is left over. In other words, no voting will be necessary because to even have one qualifying candidate would be a stroke of good fortune.

2009-01-26 14:10:18
133.   Eric Enders
129 I like the song, but not the album.

"Lucky Touch" (combining the best songs from Human Touch and Lucky Town, which were released on the same day) would have actually been quite a good record. But they went for the money grab by splitting it up into two records and it backfired.

2009-01-26 14:11:02
134.   Paul Scott
132 Likewise.
2009-01-26 14:15:14
135.   Eric Stephen
132 ,134
The Wills win really screwed up my plan, and we may have to get creative at the 8 spot. I'll burn that bridge when I get to it though.

I'll say this: I may push for Drysdale or Fernando at SP just to add some offense at the bottom of the lineup. :)

2009-01-26 14:16:56
136.   Eric Enders
Four words: Fat Tub of Goo!
2009-01-26 14:17:04
137.   dzzrtRatt
127 In the 70s, rock stars' output began to suffer when they fell in love or got married. That's what we all thought anyway, with John and Paul the most notable examples. Nowadays, as in the case of Bruce Springsteen, the descent into mediocrity begins when they start campaigning for presidential candidates.

I was all for Bruce raising money for disabled Vietnam Vets, the kind of stuff he's always done. I thought it was great when he took shots at Reagan. But when he started campaigning for John, something died artistically. It's fine to vote for Kerry, I voted for Kerry. But for an artist to start thinking about how his music ties into a partisan political message and the fortunes of certain just turns them into fancy sloganeers and jingle-writers.

I realize this might not be a popular view here...

2009-01-26 14:17:36
138.   Humma Kavula
124 I can add this: when you write remarks for Morgan Freeman to deliver, he makes them sound way, way better than they appear on the page.
2009-01-26 14:20:08
139.   bhsportsguy
135 Its not hard if you don't vote for Piazza or Martin to be the Dodger catcher.
2009-01-26 14:22:01
140.   underdog
121 Was it Anthony Lane or David Denby? Both are a little on the smarmy side.

The Oscars aren't snubbing him either, or at least he got a nomination.


106 Just so it's clear, I didn't literally think Elia's quote was fair, just that I find it hysterical. Just so ludicrously over the top and angry. I am sure he's a better special assistant than he was a manager.

2009-01-26 14:23:29
141.   Jon Weisman
Ghost writing was a significant part of my job at LACMA.
2009-01-26 14:25:11
142.   trainwreck
You guys can see Ghost Writer?!!
2009-01-26 14:26:59
143.   underdog
What about ghost blogging? Where do people stand on that?

Or ghost commenting.*

{*this comment was co-written with Eric Stephen and Marty, republishing rights courtesy of Random House}

2009-01-26 14:28:22
144.   Dodgers49
132 90 I voted for Davey Lopes, but I now wish I'd voted for Brett Butler if only to prevent the vastly inferior Wills from winning.

I suspect those of us who actually watched Wills play tend to have a higher opinion of him than those who looked at his stats later. I wouldn't argue with them. I find his overall stats somewhat disappointing also. However, he was one of my favorite players at the time and that was a fun team to come to the ballpark and root for.

2009-01-26 14:28:36
145.   dzzrtRatt
138 One of the highlights of my life was hearing Burt Lancaster read my words. He gave a speech I wrote at a fundraiser for Tom Bradley. Hearing it in the ballroom was great, but the killer was hearing him read it to me over the phone the night before. He was asking ME if I thought he was doing it justice.

Uh, yeah, um, sir, sounds good.

Ghost-writing is completely unobjectionable and can be very honorable. Lots of people have experiences other readers want to read but have neither the time nor the skill to write it down for themselves. It has to be at minimum the third-oldest profession.

Best example: Alex Haley ghost-wrote "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," which is a superb work of literature.

2009-01-26 14:30:46
146.   Sam DC
My job involves much writing of things that other people say and or publish.

Humma -- do you work for Mr.Freeman; ever run across my growing up neighbor and friend Jules Levy, who at one time worked closely for him, and may well still for all I know.

2009-01-26 14:32:04
147.   Eric Enders
137 I agree with part of your post and disagree strongly with another part of it, and will try to reply as best I can without running afoul of Rule 5.

If Springsteen has indeed had a descent into mediocrity, it began with the aforementioned Human Touch, which was released in 1992 before he had ever campaigned for anyone. However, he'd been doing political songs as far back as 1979's (incredibly brilliant) anti-nuclear song "Roulette." And I think anyone would have to agree that Springsteen did a huge amount of outstanding work in the years immediately following 1979.

