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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

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie?
2006-01-12 08:58
by Jon Weisman

Illustrating both the depth and the idiosyncrasy of The Best of Dodger Thoughts, there is an entire chapter devoted to longtime Dodger villain and ex-Dodger batting coach Jack Clark. It's sort of like what a U.S. history book might have looked like if Jefferson Davis had returned to government after the Civil War as a city councilman in Ohio.

Sort of.

Anyway, Clark got all his page time as an exploration of the peculiarities of batting coaches, who are often hired based on playing-days reputations that mostly become irrelevant once they begin tutoring their proteges. Yes, they can relate their experiences, but what else? Many times, not much. Clark was a notable failure, particularly for taking zero responsibility for the Dodgers' offensive struggles. As has been discussed before on this site, if batting coaches are so meaningless, why have them? The marketplace would have dictated that their salaries would be better spent elsewhere.

Tim Wallach, who succeeded Clark and interim replacement George Hendrick, got less attention in these parts, but was also an interesting case. He was one of the earliest hires under former Dodger general manager Paul DePodesta, despite modest experience as a coach and little evidence from his 17-year playing career that on-base percentage, clearly important to DePodesta, was important to him. Wallach's career OBP was .316, and walked more than once every 10 at-bats in only two seasons.

Surprisingly, as it turned out, Wallach espoused that batters should work the pitcher deep in the count. A little less surprisingly, some Dodgers seemed to listen to him with one ear shut. Perhaps the most confused was Hee Seop Choi, a naturally patient hitter whom Wallach (and certainly, former Dodger manager Jim Tracy) felt was too passive, encouraging Choi to be more aggressive at the plate.

In any event, Wallach had success with players including Adrian Beltre in 2004, less so with others, and eventually left the team for what Tony Jackson of the Daily News disclosed as "personal reasons," as opposed to the more recently typical "I'm following Tracy to Pittsburgh" reasons.

So now comes Eddie Murray, Hall of Famer. Murray was a wonderful ballplayer, a local product (from Locke High School, best remembered by this writer for producing such major league stars as Murray and Ozzie Smith - and for its football team facing a fourth-and-77 in a game against Verdugo Hills High) who led the major leagues in batting average while with the Dodgers in 1990 (yet, memorably, did not win a league batting title).

While this isn't the same as having Magic Johnson coach the Lakers, it's a pretty big name to have dispensing advice. And just the same as having Magic Johnson coach the Lakers, the name alone is no indication of how Murray will perform. I had no immediate reaction to Murray's hiring because as far as the impact of his name on the Dodger stats was concerned, the Dodgers might as well have hired, well, Torey Lovullo.

In Jackson's article, however, Murray puts forth a plank or two of his hitting coach platform:

"I didn't always believe in working the count," Murray said. "I think I hit over .400 off the first pitch in my career. It's about selection. Talk to pitchers. That's how you learn to hit, by talking to the other animal. Every pitching coach tells their pitchers the most important pitch is strike one. That's the pitch they want to come the closest to home plate with. After that, they work the corners and off the plate."

Now, onto my fourth batting coach since beginning Dodger Thoughts, I have several reactions to this single quote. Principally, the thought about pitchers going for strike one is incomplete. Just because they're going for strike one doesn't mean they're throwing fastballs down the middle to start every at-bat. Especially if your team has a reputation for swinging at the first pitch, some of those first pitches are going to be Raul Mondesi specials - sinkers and sliders and splitters designed to make you miss. Certainly, if swinging at the first pitch guaranteed you a .400 average (if that's even true in Murray's case), everyone would do it.

Further, even if you swing and make contact with the first pitch, you're saving the pitcher a lot of work. Unless you string together a series of hits, you're ensuring that the pitcher will get through his innings quickly and efficiently, rationing his strength - and in turn, that of the entire opposition pitching staff - for later in the game.

At the same time, we should all know by now not to take what Murray says, or what any batting coach says, as an absolute. He's not going to encourage his hitters to swing at literally every first pitch. He's going to teach other things besides swinging at the first pitch. In general, he might have many other strengths to offer.

At this point, I don't know how you determine in advance who will be a good hitting coach except by trial and error, by looking at his experiences. Murray claims that his firing in Cleveland last summer after 3 1/2 seasons as hitting coach (and the Indians' subsequent improvement at the plate after he was gone) "had nothing to do with anything on the field," according to Jackson. Murray could be right. Or Murray could be channeling Jack Clark. Don't know yet.

Batting coaches matter. But batting coaches remain a big mystery, and there's little sense trying to predict what the impact of any new batting coach will be, even one who looms as large as Eddie Murray.

Comments (131)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-01-12 09:53:31
1.   Bob Timmermann
But did Locke go for it on 4th and 77? I don't know what most teams have in their playbook for that situation.

Murray and Smith's Locke team lost to Kennedy High in the quarterfinals of the City championships in 1973. They played all four games simulatenously at a complex at Sepulveda Dam.

That day you could see Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount (three future Hall of Famers) along with future major leaguers Rich Murray (Eddie's brother), Darrell Jackson, Jim Anderson, Darrell Cias, Kelly Paris, Jerry Turner (not too sure about him) and Bobby Castillo. All in one place.

