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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

The Dodgers' Steel Curtain
2005-04-20 22:26
by Jon Weisman

When I think of 12-2, I think of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers, to be precise. I first became a sports fan in 1975. I can remember watching sports as early as the Lakers' 1971-72 season. (Shooting baskets in front of our garage, my brother would pretend to be Gail Goodrich and tell me I was Happy Hairston, until I got embarrassed about being a player named "Happy.") My earliest baseball memory is seeing Hank Aaron's 715th home run on a television set while on vacation at the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. I can remember going to Ram games, with my main infatuation being the power of my Dad's binoculars and how they could make the peristyle scoreboard look really close.

But then, in August 1975, I suddenly got it. At an exhibition game of all things. The Rams romped, over Dallas I think, which is neither here nor there except that for the first time, the winning mattered. For better or worse, I was hooked on sports - and no longer dreamed of being the next Dr. George Fishbeck.

I rooted hard for the Rams that year, but the team of my first season as a sports fan was the Pittsburgh Steelers. The tough, classy, dominating Pittsburgh Steelers. The 12-2 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Those Steelers went on to win the first Super Bowl I ever saw, 21-17, over Dallas, in a game that featured one of the most beautiful plays in sport I've seen to this day - Lynn Swann's balletic, tip-to-himself catch of a Terry Bradshaw bomb that helped save the Steelers' season.

The idea that the Dodgers have run up the same record as those Pittsburgh Steelers is astonishing to me.

Good teams and bad can go on 12-2 runs during a season, but for me, there's an aura to being 12-2. And since J.D. Drew homered in the eighth inning to tie the game and since Jose Valentin tripled in the 10th inning to win it, I haven't stopped shaking my head.

Winning breeds chemistry. You can see it in the elation of Valentin, Odalis Perez, Milton Bradley, Duaner Sanchez - those are just a few of the people I saw jumping up and down in the dugout after the Dodgers took their first lead of the game. You can hear it in the fascination in the voice of Vin Scully, "privileged" to be one of the announcers for the all-time great Dodger team of 1955 and amazed that a group of guys thrown together in 2005 could challenge the camaraderie of their predecessors of exactly 50 years ago. And you can feel it in your own skin - that tingle that makes you so jumpy, you can't sit down. It's not life or death, it's just fun.

Yes, the Dodgers will hit their rough spot. Last season, the team started 22-10 and built an eight-game lead over the Giants, only to go 15-25 and let San Francisco back in.

But I've made this point during the previous two seasons - in 2003 when the Dodgers trailed the Giants early, and 2004 when they led them. The beauty of a cushion is that you can lose it. You have some breathing room. You can regroup. And if a team catches you by making up a lot of ground, odds are that team spent its best run and is due to fall back.

They might not - or they might make you sweat until the bottom of the ninth of game 161. The Dodgers have not won a trip to the Super Bowl in the first 2 1/2 weeks of the season.

But as my Dad might say, this is real stuff. My apologies to Dodger Thoughts' younger viewers, but it's Mean Joe Greene having a Coke and a smile stuff.

It's real good stuff.

By the way - 37 innings against the Padres this season, three earned runs allowed.

* * *

Update: In a silly scoring reversal, J.D. Drew's infield grounder, which was bobbled off his own nose by Padre relief pitcher Scott Linebrink, has been changed to an infield single plus error, as opposed to two errors, giving Drew a fourth hit Wednesday and raising his batting average to .224 and OPS to .748.

When Jeff Kent started the season red-hot at the plate and Drew started ice cold, people prepared for each them to reach room temperature. And so it has begun - with a net positive for the Dodgers ...

Hits + Walks Per Game ... OPS to Date

Date	Kent	Drew	Kent	Drew
4/5	2	0	.833	.000
4/6	3	0	.985	.000
4/7	3	1	1.279	.071
4/8	2	1	1.179	.105
4/9	5	1	1.482	.120
4/10	1	2	1.275	.241
4/11	no game
4/12	2	3	1.173	.329
4/13	2	3	1.280	.407
4/14	no game
4/15	1	1	1.283	.393
4/16	3	2	1.316	.433
4/17	2	1	1.358	.514
4/18	0	DNP	1.221	DNP
4/19	1	3	1.165	.571
4/20	3	4	1.149	.748

Update 2: At Mike's Baseball Rants, Mike Carminati looks at the history of every major league team that started its season 12-2 or better.

Comments (136)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-04-20 23:10:23
1.   Jim Hitchcock
Yes sir. Aura would be the right word.

We all know it's early. Wa all know there's something special at work here.

2005-04-20 23:27:52
2.   DougS
As Lasorda used to say, every game you win in April is one less game you have to win in September. I agree, Jon. This is real. I believe.

Adelphia in Glendora showed some G*d-awful public affairs show instead of the game, so I missed Vin. Did he really seem that impressed? I always like it when he calls upon his vast backup hard drive of memories, especially at moments when emotions run high.

BTW, I'm thinking this will be a breakout year for Bradley. He seems more focused than last year, like he's channeling his considerable emotional energy in more productive ways. I would be surprised if he breaks a bat over his knee this year, at least in full public view.

2005-04-20 23:29:23
3.   JSN
I think that if anything, this start has set a tone in the minds of the players that they can be a dominant team. I also think that I can't help but get swept up in the excitement of the record and start using words like "destiny" and "special" It sure is hard to be rational at a time like this. Man it's early in the season to avoid studying for a midterm to watch a ball game and then spend all night compensating. Anyone for managerial economics?

By the way, I've been a DT reader since spring training of last year so its been amazing to watch the site grow. I feel like I know all of you very well because I read multiple times a day, to the exclusion of sources like usually, but realize none of you know me. Anyways I'm not sure why I have never posted regularly (i dropped some during last year's trade deadline fervor as 'Jake') but I plan on posting more often. I'm a graduating senior at UCSB and yes we are soon going to overtake all you UCLA and Cal folks as the UC flagship university. You definately heard that here first.

Cheers to those that bleed blue (a fact about myself i've used as "something unique about yourself" in introductory settings multiple times and once a girl seriously asked me why my blood was blue,

P.S. long winded = don't want to study, lots of red bull. promise not to make it a habit.

2005-04-20 23:33:06
4.   Bob Timmermann
Vin did indeed seem impressed with this team. He likely didn't know what to expect of the team in the spring.

I wonder what sort of lineup Tracy will send out Thursday. Paul Bako playing third? Choi in left field? Grabowski catching?