I think the first sentence of your post really nails it, though. It's not that Springsteen is stumping for candidates -- it's that he's happy. And my view is that happy people, with rare exceptions, produce crappy art. Springsteen is Exhibit A. Look at what was happening in his life when Human Touch was made -- he'd just gotten married and had his first child. And now -- after eight years of what he viewed as "a nightmare" (quote from the London Observer), his candidate prevailed and he's extremely optimistic about the future. And boom -- another crappy album.

Contrast this with "Magic," which I thought was a rather brilliant take on life in the US during the Bush Administration. Or "Nebraska," which did the same thing for the Reagan era. People simply make better art when they're pissed off.

2009-01-26 14:34:17
148.   Humma Kavula
146 I do not work for Mr. Freeman. I worked for somebody who worked for somebody who Mr. Freeman wanted to say nice things about in public. I wrote those nice things.
2009-01-26 14:35:58
149.   bhsportsguy
147 The little reading I have done on this subject would back up what Eric says here.
2009-01-26 14:37:51
150.   Eric Enders
144 That's true and I don't fault people who grew up as Maury Wills fans voting for Maury Wills.

I never saw Wills play but I also never saw Davey Lopes, whom I voted for, play, except for one game when he was a Cub and I was five years old.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2009-01-26 14:38:19
151.   trainwreck
Or on drugs, it seems.
2009-01-26 14:39:25
152.   Eric Enders
And if they're pissed off AND on drugs, well then you get "London Calling" or "What's Going On" or some other timeless masterpiece. ;)
2009-01-26 14:41:06
153.   underdog
147 That's kind of how I've felt about Woody Allen. Not that he hasn't produced a few pretty good films over the last 15 years, but it's mostly been inconsequential stuff. And back when he was miserable and more neurotic he was producing great comedies and dramedies. Just in my humble opinion. Dump him, Soon Yi! For film's sake!
2009-01-26 14:43:55
154.   bhsportsguy
150 I saw most of the Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey infield years and normally, Davey would be the guy. (And really, a Lopes/Russell combo is probably not much worst than a Wills/Gilliam combo).
2009-01-26 14:44:02
155.   Howard Fox
my job involves writing off things, does that count for anything?
2009-01-26 14:46:05
156.   Eric Stephen
In a case of wanting art to imitate artists, I think the 24 world needs an angry, vengeful Jack Bauer. Seeing him lose his sugar lumps over Audrey at the end of last season was painful. Thus, I'm rooting for something horrible to happen to just about everyone in Jack's life, just so we get some more Jacktion.
2009-01-26 14:46:50
157.   Humma Kavula
155 Only if you are a ghost.
2009-01-26 14:47:31
158.   Eric Stephen
If one of your clients is Casper, you are good.
2009-01-26 14:48:17
159.   trainwreck
Janeane Garofalo said if you watch her scenes she is constantly looking at post it notes, because to remember her lines and that she has to stare at her co-stars foreheads or ears in order to not laugh.
2009-01-26 14:49:59
160.   LU Dodger
Don't know if it's been discussed (probably not worth anyone's time), but this Heyman/Boras connection is so ridiculous.

Like what's the point of stating that Manny and the Dodgers are STILL not close? WE GET IT

2009-01-26 14:59:26
161.   ToyCannon
I was very pissed at my parents for giving me such a great childhood that I was unable to create enough angst to make a mark in the arts. I blamed them instead of my lack of talent and that created some angst, just not enough to get over the lack of talent.
2009-01-26 15:02:50
162.   ToyCannon
Butler was one of my least favorite Dodgers for various reasons but man what a great leadoff hitter he was. Not many modern players could take such a lack of power and still get a 400 OBP.
I don't mind Wills winning, in fact I kind of like the fact he got such support from the older group who saw him play.
The vote for 2nd is going to be boring compared to the battle for the 3/4/5 spots. Some great Dodgers are going to be left behind.
2009-01-26 15:03:17
163.   LogikReader
Just checked in. 161 posts! That's a fitting number, since Yankee Stadium was located at 161st St and River Ave.

Pretty good synergy... and I just blew it by adding a post.

2009-01-26 15:04:14
164.   Ken Noe
As far as I know, Lee Elia has no connection to the Giants. Maybe he's the Special Assistant to Remind the GM That He Had a Baseball Life Before the Giants.

Ned: Well that's how we did it in San Francisco.
Lee: Not in Chicago, Ned.
Ned: Whew! Thanks for talking me down, Lee.

