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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

A Happier 9/11
2005-09-11 00:05
by Jon Weisman

Originally published September 11, 2003

Twenty years ago today, Dodger Stadium hosted its greatest game.

It began swathed in bright blue skies and triple-digit temperatures. When it ended, 228 crazy brilliant minutes later, shadows palmed most of the playing field, and every Dodger fan who witnessed the spectacle found themselves near joyous collapse.

The game was between the Dodgers of Steve Sax and Pedro Guerrero, of Greg Brock and Mike Marshall ... and the Braves of Dale Murphy, of Bruce Benedict, of Brad Komminsk.

In the end, however, it came down to one man. A rookie named R.J. Reynolds.

A Brave Battle
Los Angeles entered the game with a two-game lead in the National League Western Division over Atlanta. Their battle for the division crown came a year after a near-epic contest in which the Dodgers rallied from a 10 1/2-game deficit to the Braves in 12 days and took the lead, only to falter and have a home run by the Giants' Joe Morgan off Terry Forster knock them out on the final day of the season.

On September 11, 1983, coming off an extra-inning loss to Atlanta the night before, Los Angeles took the field behind starting pitcher Rick Honeycutt, making his fifth start for the team since being acquired from Texas in exchange for Dave Stewart, a player to be named later and $200,000. (Supplementary information in this article courtesy of Retrosheet.)

After a scoreless first inning, the Dodgers tallied two runs in the second off Braves starter Len Barker. With two out, catcher Jack Fimple, near the height of his brief but shining heyday as a fan favorite, doubled home Brock and Marshall.

Murphy brickwalled the Dodger momentum in the next inning, displaying the form that left his contemporaries certain he would become a Hall of Famer. In the top of the inning, Murphy hit a three-run home run, his 32nd of the season. In the bottom of the inning, he crashed into the center-field wall, glove extended above and beyond it, to rob Guerrero of a two-run homer.

Stunned at the end of the third, the crowd had no idea that the frenzy was only beginning.

Four on the Floor
With the kind of mathematical symmetry normally found in Schoolhouse Rock cartoons, the Dodgers used four pitchers in the fourth.

Honeycutt got the first two batters out in the top of the fourth, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Jerry Royster and Rafael Ramirez. Having seen his starting pitcher allow seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman in 3 2/3 innings, and with Murphy again at the plate, Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda brought in Pat Zachry.

Ramirez stole second base, and then Zachry walked Murphy.

With the bases loaded, Lasorda made another move, bringing lefthander Rich Rodas - in his second major league game - to face Chris Chambliss with the bases loaded.

Rodas walked Chambliss to force in the Braves' fourth run, then allowed a two-run single to Komminsk that made the score 6-2 Braves.

The fourth Dodger pitcher of the inning came in ... a young, young-looking guy by the name of Orel Hershiser. Compared to Rodas, Hershiser was a veteran. This was the Bulldog-to-be's third major-league game. To the naked eye, Lasorda was trying to win the way Buttermaker relied on Ogilvie and Miguel in The Bad News Bears.

Hershiser loaded the bases again with a walk to Benedict. The ninth batter of the inning, third baseman (no-not-that) Randy Johnson, came up with a chance to bury the Dodgers, but popped out to his hot corner counterpart Guerrero to end the top of the fourth.

The score stayed at 6-2 for two more innings. Marshall and Brock, who combined to reach base seven times in this game, led off the bottom of the fourth with singles. Reynolds, however, grounded into a double play. Fimple followed with a walk off Barker, but future Braves hero Sid Bream grounded out batting for Hershiser.

Burt Hooton, a longtime Dodger starter who went to the bullpen shortly after the acquisition of Honeycutt, became the team's fifth pitcher in the fifth. The teams gave the fans a breather with an uneventful inning, and Hooton retired the Braves in order in the top of the sixth.

Then the surreal moment arrived.

No, You're Not Even Warm
After Marshall flew out to open the bottom of the sixth, Brock walked, Reynolds singled him to second, and the Midas behind the recent Yankee dynasty, Atlanta manager Joe Torre, replaced Barker with Tommy Boggs.

Rick Monday, his heroic days behind him, batted for Fimple and was called out on strikes for the second out. But Ken Landreaux, the Dodgers' regular center fielder, pinch-hit for Hooton and walked to load the bases.

Torre went to the mound and signaled for a pitcher to replace Boggs. None other than Terry Forster - the fall guy of 1982 - emerged from the right-field bullpen.

But then a strange thing happened. Torre signaled again - for a right-handed pitcher.

The strange thing was not that Torre wanted a righty to face Sax. It was that he wanted a righty when none had been warming up.