2006-01-12 09:57:23
2.   Marty
Didn't Eric Davis go to Locke also? Or was he a teammate of Strawberry at Crenshaw?
2006-01-12 09:57:34
3.   regfairfield
Why do I get the feeling that Murray didn't actually hit .400 on the first pitch?
2006-01-12 10:01:05
4.   Jon Weisman
3 - LOL, yeah.

1 - Can you find my game story? It was for the Times in 1993, I believe. My recollection is that they were trying to punt on 4th and 62, but got penalized. And that they had several penalties on the series, maybe a bad pitchout that they fell on, and at least one huge sack on a wild scramble.

It was something.

2006-01-12 10:11:19
5.   Bob Timmermann
Eric Davis went to Fremont.

Was the story for the Times or the Daily News?

2006-01-12 10:13:37
6.   Robert Daeley
Speaking of hitting, do we want/need Aubrey Huff?

2006-01-12 10:14:25
7.   Bob Timmermann
9/25/1990 - Daily News (Jon Weisman contributing to this story)

"AH, GO FOR IT: On fourth down and 75 yards to go from its own 5-yard line in its 27-0 victory over Verdugo Hills on Friday, Locke High School was called for a delay-of-game penalty.

Well sure, that's easy to explain. "What do you think guys, a draw play?"

Actually, the Saints were probably spending the time trying to figure out how they got in such a position.

Pretty simple, really. On first and 10 at the Dons' 30, Locke's Kimo Dunn lost five yards on a run. That play was followed by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and another 15-yarder when a Locke coach argued the call.

The Saints' second-and-45 play was nullified by a personal foul penalty, good for another 15 yards.

On second-and-60 from its own 20, Locke threw an incomplete pass. Oooh - costly.

Third down brought a 15-yard sack, setting up the fourth-down delay of game. Half the distance to the goal line was marked off, leaving Locke with fourth and 77, give or take a foot.

Yeah, they punted. We know, no guts."

2006-01-12 10:19:40
8.   Midwest Blue
6 I say stop talking about him. I think we're set. We should look at him in the off-season when he's available as a free agent. Maybe he'll actually take his contract year seriously. We might even be able to pull of a midseason trade.
2006-01-12 10:20:03
9.   Jon Weisman
5 - Times
2006-01-12 10:26:27
10.   Bob Timmermann
I guess it wasn't written for the Times and it wasn't written in 1993 either.
2006-01-12 10:27:23
11.   Jon Weisman
Or, it wasn't worth saving in their archives :(
2006-01-12 10:28:04
12.   Jon Weisman
Oh - wait - I see now. So it's my memory of dates and places that isn't worth saving.
2006-01-12 10:29:27
13.   Bob Timmermann
It's only a matter of time, Jon, before you start calling your children by the wrong names. Never mind that they are different sexes.

My mother was in her mid-40s and had given up figuring out which son she was speaking to.

2006-01-12 10:34:10
14.   Marty
I had a brother and two sisters. My mother always went through all four names when she was trying to speak to us.
2006-01-12 10:36:06
15.   Jon Weisman
Could one of these be the Kimo Dunn?

2006-01-12 10:37:11
16.   Jon Weisman
My mother can't tell my voice apart from my brother's on the phone, and periodically has the wrong conversation with one of us.
2006-01-12 10:39:02
17.   Bob Timmermann
Use that to your advantage to steal his birthright.
2006-01-12 10:41:34
18.   Jon Weisman
So if my older brother has a son and a daughter, am I third in line of succession or fourth?
2006-01-12 10:41:57
19.   Midwest Blue
17 Sounds Shakespearean.
2006-01-12 10:45:57
20.   Bob Timmermann
Actually primogeniture is essentially illegal in the U.S. under common law.

If the Weismans were the British royal family, Jon would be (in addition to having bad teeth and being funny looking) third in line for the throne behind his older brother and his nephew. Jon's son would be next in line. Then his niece and then Jon's daughter.

All of this could be changed by act of Parliament, but my lobbying of Tony Blair hasn't gone anywhere.

2006-01-12 10:51:58
21.   Linkmeister
If primogeniture is illegal in the US, please explain George W Bush, and before him, John Q Adams.
2006-01-12 10:53:33
22.   Jon Weisman
20 - My orthodontist told me on the day I was getting braces that he gave a model of my teeth to be used on a final exam at UCLA.

So my older sister is seventh in line. Bummer for her.

2006-01-12 10:54:13
23.   Jon Weisman
What do you think? Does Xeifrank embrace this topic or scorn it?
2006-01-12 10:58:09
24.   Marty
16. I had the same problem with my brother when he was alive. Our phone voices were identical.
2006-01-12 10:58:45
25.   dzzrtRatt
Primogeniture is why my mother's side of my family is in the United States. Her great-great-greatgrandfather was a third son in Scotland, entitled to nothing. So he hightailed it. Bad ideas are good for other countries.

Bush, Adams (and for that matter the continued obsession with the Kennedies) shows that passive acceptance of royalism might be a genetically programmed sentiment. A Ford is running a publicly traded company because he's a Ford. Barry Goldwater Jr. was a Congressman from our state despite being a verifiable idiot. I could go on: Melissa Rivers, Nicole Richie...