2009-01-26 15:05:24
165.   trainwreck
I wish I could sing. I would take that talent over anything.
2009-01-26 15:11:24
166.   trainwreck
Mike White is going to be on the new season of the Amazing Race.
2009-01-26 15:18:28
167.   mwhite06
166 Seeing you type my name made me jump for a second, then of course I noticed you weren't actually calling me out by name.
2009-01-26 15:22:54
168.   delias man
162 I am having a hard time voting because I guess you are not going to count ALL of Duke Snider's stats. I would want him in center but later on in the order. Otherwise 3-Dog makes good sense.

This is a really tough task. My Sheffield-Snider-Mondesi OF may not be possible.

2009-01-26 15:23:16
169.   SG6
160 - I had a horrible dream this past weekend. Really. I woke up certain the Giants had signed Manny. I even saw him in that Halloween cap!
2009-01-26 15:27:26
170.   Disabled List
165 If I could have one talent over any other, it would be the ability to throw a baseball very, very fast. Or alternately, to hit a baseball very, very far.
2009-01-26 15:50:17
171.   Marty
If I had one talent it would be that I was good at what I do, instead of the sham I think I am while waiting to be found out.

Wait, I'm awake?

2009-01-26 15:52:14
172.   ToyCannon
It is a LA Dodger lineup, otherwise we'd have Jackie leading off with hardly a quibble. Duke still might get in. I'll be shocked if Mondesi can get in but maybe batting lower in the lineup then Green/Smith did might help him.

Home grown Dodgers didn't start out batting in the 3/4/5 spots like the studs we traded for in Sheff/Green/Wynn/Smith.

2009-01-26 15:54:16
173.   student of the game
147 So does this mean that Stephen Baldwin is going to start making good movies?
2009-01-26 15:57:26
174.   blue22
170 - Is "beneficiary of baseball cronyism" considered a talent? If so, that's the one I'd want.
2009-01-26 15:59:10
175.   Jon Weisman
Congrats to Ken Levine and friends.

I think Vin was ineligble this year because they have a limit on how often you could win.

2009-01-26 16:03:38
176.   Eric Stephen
Wasn't Pee Wee Reese the primary leadoff man? Retrosheet doesn't have splits for Jackie prior to 1953, but for the final 4 seasons of his career Robinson was mostly a 4-5-6 guy, and never batted leadoff.

Pretty much the only reason the lineup is restricted to LA is the lack of play-by-play data prior to the mid 1950s.

2009-01-26 16:15:07
177.   silverwidow
Is King of Prussia, PA the weirdest city name in America?
2009-01-26 16:16:52
178.   katysdad
Intercourse, PA may be weirder.
2009-01-26 16:18:12
179.   Eric Enders
176 Retrosheet actually does have Jackie's splits for his entire career. Hold on a sec and I'll find them.
2009-01-26 16:18:52
180.   still bevens
166 So is a dude who works in my office. I was thinking he was gone for so long because he was banished on a long project or something.
2009-01-26 16:18:56
181.   Eric Enders
2009-01-26 16:19:58
182.   katysdad
177 Or at least a quarter of the cities on this list:
2009-01-26 16:20:05
183.   Eric Enders
So many Mike Whites. There was also a Mike White who was a Dodgers top prospect in the mid-to-late eighties. I believe he won the Florida State League batting title with Vero Beach one year.
2009-01-26 16:20:58
184.   Eric Enders
178 I have spent time in both Jim Thorpe, PA, and Truth or Consequences, NM.
2009-01-26 16:24:50
185.   Eric Enders
I didn't post for the last hour or so because a stray beagle wandered over to my house and I was busy taking pictures of her for a flier that I posted around the neighborhood. I'm halfway hoping nobody claims her because I love beagles.
2009-01-26 16:30:21
186.   Eric Stephen
Thanks Eric!
2009-01-26 16:32:27
187.   dzzrtRatt
147 I think I granted that Springsteen was often political long before he came out for Kerry. The thing about "Nebraska" and the harder-edged songs on "Born in the USA," "Darkness" and "The River" is they approached social issues from the standpoint of characters Springsteen knew personally and could relate to. He never advocated a political party, position or candidate; it was implied of course where he stood and he was vivid in describing injustices. But he also took an artist's view, not a polemicist's. The title track to "Nebraska" takes the point of view of a murderer, for gosh sakes. Yeah, circumstances made the character what he was, but Springsteen wasn't afraid to go below the surface to see the dark side of the victims, not just the of the fatcats pulling the strings.