On the telecast, Vin Scully reported that Tony Brizzolara had warmed up earlier in the game, but in this inning, it had clearly been Forster who was backing up Boggs. Brizzolara had been cooling off for some time.

As a puzzled Forster stood on the edge of the warning track and the outfield grass, looking back and forth between the mound and the bullpen, Torre insisted that Brizzolara come in to face Sax.

In Brizzolara came. He threw four pitches to Sax - in the dirt, low, low and high. In the Dodgers' third run came, and out went Torre to replace Brizzolara with Forster.

Atlanta was rattled, a thespian who had forgotten his lines on Broadway, but Los Angeles got the minimum out of the comedy, as shortstop Bill Russell struck out against Forster and left the bases loaded.

Joe Beckwith, the losing pitcher in the previous night's game, laid anchor for the Dodger bullpen, throwing three innings and scattering two singles and a walk. Meanwhile, the mythic Donnie Moore provided a dose of calm for the Braves, retiring the Dodger side in order in the seventh and the eighth.

And then came the bottom of the ninth.

With a Flick of the Wrists, It Begins
Jose Morales, 38 years and 116 pinch hits old, led off, batting for Beckwith. Against a change from Moore, Morales' off-balance swing, arms well behind his hips, wrists trailing his arms, presaged Kirk Gibson's flick at the backdoor slider from Dennis Eckersley five years and one month later. Morales' ball flew into the left-field corner, and Morales easily won a battle of his old legs and Brett Butler's weak arm, cruising into second with a stand-up double, and giving the master improvisationalist, Scully, his modest opening line ...

He just kind of felt for the ball.

Dave Anderson entered the game to run for Morales. As Sax batted (with S. Sax on the back of his uniform, to distinguish himself from his brother Dave for the easily confused), the television camera found a much-in-need-of-SlimFast Lasorda, sitting near Dodger coach Monty Basgall.

Lasorda, Basgall dying a little bit in the Dodger dugout. Tommy's not feeling well anyway. He's got a cold for about a month.

Gene Garber, sporting the kind of beard you just don't see ballplayers wear anymore, was warming up in the bullpen as Moore went 3-1 to Sax. One inside pitch later, Torre was out of the dugout with a hook for Moore. As Moore, the victim of a devastating playoff home run in October 1986, left the game, Tom Niedenfuer, his October 1983 counterpart, began warming up for in the Dodger bullpen for the 10th inning.

Russell, sporting the kind of physique you just don't see ballplayers compete with anymore, then struck out in his second consecutive critical at-bat.

Dusty Baker, in his last season with the Dodgers before his acrimonious departure, was the batter with one out and two on. Even Baker, with more than 200 career home runs, was thin back then.

Baker swung and missed at Garber's sidearm delivery, then took one low and outside. On the 1-1 pitch, Baker hit a pop fly that fell between second baseman Royster and right-fielder Claudell Washington, a defensive replacement for Komminsk. The bases were loaded with the tying runs.

This crowd is on its feet and pleading. They're all getting up. It is that time of day. Never mind the seventh-inning stretch. This is the wire.

Cecil Espy came in to run for Baker, and Guerrero came up to the plate. His at-bat took more than six minutes.

'This Is Hanging Time'
Guerrero swung and missed at the first pitch, took one low and outside, then hit a grounder just foul.

Boy, what an exhausting finish to a long afternoon at the ballpark. Well, it figured the Dodgers and the Braves are gonna put you through the ringer, right down to the last day. So naturally, they do it right down to the last minute.

Guerrero took one low, evening the count, 2-2. Then he grounded one by third base, just foul.

The table is set and the big man is in the chair.

Pitch No. 6 of the at-bat was six inches off the ground, outside - and still fouled off by Guerrero.

Boy, he was late. He just did get a piece of that. After you get that palmball trickery of Garber ... it was almost in Benedict's mitt.

No. 7: another grounder, just foul.

And the tension remains ...

With Garber about to throw the eighth pitch, Guerrero stepped out at the last moment and called time. Vinny, laughing:

Oh yeah, these are tough to take, I tell you what. Guerrero just had to back out. I mean, this is hanging time. Woo!

Garber bounced the resin bag back and forth on the front and back of his right hand. Guerrero stepped back in, and Garber threw. Low - ball three.

It is almost too much to take ...

Guerrero went back in for the ninth pitch of the at-bat, then called time again.

You can just imagine the pressure - you'd have to be a block of wood not to feel it.

Here came the pitch. Two feet outside. Guerrero flung the bat away backhanded and strutted to first base.

Anderson scored the first run of the inning, cutting the Braves' lead to 6-4. The ballpark shadows have just reached Garber. Third-base coach Joe Amalfitano counseled the next batter, Marshall.