2005-04-20 23:33:52
5.   Jim Hitchcock
Hey, JSN...always liked UCSB (not that I went there). Still have great concerts at the County Bowl? And great amping up Las Osos Rd?
2005-04-20 23:34:20
6.   Jim Hitchcock
Camping, not amping.
2005-04-20 23:41:05
7.   bigcpa
JSN- nice to have you. I'm up for some Managerial Economics. What kind of HP are you using?
2005-04-20 23:41:29
8.   Strike4
Chemistry in Vin's fascinated voice? Hmmmm.

I thought saber guys believed chemistry was simply a by-product of winning, kind of like the feeling of fullness after a big meal. As a believer in chemistry, it looks like there's some generating in the Kent-Bradley relationship. Is it maybe empathy between the old bad boy and the young bad boy, or perhaps the Long Beach - Bellflower homeboy connections.

2005-04-20 23:43:21
9.   dzzrtRatt
"As Lasorda used to say, every game you win in April is one less game you have to win in September."

...and every game you win against the Padres, D-backs or Giants is like winning two (according to the theory of Magic Numbers).

What seemed to impress Scully during tonight's show was the enthusiasm of the Dodgers in the dugout when Drew hit the tying home run. The 1955 Dodgers had been playing together for a long time. The 2005 team is made up of players who hardly know each other--and look how excited they are for each other.

2005-04-21 00:02:31
10.   alex 7
are you kidding? I can vote for the 2005 all-stars NOW??????? Why?? it's three weeks into the freakin season.
2005-04-21 00:04:42
11.   Strike4
While the 05 and 55 Dodgers records are alike so far, the chemistry thing seems more comparable to the 88 Dodgers. That team started opening day with a bunch of question marks too, and there seemed to be magic all season, often spurred by Gibson and Hershiser. Who might fill their roles this year?
2005-04-21 00:15:26
12.   T Money

Is there still that palpable Dodger/Giants rivalry in Isla Vista? I attended UCSB a billion years ago, and always got a kick out of the way that So-Cal and Bay Area sports fans suddenly found themselves sharing space in the most densely populated square mile west of the Mississippi. That, plus hot and cold running beer, made for an interesting tension.

2005-04-21 00:20:17
13.   T Money
I seem to remember that, back in the offseason, just after Lowe signed his $36 million dollar contract, someone (was it Tom Meagher?) wrote a really intelligent piece defending the deal, and making the argument that Lowe was poised for a big comeback. At the time, I thought it might have been a tad optimistic. Now, not so much.

God, if Lowe keeps this up, how smart does Depo look?

2005-04-21 00:26:17
14.   dzzrtRatt
The difference between '88 and '05 is the '88 team had no business winning a World Series. It was built around two superstars--Hershiser and Gibson. The rest of the team was comprised of some decent pitchers, some mediocre hitters, and a good bench. This team had to have chemistry; it didn't have much else. This team appears to have a lot of hitting stars in the lineup, a great bench, a sick bullpen,'s too early to judge the starting pitching, but so far so good.
2005-04-21 00:38:15
15.   JSN
JH: They do throw some good concerts here from time to time, though I usually travel when I go to concerts. There are great camping and rock climbing spots everywhere though my wilderness expeience is usually of the latter variety.

bigcpa: I have no idea what you are asking in regards to HP. I'm just trying to remember the calculus I learned two years ago and then applying it to some pretty elementary price elasticity, production and cost returns to scale problems, etc. Pretty good handle on it now that the games been over for a while. Interestingly enough I'm an econ major that's not good at calculus because most of my requirements were filled completing our accounting emphasis but then I switched when I realized I didn't want to be an accountant and the emphasis required more classes. Yes, I'm lazy and know it.

T Money: In the absence of any traditional athletic fan scene, the NorCal, SoCal rivalry is the best thing going for us. Every other hat is LA or SF, and some years Lakers or Kings. I've spent many weekend nights arguing futilely the finer points of the Dodgers with some dopey SF fan who's had one to many beers to listen to reason. Anyways I always love when the two areas are playing each other in an important sporting event because after every big play you can hear half the town screaming in joy and half bloody murder.

Sorry about the econ to those who don't care.

2005-04-21 00:40:41
16.   Eric Enders
I've always disagreed with the (extremely common) notion that the '88 Dodgers were a team that won the World Series on heart and little else.

Kirk Gibson, for all his heart, was 3rd in OPS+ and [searches frantically, unsuccessfully for Win Shares book] I believe he was second in Win Shares. Hershiser, obviously, was the best pitcher in the league.

But it wasn't just them. You also have two other star-caliber starting pitchers (who admittedly had career years, or nearly so). You have Guerrero/Tudor, who combined, contributed one full superstar season.

You have a nice bench, and more important you have one of the better bullpens in baseball history.

And like all WS champion teams, you have a little bit of heart/luck -- whichever you prefer to call it.

Seems to me like that's a team that could reasonably be expected to win a division title and possibly the World Series.

2005-04-21 00:42:44
17.   Linkmeister
Hey, I remember managerial econ in the days when an HP 12C cost about $400 and was thus way beyond my VA work-study wages. I don't remember how I got that B, but I did.

I saw the ESPN clip with the dugout exploding and was sort of envious; I can't remember the last time I had that kind of bolt-from-the-blue joy.

2005-04-21 00:42:57
18.   Eric Enders
Also, in case anyone missed it a few threads back, the deadline for ordering Ghame Over shirts is tonight (Thursday) at 11:59 p.m. Cost is $8.

Info/online ordering here:

2005-04-21 00:45:13
19.   Eric Enders
By the way, on Tuesday afternoon when Izturis tied it, my neighbor across the street had to call to make sure everything was OK. Something about all the screaming coming from my house....
2005-04-21 00:53:51
20.   Linkmeister
I just read the Times game story, and Lowe's quoted thusly: "I think the hardest thing to do is pitch against the same team in back-to-back games...I had eight consecutive at-bats against guys … You run out of tricks."

Funny, I'd never thought of that before. In one game, sure, third time through the lineup and all that, but I'd never given the two games in a row concept a thought.

2005-04-21 00:57:14
21.   Eric Enders
Until reading that Times story, I didn't realize that one week ago, Lowe's career ERA against San Diego was 162.00.


2005-04-21 01:14:57
22.   Strike4
The 88 team had talent for sure, and the Gibson chemistry lit it up. The pitching staff led the league in shutouts, complete games and saves, and was second in ERA. (Although Tudor only had 52 innings). Hard to do all that on magic and one star. The season started with a lineup full of questions including Stubbs, Hamilton, Shelby and Davis. Somewhat similar to the questions starting this year at 1st, 3rd, left and catcher. Seems like those questions and spring training were a long time ago already! Factoid on salary inflation... the eight top paid players on that team combined made less than Drew this season. Only one Dodger all-star that year... Hershiser.
2005-04-21 09:27:49
23.   Vishal
i know it's pretty much commonly accepted that lasorda's overuse blew out hershiser's arm, but are there any good articles out there that go into detail, analyzing that particular storyline in depth?

and i bet mr. bulldog himself wanted to be out there on the mound as much as possible to help the team, but someone, somewhere had to have realized that his workload was unsustainable.