What I got from "Magic" was an attempt in some songs to recreate that, but kind of at the same remove as the politicians he started campaiging for. John Kerry, for all his good qualities, hasn't worried about much for most of his life. In lifestyle, liberal politicians generally aren't any different from conservatives. When either of them talk about "the working man," it's an abstraction, not a real person they know, love or engage with. With his wealth and the insulation required by his stardom, Springsteen has now crossed into that kind of relationship with his song subjects. He's lost touch with his younger, grittier self -- and there probably isn't much he can do about that. So, in a way, I'd rather he just gave money to politicans and causes he supports, performed benefits, etc., but sang about things he's more familiar with. I still think he's a great artist. I thought "The Rising" was excellent, and about half of it holds up. I love how he's able to tap into his own youthful visions in concert, still giving a lot of zip to his earlier songs. But when he starts talking about soldiers in Iraq, eh, maybe it's just me, but it didn't feel lived in. It almost felt, I hate to say it, condescending.

2009-01-26 16:34:04
188.   Eric Enders
To me the most remarkable aspect of Robinson's splits is that he batted a phenomenal .341/.446/.545 for his career in late/close situations (694 PA).
2009-01-26 16:35:22
189.   FirstMohican
I'll take Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Well, maybe not weird, but sad. Equally as sad as the almost (or future?), Oregon.
2009-01-26 16:38:27
190.   Paul Scott

Every time I look at MLB Trade Rumors I find myself amazed that Manny Ramirez' agent continues to look down his nose at $22.5 million/year, regardless of length. Manny's great, but the gap between him and, say, an Andy Pettitte is, in Boras' estimation more than $16.5 million per season? How much more? And how does he expect to convince anyone else of that?

Although I was not originally a fan of the idea of pursuing Manny, the personnel I would have liked to have seen that money spent on are now on other teams. Manny (or Dunn, if treated correctly by Torre/Colletti (he won't be)) makes more sense than a middling starter.

As to value, well Manny was worth around 6 WAR in 2008. In 2009, he should be close to that. So that would make worth around $27M - less than what he is being offered (or as you put it - looking down his nose).

Pettitte, otoh, was worth about 4 wins. Although he is an aging pitcher (37 in mid-2009), MARCELS does not see a substantial drop for 2009. Making him worth somewhere around $19M.

So, is Manny worth $16M more than Pettitte in 2009? No, probably not. Manny would have to hold form (likely) and Pettitte would have to regress substantially (not likely) for that to be true. Pettitte, however, looks like he sold himself short.

If you are asking, instead, is Manny in 2009 likely to be worth $16M more than what Pettitte signed for based on the average cost of a win in the FA market, then the answer is almost certainly "Yes."

2009-01-26 16:39:58
191.   scareduck
187 - at risk of a Rule 5 violation --

In lifestyle, liberal politicians generally aren't any different from conservatives.

Except for that insistent foot-tapping...

2009-01-26 16:45:01
192.   ToyCannon
Andy got what the market dictated not what his value is. The same will happen for Manny.
2009-01-26 16:46:07
193.   bhsportsguy
188 There is no such thing as clutch hitting.
2009-01-26 16:47:30
194.   Eric Enders
187 Well-said and I see where you're coming from, but I don't think it's necessarily required of the artist to have walked -- or, more to your point, to be currently walking -- in the shoes of those about whom he sings. It often helps, sure, but it's not strictly necessary. We don't fault the Rolling Stones for the first-person perspective in "Sympathy for the Devil," for instance, even though they weren't around in the time of Pontius Pilate.

And it's not like a life of comfort is new to Springsteen. In 1985 he was the world's biggest rock star, selling out Giants Stadium five nights in a row and earning all the money that implies, while singing about the economic hardships faced by Vietnam vets returning home. And people thought that song was great and still do.

It also seems that Springsteen, more than any of his peers, has made a point of not cushioning himself from the outside world. When he takes his kids to games at Yankee Stadium, for instance, he doesn't go for the skybox, he sits in the middle of the stands with a hat and sunglasses and tries to be incognito. He talks of taking motorcycle road trips where he stays in the lonely decrepit motels found in small desert towns. He seems to put a lot of effort into (I hate this phrase, but) keeping it real.

So I see what you're saying, and I think there's something to it, but... not entirely.