Garber slipped on his right foot in delivering the first pitch outside for ball one. The next pitch was outside as well.

Marshall then hit a long drive to right. Washington, with his glove on his right hand, went toward the wall with his back to the right-field stands. But the ball was slicing behind him, and Washington turned his body 180 degrees to try to find and catch the ball in the late-afternoon sun.

It didn't take. The drive landed right at the base of the wall. Murphy, coming over to back up the play, nearly collided with Washington as the latter threw the ball back. Two runs scored on Marshall's double - tying the game at 6 - but Guerrero was held at third. On-deck hitter Brock stood near home plate, raising his hands behind his head like he thought Guerrero could have scored, but the replay showed that Amalfitano probably was wise to hold Guerrero.

With the winning run on third and first base open, Brock was walked intentionally - the first wide one barely snagged by a staggering Benedict.

The batter will be the kid, R.J. Reynolds, with a chance to win it.

Holding Back to the Last Second
Reynolds stood at home, looking at Amalfitano, and stretched the bat over both his shoulders.

And now, with the bases loaded, the infield is up, the outfield looks like a softball game, and the batter is R.J. Reynolds.

The first pitch is outside. Reynolds looked at Amalfitano again.

Gene Garber is battling to stay afloat.

If this was a game of Bad News Bears moments, this was Ahmad's.

Reynolds didn't give it away. In slow motion, the bat doesn't even start to come off Reynolds' shoulder until Garber's pitching arm is all the way back.

But then ... Reynolds' left hand finds the barrel of the bat. He lays the bat forward, relaxedly, at a slight downward diagonal pointing below his waist, then corrects it to a straight horizontal line to meet the ball.

Reynolds pauses a millisecond to watch. Garber's follow-through carries him toward the third-base side of the mound, but the bunt rolls toward the first base side.

The SQUEEZE! And here comes the run!!

By the time Garber reverses field and lunges for the ball, Guerrero is 15 feet away from home plate. Before Garber is even upright, Guerrero touches home, banging his hands together in exultation.

He squeezed it in!

Backs of jerseys from our past - Yeager, Thomas, Maldonado, Landestoy, Rivera - come out to rain congratulations on Guerrero. Lasorda risks smothering Reynolds in a headlock.

By the way, if you are keeping score in this madhouse, not only did R.J. squeeze, he got a base hit and an RBI. And Guerrero brought the winning run home. BEDLAM at Dodger Stadium.

Replays and images of celebrations pass in front of us for several seconds, without comentary - you know this is Vinny's way, to let the moment be the moment. We catch Ross Porter, in short-sleeved shirt and tie, is in the dugout to prepare to interview Reynolds.

Finally, Vin is ready to speak again.

The pictures told it all. There isn't any way I could improve on the picture. What a story. The squeeze in the ninth. The Dodgers score four times and pull it out and beat the Braves, 7 to 6. They show the squeeze on Diamond Vision and the crowd, EUPHORIC in its joy, roars again.

R.J. Reynolds has put the Dodgers in the right direction.

And so he had. The victory put the Dodgers three games up in the NL West, and three games up in the NL West is how the Dodgers finished the 1983 season.

Reynolds was a hero. A baseball hero, at least.

And a game for the ages, a game worth remembering, I hope, even on the saddest of anniversaries, was over.

Comments (66)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-09-11 01:12:28
1.   Uncle Miltie
Big mistake by Steve Henson
"Aybar, who doubled and singled, is not considered a strong defensive player, and his presence in the lineup illustrates how little confidence Tracy has in Perez at third base. In fact, Tracy said he would not use Perez at third with sinkerball specialist Derek Lowe pitching, even though Perez's .316 batting average leads the team."
Very poor piece of writing by Henson by making a false assumption. That comment just knocked him down a notch in my book. I think his obvious hatred for Tracy is getting in the way of his writing.
2005-09-11 04:27:56
2.   Sam DC
Sheesh Jon, hard to know what you've got to do to get a comment on your actual post around here . . . :)

Wonderful account. The original Non-RDGC perhaps?

Peaceful 9-11 to all as we dig out from our worst national tragedy since 9-11.

2005-09-11 07:17:47
3.   Eric Enders
I wonder why Henson would say something like that. Weird.

Perhaps he got it from Tracy. In which case, Tracy's philosophy would seem to be: if you're a good hitter, you cannot possibly be a good defensive player.

BP says: "In the field, he's looked pretty good at both second and third base."

Dayn Perry, Fox Sports' prospect maven, says "he's an excellent defender."

On the other hand, Jerry Royster a couple of weeks ago perhaps provided Henson with fodder:

"'His offense has been pretty steady all year, right around the .300 mark, and his defense needed to catch up. To his credit, he has really stepped it up.'