2006-01-12 11:01:29
26.   Marty
There's so much added value to this site. I've gone 50 years and had never come across the term primogeniture before. And I pride myself on my vocabulary!
2006-01-12 11:03:10
27.   dzzrtRatt
Back on your topic: There being yet no agreed-upon way to measure managers and coaches accurately, I would go by testimonials. Why doesn't an intrepid reporter go interview Indians' players, anonymously if they have to, to find out what's good or bad about Murray as a batting instructor?

Occasionally, batting instructors are seen as playing a vital role--like Charlie Lau for the Royals in the 80s. But you don't often hear HOF hitters give credit to a batting coach the way Bruce Sutter gave all the credit to a pitching instructor for his success.

2006-01-12 11:04:03
28.   Bob Timmermann
Primogeniture doesn't refer to noble titles but more for just who gets all the money and land when dad kicks off.
2006-01-12 11:05:15
29.   Marty
I tend to think that most hall of famers suffer from Ted Williams disease and would make for lousy batting coaches. So, I'm not all that hot about having Murray as the Dodger BC. Maybe Duncan would be better after all :)
2006-01-12 11:08:58
30.   Mark
'"I didn't always believe in working the count," Murray said.'

Oh, crap. Do not let this man anywhere near HSC.

2006-01-12 11:09:12
31.   Marty
Reggie Bush formally announced he's going pro along with LenDale White. We SC fans may have to wait awhile before we see another BCS championship game. It was fun while it lasted...
2006-01-12 11:17:19
32.   Jon Weisman
Marty's College Football Misery Index ranking just went up from 199 to 198.
2006-01-12 11:19:05
33.   Curtis Lowe
Maybe Murray is trying to Psyche out the competition.Setting aside his comments I really think I'm going to enjoy this years coaching staff, they seem more with "it" then last years staff, even little is more hip than Tracy. Back to Murray, Maybe his straight forward approach would work good with HSC, bear with me a min on this one. Okay so HSC is naturally patient at the plate and Wallach decides to make him more aggressive but to still be passive maybe what HSC needs is Murray to come in and teach him to be purely aggressive but use his eye on the first pitch. I dunno.
2006-01-12 11:19:35
34.   Bob Timmermann
The top six high school running backs who have not committed to a college are all expected to go to USC.
2006-01-12 11:30:26
35.   Curtis Lowe
Please disregard comment 33. I had half a thought and only explained it half way. Does HSC get an at bat opening day?
2006-01-12 11:34:25
36.   Jon Weisman
35 - Doubtful, but at least he won't get booed.

2006-01-12 11:38:20
37.   caseybarker
Maybe he'll fire up J.D. Drew. I believe in working counts, seeing pitches, etc... But we also need real production (extra base hits) from Drew and whoever else is in the middle of the lineup instead of single bases here and there in late-inning, close game situations.
2006-01-12 11:46:44
38.   regfairfield
37 Drew lead the Dodgers in isolated power.
2006-01-12 11:47:55
39.   Jon Weisman
Since 2003, J.D. Drew has slugged .503 with runners on, .488 in "close and late" situations.

Those figures did decline last year. He had only one extra-base hit in 37 "close and late" at-bats in 2005. Anomaly?

2006-01-12 11:52:42
40.   Marty
36 I went back and looked at the comments for that day. Some interesting commenters that we don't see much of anymore. Where have Icaros, Vishal, and Jim Hitchcok gone? Also, I'd forgotten how crazy DodgerKid was.
2006-01-12 11:53:45
41.   Winthrop
29 In Ted Williams' book "The Science of Hitting", he provides in flashy graph form clear evuidence that the Washinton Senators' hitters benefited enormously from his instruction. Graphs with numbers! Now that's Moneyball.

Seriously, was Ted Williams truly an awful hitting instructor? I have no knowledge of his successes there at all.

2006-01-12 11:55:10
42.   Jon Weisman
40 - Vishal's been around, hasn't he? I'm wondering about Howard Fox.
2006-01-12 11:58:18
43.   Sushirabbit
Wat about this quote from LA Times' JOHN NADEL:

"This year should be some fun," Murray said. "If this particular ballclub stays healthy, we can do some things. We have speed where we might be able to manufacture runs if we're not swinging well. I really think we've got a pretty good ballclub on paper."

Heh heh heh, let the fun begin.

I like the choices. I'm ready for Spring Training, Drew or no Drew.

2006-01-12 12:05:17
44.   dzzrtRatt
40 Well, it is the off-season. They'll probably come back in six weeks.

I have to admit I'm burned out on the Dodgers after the McCourt follies of last fall. Maybe that's had an effect on others, too. I hate to admit it but the volume of highly speculative trade scenarios on this site has depleted my interest somewhat. One can only spend so much time thinking about how great it would be if we had Bobby Abreu.

I'll be glad when the team's 2006 roster is pretty much set, and we can start talking about what's happening rather than what might (but probably won't) happen.

2006-01-12 12:05:28
45.   Curtis Lowe
Does Kent and Furcal having surgeries on back to back days show some type of chemistry or similar thinking between the two?
2006-01-12 12:11:11
46.   dzzrtRatt
40 Of course, it could be that the MIA commenters are declining comment on the advice of their attorneys: links to this story:

Mike Marlowe fully admits that he sometimes gave George Gillespie a hard time in that AOL chatroom.

But never in his wildest imagination did he expect to be sued in court for what he characterized as "razzing."

"We gave him crap," said Marlowe, a 33-year-old welder in Fayette, Ala. "I'm not going to deny it. I teased him and he teased me back. He gave it back better than he ever got it."