2009-01-26 16:52:18
195.   Eric Enders
To bring this thread full circle, the only city explicitly mentioned in the lyrics of the "Magic" album is... Truth or Consequences, NM.
2009-01-26 16:55:40
196.   Gen3Blue
190 Is that a mistake--you say he is worth 27M, less than what he's being offered---but he is being offered 22.5M. Or do you mean for both years.
2009-01-26 16:58:08
197.   Eric Enders
There is, by the way, at least one song I would rank among Springsteen's top ten that is overwhelmingly, unabashedly happy.
2009-01-26 17:01:42
198.   Paul Scott
192 Well, sure. Some even might say that those are the same thing. But that has nothing to do with the original poster's objections nor with my response.
2009-01-26 17:05:25
199.   Paul Scott
196 An error transcribing thought to type. Taking the original poster's scenario - one where Manny was being offered $22.5M for 2009 - that figure is less than what he will likely be worth in 2009 (since he'll be worth about 6 wins over replacement and the FA cost for a win in 2009 will (assuming trends hold true) be somewhere in the $4.5M range).
2009-01-26 17:08:33
200.   Fan since 59
Interesting conversations here between Springsteen's newest (haven't heard it yet) and the all-time Dodger lineup. You had to see Wills play to appreciate his game. He had no power, but he could dominate a game just by getting on base. And if Wills is your best leadoff hitter, than Gilliam was the quintessential second hitter. I seem to remember Willie Davis spending more time in the three hole than the second. What's going to be fun is deciding on 3, 4 and 5, because some really good hitters are going to be left out.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2009-01-26 17:12:46
201.   Eric Enders
I just voted for Gilliam, although it frankly scares me to disagree with Eric Stephen on anything.
2009-01-26 17:13:02
202.   silverwidow
I want a high ceiling HS catcher with the #17 pick.
2009-01-26 17:13:47
203.   Eric Enders
Logan White would probably tell you that the high-ceiling catchers are shortstops and third basemen in high school.
2009-01-26 17:16:06
204.   underdog
202/203 - Is this a picture of said player's home?

2009-01-26 17:16:20
205.   D4P
I can't believe Brett Butler didn't win in a landslide. Maury Wills's OBP is 15 points lower than Juan Pierre's.
2009-01-26 17:17:45
206.   Eric Stephen
it frankly scares me to disagree with Eric Stephen on anything

What's your take on Weird Al? :)

2009-01-26 17:17:58
207.   Eric Enders
Butler's only problem is longevity (as a Dodger, that is).
2009-01-26 17:20:30
208.   Eric Stephen
Maury Wills's OBP is 15 points lower than Juan Pierre's

Context, my man.

Adjusted for park and league, the *lgOBP in Wills' career was .322, and Wills' OBP was .330.

The *lgOBP in Pierre's career was .347, and Pierre's OBP was .346.

2009-01-26 17:21:09
209.   D4P
If that's true, then he shouldn't be on the list in the first place.
2009-01-26 17:22:46
210.   D4P
What was the lgOBP during Butler's career (and to save you future trouble, how can I find that stat myself)?
2009-01-26 17:25:39
211.   Eric Stephen
It's on each player page on, under "Special Batting" (just under the career batting stats.

Butler had a career .377 OBP against a .328 *lgOBP.

2009-01-26 17:25:45
212.   Eric Enders
I think the key to this whole lineup thing is that Ron Cey has to win the voting for the #5 slot. If he doesn't win that, then the whole lineup goes down like a house of cards.

If Cey loses, then Gilliam becomes the third baseman, and you have no second baseman. Kent's obviously not going to win the cleanup spot, so you'd get stuck with Alex Cora or somebody in the 8-hole.

If Cey wins, he's the 3B, Gilliam is the 2B, and you end up with every weak-hitting position being manned by a decent enough player.

2009-01-26 17:25:53
213.   Paul Scott
They should have set min(PA) = 1. Then we could have had Ricky Henderson leading off (and eventually added Manny to the roster).
2009-01-26 17:26:35
214.   bhsportsguy
210 If you look up Butler's stats on Baseball, under Special Batting you can find out that info.
2009-01-26 17:27:14
215.   Icaros
I hope Wills was fun to watch play because his statistics are horrible. Could he play any defense?
2009-01-26 17:27:27
216.   bhsportsguy
212 But what about my dream about having Piazza's best year and one Pedro's best year on this team.
2009-01-26 17:27:38
217.   Eric Enders
209 Of course he should be. It's up to each individual voter to decide whether a short, brilliant career is more valuable than a long, considerably less brilliant one.

Unless you want Piazza left off the ballot too.

2009-01-26 17:28:09
218.   Eric Stephen
This isn't giving anything away I don't think, but Cey also qualifies as a #6 hitter.
2009-01-26 17:28:25
219.   bhsportsguy
BTW, did you know that the NL OBP was higher in 1962 than 1991?
2009-01-26 17:29:51
220.   bhsportsguy
218 It would have been also interesting to alternate leadoff than 8th, and so on.
2009-01-26 17:36:02
221.   D4P
Our internet connection has been really bad lately, especially at night. Stupid Verizon. I'm gonna have to call and complain, and they'll just tell me the problem's on my end.
2009-01-26 17:38:48
222.   Icaros

That's just God telling you to re-subscribe to cable TV. The rest of your life awaits...

2009-01-26 17:41:28
223.   D4P
2009-01-26 17:43:02
224.   Icaros

We'll see if you can hold out for as long as I did.