Royster said Aybar has developed better work habits the last two months. He is going through daily agility drills with strength coach Demathdian Tate to fine-tune his footwork and expand his range in the infield.

'He's going after balls that he had shied away from before, and he has improved dramatically,' Royster said. 'He's got to be able to play defense like he's playing now.' "

2005-09-11 07:45:27
4.   Eric Enders
When the Dodgers were going 12-2, the Times pretty much ignored them. However, now that their season is over and they're virtually guaranteed a losing record, the Times is all over it. FIVE Dodger articles in the paper this morning.

Tim Brown's has the following bizarre passage:

"Milton Bradley needs more help, according to George Anderson, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist who specializes in anger-management issues.

'It's not the anger that's the issue,' Anderson said. 'It's the behavior that follows the anger. And that's aggression, right?

'If I were Milton, I'd wish that somebody in the world would offer to help me.'"

While Anderson may ultimately prove correct, I'd be wary of any quack willing to make diagnoses based on what he sees on TV....

2005-09-11 07:55:33
5.   Jon Weisman
I of course understand that writing can provoke a strong reaction, but I think 1 is an overreaction.

The irony is that in accusing Henson of making a false assumption, Miltie, you make your own false assumption that he must hate Tracy.

2005-09-11 07:59:27
6.   Eric Enders
Hasn't Henson sort of proclaimed himself -- on this very site -- the biggest Tracy-lover of them all?
2005-09-11 08:01:46
7.   molokai
That was beautiful writing. The same chills I felt when I watched that game on TV or in person came back. So long ago I think I was at the game but that is probably just wishfull thinking. That really should be somewhere other then on a blog where all Dodger fans can read it. RJ Reynolds not only had one of the great names in Dodger history, he solidified his spot in history with that one at bat.
2005-09-11 08:05:34
8.   Eric Enders
Today's Plaschke is pretty interesting, obligatory cheap shots at DePo notwithstanding.

I may not agree with it, and the man is still a lunatic, but it's an interesting column.

2005-09-11 08:06:18
9.   molokai
If anyone wants to drop by 3 DT readers will be at the Lodge level, in Aisle 167 Row 3 next to the Dodger bullpen. This time of year lots of empty seats especially with the opening of the football season. Should be a beautiful day for a ballgame. Looking forward to a lineup that will include Aybar/Choi and some relief help from Kuo so I can watch him warm up. But alas I'm sure I'll be stuck watching Philips catch, Saenz play 1st and an outfield of Valentin/Repko/Cruz.
2005-09-11 08:09:21
10.   deburns
Jon: I agree, beautiful writing. I remember watching on TV (I lived in SF at the time). As to the LAT, I looked in vain for one little mention of the Suns' sweep of Birmingham. After all, with most of our focus, hopefully, on '06 and beyond, wasn't it worth some little mention?
2005-09-11 08:10:43
11.   Eric Enders
Considering that they gave the no-hitter all of one sentence, I'm not surprised the final game got nary a mention.
2005-09-11 08:16:59
12.   D4P
8 I was amused to hear in today's Plaschke that Kent still hasn't met everyone on the team. Plaschke also alludes to something I brought up on another board a few months ago, namely the possibility that Kent won't want to stick around next year if he doesn't think the Dodgers have a good enough chance of winning a championship. I suggested this possibility to natepurcell, and he shot me down.
2005-09-11 08:34:53
13.   Eric Enders
As a follow-up on #10, it's also worth noting that the Times writers appear to have a great deal invested in the idea of the Dodgers becoming a winning team by signing high-priced free agents and having a sky-high payroll. So anything that might provide an alternative to that method -- like an insanely good farm system -- is rather easily ignored.
2005-09-11 08:55:39
14.   deburns
13 It's a lot of fun spending other peoples' money. I've had a lot of great meals and great wine on other peoples' dime. Looking down the road and building a farm system that will produce rookies of the year year by year does not make the pulse race like paying $50 million for a few years of a veteran on the down-slide to mediocrity.
2005-09-11 09:13:16
15.   Bob Timmermann
There will be many fewer Dodgers stories in next Sunday's paper because there will be stories about the UCLA-Oklahoma game and the USC-Arkansas game.

The Dodgers might (and shouldn't) even be on the front page then.

2005-09-11 09:31:31
16.   DaveP
Lasorda was in the stands for the Jax no-hitter the other night. Article on Suns homepage says he called Depo and McCourt:

"I told them both that these two guys are key for us next year. We've got to build our pitching staff around guys like these two guys," the Hall of Fame manager said.