2005-04-21 09:33:31
24.   mcrawford
The Padres camo uniforms are pretty silly. Anyone with me on this?

As for managers blowing out pitchers' arms, I read an interesting comment the other day, questioning why should teams care about the pitchers' arms? By the time the pitcher blows out his arm, he usually either won't be with the team any more, or will be asking for a bunch of money. For his cheapest productive years, you got all you could out of him. The idea can't be taken too far, but it is an interesting piece of the puzzle -- a team's goals (making money, winning) aren't the same as the pitcher's (making money by prolonging career).

2005-04-21 09:40:40
25.   mcrawford
I'm looking at baseball-ref about 1988, and I absolutely did not know that Don Sutton was a starter for half the season in 1988. At age 43? And he wasn't good, but he wasn't awful either.

Tim Leary has his best year that year. And who's Brian Holton? Wow, that's a good bullpen.

I must have played that '88 NLCS and World Series a dozen times with Pursue the Pennant. The Mets and the A's were darn good.

2005-04-21 09:45:12
26.   FirstMohican
I've been hearing that the Dodgers start isn't that surprising because of the teams they've been playing.

Well, before considering games played against the Dodgers, those teams have .545 winning percentage. After the Dodgers have their way, the teams have a collective .448.

Now obviously the injury-depleted Dodgers haven't beaten any powerhouses, but they have beaten - sorry, either dominated or inched out victories - teams that quite a bit of people said were better than them.

Man, this is already a fun year.

2005-04-21 09:47:11
27.   Jonny6
With an incredible 12-2 record and a season's worth of late inning comebacks packed into a two-week stretch, it's difficult to find any negative issues surrounding this 2005 Dodgers squad. Of course, I am an eternal cynic so I have few minor nitpicking items to throw out to the larger group to ponder, one an on-field issue and the other a Dodger media issue.

First, for the on-field issue: obviously Valentin has proved his value as an offensive player and he will continue to play almost daily, but those throwing errors from third base are really starting to add up and cause a certain level of concern. Trying to be constructive, here's my question: Can Valentin play first? Since it looks like Tracy has all but given up on Choi, how about Valentin at first and Nakamura (or a late season call up) at third? Wasn't Nakamura supposedly a gold glove 3rd baseman in Japan? That way you would only have one guy playing out of position, as opposed to both of them in last night's lineup.

Now, for my other gripe: the radio announcers. When Vin stays at home and Steiner moves over to TV, we get Monday and Downing. I like Monday well enough, he's not inspiring, but he doesn't irritate me. Downing, however, is absolutely terrible and should be padlocked out of the booth and not allowed to ever enter again. As for the Steiner/Monday combo, I think they are doing a pretty good job, and make an enjoyable team. However, in last night's game, they repeatedly referred to the Padres' reliever as Oats-Ka. Did I miss something? Isn't this guys name Ot-Su-Ka? It's a pet peeve of mine when announcers can't take the time to figure out how to pronounce a guys name, like the consistent butchering of Encarnacion or any other Spanish-derived word (the town of Hermosillo is one that comes immediately to mind).

Well, that's all for me. It's an excellent day when the biggest concern that the Dodgers organization faces is the poor enunciation of their radio announcers.

2005-04-21 09:48:15
28.   Jacob L
Jon, is this a post about football???

The myth of the Dodgers 88 team being weak, lucky, propelled by guts, etc, is mostly perpetuated by the actual depleted group that was on the field during the World Series (sans Gibson, Marshall, Sciosica, Tudor). The basic facts were that:

a: the Dodgers dominated their division during the regular season,
b: they didn't dominate near as much as the Mets or A's.

2005-04-21 09:55:01
29.   Sam DC
Great piece Jon -- really captures the wonder of it all. At school drop off this morning, a fellow Dad started to ask "So, Dodgers win again last night . . ." then stopped himself because I must have let out such a giddy grin that he already had his answer.

Totally random -- Dodger Thoughts was down this morning, so I thought I'd see what Steve and Jerry had up at FJT. I couldn't remember the link, so I put "Fire Jim Tracy" into google. Here's the first search result: Swirly hypnotic gaze . . . now that explains a few things.

2005-04-21 09:57:49
30.   Formerly R
Didn't have TV for last night's game so I wasn't able to hear the fascination in Vin's voice at the end of the game. Earlier in the game, though, after Phillips was thrown out at the plate, I did hear Vin wonder if that play was the beginning of the end of the Dodgers' good fortune.

Vin's greatest moments are usually at the ends of games, but throughout innings 1 through 8, I often feel as if he's a bit of a glass-half-empty type. I'm not suggesting that he be a rah-rah homer guy, but sometimes he seems pretty eager to put a slightly negative spin on different events that occur throughout a game.

2005-04-21 09:58:29
31.   Eric Enders
I believe the year 1988 was, bar none, the most extraordinary year the Dodgers have ever had in terms of player transactions. Many all-time franchise greats were acquired, a few more were gotten rid of...

January 5, 1988
Signed Don Sutton as a free agent.

January 29, 1988
Signed Kirk Gibson as a free agent.

March 29, 1988
the Detroit Tigers returned John Wetteland (earlier draft pick).

June 1, 1988
Drafted Eric Karros in the 6th round of the 1988 amateur draft.

June 1, 1988
Drafted Mike Piazza in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft.

June 6, 1988
Signed Raul Mondesi as an amateur free agent.

June 18, 1988
Signed Pedro Martinez as an amateur free agent.

July 31, 1988
Placed Fernando Valenzuela on the disabled list, essentially marking the end of his career as an effective pitcher.

August 10, 1988
Released Don Sutton. Recalled Ramon Martinez from Class-AAA Albuquerque.

August 16, 1988
Traded Pedro Guerrero to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received John Tudor.

December 4, 1988
Traded Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell to the Baltimore Orioles for Eddie Murray.

2005-04-21 10:01:01
32.   Eric Enders
The Padre reliever's name is properly pronounced "OATS-kuh" even thought it's spelled "Otsuka." That's the way Vinny pronounces it too.
2005-04-21 10:03:29
33.   Eric Enders
The thing that drives me most nuts about Steiner is his inability to pronounce Cesar Izturis' first name correctly. It's HIS team, after all!

Even Vinny normally gets that one right -- he only mispronounces it when he's saying "Little Caesar."