A generation ago, such petty personal beefs might have been settled with fists outside the corner bar, but now it's the Internet age — and Ohio resident George Gillespie instead filed a $25,000 lawsuit against two erstwhile cyber chums he met in the sprawling 900-room, mostly anonymous society that makes up AOL's chat universe.

2006-01-12 12:13:05
47.   Jon Weisman
44 - Sounds like my post from over the weekend. And I think it's been established that my limit on how much rumoring I can take is likewise pretty low.
2006-01-12 12:14:18
48.   molokai
I was in Washington when Ted took over as manager. Take a look at what Eddie Brinkman, Epstien, Stroud, Ayeala, Rodriquez did the year he was their manager and compare that to the year before and their respective career averages. As I recall almost everyone one of them had a career year under Teddy.
2006-01-12 12:23:49
49.   molokai
Just did a quick check for my memory. Yes all those players had a career year in 1969 and they won 86 games with what was probably the worse team in baseball. Other then Mike Epstien and Frank Howard they had as terrible an offensive team as you could put on the field. I forgot that he then managed for 3 more years and they were very very bad by the time he left. Looks like Ted lost interest or the players stopped paying attention after 69. I only followed them closely in 69 cause I lived there but that was the only year.
2006-01-12 12:24:59
50.   mrybill
Here I thought I was the only one who remembered that fascinating bit of trivia regarding Eddie Murray leading the majors in batting average in 1990 despite qualifying for and not leading his league. Only time is ML history that occurred, I believe. Anyone else remember how this happened?
Also re: #7, the initial line of scrimmage would have been the Verdugo Hills 20, not 30.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-01-12 12:28:28
51.   Jon Weisman
50 - Eric Enders brought it up the other day, but I've always remembered it.

And no, it would be the 30. They had to get to the 20 to make the first down.

2006-01-12 12:34:58
52.   Bob Timmermann
Line to gain was the -20. The ball was on the +3. That's 77 yards.
2006-01-12 12:36:45
53.   mrybill
Disregard that part.
(Visions of street cred flying out the window...)
2006-01-12 12:36:50
54.   Jon Weisman
What's funny is that Locke won the game so easily.
2006-01-12 12:40:59
55.   Bob Timmermann
In 1990, a football game between Locke and Verdugo Hills would have been a very ugly affair. I don't believe either school had lights at the time.
2006-01-12 12:43:07
56.   Jon Weisman
I knew they shouldn't have played at midnight!
2006-01-12 12:44:00
57.   deburns
[48,49] I was in Washington at that time as well, and went out to Opening Day either '69 or '70. The marketing slogan for the Senators was "It's a Whole New Ballgame in (fill in year)." The Yankees were in town, Stottlemeyer on the mound, and the Senators were showing that nothing much had changed from the years of ineptitude that had characterized the franchise. At the seventh inning stretch, the PA announcer made with the "Whole New Ballgame" pitch, and, with the score 7-0 Yankees (or something like that), the crowd erupted in a chorus of boos. We had a good laugh, anyway.
2006-01-12 12:52:46
58.   oldbear
Should Jack Clark have taken responsibility? I believe his quote was something the extent was "It is what it is"...

I think Clark should be been absolved from blame also.

How can anyone look good coaching Cora, Izturis, Pitcher, Roberts every nite.. To go along with an empty hitting Loduca, a hurt Shawn Green, a done Fred McGriff, and a non-roided up Adrian Beltre?

That truely was one of the worst lineups ever constructed.

2006-01-12 12:54:30
59.   mrybill
Long-time reader, only occasional poster; then when I do post I make a stupid error like that. Oh well.
Carry on.
2006-01-12 13:02:50
60.   Jon Weisman
59 - Don't worry about it. It's just one swing.
2006-01-12 13:06:05
61.   Xeifrank
23. I think it's kind of amusing as long as it's just a 20 or 30 post topic trend. Not quite as amusing as the SNL Narnia rap video. By the way, anyone see any good movies or TV shows lately? But do me a favor and answer that question offline. :)
vr, Xei
2006-01-12 13:06:26
62.   molokai
Then you must remember Hondo sweating up a storm on one knee in the on bat circle in the awful Washington humidity. Had to be one of the most fearsome sights for a pitcher.
2006-01-12 13:11:47
63.   Marty
Xei, I thought last night's "Lost" episode was good :)
2006-01-12 13:25:50
64.   Bob Timmermann
KDOC runs "Rockford Files" reruns and because they sell such little ad time, they don't edit them and show the entire opening and closing credits.

Now that's what TV is all about.

2006-01-12 13:27:05
65.   Eric L
64 Is it just me or is the broadcast quality on KDOC really poor?
2006-01-12 13:30:25
66.   Marty
KDOC has run some very strange religious programming. There used to be a husband and wife team, Dr. O. Lee Jaggers and Miss Velma, who did a Sunday program that made you think you were on another planet.
2006-01-12 13:31:06
67.   Jon Weisman
65 - Only for my entire lifetime. (Small sample size warning)
2006-01-12 13:31:33
68.   Jon Weisman
64 - Which one was on last night?
2006-01-12 13:34:03
69.   Bob Timmermann
Even on cable, KDOC looks a little fuzzy. I don't know what they're going to do about the HDTV changeover. The station manager used to do editorials about how evil it was. But their "Rockford Files" tapes look to be in pretty good shape. Same thing with the "Mission: Impossible" shows. The "Cagney and Lacey" tapes look like they've been run through a clothes dryer.