"I don't know what the Dodgers are going to do when the Suns' playoffs are over, but if they want someone who can really help, they should move up."

2005-09-11 09:31:37
17.   Vishal
if UCLA beats oklahoma i will be giddy. the big 12 is overrated. if only ohio state had stuck it out last night.
2005-09-11 09:39:54
18.   SiGeg
Thanks for reposting this, Jon! I'm sure it will get a wider audience today than it got two years ago, and it most definitely deserves it.
2005-09-11 09:42:12
19.   Bob Timmermann
I only wish my RDGCs were as well-written. Of course, Vin Scully wasn't calling games back in the 1880s.
2005-09-11 09:57:39
20.   Eric Enders
He was only attending them?
2005-09-11 09:58:41
21.   Eric Enders
The appropriately named Bill Madden in today's New York Daily News:

"Dodgers: It sure sounds as if owner Frank McCourt has started to second-guess himself for entrusting boy wonder Paul DePodesta as his GM. Just about every deal and signing DePodesta made undermined the Dodgers' success last season and the team is subsequently a mess of dysfuntional personalities with Jeff Kent, Milton Bradley, J.D. Drew, Odalis Perez, Derek Lowe and Jason Phillips. How to undo all of this? Jim Tracy, one of the best and brightest managers in the game, deserved far better."

2005-09-11 10:00:46
22.   Eric Enders
By the way, did anybody notice on Friday night that Vinny's toupee was a little more realistic-looking? I wonder if he got a new one, or just combed it differently.
2005-09-11 10:03:01
23.   Louis in SF
I remember watching that game on TV and the bunt was amazing, but the game was such a roller coaster. Bill Russell who was a favorite of mine striking out with the bases loaded twice almost made me put a rock through the TV....WHile everyone on this site as had their problems with some of the coverage of the Dodgers by the LAT, I think their point was the Dodgers claimed at the begining of the season that they were saving money for an acquisition if needed for the stretch run. The 100 million dollar payroll or I believe the current 88 million payroll had no effect on minor league development. The Dodgers never made that acquisition and I think that many at the LAT think the extra 12 million plus is gone to the Parking Lot Attendant
2005-09-11 10:04:46
24.   SiGeg
Bob, you are too modest. Your RDGCs are great.

You're right, though. Vin is Jon's secret weapon here. In a strange way, it's sort of like employing the original author's own voice in a reading. Scully may not actually author Dodger games, but sometimes it sure feels like he does.

2005-09-11 10:08:55
25.   SiGeg
I think Tim Brown, in today's Times, offers about the best defense of Jim Tracy that I've seen, mostly because he ignores Tracy's decision-making almost entirely. Since so many of Tracy's decisions have been, well, indefensible, the "Tracy question" really comes down to whether the other things Tracy does make up for those strange decisions.

But the defense still falls short. I'm not sure that "Oscar Robles' gleeful dash after Wednesday's win" is sufficient evidence that that Tracy keeps his players more motivated than the average manager, as Brown implies. Do players really play harder for Tracy?

If Brown's psychological analysis of Tracy is right (that after this many years in charge, Tracy "remains a guy trying to convince everyone he can manage a baseball team"), it would seem to belie Brown's argument that Tracy is good at his job.

2005-09-11 10:10:33
26.   werthgagne31
off topic, but the more i think about last season vs this season, the more i come to the conclusion that last season the dodgers got lucky making the playoffs, i mean just look at the career stats for guys like izturis,cora,encarnacion,lima,ishii ect.

and this year the dodgers got unlucky,injuries to key players gagne,drew,bradley ect.

also whats the harm in offering bradley arbitration to try to keep him next year.

2005-09-11 10:15:40
27.   Icaros
Hey, Tim Brown writes a column that doesn't make me want to suffocate myself with a plastic bag. Nice. I still don't agree with his ultimate decision on Jim Tracy, though. Wrong manager for this team.

Brown also points out that "Paul Lo Duca [...] has a chronically sore right hamstring and has batted .174 over the last four weeks."

Now let me check my calendar...yep, it's September, all right.

2005-09-11 10:21:18
28.   Bob Timmermann
Jim Kaat during the Red Sox-Yankees game:

"If the Yankees win today, they can cut the lead to just three games and then they can make up just a game a week."

Michael Kay followed with the stat that the Yankees have overcome a 4-game deficit this late in the year nor have the Red Sox wasted a deficit this large at this point in the year.

And then there are guys like Larry Bowa who thinks that the Giants can catch the Padres because Barry Bonds will be playing again. Does everyone just assume that teams in first place are going to horribly collapse? It doesn't happen that often.

The only second place team in the majors now that has a respectable chance of finishing in first is Oakland.