2005-04-21 10:23:20
34.   Jonny6
That's why it's important for the announcers to get the pronunciation right the first time or at least during the first season. I swear that they called him OAT-Su-Ka all of last year; so when I heard OATS-kuh it instantly grated my nerves. Now, I don't know what to believe. Maybe it's one of those Japanese problems, where the guy is too polite to correct the mispronunciation of his name (or since we are all so far off from the Japanese sound that the guy just doesn't bother trying to have people get it right).
2005-04-21 10:24:04
35.   Suffering Bruin
Anybody recall this Vinny moment from last year? He was describing the remarkable Julio Franco.

(Paraphrasing): "Look at him, 45 years old and he looks better than a lot of guys half his age and even younger (camera goes to a head-to-toe pan of Franco)... nothing in the stomach, strong arms and just, I mean, no butt at all."

I about died.

2005-04-21 10:27:20
36.   Eric Enders
My favorite last year was when Vinny was talking about how Moises Alou pisses on his hands, trying to describe it without, well, describing it.
2005-04-21 10:29:01
37.   JT Dutch
... I've been a Dodgers' fan for 25 years now, and this is the most fun I've EVER had watching them -- bar none. There is an enthusiasm, a oneness to this team that few can match.

Yesterday's game reminds me of a game the Dodgers played against the Reds in 1988 at Cincinnati. The Dodgers fell behind by a run in the bottom of the 8th when Barry Larkin homered off Tim Belcher -- and in the top of the 9th, L.A. had to come back against a primed and ready John Franco. Gibson led off with a base hit that he stretched into a double, and came home on a single by Shelby. The Dodgers eventually loaded the bases, and Steve Sax came up to pinch hit. Sax doubled down the right field line to drive in all three runners, and Gibson went WILD in the dugout. Gibson was as enthusiastic as if HE had hit that double, and the rest of the bench followed suit and became as enthused as Gibby was. The Dodgers ended up winning the game, and of course the division and the World title.

And now, 17 years later, Milton Bradley -- who has become my favorite Dodger, comes up in the 10th wanting to be the hero ... and pops up. He's obviously disappointed in himself. Valentin comes up next and hits a two-run triple, and Bradley went WILD in the dugout. You talk about a team player, it's Milton, and it was like I was watching the Dodgers of '88 all over again.

This team, this run; it's all been pretty exciting. Comeback wins, blowout wins, slugfest wins, pitchers' duel wins -- wins of all types have graced the Dodger ledger in this early season. There has been a different hero seemingly every night, and as such, every player on the entire team feels that they have a hand in this. I haven't been this proud to be a Dodger fan in a long time.

This team BATTLES. They hustle (witness Repko nearly beating out a routine grounder to SS last night). They learn from their errors. They have professional hitters (Drew, Kent, Valentin, Bradley, Saenz, Phillips, Izturis) who are putting in quality AB after quality AB, taking pitches, not letting the pitcher dictate the game -- and the result has been far more baserunners and more chances to score and get back into games (or put games away).

The Dodgers of the 1990's would constantly swing at the pitcher's pitch when they were behind in games; they rarely walked and thus stacked the odds against themselves offensively -- getting FAR less from their talent than they should have. This 2005 gets the most from what they have than any other team I've seen here in L.A., and they deserve their wonderful record thus far.

WHAT A TEAM ... how sweet it is ... the fruits of victory.

2005-04-21 10:37:54
38.   mcrawford
Formerly R --

My dad has always extolled the virtues of Vinny being a glass-half-empty type. My dad's point is that the whole time, Vin is telling you how good the other team is, how down and out the Dodgers are, et cetera.

So when the Dodgers, against all odds, do put together a few hits, get a couple of runs, maybe win a game? Wow, so exciting! How about those plucky Dodgers? Gee willikers, I like them.

2005-04-21 10:38:22
39.   Bob Timmermann
A lot of announcers did say Otsuka with three distinct syllables, but Vin didn't. He is usually diligent about asking how to pronounce someone's name.

But he never could get Grudzielanek correct. Some words elude the most eloquent speakers.

When I'm speaking Spanish at work, I hate to tell people where the parking lot is because I can't pronounce the Spanish word for parking "estacionamiento." I just say "el parking lot." Works well enough in L.A.

I say Otsuka pitch in Japan and I can't tell you if I remember how his name was said on the PA system because it is nearly impossible for an American to pick out any names at baseball stadiums there. It's just too hard.

2005-04-21 10:39:19
40.   Jacob L
Random thoughts:

- So has this team already answered the questions that WE had before the season, setting aside doubters in the media? (e.g. the Lowe signing, ability to score runs)

- Over under on the percentage of Dodger fans who get the "Litte Cesar" reference at all?

- Where's Tommy Nacaratto - the Bob Costas of 2005?

2005-04-21 10:40:20
41.   Bob Timmermann
Rest assured, Tommy is very happy.
2005-04-21 10:43:38
42.   Linkmeister
The usual way of pronouncing "sukiyaki" in Japan is "skee-yaki," virtually ignoring the "u." Following that rule, the "u" in Otsuka would also be ignored.
2005-04-21 10:48:09
43.   Bob Timmermann
If you were to transliterate
"Do you speak in English?" in Japanese, it's
"eigo wa wakarimasu ka"

Pronounced by me "Eggo (think waffles) Wah Wah Car Ee Mask Ah"

Funny thing is that when I go to Japan, the locals just automatically think I don't speak Japanese. I wonder why that is so?

2005-04-21 10:56:10
44.   Bob Timmermann
Re #43, my last statement is facetious.
2005-04-21 10:56:16
45.   al bundy
I caught Vin's reminiscence about '55 too, Jon. For him to tie this team back to his memories of the boys of '55 was quite remarkable and put this team in a really incredible light. The names from '55 just rolled of Vin's tongue like it was yesterday. It brought tears to my eyes.

I went to UCSB for a year - if I had stayed longer I probably would have never graduated college. It was the first place I realized that the Giants actually had fans of their own. I also learned and took to heart the terms No-Cal and So-Cal.

2005-04-21 11:04:55
46.   Eric Enders
As someone who's never lived in CA, No-Cal is just the kind of soda I drink.

Those terms must be relatively new, right? I don't remember ever hearing No-Cal or So-Cal as a kid, nor do I ever recall my dad (an Oakland native) using them.

2005-04-21 11:05:30
47.   Jon Weisman
No one I grew up with uses those terms.
2005-04-21 11:07:28
48.   Jim Hitchcock
Mcrawford, happened to see Sutton pitch against
the Braves that year, from seats right behind the Braves dugout. Remember Pops Stargell getting emotional and singing along during the National Anthem...and Sutton striking out 5 in the first two innings. The Braves did win the game, however, with Sutton being yanked early.
2005-04-21 11:09:27
49.   Suffering Bruin
I believe the terms originated with Jim Rome. He started his career in Santa Barbara, you know. KTMS radio, AM 1250. I met him once. I knew right away he would find fame in broadcasting because he was very intense and had much, much more drive than I did. And I mean that in a good way for both Jim and myself.