And then there's Michelle Merker, who seemingly has done all the news and public affairs programming by herself for the past 15 years.

2006-01-12 13:35:19
70.   dzzrtRatt
65 It could also be that the programs KDOC shows are so old the tapes are worn out. KDOC has taken the place of Nick at Nite as the repository of forgotten American culture. All those icons of 60s and 70s masculine authority, like George Peppard, James Garner, Peter Graves, Rock Hudson and Raymond Burr. KDOC should go national, weird religious programming and all.
2006-01-12 13:38:07
71.   Bob Timmermann
Last night was the second of a 2-parter where Rockford has to track down the wayward fiancee of a mob lawyer played by Jon Cypher. Joyce Van Patten plays an LAPD groupie (buff) who causes problems.

George Loros makes his first appearance as "Anthony Boy", a New York thug who really hates L.A. and the freeway system and the lack of tomato sauce on pizzas.

Obviously David Chase must have liked him since he gave Loros a role on "The Sopranos" (as well as Joe Santos, but his character is dead.)

2006-01-12 13:39:07
72.   Jon Weisman
Ah, Jon Cypher - aka, Hill Street's Chief Daniels. Loyal soldier of one-hour dramas.
2006-01-12 13:44:36
73.   caseybarker
38, 39-

Maybe I had unrealistic expectations of Drew. He had such a horrible beginning of the year. But there has to be something to the ability or inability to hit in late-inning situations ala. Cesar Izturis.

2006-01-12 13:47:13
74.   Eric L
69 I noticed a couple of times when Angels games were on KDOC (in '04) because they were pre-empted by the Lakers that the quality of the broadcast was way worse than KCAL or FSN.

I always like flipping past the channel and seeing that Dr. Gene Scott guy. Cracks me up. And who can forget Wally George?

2006-01-12 13:48:25
75.   Eric L
73 Izturis' and Drew's name do not even belong in the same sentence when it compares to hitting ability.
2006-01-12 13:51:20
76.   Marty
Gene Scott was a scary guy. My brother worked for a water company that serviced Bradbury Estates where Scott lived. Armed guards used to run off my brother's workers when they tried to fix pipe problems on the property.
2006-01-12 13:53:24
77.   caseybarker

I was just talking about the statistics (I can't remember a source, but I remember quite clearly) that say that Izturis was one of the best late inning hitters the first half of last year.

2006-01-12 14:01:07
78.   regfairfield
I'm going to guess that was dumb luck. (He did hit .343 in close and late situations last year.)
2006-01-12 14:08:43
79.   GoBears
With apologies to Xei, I'd like someone to explain what is appealing about the Rockford Files. Here's the kicker - I enjoy it too, but I can't figure out why. The stories are straightforward, just like most such shows. The acting is mediocre to bad, especially among the non-regulars. The dialogue and action are pedestrian. Is it all James Garner? I know that David Chase was in charge, and wrote a lot of them, but there's no resemblance I can see to his Sopranos genius. So what is it that sets RF apart from the hundred other similar shows?

I'm thinking it's all Garner.

2006-01-12 14:10:25
80.   D4P
Halfway through your analysis, I was thinking to myself "It's all Garner."

The theme song's pretty good too...

2006-01-12 14:12:22
81.   Marty
Some of it has to be Angel too...
2006-01-12 14:13:59
82.   Winthrop
49 Thanks for the confirmation that Williams presence in Washington did happen at the same time as a Senators hitting improvement. Rooting for that tem (other than Hondo) must have been grueling. I guess I should feel lucky I'm a lifeling Dodger fan.
2006-01-12 14:30:25
83.   molokai
It started my lifelong obsession of rooting for the underdog. Hondo himself was always worth the price of admission from his batting practice display to his actual real game monster shots to his charging a short fly in LF and scaring the begeegus out of Brinkman to just sweating a storm in the batters box. I feel lucky to have watched him in his prime.
2006-01-12 14:30:47
84.   Strike4
The topic of great performers becoming useful coaches reminds me of the Jack Nicklaus golf instructional video. He stands on a driving range facing the camera and says, "First, hold the club like this, then stand like this, and then swing like this. (Wham!). And that's how you can hit it like me." I tried it. I didn't hit it like Jack.
2006-01-12 14:33:24
85.   Blaine
Public Service Announcement:

Frank McCourt is supposed to be coming up on XTRA 570 soon.

He's on 1540 right now and just said that it was the GM who made to decision to get rid of Milton Bradley.

2006-01-12 14:34:56
86.   Blaine
He's now implying that Milton was selfish and putting his own interests in front of the teams. I don't remember MB being selfish, just kind of nuts.
2006-01-12 14:38:09
87.   Blaine
Well, Frank did take the blame for the names on the jersey thing. (sarcasm)
2006-01-12 14:39:19
88.   bhsportsguy
First, this may be long but here goes:

Frank McCourt on with Fred Roggin:
Basically throws everyone under the bus for last year. Goes over his learning process, the highs of winning in 2004, the injury plagued 2005 season. His reasoning for letting DePodesta fire Tracy, McCourt supported that decision. He now believes that the GM and the manager had to be on the same page and that last year that clearly was not the case.
Okay, understand the managerial move.
On DePodesta's firing, he states that he wanted to make a clean start, handpick a GM (didn't he pick DePo) and then have the GM pick a manager that he approved.