2009-01-26 17:45:01
225.   ToyCannon
Out of Piazza, Sheffield, Pedro, Green, and Smith only two at most will survive. We really need to get the 2 vote out of the way so we can rock the 3 vote but I'm still working on my response to Eric's pick. He gave me an opening by allowing Willie Davis in the two hole with just over 200 games started in that position.

When you get a blog you can decide the rules.

2009-01-26 17:45:51
226.   ToyCannon
At least Eric didn't have to kill me to get Russel in the eight spot.
2009-01-26 17:47:01
227.   dzzrtRatt
192 I guess my point is the market for ballplayers has undergone a seismic shift. I think the Dodgers' $45 million offer for Manny ($22.5/year) was made in a markedly different economic world than Pettitte faced in signing with the Yankees today.

Manny might want more than what the Dodgers are offering, but with each passing day the potential that another team might come within $3 million of it on an annual basis diminishes.

190 makes the point, in a way. Andy "deserved" about $11 million more than he got, but that's based on the economic framework in which Manny could look down Scott Boras' nose at the Dodger offer. That framework is gone, and so Manny would be very fortunate, I think, to get back to what Colletti offered from another team. If he really wants 3-4 years, he's going to have to take a significant pay cut per annum. And he shouldn't be too surprised if Colletti's next offer is for less than what he offered in October. If Colletti had some steel in his spine, he'd give that offer a haircut.

2009-01-26 17:50:27
228.   Icaros
If Colletti had some steel in his spine, he'd give that offer a haircut.

Ugh, so many jokes to be made...but I'm going to pass, for the better of the community at large.

2009-01-26 17:58:03
229.   trainwreck
UCLA must have watched The Hills Have Eyes or The Addams Family to find their new defensive coordinator.

2009-01-26 18:04:53
230.   bhsportsguy
227 However, I think Manny is worth about $22M per year to one team, the Dodgers. Because any less of an offer could bring in other teams who for now are staying out of this situation.

Part of the reason why the Dodgers made their offer public was to tell both their fans and the other teams that this is what we are willing to pay so you will have to go beyond this either in years or amount. Thus far, no one has publically done so.

So the Dodgers did something they probably wanted to do, which is to be the only team willing to discuss a deal with Manny.

However, unlike other real world situations, the Dodgers can't really now lower their offer just because they were successful at limiting Manny's market.

The Dodgers and Manny are bound to each other like peanut butter and jelly and so they will soon make up and become the combination that everyone enjoys.

2009-01-26 18:06:20
231.   dzzrtRatt
228 Man do I suck as a writer! Those aren't mixed metaphors. Those are mangled metaphors, bastard metaphors, Island of Dr. Moreau metaphors. Ugh.
2009-01-26 18:07:05
232.   Bob Hendley
Why do I have this feeling that JP is going to end up in the All Time LA lineup?

Can we stop this maddness right now!

2009-01-26 18:09:15
233.   bhsportsguy
232 There is always John Shelby and Rick Monday.
2009-01-26 18:11:36
234.   Bob Hendley
They batted eight?
2009-01-26 18:12:41
235.   Eric Stephen
Neither qualify at any batting order position using the new 200 games started threshold.
2009-01-26 18:18:35
236.   trainwreck
Guess I can't do my Jose Hernandez campaign then.
2009-01-26 18:21:00
237.   Bob Hendley
233 - That rules out JP as well, no? Great, the JP Rule. Please proceed.
2009-01-26 18:22:30
238.   popup
#215, Wills was never in my mind a good fielding shortstop. He won a gold glove one year, though there were plenty of National League shortstops who were much better fielders. What he could do is run the bases better than any of his contemporaries. Willie Davis and Lou Brock were faster but I think Maury was the better baserunner. For the Dodger team of the 60's that was vitally important. And yes, it was fun to watch Maury play.

Stan from Tacoma

2009-01-26 18:23:58
239.   Paul Scott
227 So we are clear, it's not about some arbitrary concept of what anyone might "deserve."

Every year, the total amount of money allocated to FA contracts is $X million.
Every year, there are Y free agents.
Then, during the season, those Y generate Z wins above replacement.

X/Z = the monetary value of a win above replacement.

In 2008 that was around $4.5M. It has been trending upward every year since this was first examined. I used $4.5M. Could the market in 2009 have completely changed? Sure. Maybe it will down for the first time... ever. But, even if it does, it is not punching a hole in the floor.

Further, though empirically this does not seem to happen, each marginal win over replacement should be worth more and more. That is, Manny's 2 wins over replacement advantage over Pettitte should be worth more than just an extra $9M, since it is a lot harder to find a guy that can take you from 4 wins to 6 wins than it is to find a guy that takes you from 2 wins to 4. But, again, empirically, things just aren't priced that way. Like many many things that happen in baseball front-offices, I cannot understand why. But it is true.