Anyway, I never heard NoCal and SoCal before Rome so I'll give him credit for originating the terms.

2005-04-21 11:15:22
50.   Ben P
Not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but we are now no. 1 in the ESPN power rankings. This is the accompanying comment:

"Jim Tracy is 18-4 in extra-inning games since the start of 2004. Safe to say he's off the hot seat. "

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-04-21 11:18:39
51.   Jim Hitchcock
Re: # 37: JT Dutch, remember that game well. Day game, and Scully(?) saying that Gibby was so excited because he had taken Sax under wing,
2005-04-21 11:21:53
52.   Eric Enders
Hmmm.... this site gets more interesting all the time. Is the font change between #'s 50 and 51 intentional?
2005-04-21 11:22:12
53.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
And who's Brian Holton?
Holton was an excellent long man. You know, the guy who takes over for a battered starter in the 4th inning and holds the fort for a while. Note that in '88, he pitched almost 2 innings per appearance.

Anyway, I never heard NoCal and SoCal before Rome so I'll give him credit for originating the terms.
True, these are creations of Romey.
I sometimes tell people I used to live in "HiCal" - Humboldt County. First, it's way, way north, a 90-minute drive from the Oregon border. And if you know Humboldt, you can probably guess the second reason why that name is apropriate.

2005-04-21 11:23:51
54.   Suffering Bruin
#50 - And the national media grudgingly comes to accept this team. I wonder how long it will be before the locals come around.

I posted this over at FJT after reading Penner today, plus I couldn't get DT. Look, I know the Times writers are nice guys and I know Jon knows some of those guys. Heck, I know some people who know some of those guys. They probably work hard doing the best they can.

But after reading Mike Penner today, I have to wonder if there isn't some agenda at work. Or something more... insidious!

Again, originally posted at FJT:


(Reporter STEVE HENSON [SH] is at his desk, on the phone and busily taking notes. Fellow reporter MIKE PENNER [MP] shuffles over, glassy eyed and with a distant, almost pleasant look on his face)

MP: Steve?
SH: (still busy but not wanting to be rude) Hey there, Mike.
MP: Steve?
SH: I said "hey", Mike.
MP: Steve?
SH: (noticing for the first time his colleague doesn't look himself. He puts down the phone) Jesus, Mike, you okay? You don't look good.
MP: (leveling his eyes on his friend) I bought you a gift, Steve.
SH: (a little wary) What are you talking about? What's going on?
MP: (giving him what looks like a plant) Here it is, Steve.
SH: Oh. Um, thanks.

(long pause)

SH: Mike, not to be ungrateful but, uh... what is this?
MP: It's a pod, Steve. Bill and T.J. gave one to Tim, Tim gave one to me and now I'm giving the gift to you, Steve.
SH: It's a pod?
MP: It's a gift, Steve. Will you keep it on your desk? The guys say it grows best if you keep it on your desk.
SH: Um, sure. Thanks. (pause)
Look, Mike? Thanks for this, really, but I gotta get back on the phone. You sure your okay?
MP: (while wallking away) Never better, Steve. Never better. Keep it on your desk, Steve. It grows best on your desk.


(It's the following morning. SH shuffles to the desk of J.A. ADANDE [JA])

SH: Josh?
JA: Don't call me, Josh, Steve. We talked about that.
SH: Josh?
JA: (sigh) What?
SH: I got you a gift, Josh.


2005-04-21 11:24:38
55.   fernandomania
I went to high school in Fresno and never heard the terms Nor-Cal and SoCal, but when I went to college at Chico State in 1993 those terms were ubiquitous.
2005-04-21 11:27:16
56.   Suffering Bruin
Hey Jon, who changed the font? Or is it just my computer?
2005-04-21 11:28:08
57.   Jim Hitchcock
Prefer old font...
2005-04-21 11:29:38
58.   Ben P
Re #52 -- I think the font change is just reflective of our personalities. I've always thought of myself as a Verdana kind of guy, whereas Jim strikes me as more of an Arial person.
2005-04-21 11:32:10
59.   Jim Hitchcock
LOL, Ben...the better to know myself, I guess.
2005-04-21 11:35:01
60.   Jim Hitchcock
Should elaborate...lost my glasses, so it's more of a size issue...will adjust, though.
2005-04-21 11:38:07
61.   Jon Weisman
Actually, I like this font better - but it's completely unintentional. Still working out the kinks in the collapsable comments. Patience, people ...
2005-04-21 11:41:22
62.   Icaros
Our team's 12-2, Jon. At this point, we don't need to be patient. Do everything everybody wants, and do it now.
2005-04-21 11:43:12
63.   Suffering Bruin
Alex Cora wouldn't have changed the font.
2005-04-21 11:44:23
64.   JSN
Everyone knows the terms NorCal and SoCal in my age group, especially here at UC California Melting Pot, but I don't know many people that actually use the terms verbally. Pretty much just for a written abbreviation, and some people wear dumb NorCal sucks or SoCal sucks t-shirts. I just wear blue.
2005-04-21 11:45:38
65.   JSN
I vote for the old font
2005-04-21 11:48:53
66.   Icaros
Alex Cora would have sampled 18 different fonts before picking the best font ever: original font.
2005-04-21 11:50:59
67.   DougS
Re: #38
With Vin, I think it's all about controlling the emotional flow of the broadcast. Part of it is resisting the natural temptation to be a homer (i.e., seeing the glass as half-empty is a way of tamping down your own excitement), but I think you're onto something with the notion that he has an overall strategy to make an exciting ending seem even more exciting. After listening to him for over 30 years, I've come to realize that he is a master of all aspects of broadcasting rhetoric. It's not just his skill with words or his ability to think on his feet, but his understanding of mood and emotional contrast, as well as the value of understatement and even occasional silence.
2005-04-21 11:51:05
68.   Jon Weisman
Alexcora sounds like the name of a font.
2005-04-21 11:54:05
69.   Suffering Bruin
You should see the chemistry on the page when the alexcora font is merged with the loducamota font.

Yeah, I'm wondering how long I can beat this joke, too...

2005-04-21 11:54:29
70.   dzzrtRatt
Don't get me wrong about the 1988 team. I loved that team. But before I wrote my little note, I went back and looked at the team's statistics that year. Hershiser--a Hall of Fame year. Leary and Belcher -- career years for a couple of so-so pitchers. Finding an effective 4th and 5th starter proved to be elusive, which is why they had to trade Pedro Guerrero to get Tudor. (Tudor on the mound for LA never seemed like he was into it.) Howell and Pena--excellent out of the bullpen, combining for about 33 saves.