He says the timing was unfortunate, Fred showing his support for Tracy but McCourt states that there were internal (Tommy?) things going on during that timeframe.

Believes he has made more "thumbs up" decisions than "thumbs down."

Really voices his support of "protecting the young kids" that DePo and Ned have done during their tenures.

On Jamie and his son having a big part in the organization. He states their qualifications and supporting women for executive positions but at least in terms of his son, he says if he doesn't do the job, he would get rid of him. But in the end it is a family business and will be run that way.

On football, supports the L.A. Coliseum, NFL came to him, Dodger Stadium will not compete as long as the Coliseum is a "viable site." A meeting was held, McCourt was not there, outcome was the Dodgers will not compete with the Coliseum.

Says that someone did steal some documents from within, would not speculate on why.

On the turnover at Dodger Stadium, he says that the team had not been achieving the sucess it should have at the time he bought the team, so any changes made were made with that in mind. (Personally, I always felt that the McCourts did get a raw deal on this front because we all know that this team has not been a consistently good team for a long time).

On Milton Bradley, he says that the decision was made by Ned but he did tell Ned how he felt.

He now toots the character and chemistry line as being important, working together for a common purpose. Oh, talent is important too.

One listener call,
1. Names on the uniforms (why oh why is this important) Frank made that decision, did not say he would change it.
2. Commercialism at the stadium - says they are in Year 2 of a 5 year construction plan. Again, while recognizing the concern, he basically says they need the revenue stream.

That's it for his first radio show appearance today. (That I know of)

2006-01-12 14:43:30
89.   Blaine
Now over on 570 he is still talking about everybody pulling in the same direction.
2006-01-12 14:44:14
90.   Vishal
40/42 it's nice to be missed :)

i've sort of been around, enough to glance at the headlines at least. but i've been really busy with a seminar in DC the last couple of weeks so i haven't had time for much else.

2006-01-12 14:45:56
91.   Blaine
No set payroll, but they are going to spend whatever it takes to win.
2006-01-12 14:50:19
92.   GoBears
Holy moly - He's ducking responsibility for the Bradley decision? This guy makes me sick. I don't even think it was a horrible decision (I've already explained why I don't think Bradley is anything special, especially given his injury history), but did we all just presume that McCourt wanted Bradley gone? Or did he say something around the time of the Kent incident that gave us that impression?
2006-01-12 14:52:28
93.   Blaine
Hartman threw McCourt a bunch of softballs which McCourt simply gave the usual "we want to win" type of answers.

Oh, and Vic the Brick is a brick.

2006-01-12 14:53:39
94.   DodgerJoe
88, 89, 91--Thanks for the talk radio recaps. I can't listen to them at the office.
2006-01-12 14:55:19
95.   DodgerJoe
93--and how does Vic the Brick still have a job on air? He is annoying and provides nothing of substance. I guess that's why I don't listen to 570
2006-01-12 14:55:56
96.   GoBears
88. Thanks bh. I was hasty with 92. "Ned's decision, but I told him how I felt." Yeah, OK, so it was McCourt's decision.
2006-01-12 14:56:02
97.   bhsportsguy
92 - I think after Bradley went public, it was pretty much understood that Frank wanted him out and by his tone in answering Fred's question, you could tell that he made it clear that Ned would have to have a pretty good reason to keep him.
2006-01-12 14:57:34
98.   bhsportsguy
96 - Thanks.
93-95 - Hartman always talk tough but will never confront anyone. Did the Brink go after him about Beltre?
2006-01-12 14:58:22
99.   Uncle Miltie
Vic "the Brick" is a tool. How does this guy still have a job and why isn't he working for the Lakers. I don't remember the exact words he used to describe Depodesta, but he basically described the situation as McCourt ridding the organization of a cancer.
2006-01-12 15:10:37
100.   Bob Timmermann
Since I like "The Rockford Files" as much as Jon likes "Hill Street Blues", I would say that the show was a lot more than just James Garner.

The strength of the show stemmed from the way it took the private eye genre and it turned it on its head. Rockford wasn't wealthy. He had to cut corners. He got stiffed. He didn't get the girl (although women loved him.) And there was great interplay between Rockford and the supporting characters, especially Noah Beery, Jr as his father. The show had characters and rarely had cariacatures. (At least not until the final season.)

Also the show loved Los Angeles. And it showed the real Los Angeles. Freeways and long stretches of not so scenic parts of the Valley.

And there were a lot of great actors who appeared on the show. If you just go through people who got nominated for Oscars, you can find Garner, James Woods, Michael Lerner, James Cromwell, Jill Clayburgh, Ned Beatty, Lou Gossett, Burt Young, Robert Loggia, Rita Moreno, Lauren Bacall AND ... Jack Kruschen! (There might be others, I'm mainly going from memory here.)