2005-09-11 10:25:32
29.   Icaros
I'm not sure that "Oscar Robles' gleeful dash after Wednesday's win" is sufficient evidence that that Tracy keeps his players more motivated than the average manager, as Brown implies.

Yeah, I felt like that was a stretch as well. I think any 29-year-old rookie who has had to spend his career playing for pesos in Mexico would be really excited about hitting a game tying HR off a premier closer in the bottom of the ninth even if Gary Coleman was managing the team.

2005-09-11 10:26:42
30.   Eric Enders
"Do players really play harder for Tracy?"

By my observation, they certainly do. But YMMV.

2005-09-11 10:27:03
31.   Jon Weisman
There's a separate open chat thread below this thread.
2005-09-11 10:27:56
32.   Icaros
I guess that should be "were managing the team," but I don't teach English anymore, thank heavens.
2005-09-11 10:29:25
33.   Icaros
"YMMV"? I don't know this one yet.
2005-09-11 10:31:00
34.   molokai
Running down Depo would make more sense if the players he jettisoned were having decent years. Other then Green who is doing what was expected no one has come close to the year they had last year. I'm not impressed with who he acquired last winter other then Kent but I am impressed with who he let go. Not many would have had the balls to let go of both 2005 hero's like Beltre/Finley/Lima/Cora but he did and the team is much better off financially for it. Can't imagine McCourt being very upset with Depo. All he has to do is look at the contracts teams are paying Beltre/Finley and TG that he is not doing the same thing. Of course on the other side he might be looking at the Drew/Lowe/OP contracts and wondering if it evens out.
I was impressed that he didn't deal out prospects for year end drivel. Next year might be the year to say good bye to some prospects if we are in a better position to win a title but this year it would have been a wasted effort. It is not like the West is all of the sudden going to get much better. Barry will be a year older as will all the old Giants, SD might lose two key players in Giles and Hernandez, Arizona will get better and I expect them to be our competition going forward.
2005-09-11 10:32:54
35.   Jon Weisman
33 - Your mileage may vary? Or ... your mendacity may vary?
2005-09-11 10:33:03
36.   Eric Enders
Your mileage may vary
2005-09-11 10:33:54
37.   Icaros
35, 36 - Okay, thanks.
2005-09-11 10:35:21
38.   Eric Enders
I find it amusing that Plashke is still calling the failure to sign Beltre a "blunder."

Which it clearly was... for Seattle.

2005-09-11 10:36:02
39.   Eric Enders
Plaschke, I mean.
Although if anyone deserves to have their name misspelled, it's him...
2005-09-11 10:36:58
40.   SiGeg
30 - You may be right, which is why I said Brown may have the best defense possible for Tracy . I'm just not sure how to tell. Do we look at, say, the dropoff in production from players that have left the Dodgers? (Probably not, since this seems to imply the dubious notion that most players production is primarily a result of how hard they try.) What has led you to your belief?

The only player I can recall comparing the way players play under Tracy vs. the way they play for another manager is Karros. He, of course, compared Tracy unfavorably to Baker, whom he said made a huge difference in the way a team played. (I recall Karros also saying that Jim Tracy was probably "too nice.")

2005-09-11 10:49:37
41.   Eric Enders
"What has led you to your belief?"

Just simple observation, like I said. Everyone seems to hustle for Tracy. Since he's been manager it's been my distinct impression that the Dodgers "try" much harder than their opponents do. Since there is only one player (Goggles) who has been around for Tracy's entire tenure, I can only conclude that this has something to do with the manager rather than the specific players involved.

The way the Dodger players approach the game now is 180 degrees removed from the way we played during the Russell-Hoffman-Johnson era. And I don't think it's because of the talent level. Even this year, in a dismal season, the Dodgers have played with much more fire than a losing team usually does.

2005-09-11 10:49:57
42.   Bob Timmermann
Mark Grudzielanek is not a member of the Jim Tracy Marching and Chowder Society either.
2005-09-11 10:55:51
43.   SiGeg
41 -- Ok, thanks. I don't know if it's true, but I can imagine that it could be -- I've seen nothing to contradict it.

I have a feeling Tracy will be around next year, and I'm so sick of being sick of his decisions that I'm ready to concentrate on silver linings whenever possible.

I'm hoping that the recent mentions of Depo talking with Tracy about Choi/Perez issues is a sign that Tracy might be at least nudged next year towards a slightly different approach.

2005-09-11 11:01:04
44.   Eric L

Why does Plaschke have to add snide remarks like that in an otherwise decent article?

It's one thing to be snide about McCourt being cheap. I don't think he's really been that cheap and I hope that one day I can be cheap and broke to the tune of an $88 million payroll.