Of the starting 8, however, the results are amazingly paltry when you get past Gibby and Mike Marshall. Stubbs' OBP was .288. Hamilton's was .268. Combined, they had 10 home runs (and Pedro Guerrero had 5). Those are your corner infielders. Gibson led the team with 25 homers, a decent total in the pre-steroid years, but far behind Strawberry's 39. Marshall had 20. Next was John Shelby, with 10. Scioscia's home run was decisive in the series against the Mets. But during the season, he hit 3. Overall, the Dodgers were pretty much absent from the top 10 in any offensive categories, including bases on balls.

It was the bench kept that team's offense afloat for the pitchers--mostly Hatcher, but also Rick Dempsey, Mike Sharperson and Tracy Woodson. I think the Dodgers did well for themselves, under the circumstances--and they had a ton of good fortune. Their championship also shows how just one fantastic starting pitcher can lift a mediocre team to greatness--something to consider in the NL West where Schmidt and Peavy roam.

2005-04-21 11:58:05
Not that it is a clear connection but its worth mentioning. Lowe and other Dodgers were complaining about the home plate umpires strike zone last night and that umpire is the same guy who is being investigated for assaulting a flight attendant earlier this week, according to a story at Maybe he had some other stuff on his mind. I would do that link thing for you guys, but I dont know how.

2005-04-21 11:58:52
72.   Suffering Bruin
I think the '88 Dodgers set a record that will never broken: fewest in-season homeruns by number three and four hitters combined to start a World Series game.

Hatcher hit third, right? Didn't he have just one homerun? And Mike Davis hit two.

Three homers in the heart of the order to start World Serious, game one. I don't think we'll ever see that again.

2005-04-21 12:00:38
73.   Jim Hitchcock
Agree with DougS...but would add that Vinny has always pointed out the defenciencies of both teams ignore them just wouldn't be Vinny. Even so, did feel at the time that the comment he made was a little out of character...but maybe we're just making a mountain out of a, molehill.
2005-04-21 12:01:03
74.   Suffering Bruin
#71 - wow. That would certainly affect my job performance. Link worked fine, by the by.
2005-04-21 12:01:57
75.   Eric Enders
Almost everything in your second paragraph above can be attributed largely to ballpark factors, as opposed to the actual quality of the players.

On the other hand, ain't no calculation in the world that would make Jeff Hamilton a good hitter (or pitcher).

2005-04-21 12:03:36
Yeah, what I dont know how to do is that tinyurl thing that everybody here does. But I do feel good about doing some detective work for DT.
2005-04-21 12:03:52
77.   Eric Enders
Last night, my Pirate-fan friend was over watching the game, and while I was busy complaining about the ump's strike zone, he started to tell me this story about an umpire who is under federal investigation for assaulting a flight attendant.

Little did we know at the time that it was the very ump I was complaining about.

2005-04-21 12:09:28
78.   Sam DC
Kayvmon -- just go to and put your full link into the "make tiny" box. very easy.

speaking of which, no response to that oddball link I posted in #29 above. I'm shocked, shocked.

2005-04-21 12:11:23
79.   Eric Enders
So, at what point are those guys required to change the name of their blog, anyway?
2005-04-21 12:11:54
80.   Eric Enders
Uh, 79 is way unclear. I was referring to "Fire Jim Tracy."
2005-04-21 12:13:36
81.   Suffering Bruin
Hey, Sam, I wrote a mini-play! No response on that, either. I just want to be like Sally Field and scream, "YOu like me, you really, REALLY like me!!"

Seriously, regarding your link, funny stuff. Damned if I can figure it out but funny, funny stuff.

Get thee to comment #29 people. More fun than Godzilla vs. Rodin.

2005-04-21 12:24:47
82.   Sam DC
Well, SB, we seem to have killed the thread with our whining. So you know, I, for one, found your sci-fi tragimystery divine. And don't let any of these nattering nabobs tell you different.
2005-04-21 12:26:44
83.   Jim Hitchcock
Kayvmon, it's actually easier than Sam states. Bookmark TinyURL to your toolbar. Once you've done that, go to the desired link, click on TinyURL, and it creates a new one...just cut and paste it.
2005-04-21 12:46:50
84.   Sam DC
Meanwhile, in DC, Nationals are up 1-0 in the top of the Ninth against the Braves. Bases are load, two out, and Raul Mondesi's up to bat.
2005-04-21 12:49:27
85.   Sam DC
And . . . he laces one to the hole between short and third; Guzman barely stops it, makes an offline throw to first that gets by Nick Johnson (this is all happening in a steady drizzle, by the way) and two runs score.
2005-04-21 12:50:10
86.   Jim Hitchcock
Were you hoping Cordero wuokd strike Mondesi out like I was, Sam? Oh, well, he didn't.
2005-04-21 12:53:07
87.   Sam DC
He sure didn't. They gave Guzman a throwing error, which is probably right but a very close call. Mondesi whacked that ball.
2005-04-21 12:54:52
88.   Eric Enders
Mondesi made a hell of a throw last night to nail a guy at third base. Almost made me pine for Plaschke's good old days.


2005-04-21 12:57:00
89.   Jim Hitchcock
Jeff Kent slides better than Andruw Jones.
2005-04-21 13:02:54
90.   Sam DC
Jim -- thanks for the tip (#83).
2005-04-21 13:15:39
Thanks for the help guys, heres the new link for the story on the ump last night.

2005-04-21 13:34:34
92.   Ken Arneson
Those of you who are seeing a different font: what browser/version are you using?

I don't see any change in fonts at all in any of the browsers I have.

2005-04-21 13:38:02
93.   Eric Enders
The font change went away soon after we commented on it.

But, to answer your question, IE v.6.0.2.

2005-04-21 13:40:56
94.   Sam DC
It seemed at the time like everyone was seeing the different font.

My IE says it's v.6.2800.1106.

2005-04-21 13:46:17
95.   Ken Arneson
OK, thanks. That helps me know where to look. I probably forgot to close a DIV tag or something.
2005-04-21 14:03:51
96.   Icaros

I assumed that you'd assume I'd be laughing at anything you post.

Sam DC,

What in the world is that?

2005-04-21 14:08:34
97.   frankenspock
Two men, two chats (from

Dave Brentwood, CA: What is your take on the Dodgers? You have been critical of them recently. Have you changed your mind on them?

