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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
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Mr. Efficiency
2006-09-30 21:44
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Greg Maddux: 73 2/3 innings as a Dodger, 919 pitches, 12.5 pitches per inning.

Career totals: 4,616 1/3 innings pitched, 61,874 pitches, 13.3 pitches per inning.

Incredible.

Comments
2006-09-30 22:02:57
1.   Connector
What impresses me about Maddux, even more than his numbers, is his calmness. He's like a Zen master out there on the mound.
2006-09-30 22:44:37
2.   trainwreck
The interesting thing is that his loss in velocity has helped him reduce his pitch count.
2006-09-30 22:45:58
3.   das411
Watching him pitch these last couple of years has helped me appreciate just how lethal he must have been back when he could hit 90+ (mph and pitch count) regularly.

Then I see the 4 straight Cy Youngs and 19-2 season. Looks like he was pretty good!

2006-09-30 22:49:37
4.   Linkmeister
If you see him in street clothes with his glasses on, he really does look like a partner at a PriceWaterhouse Coopers regional office.

It's no wonder the Braves won all those titles, with Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz pitching for them in their primes. It's always been a mystery to me why the Braves didn't get more than one WS title in that 14-year stretch.

2006-09-30 22:55:15
5.   PDH5204
Maddux is the living definition of what it means to "pitch" [as opposed to "throw"]. Young pitchers out there looking to extend their career would be well-advised to learn from his continuing lesson. Lastly, not that Grady would ever listen to me, but my rotation would be a 3 man rotation of Lowe, Kuo, and Maddux.
2006-09-30 23:04:20
6.   Claire Malone-Evans
If Maddux had pitched in the days of the 4 man rotation ; He would probably have had over 400 victories at this point.
I can't recall a previous Dodger team with so many likeable decent fellows.
2006-09-30 23:04:53
7.   WellsforKemp
hey, does anyone have any info on the times of the games? in LA or at NY, is it out yet?
2006-09-30 23:11:01
8.   xaphor
6. I can't recall a previous Dodger team with so many likeable decent fellows.

That is an incredibly odd thing to say.

2006-09-30 23:39:28
9.   dzzrtRatt
It seems like this is how Maddux has adjusted to the aging process -- get 'em out with fewer pitches. There's a superb logic to it.

He must be throwing holograms out there -- batters swing at his stuff, they rarely wait him out by letting the count go long.

2006-09-30 23:42:14
10.   thinkblue0
Stults against Schmidt tomorrow...but the Mads are facing Webb who might be going after the Cy Young.

I would love to win the division and take on St Louis at home.....

2006-09-30 23:42:52
11.   dzzrtRatt
6, 8 I would put it this way: It's great when we have a Dodger team with so many appealing and distinct characters. This team is nothing like the "25 guys/25 cabs" teams of the 90s, nothing like the Karros mentality of "I got my hits." If it weren't for Piazza and Nomo, I'm not sure I would have stayed a Dodger fan thru that period. You can debate here for 1000 posts on the value of chemistry. But what's inarguable is that from the fan's point of view, it's more fun to root for a good team that also has players you get attached to.
2006-09-30 23:51:43
12.   Claire Malone-Evans
All I was saying (in comment #6) is that it is easy to root for a team with so many character guys. How could anyone not appreciate dudes like Saito,Martin, Anderson,Lofton,Ethier,Broxton, etc.. I apologize for being incredibly odd.
2006-10-01 00:10:04
13.   StolenMonkey86
From the LA Times Dodger Report:

Said Little: "I'm going to drink a couple bottles of champagne and then make the lineup."

2006-10-01 00:11:34
14.   trainwreck
13
So Loney's starting tomorrow? He has a pitcher's arm.
2006-10-01 00:13:02
15.   Connector
12

I agree(d) with you 100%, so don't let 'em get to you.

2006-10-01 00:27:32
16.   xaphor
11 I cannot recall ever having that problem. Baring a player stepping way out of bounds if they are in a Dodger uniform I'm pulling for them.

Winning makes people look better than they actually are and losing does just the opposite.

2006-10-01 00:40:24
17.   Andrew Shimmin
11- Yeah, but the teams of the 90s sucked, so the variable isn't really isolated.

In fact, I don't know enough about any of this year's (or those of any other) players, personally, to know if they're good people. Like xaphor said, barring arrest for something serious, I don't notice; it's not that interesting to me. I understand the point, I'm just not down with it.

2006-10-01 00:51:24
18.   JJoeScott
Incredibly, Steve Lyons made a good point on today's telecast: Maddux has had a tough time in the post-season because the called strikes he gets in the regular season are not called in the playoffs where calls are magnified. (Well, since Eric Gregg retired anyway.) There might be some validity to it, considering both Glavine (12-15) and Maddux (11-14) - but not Smoltz (15-4) - having sub-.500 records.

Then again, maybe it was from all the weight-lifting Glavine and Maddux did trying to hit the longball ...

2006-10-01 01:11:54
19.   trainwreck
17
I agree, it is hard to say we really know who any of these guys are. We have ideas, but nothing definite.