He's right about DePo having growing pains. He doesn't give any evidence of the growing pains, but hey, at least Bill's slam wasn't too far from the truth.

Then he has to go and make the Beltre comment. Is there any way to say in all honesty that Beltre would be a better player in LA than he is in Seattle? Nevermind that Beltre's numbers this year are pretty close to his career averages.

2005-09-11 11:01:31
45.   dzzrtRatt
Jon, not only does your post perfectly recall that pivotal game, but it also reminds me of a time 22 years ago when one of the biggest Dodger fans in my family was my mother. She and I watched that game together, and it's one of my best memories of her. My mother fortunately is still around, but she has completely lost interest in the Dodgers. I can understand why. Year to year, who are these guys? You have to be a baseball geek like me to keep paying attention.

Our best hope to recapture that is to give the Evans/DePodesta plan time to work. It's not merely "cheaper" to wait for the next generation to arise, it's the plan with the best odds of reviving the sense of hometown stakes that Dodger fans of the 60s - 80s took for granted. I hope to be an old man when players like Billingsley and Guzman retire, in Dodger uniforms, fingers full of rings. From that persepective, if Kent wants to be traded to a 'win-now' team, fine. Send him the misery of Yankee Stadium. We could give Robinson Cano a whirl, and watch Kent and Sheffield stare each other to death in '06.

Nothing against Kent; I love watching the guy play and would miss him. But if DePo panics as a result of his comments, and tries to build a WS champ in 2006, it will only demonstrate he does not have the courage of his convictions.

P.S. Not to nitpick, but shouldn't this sentence read: "As Moore, the victim of a devastating playoff home run in October 1986, left the game, Tom Niedenfuer, his October 1985 counterpart..." Unless I'm forgetting that Niedenfuer also blew the '83 playoffs against Philly.

2005-09-11 11:04:21
46.   Jon Weisman
45 - you're right. Thanks.

But by the way, to a Dodger fan in 1983, who was R.J. Reynolds? Who was Jose Morales? Who was Rick Honeycutt? You always had to pay attention, even then.

2005-09-11 11:10:05
47.   dzzrtRatt
46 True, but in '83 we still had Fernando (big plus for my Mom), and could still hope that Brock, Marshall, Sax & Guerrero would turn out to be worthy successors to Garvey, Cey, Lopes & Russell. Give or take a bad pitch here or there, they almost were.
2005-09-11 11:14:28
48.   Eric Enders
"My mother fortunately is still around, but she has completely lost interest in the Dodgers. I can understand why. Year to year, who are these guys? You have to be a baseball geek like me to keep paying attention."

Not to trample all over one's mother's memories, but I'm going to call BS here. People have done analysis on the movement of players from team to team, and have found that players do not move around more than they used to. This is all in fans' imaginations. It's part of the natural "grass is greener" psychology, believing that everything was better back in the good old days, etc. It wasn't.

"The good old days when tradition mattered" is, to put it blunty, a bunch of hooey. Duke Snider and Jackie Robinson ended their careers as property of the Giants, for chrissakes. And Juan Marichal ended his as a Dodger. It has always been thus, and always thus shall be.

2005-09-11 11:15:10
49.   Eric Enders
As usual, Jon made my point much sooner and more succinctly than I did.
2005-09-11 11:16:29
50.   Bob Timmermann
The Dodgers didn't really find a decent replacement for Garvey until Eddie Murray came along. And he wasn't all that good in his first year with the team in 1989. He was good in 1990.

Sax was a good replacement for Lopes although he didn't quite have the power of Lopes. Guerrero was a third baseman in that sometimes he was given a glove and told to stand in the vicinity of third base.

After Bill Russell, we had guys like Dave Anderson, Jose Vizcaino, Jose Offerman, Mariano Duncan, and Alfredo Griffin. It was not a pretty sight. That bunch made you think that Greg Gagne was Miguel Tejada.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-09-11 11:21:40
51.   Eric Enders
Offerman wasn't that bad. Or at least, he was twice the hitter those other guys were.
2005-09-11 11:22:05
52.   Bob Timmermann
I remember watching that game in 1983 with my mom also. She doesn't follow the Dodgers much now either. In fact, she just gave up on them in 1993 as the Dodgers got swept in a home series against the first-year expansion Rockies.

Of course, depending upon your philosophical and religious bent, she may still be rooting for the team. Or she may already know how this season ends.

2005-09-11 11:25:27
53.   Eric Enders
Was that the series when Galarraga pulled his crap against Jody Reed? I know that happened in the Rockies' first year of existence.
2005-09-11 11:28:12
54.   Bob Timmermann
I don't recall exactly. I think most of the problems the Dodgers and Rockies had in 1993 happened in Denver.