None-the-less, at the end of 2009, two things are very likely:

1. The average win over replacement will be worth somewhere around $4.5M

2. Manny will produce around 6 wins over replacement.

So, if the Dodgers sign Manny for around $22.5M IN 2009 (this obviously changes as things extend out), they are getting a bargin. In many ways, if Ned and McCourt were on the ball, they could use this understanding to make a deal with Manny easy. They should stop worrying about year-to-year and just value the contract as a whole. If you project Manny to look something like this over the next 4 years: 6 wins, 5 wins, 4 wins, 3 wins - well that is a total of 18 wins over replacement for a 2008 value of apx. $81M. So, stop fretting about the contract length. Manny at $22.5M/year for 3 years plus an option (buyout of $4M) is ~$75M. Below average value (less than likely average value, since the $$ was not discounted for the likely continuing trend of wins costing more).

2009-01-26 18:24:46
240.   Indiana Jon
235 Where do you research batting order positions for these players?
2009-01-26 18:32:25
241.   Indiana Jon
233 I would take Monday, pretty good hitter. I would much rather have Lopes/Monday than Wills/Davis. I don't know what position in the order we could have stuck Monday though. I wouldn't want him 3-5.
2009-01-26 18:40:22
242.   ToyCannon

You can go forward and backward from there.

2009-01-26 18:42:37
243.   Indiana Jon
242 Thanks.
2009-01-26 18:44:50
244.   ToyCannon
The problem with the eight hitter in the NL is that very few teams are going to have a solid bat who batted eighth over 200 times. It is just the nature of the eighth spot.

Instead of worrying about who ends up in the eight spot I'd just concentrate on having fun with picking the other spots as whoever is in the eight spot is going to be lousy.

2009-01-26 18:54:52
245.   Bob Hendley
You are right, though I was having fun (scary fun) worrying about the eighth spot and JP.
2009-01-26 19:09:41
246.   El Lay Dave
I find it a little odd that this discussion is going on here instead of at TBLA....

I think it is interesting to imagine how the voting would have changed if attacked in a different order. bhsportsguy touched on this in 220 . Would you get significantly different results in an order that might be more like how non-pitching part of a team might be constructed, maybe 3, 4, 1, 5, 2, 6, 7, 8 or some such?

2009-01-26 19:12:48
247.   Gen3Blue
Having watched Maury Will play during my formative years, context comes naturally.
He was beyond most of the leadoff hitters of his day, and I'm sure adjustments for leaque and time period show this. Also playing the premier defensive position well is an important consideration.
2009-01-26 19:29:26
248.   Ken Noe
Lopes was hosed, I tell ya! He combined Wills' threat to steal with Butler's bat skills. I remain loyal, Davey!
2009-01-26 19:34:04
249.   das411
I'll be driving past King of Prussia PA on the way home in about forty minutes, it's not nearly as strange a name as some of the others we have in the Keystone State.

239 , be careful or that post will end up in a very glossy binder somewhere..

2009-01-26 19:52:56
250.   Indiana Jon
248 I agree. I don't see how the vote didn't go to Lopes when he was a much better player than Wills, and he was at just as critical of a position.
Show/Hide Comments 251-300
2009-01-26 20:03:32
251.   Tripon
Andre Ethier's salary arbitration hearing with the Dodgers is scheduled for Feb. 17.

2009-01-26 20:05:45
252.   El Lay Dave
As Dodgers, stolen base success rate:

Butler - 66.5% (~2 out of 3)
Wills - 74.1% (nearly 3 out of 4)
Lopes - 83.3% (~5 out of 6 !!!)

2009-01-26 20:44:06
253.   immouch
plus, lopes had power. his defensive reputation wasn't stellar, but to my little league age eyes he looked pretty solid on d- too. whatever. polls are whack.
2009-01-26 20:52:49
254.   Dodgers49
251 Also, from that link:

>> Elia will be the Dodgers' Florida-based scout, replacing Bill Lajoie, who resigned and landed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. <<

2009-01-26 20:55:23
255.   Dodgers49
251 Also, from that link, more about Charlie Haeger:

>> The Dodgers put in a waiver claim for Haeger last season, in large part because of a conversation Colletti said he had with minor league coach Charlie Hough in Vero Beach three years ago. Colletti said that Hough, a former knuckleball pitcher, identified Haeger as someone who had a chance to use the pitch effectively in the majors. <<

2009-01-26 21:03:57
256.   Dodgers49
Per Gurnick:

Manny stalemate wears on in LA

>> Without Ramirez, Colletti said he's comfortable with a starting outfield of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre. <<

## Colleti's not comfortable with his pitching, however, so he remains in pursuit of a starter and a reliever. ##

2009-01-26 21:05:27
257.   trainwreck
Why do we need another reliever?
2009-01-26 21:12:34
258.   Eric Stephen
Yeah I don't get it either. The only thing I can think of is they want the potential starters (Stults, Troncoso, Elbert) starting in the minors rather than relieving in LA.