Jayson Stark: I surveyed several NL scouts on the Dodgers this week, and they're all skeptical. The worries would go something like this: It will be weeks before Eric Gagne comes back. The back of the rotation (Erickson, Dessens) is scary, although Brad Penny gets Dessens out of there this weekend. They don't catch the ball in the infield. And there's no way of projecting whether Jeff Weaver, Derek Lowe or Odalis Perez will pitch like this all year. Also, two of the last three teams to start a season 11-2 -- the 2003 Royals and 2002 Indians -- failed to make the playoffs. Nevertheless, Jim Tracy is one of the best managers in the business. The division is getting more winnable with every day/week/month Barry Bonds misses. And recent history tells us there's a team every year that gets off to a good start, begins feeling good about itself and rides it all year. If nothing else, the Dodgers have given themselves a lot of room for error the rest of the way. And no one else in the division is in that position.


Alex (Chicago, IL): The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, have scored the most runs in the NL, and have allowed the third-fewest runs in the NL, all without Brad Penny. I noticed in ESPN's "expert" predictions that the Dodgers got no respect despite being defending NL West champs. Why were you and Eric Neel were the only two ESPN "experts" who believed in the Dodgers?

Rob Neyer: This is just a guess, but I suspect that many, and perhaps most of us "experts" based our evaluation of the Dodgers' chances on our personal opinions of Paul DePodesta. Make of that answer what you will...

2005-04-21 14:13:24
98.   Sam DC
Ic (#96) -- I just have no clue. I ran across it looking for "Fire Jim Tracy" and immediately commenced shaking my head. I'd sort of thought someone with the backstory might be lurking on the site . . .
2005-04-21 14:13:31
99.   Steve
"perhaps most of us "experts" based our evaluation of the Dodgers' chances on our personal opinions of Paul DePodesta. Make of that answer what you will..."

There's a big surprise...I'm going to have a heart attack and die from that surprise.

Sam (29) -- I found that site a couple of weeks back and posted that as a lark on a game-day post or something. Of course, crickets were chirping, and only now does it get discovered.

2005-04-21 14:14:30
100.   Tim B

I think Rob Neyer's explanation is the most honest answer to the question of why everyone is/was so down on the Dodgers this spring.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-04-21 14:21:29
101.   frankenspock
The contrast was nice. Neyer was being honest, and trying to point to a phenomenon that resides somewhere off the playing field. Stark "surveyed NL scouts," which seems to be the common option among commentators this year when the commentator wants to find a way to say they don't like the Dodgers.

And yeah, Neyer's observation was no great surprise... here, anyway. But it's something when a Dodger Thoughts reader says it, and it's something entirely again when an ESPN columnist admits it.

2005-04-21 14:23:46
102.   jasonungar05

I was at Chico State from 1991 to 1998 (kidding) it was 1995.

I bet we ran into each other while wearing dodger blue! Drank a beer or 12 together (among other things) We had to stick together. Tough crowd up there. 10 years later I can still say what I said then, yeah but how many WS have you won?

It was Hella cool. Thats the other slang I about died the first time I heard that. People in No Cal use that like I use Dude.

The best ever dodger momment during that time was Piazza knocking the Giants out of it after winning 100 games. Not sure what year that was, but that was Hella cool, indeed.

2005-04-21 14:24:04
103.   Steve
I remember now. Believe it or not, I found that site through a link on The Volokh Conspiracy. Sam, I was as surprised as you when nobody mentioned it.

Eric (79 & 80), we had to shelve the upgrade and name change decisions while we got through finals. Our future law firms demanded that we graduate, and Jerry put off all his work until the very last minute (meaning today). And we still have the division between straightforward (Jerry) and angry and bitter (me).

2005-04-21 14:34:52
104.   Ken Arneson
FYI, I just pushed a change to the template which (knock on wood) fixes that font-change problem when there are between 51 and 60 posts.
2005-04-21 14:37:59
105.   Eric Enders
While you're here, this is as good a time as any to let you know how much we appreciate what you're doing/planning on doing to improve the functionality of the site. Thanks.
2005-04-21 14:58:16
106.   Linkmeister
Ditto Eric E.
2005-04-21 15:04:07
107.   jasonungar05
I bet these are selling like Mad.

cha, right.

2005-04-21 15:16:53
108.   Eric Enders
107-- I would pay $79.97 just for the opportunity to burn one of those.
2005-04-21 15:22:00
109.   Dr Love
107-- I would pay $79.97 just for the opportunity to burn one of those.

It must be nice having such high disposable income. Do you sleep on a pile of money?

2005-04-21 15:23:31
110.   fernandomania
Hey jasonungar05, I was at Chico State from 1993 to 1999. I'm sure we've crossed paths at some point. We'd probably recognize each other by sight, at least. Also, there's nothing wrong with staying in Chico. They had to drag me kicking and screaming to graduation. I wanted to never leave college. I love that town.
2005-04-21 15:34:35
111.   Jonny6
Re #102. Without a doubt, "hella" is the worst piece of slang in history. But it is at least a useful tool in determining a person's origins without asking, since it's a dead giveaway that they grew up north of the mystical North/South California divide. Putting a "the" in front of a freeway number can't possibly rise to the level of annoyance that I derive from hearing "hella".
2005-04-21 15:37:03
112.   Icaros
You guys are just unpatriotic. I've painted everything in my world camo, just to honor our service-men-and-women, even my mother's three-legged dog.
2005-04-21 15:37:44
113.   DodgerBlueinSD
Great Article! I was at the Dodger Game Yesterday. Dodger Fans representing in Petco was AWESOME! Bought my ticks from a wannabe Padre season ticketholder, front row lowerleftfield where JD hit his opposite dong. This team never dies. The run production is amazing given the previous Dodger Teams inability to score. Now we have I as a Dodger Fan have always dreamed about going back to 1995, that is AWESOME PITCHING combined with HITTING. I still question DePO's moves but for now they seem to be working! Lets make it 9 and rough up the ex-dodger killer Adam Eaton! Go Scottie, this years jose lima.

Love the Site

2005-04-21 15:46:10
114.   The Saul
Whenever you read most media regarding the Dodgers, they almost always give excuses for their early success, followed by reasons why the other shoe will drop.
If we had started slowly, everyone would have been dog piling on LA on how the franchise is in chaos.
Not that any of this is news to DT readers, but I think that this can be used to our advantage as it undoubtedly will serve as motivation for the Dodgers throughout the whole season.
Now if only someone can light a fire underneath Choi's ass...
2005-04-21 15:48:51
115.   Bob Timmermann
Eric walks around in a top hat and monocle like the guy from Monopoly. He thinks most of here are pure Baltic Avenue types.

Most of the money from "Ghame Over" is going to buy him another ivory-handled backscratcher.