Andres Galarraga took every HBP in his career as a personal affront.

2005-09-11 11:33:46
55.   Eric Enders
Dodger Blues to the rescue

You were right; it was Denver.

By the way, the Jeff Kent mouse-over photo on Dodger Blues is a must.

2005-09-11 11:39:37
56.   Bob Timmermann
I remember after the Dreifort-Galarraga incident in Atlanta, Bobby Cox said he had thought of bringing in a scrub pitcher or a position player to pitch and move his starter to the outfield just to have the guy drill Dreifort.

Fortunately, someone talked Cox out of that because I think that if a manager had, in effect, put out a contract on Dreifort's head, he would have been suspended for a long time.

2005-09-11 11:56:20
57.   dzzrtRatt
48 Eric, I think you missed my point, slightly. We Dodger fans took for granted that we could follow a team with the same core of players for several years in a row. The real reason was, these were good players, the Dodgers didn't want to get rid of them, and they wanted to stay. Since then, we haven't had a quality core like that, and so we've become an ordinary team with lots of turnover.

But isn't the promise of the Suns' generation of players--the very reason half the posts on this site now refer to those players--that we might have developed another core of quality players who will emerge at the same time, stay together, and win?

My Mom is not a lifelong Dodger fan or even much of a baseball fan. But if you lived in LA in the 70s and 80s, you absorbed the Dodgers by osmosis, and got interested in them just because they were always doing something worth paying attention to. Everyone knew who Steve Garvey and Fernando Valenzuela were, not just die hard baseball fans.

It's not necessary to have a long-time core of great players to get into the World Series. But some of the most succesful teams are like that-- the late 90s/early 00s Yankees being the best example, especially when it was Jeter, Willaims, Martinez, Brosius, Pettite and Rivera--all of them from the Yankee system, I believe. The A's under LaRussa were another team like that.

2005-09-11 12:03:23
58.   Eric Enders
Nice post; I better understand your point now. I would only point out that in baseball, situations like that are the exception rather than the rule, and always have been. Of course, they're nice when they do happen.

Brosius/Martinez came from other teams, FWIW.

2005-09-11 12:04:03
59.   Bob Timmermann
Martinez and Brosius were not Yankee farm system products.

The LaRussa A's of course had Canseco and McGwire, but the pitching almost all came from somewhere else (Stewart, Eckersley, Welch, Honeycutt, Moore, et al.) The A's of that era also had a predilection for making late season acquisitions, such as Willie McGee and Harold Baines.

2005-09-11 12:26:24
60.   dzzrtRatt
59 They also had Ricky Henderson, Terry Steinbach, and Walt Weiss, all homegrown. But point taken. None of these teams make it on homegrown products alone. The Dodgers had to import Jim Wynn, Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker, Tommy John, Manny Mota and many others to make it to the Series four times in eight seasons. But as far as my Mom knew, they were all Dodgers.
2005-09-11 12:26:24
61.   Louis in SF
Eric, Although Robinson was traded to the Giants, he retired and thank god never put on their uniform.
2005-09-11 12:32:34
62.   Eric Enders


2005-09-11 12:35:12
63.   Eric Enders
Although what you say is true, it is false that Robinson retired rather than play for the Giants. He had already decided to retire -- and signed a lucrative deal with Look magazine for the exclusive announcement thereof -- when the Giants trade was made. He was retiring anyway, trade or no trade.

It's a myth, although one of those myths I wish were true because it would make a nice story if it were.

2005-09-11 14:01:09
64.   Disabled List
60 The LaRussa A's can't really count Rickey Henderson as a homegrown product. He originally came up with the A's in the late '70s, but Oakland acquired him via a trade with the Yankees in June 1989, then signed him to a FA contract that offseason.
2005-09-11 23:19:15
65.   alnyden
Jon, I always thought I was the only Dodger Fan obsessed with RJ Reynolds. I can't tell you what it was about him. Maybe it's because I attended his first major league game, in which he homered. Maybe it's because of that magical squeeze. Maybe it's because his nickname was Shoes. But I just loved the guy, rooted for him with all my heart, was crushed when he was traded, and even sader when he left MLB to play in Japan. I'm not sure I've ever totally gotten over it.

It makes me wonder, where is RJ Reynolds today? What is he doing, is he happy, and does he know that that one play will live in our memories forever?

2005-09-12 09:34:05
66.   Sam DC
well, it's a new day, so . . .

Funny. The Nationals and Redskins both played simultaneous home games yesterday and both ended 9-7. So who's gonna tell me when the last time a baseball and football game were played on the same day in the same city and ended with the same score . . .

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