Assuming they like McDonald as a reliever, based on comments, the bullpen looks like this:


Considering 12-man pitching staffs are relatively common these days, you can at least see the cogs turning in Colletti's brain, thinking we could need another lefty, especially given Kuo's injury history.

2009-01-26 21:16:54
259.   trainwreck
Sigh, I do not like any of that frankly.
2009-01-26 21:23:32
260.   Eric Stephen
The Lakers play at home on March 17 against the 76ers. I hope to God they don't sell any of these themed shirts for said game:

2009-01-26 21:24:35
261.   ToyCannon
Eric Stephen will be a guest on blog talk radio to discuss Jeff Kent HOF chances.
2009-01-26 21:28:14
262.   El Lay Dave
261 Man, you give the guy a shot and he's already trying to branch out! ;)
2009-01-26 21:28:21
263.   trainwreck
Anyone that wears that should be punched.
2009-01-26 21:29:44
264.   Bob Timmermann
We can start calling Eric "The King of All Media."
2009-01-26 21:29:48
265.   Dodgers49
Source: By batting A-Rod 8th in playoffs, Joe Torre wrote him off

>> A-Rod also told people that nothing Torre could say would be more revealing of how he felt about his player than the act of batting him eighth in the lineup in Game 4 of the 2006 playoff series with the Tigers.

"Alex was really hurt by that," one friend of A-Rod's said Monday. "He believed that Torre did that to embarrass him and he knew then what Torre thought of him.

"So anything that comes out now wouldn't compare to that. He's just surprised that Torre would talk about these kinds of things because he always told the players the clubhouse and the bond with teammates was sacred, and not to be broken this way." <<

2009-01-26 21:38:43
266.   Eric Enders
It sounds ridiculous now, but given how awful A-Rod was at the time, and how strong the Yankee lineup was, it seemed a defensible move at the time. And it was only for one game I think.
2009-01-26 21:41:28
267.   underdog
260 I love the backhanded "compliment" from the Celtics fan blogging there: "Even they are smart enough not to wear this thing."

Duh-er, gee, shucks, thank ya. {said in faux-Simple Jack voice}

2009-01-26 21:41:37
268.   bhsportsguy
266 I remember hearing that lineup and thinking to myself, well that series is over.
2009-01-26 21:45:46
269.   Bob Timmermann
I think a bigger problem for the Yankees in that game was that the starting pitcher was Jaret Wright.

He was relieved in turn by: Cory Lidle, Brian Bruney, Scott Proctor, and Kyle Farnsworth.

2009-01-26 21:54:08
270.   bhsportsguy
sporky's winning streak (i guess rooting for the home team) is about to end.
2009-01-26 22:02:49
271.   JRSarno
Nice outfield work with the kid, Jon. However, Boo for Harvard Westlake! The tuition is Astronomical. Go Loyola Cubs! :)
2009-01-26 22:24:02
272.   Jon Weisman
271 - Loyola's cheap?


2009-01-27 10:46:33
273.   Mike De Leon
I Know I'm late on this but here's my $.02 anyway.

Second, we're not given much (if any) insight into how the Special Assistants are chosen. Is there a job announcement? Does the team interview candidates? Are there specified qualifications and standards? Or, is it just up to the GM to give cushy jobs to his/her buddies?

Overall, without greater (or even any) transparency into what these people actually do or whether/how they actually contribute, to me the job seems to be primarily about rewarding friends, keeping "baseball guys" involved in the game, spreading the wealth, etc., not so much about filling a critical need for the team's success.

First of all the Dodgers aren't a publicly owned company and aren't getting bail out funds, although I'd love that as long as mccourt had to use the $$ on improving the team and not go in his pocket. There's no share holders or tax payers to answer to so the idea that they have to justify every move, have greater transparency, or that they even have to announce it seems a bit ridiculous to me.

If I was the owner the only press releases would be about on field moves: what FAs were signed, trades made, prospects drafted, what ticket/concession prices would be or what changes, if any, to Dodger stadium would be made. The rest 'ain't nobodies business but my own'. I might even take it further and tell Evans, my choice for president, Ng and White, my GMs, that they don't have to talk to the press unless they want to.

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