When you visit the palatial Enders estate, electric golf carts or Segways tranpsort you between rooms and guest houses. Each of his six guest cottages is decorated in the theme of a Dodger player.

The nicest one is the Ramon Martinez cottage, which features gold plumbing fixtures and a retinue of domestic servants.

The worst one is called the Dave Goltz cottage.

2005-04-21 16:03:10
116.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Did anyone else see Plaschke on SportsCenter? As best as I could tell, he seemed to give the Blue a sort-of grudging credit. Patrick's last question was on realistic expectations for Dodgers fans, and Plaschke admitted that a division title was very reasonable. He then said something like if you asked him before, he would never have believed it, and then I think he ended with something like "They're showing us," and ended with this weird, pensive look. Am I remembering that, right? I wasn't sure if the whole tenor of the interview was sulking resentment at being so terribly wrong, or just simple befuddlement.

So, Stark is still skeptical, eh? Harrumph. We'll see who has the last laugh.

Neyer's comment was wonderfully honest, because it applied to both him and the Dodgers' critics.


2005-04-21 16:08:07
117.   Jim Hitchcock
Ken Arneson, don't know if it helps, but the font switch also happened under Mozilla 1.8.
2005-04-21 16:18:05
118.   Jim Hitchcock
I've painted everything in my world camo, just to honor our service-men-and-women, even my mother's three-legged dog.

Well, that's better than Glenn Hoffman painted his brother's dog pink.

2005-04-21 16:20:07
119.   Jon Weisman
Too funny, Bob.
2005-04-21 16:24:57
120.   Eric Enders
I think the Dave Goltz cottage might actually be the outhouse. Either that or the outhouse would be named after Jack Clark.
2005-04-21 16:25:01
121.   Eric L
I still hear people talking (or writing) about how it is early, they aren't this good, blah, blah.

I think most fans know that it is early and we can't expect them to play like this day in, day out.

Fans might have their head in the clouds right now, but at least most us (on here at least) reserved judgement until we actually saw them play some games that meant something.

Sure, judging a team based on 14 games isn't wise. Judging a team based on playing 0 games (Messers Plaschke, Simers, Olney, MacDonnell, amongst others) is just as foolish, if not more.

On another note, I was at the game last night and there were quite a few Dodger fans in attendance. A few even got in fights. It sort of felt like a home game.

More than a few Padres fans were down on Phil Nevin. It reminded me of Dodger fans with Mr. Green last year.

2005-04-21 16:26:12
122.   tomA
gaaa! i've spent years trying to forget dave goltz!
2005-04-21 16:27:42
123.   tomA
why not bring up don stanhouse too, then?
2005-04-21 16:44:56
124.   Jacob L
Don Stanhouse.
2005-04-21 16:50:35
125.   tomA
worst dodger fa signing ever?
2005-04-21 17:01:35
126.   Jacob L
Worst Dodger FA signing ever? I don't think that Stan the Man Unusual gets the nod.

Goltz was probably a bigger deal/more money that same year.

Kevin Brown signing = not so good.

Strawberry had one great year, then self destructed.

If you count retaining Dodger free agents, then no doubt its Dreifort.

My own personal worst signing ever - Kevin Elster. Yeah, he didn't cost much, and yes, he ruined the Pac bell opener, but the fact that he was our starting shortstop in 2001 can only mean that he had nude pictures of Davey Johnson (yuck). He won the job austensibly because of a hot spring in which he hit, oh, .230. Then went on to hit .230 in the regular season. And he wasnt' out there for his glove. Not a horrific, saddle you down for 6 years type of signing, but there was no reason, NO reason, for that guy to be starting in the majors at that point.

2005-04-21 17:02:09
127.   Eric Enders
126. Darren Dreifort
You called?
2005-04-21 17:05:42
128.   molokai
Don't forget Mike Davis when it comes to bad FA signing. His walk in the WS was great but even he said in an interview that Eck only walked him because he remembered the Mike Davis from 1987 not the shell who played for the Dodgers in 88.

SoCal has been around for at least 20 years. I've run a football pool for 21 years and one of the teams who came over from NY has had the SoCal team name the whole time.

2005-04-21 17:09:48
129.   fernandomania
Yeah, but he hit THREE (3) HOME RUNS in the Pac Bell opener!!! I'm willing to forgive everything else just for that. We'll always have that spoiler on the Giants, thanks to Kevin "Telephone Pole" Elster.

(We called him "Telephone Pole" as in "he had the range of a...")

2005-04-21 17:10:35
130.   fernandomania
Please pretend post #129 comes after post #126.
2005-04-21 17:13:11
131.   frankenspock
In the "worst retained free agent" category, I'd add Alfredo Griffin, after a .512 OPS year.

Of course, they won the WS that year, and you just can't let that sort of veteran savvy go, right?

Here's another fun name: Hubie Brooks.

2005-04-21 17:35:43
132.   GoBears
*120. Eric Enders
I think the Dave Goltz cottage might actually be the outhouse. Either that or the outhouse would be named after Jack Clark. *

Ah, the Jack Clark outhouse. Where after every flush, you can hear a recording of Tommy Lasorda "what did I think of his performance?!"

2005-04-21 17:43:00
133.   Eric L
What about the Carlos Perez re-signing. He looked good the year before, but he certainly didn't live up to his contract.

The Brown signing wasn't great, but he did give the Dodgers some value. Overall, his performance didn't live up to the $$$$. Amazingly, Dan Evans got Yhency and Jeff Weaver for him.

2005-04-21 18:18:19
134.   Woody
Beautiful piece. Made me think of my own childhood sports awareness which occurred in '57. I think you are the best sports columnist that I've ever read. You should be making big bucks at your profession,
2005-04-21 18:27:45
135.   GoBears
Yeah, yeah, it's early. But just for fun:

Encarnacion .321 .410 .604 1.014
LoDuca .341 .412 .455 .866
Green .259 .369 .370 .740
Beltre .271 .306 .356 .662
Cora .281 .324 .313 .637

Kent .340 .470 .679 1.149
Valentin .308 .462 .590 1.051
Choi/Saenz .282 .410 .500 .910
Phillips .326 .348 .442 .790
Drew .224 .361 .388 .748

Natch, Saenz has half the PAs of Choi, but is carrying most of the weight there. Kent, Valentin, LoDuca, and Encarnacion are all above expectations, but expect Encarnacion to fall the most. Choi, Drew, Beltre and Green are all below projections, and probably by the same aggregate amounts.

2005-04-21 18:29:56
136.   GoBears
Hmm, that would have been easier to read had the columns lined up as prettily as they did in the comment box. Different font, I guess.

Actually, the castoffs are doing better than I expected, especially LoDuca and Juan E. This will mean more in a couple months, but I figured I'd take an early look.

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