The most realistic part of the show was that people had problems. Some were the big ones that drove the plot and made them hire Rockford. But people had cars that wouldn't start. They had houses that needed upkeep. There were people getting hassled at work by their boss.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-01-12 15:14:46
101.   Strike4
The perceived absence of McCourt from Dodger affairs during most of this offseason created the most exhilarating feelings towards him since his arrival. Apparently, he was occupied with the football stadium proposal. His appearance on these talkshows probably signals the return of his attention to the team. As the robot used to say on Lost in Space while waving his arms, "Danger! Danger!"
2006-01-12 15:17:23
102.   Steve
Tom Selleck as Lance White!
2006-01-12 15:27:20
103.   Bob Timmermann
James Whitmore Jr. as Freddie Beemer! Simon Oakland as Vern St. Cloud!

And Steve only wishes he could work with an attorney like Beth Davenport (ably played by Gretchen Corbett)

2006-01-12 15:29:45
104.   bhsportsguy
Now on the "Big Show."
Okay, a real cream puff question by Ireland, how he nabbed his wife.

About the local media treatment on his family, he starts how he made changes because he wanted the team to become a consistent contender. On the coverage, he says its reflective of much the fan's care about the team. He states he made mistakes.

Says there was no exact timing of when he decided he needed to get rid of DePo. He says that he signed off on the LoDuca trade but was concerned about how the trade was communicated to the players involved.

What happened between the Tracy firing and the Depo firing? He again says it was imperfect timing of making the decision. He says the decison was made to start fresh. BTW, he liked Paul and no one wanted him to succeed more than him.

He says that Ned is a great people person, he talks to Grady everyday and they are on the same page.

Payroll question, did he short the team last year by not spending $100MM, answer no, but he will spend whatever it takes. Says if Ned comes in and says he needs money to get a player, he will let him do it.

BTW - at least they are asking good questions aside from the first one.

On who has Frank's ear, he will talk to a lot of people. Doesn't fall into the Lasorda trap.

Once again, touts the kids, the kids, the kids (now the Jacksonville 5, who is the Jacksonville 5, Guzman, Chad, Russ, Loney, LaRoche?)

Mason goes with his transparency question, basically what it is going with real estate around Dodger Stadium?
First, he loves baseball and that is why he bought the team.
Second, on the NFL as he said earlier, supports the Coliseum, NFL came to him, he approved the meeting, but they decided that as long as the Coliseum is viable, they will not compete.

He will not comment on other future plans but says nothing is on the radar right now.

1. What would he do over, he says generally last year. What I get from this is that what should have happened was that he needed to have Paul put his own manager in so they could have been on the same page. Now he has that with Ned and Grady.

2. What he wants is bring a championship to Dodger Stadium.

On Milton Bradley/character issue and the Furcal signing (DUI issue). He states that he learned how important character is to running a team. He says (and rightly so), character does not mean that a person is perfect. Mistakes are made but people have to be given a second chance.

On being the leading LA baseball team, he says we drew 3.6 million with a losing team, so if he can improve the performance, there is no question this is Dodger town.

2006-01-12 15:31:35
105.   bhsportsguy
101 - Hopefully, he will allow people like Ned, Grady and others speak for the team and just cut the checks and enjoy the new cupholders.

Now back to work.

2006-01-12 15:32:24
106.   bhsportsguy
96 - oops, I meant "Brick" not brink.
2006-01-12 15:45:15
107.   Eric L
Names on the uniforms (why oh why is this important) Frank made that decision, did not say he would change it.

The names not being on the uniforms was the visual "proof" that the McCourt detractors used to show that he was cheap. Pretty weak evidence, but whatever.

I think I've posted this story on here before, but I do it again. I was on the escalator down to the main parking lot with a friend following the Freeway Series (spring training edition) game at DS last year. I overheard the "McCourt is so broke, he can't even afford to put names on the uniforms" joke from some goober on the escalator. I told my friend (loud enough for all to hear) that I hoped one day that I was broke enough to afford a $90 million payroll.

2006-01-12 16:01:27
108.   jasonungar05
Well once it went without a trace, why not keep paul. Afterall no one wanted him to succeed more than the guy that fired him.
2006-01-12 16:09:18
109.   gvette
103--Does KDOC still rerun Hawaii Five-0? Steve McGarrett wouldn't give any of today's CSI wimps the time of day. Who needs forensic science when you have to save the world from the Red menace of Wo Fat!
2006-01-12 16:19:54
110.   Bob Timmermann
KDOC shows "Hawaii Five-O". McGarrett went to the crime lab a lot actually.

Jack Lord was an odd guy. The rest of the cast said that they never once talked to him outside of the set. Like Vin Scully, he didn't invite his coworkers over for dinner.

2006-01-12 16:21:56
111.   Strike4
107, my feeling was the removal of names had a more subtle objective than just to save the cost of a few stitch-on letters. As a successful real estate developer and marketer, McCourt knows if he wants to promote the player names, then the names are on the uniform. If he wants to field (cheap) unknowns or he wants to highlight his team name only, then the names are not on the uniform. For me, no names was an irritating reminder of McCourt's impact all last year.
2006-01-12 16:23:54
112.   Bob Timmermann
I thought having no names on the backs of the uniform was an attempt to mimic the "traditional" uniforms of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Giants, which don't have names on the backs. (The Red Sox and Giants do use them on the road however.)
2006-01-12 16:25:39
113.   gvette
Bob, I once represented a former Hawaii State trooper who worked on the security detail when that show was filmed.

According to my former client, not dining with his coworkers was the least of Mr. Lord's eccentricities.

