Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Monthly archives: February 2009


2009-02-02 16:45
by Jon Weisman

Dodger Thoughts is moving.

I'm not a big drinker, but I always wanted to be a regular at a bar. I guess you could thank Cheers for that, although I think the dream transcends a single origin. The dream of belonging, of being recognized, of being heard, being appreciated.

One summer day in 2002, with fulfilling this dream being the farthest thing from my mind, I started talking in a tiny room to almost no one in particular. Talking to myself, mainly. Over the next year, I'd see people on the street and nod a hello, sharing a conversation every few weeks or so. I started to know folks around the block.

In 2004, I moved shop to a bigger neighborhood and, in a sense, opened the doors. One by one, visitors started to make their presence known. It was a time when a handful of guests still seemed like riches, and under no illusions that we amounted to anything significant, you could feel a warmth. At the end of July that year, those of us who were there bonded over what for us was a cataclysmic event. We bonded over a mutual, natural belief in seeing the light during an uncertain time.

The following year, I joined a smaller band of shopowners in yet another neighborhood, that to me has always felt a little less urban, a little more pastoral. A colony. It wasn't that life slowed down – if anything, it became exponentially busier. But we really flourished here. It has been a fecund setting, with utterly unexpected growth. Deep, personal friendships have sprung from conversations reminiscent of a endless late-night college dorm room, reminiscent of the bar of one's dreams.

And I'm not just a regular. I'm Sam Malone. It might seem arrogant for me to write that, but believe me, it feels humbling. Because without the good grace of my customers, I'd still be the guy talking to himself in the tiny room.

Perhaps it could be like this forever. I don't know. Part of me remains curious to find out. But there's another part of me that's ambitious. The part of me that has wanted things when I could only dream about them, now has a chance to go grab one of them.

Tonight, Dodger Thoughts is moving downtown, where it will begin being hosted at this link by the Los Angeles Times. (Imminently, will direct you there as well.) The dive bar is headed for CityWalk, and I can understand where a regular might find that notion disappointing or dispiriting. Dodger Thoughts was more than words, and even more than a community. Thanks to Baseball Toaster, Dodger Thoughts was a place.

But there's also something to be excited about, because for all that we might sacrifice in intimacy, we stand to gain something very important. Blogs have come a long way in the past seven years, from being something that nearly no one had heard of, to being a dirty word, to slowly being considered part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

The Times, for all its many struggles – just this past Friday saw the piling on of more - is still the biggest stage in Los Angeles, in California, in the West, and one of the biggest in the U.S. And I am eager for Dodger Thoughts to be on that stage, to bring something positive there. (As Michael Schneider noted today at Franklin Avenue, there is still reason to be invested in the Times.)

The bottom line is that I'll be writing about the Dodgers for the Times, and though it's a different Times than when I first had that dream 25 years ago, it's still meaningful to me.

Some enjoy Dodger Thoughts just because it's about the Dodgers, and that won't change. Others enjoy Dodger Thoughts for something more, something that represents the best potential of what online conversation in the 21st century can be. The idea of introducing more people to the community of Dodger Thoughts, I think, is worth risking the sanctity of the site for.

The bar is turning pro. I hope you'll all stay regulars.

* * *

There are two main transitions for the move to the Times to make note of.

One is the potential immediate introduction of a number of new commenters, which could bring something of a culture clash. As always, I hope you will use patience and consideration toward any new visitors – and for that matter, to any old ones. The Dodger Thoughts "Thank You for Not …" guidelines will still be in place, and an ongoing emphasis on these will go a long way.

The second issue will be more vexing for some. The Times requires all comments to be reviewed before they are made live. There will be multiple people behind-the-scenes with the ability to do this, so in many cases, the approval will come quickly. But at odd moments and in odd hours, there will be delays.

I assure you that no one is more concerned about this than I am, but I urge you to see this from a big picture. It shouldn't affect your enjoyment of other people's comments. They will all come. At Baseball Toaster, you never knew exactly when the next comment was coming, and so the Times will be no different.

As for your own comments, this will require a little more patience. The comments will come, and they will come in the order that they were made, and so in the end, though the flow might be more staccato, the substance of our conversations doesn't need to change.

For example, I've studied the quantity of comments that come in the wee hours, which are the ones that are going to most delayed, and it's a tiny percentage of what the site does overall. That can be a great time to comment, but in the end, if you find that your 2 a.m. comment doesn't appear until 5 a.m., just remember that when it does appear, it will get a wider readership, and that it's all part of a bigger plan. In any case, I ask for your patience as we work the kinks out.

(I'll still have my day job at Variety, in case you were wondering.)

* * *

I can't leave without thanking Ken Arneson for making Baseball Toaster possible, and for all the other Toaster writers for being so great to work alongside. It is really a strong feeling. We'll always have our Paris of the Internet.

For more information on the fate of Toaster, please go to Fairpole.

Molly Knight KOs Joba Chamberlain
2009-02-02 11:20
by Jon Weisman writer and Dodger Thoughts bonne amie Molly Knight showed Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain who's boss.

More from Knight's Super Sunday at her blog.

This Chat's on Me
2009-02-01 10:49
by Jon Weisman

You don't have to go home, and you can stay here.

Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
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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