2006-01-12 16:33:15
114.   Eric L
111 (i can't believe that I am supporting McCourt, but here it goes)...

Along your lines of thinking, McCourt may have also realized that with the perceived idea of player movement (I don't want Enders to get mad at me), branding the team is more important than promoting the individual players.

Of course, I think we are all giving McCourt too much credit for hatching such a plan. I think the reasons that Bob posted in 112 are much closer to the truth. As in "oooh, Yankees and Red Sox have no names.. Dodgers need no names".

2006-01-12 16:37:05
115.   Bob Timmermann
The actor who played Wo Fat wasn't Chinese. He was Egyptian and Sudanese. His stage name was Khigh Diegh, but his real name was Kenneth Dickerson.
2006-01-12 16:42:47
116.   D4P
Bob - It's official: you need to get out more.
2006-01-12 16:53:02
117.   Bob Timmermann
Don't make fun of my misspent youth! :-)

It's all part of a contest between Jon and I to see who wasted more of your youth watching TV.

2006-01-12 17:04:09
118.   Strike4
I think you guys said it simpler... emphasize team branding; deemphasize the players. Apeing Boston was a given. I'd rather have the names, although lower turnover in 2006 should reduce the need.
2006-01-12 17:04:28
119.   Marty
Ahh, I'd always thought youth was wasted on the young. It's actually wasted on the TV
2006-01-12 17:19:22
120.   Eric Enders
"His stage name was Khigh Diegh, but his real name was Kenneth Dickerson."

And somewhere, 1920s Hollywood moguls turn over in their graves.

2006-01-12 17:34:22
121.   Bob Timmermann
The Khigh Diegh's best role was as the master brainwasher in the first (aka the good) version of "The Manchurian Candidate".

I didn't like the recent one much. Especially when people coming out of the movie took it seriously.

2006-01-12 17:58:39
122.   oldbear
The names on the jersey thing was probably driven by merchandising revenue.

Without the names, the Dodgers can sell more jerseys.

Its hard to argue against the Yankees pinstripes/#. The Dodgers dont have the stripes, but they still have #'s that mean something.

I liked that they removed the names. Its a better look to the uniform.

As far as less turnover, the Blue have a rent-a-team on the field for 2006. Lofton, Kent, Drew, Nomar could all be gone in 07.

2006-01-12 19:59:39
123.   LAT
Given his recent absence from the spotlight I almost started to think I like Frank. Now that he has returned to the public and is again spouting his drival I can't imagine what I was thinking.

He thinks we are idiots. (Apparently 3.6M of us, including me many times, are.) After firing Tracy, Depo could have hand picked his manager and they could have been on the same page. Duh. That cannot be the "real" reason for firing Depo. I assume performance and a thin PR skin were the reason but don't feed us this I had to do it to get everyone on the same page BS.

BTW, Vic the Brick (should be a "D" instead of a "Br") is the most useless excuse for a radio guy ever. I cringe everytime I hear that "I just gargaled with Draino" voice. That tired "feeling you-feeling me" s@#t or whatever it is he says should be left to ABBA. I know I'm over the top on this one but he is just so bad. Does anyone like him? His wife? His husband? His kids? Maybe the dog?

2006-01-12 20:13:40
124.   Sam DC
Without the names, the Dodgers can sell more jerseys.

Is that right? It seems very counterintuitive to me.

2006-01-12 21:11:07
125.   Sam DC
On topic: The Nationals new batting coach is Mitchell Page, formerly of St. Louis. A profile of him from had a side bar in which Joe Morgan and Tony Gwynn answer the question, "How Much of An Impact Do Hitting Coaches Have." Morgan's answer:

It depends on the individual and the hitter. A hitting coach is like a manager. Some have a big impact, while others have less of an impact. There has never been a manager who can make a poor team great, and there has never been a hitting coach who can make a poor hitter great. . . . These are the criteria for being a good hitter: good hand-eye coordination, a certain amount of strength and no fear. If a player has those three elements, a good hitting coach can help that player. If that player doesn't, no one can help him. (

Well, thanks for that, Joe.

2006-01-12 21:15:20
126.   Sam DC
And since it's just me here, for those folks staying up late worrying what kind of draft pick we will get when Weaver signs, the Millar article that Bob links over at The Griddle says that the Orioles have only "mild" interest in Weaver and aren't likely to meet his money demands. For what it's worth.
2006-01-12 21:29:07
127.   Bob Timmermann
Yeah, but the article on Millar isn't nearly as interesting as the one on nickels.
2006-01-12 21:50:09
128.   Sam DC
Wait til they find out about the Zachary Taylor half-dollars. That'll get The Griddle bookmarked for sure.
2006-01-12 22:03:34
129.   deburns
You had better be nice to your fellow DT'ers. Somebody got sued for $250k for being nasty to a fellow poster: Nobody on this site would do be unpleasant to a poster, would they be?
2006-01-12 22:44:03
130.   caseybarker

He is horrible. But petros papadakis (?) is the worst. Try listening to 1090 a.m.

2006-01-12 23:13:37
131.   regfairfield
130 That's certainly throwing down the gauntlet. While The P and Vic The Brick are terrible, is there a worse sports talk host in L.A.?

DeMarco Farr
Joe Grande
Colin Cowherd
Pretty much all of 570 really. (Though I am in the minority here and enjoy Jim Rome)

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