18
Good point.

2006-10-01 01:50:05
20.   Jae
4
I remember reading or hearing something very interesting about Glavine and Maddux in the playoff that might have explained their ineffectiveness.

In their careers, both Maddux and Glavine have struggled when pitching on 3 days rest. And in the playoff, Cox repeatedly brought these guys back on short rest causing them to struggle. This guy, I don't remember who (maybe Joe Morgan? I doubt he said something this reasonable, though), argues that if Cox had just thrown any another pitcher out there that 4th game, the Braves would have won at least one more World Series, maybe more.

I haven't actually gone to retrosheet to see if it's true, but that could explain the Braves shortcomings in the 90s.

2006-10-01 01:52:44
21.   Bob Timmermann
The most IP in postseason play of any pitcher is 212 by Andy Pettitte and that's about full one season now. I still don't think there are big enough samples to make a conclusion as sweeping as Lyons.

If your team does well in the postseason, so does your won-loss record.

Maddux has a 3.22 postseason ERA and a 3.01 ERA overall coming into this season (and it's higher now). So his performances aren't all that different. And in postseason, I don't think the biggest problem is tight strike zones by umpires. The problem is that you're facing better hitters.

But I have a natural inclination to disagree with any statement made by Steve Lyons.

2006-10-01 01:57:32
22.   Bob Timmermann
The Braves problems in the postseason tended to be poor relief pitching.
2006-10-01 02:53:56
23.   Jae
Bob, don't you ever sleep?

Anyway, does anyone think Derek Lowe could sneak in there and win the Cy Young if both Webb and Carpenter blow up in their last starts? I really can't think of a better pitcher in the NL for the last few months of the season. Except for that one terrible game in Chicago, most of Derek's games have resulted in wins for LA and mostly excellent stats. I would vote for him, especially since no one really stands out this season.

2006-10-01 03:15:24
24.   dzzrtRatt
23 I was thinking Lowe for Cy Young, too. In the absence of a truly dominating starter in the NL, the Cy Young becomes kind of a pitcher-MVP.

The other guy I'd consider is Chris Young. I don't even know his record, and I'm especially dim on his peripherals. But that guy never seemed to lose an important game.

2006-10-01 03:18:30
25.   dzzrtRatt
17 The teams of the 90s didn't completely suck. They made the playoffs twice, and contended a couple other times.

But they were irritating. And the fact that their GM and manager thought so highly of them was doubly irritating.

2006-10-01 04:40:43
26.   Sam DC
7 I don't know exactly what it means, but your handle scares me! :)
2006-10-01 04:42:06
27.   Sam DC
Hey LAT. Don't know if you're around but wanted to pass on news reports from DC that Ted Lerner stuck out the entire rain delay game, parked in his seat behind the dugout until 2:00 am friday morning.

At 70 something.

Wow.

2006-10-01 06:20:04
28.   Eric Enders
Hey everybody. Here's a little piece I did on today's game... I was going to polish it up and publish it somewhere, but instead I thought I'd just post it here where its immediacy would be better appreciated. I hope Jon doesn't mind.

---------------------

As I write, I'm sitting on a balcony next to a tall palm tree whispering in the breeze. There's a cold drink in my hand as I gaze at the stirring combination of light and darkness before me. Off to my right lie the inviting city lights of Honolulu; to the left, the vast darkness that is Waikiki Beach at night. It is 7:44 a.m. back east, where I live, and the sun is rising on another busy day. Except this day is different: It is one when the Dodgers are in the playoffs.

Most people my age would be reluctant to admit to still caring deeply about the things that were important to them when they were eleven years old. Not me. Back then the Dodgers were my obsession, and still are. One Saturday night in August 1988, my parents decided the family would go out to dinner. It came at a most inopportune time: The Dodgers were playing the Giants in the thick of a pennant race, and the game was tied in the tenth. We listened on the car radio as we drove the few miles to the restaurant. It was now the eleventh inning. I said I wasn't hungry; I'd rather stay in the car and listen to the game. My mom flashed my Dad and I one of those looks that said: "Ordinarily I'd be really annoyed, but I know this is a big deal, so I'll play along." We all sat together in the Bennigan's parking lot and listened to the car radio as the Dodgers ran out of position players and sent, of all people, pitcher Tim Leary up to pinch hit with the bases loaded and two outs. Being 11 years old, I of course knew Leary would get a game-winning hit, and he did exactly that. Funny how when you're 11, things seem to work out that way. We had a happy dinner that night.

Two months later, the Dodgers were facing the Mets in the postseason. Game Five was that now-extinct bane of schoolchildren everywhere: The daytime playoff game on a weekday. In Math class, as Mrs. Schlak was droning on about how to multiply fractions (or some other unimportant, non-baseball related matter), I was slumped over my desk in the third row with my head down. I was pretending to be tired, but really I was trying to get my ear closer to the transistor radio that I had hidden inside my desk, playing at a volume loud enough for me, and only me, to hear. I listened with glee as my hero, Kirk Gibson, put the Mets away, and passed notes around to my classmates with score updates. I lived in fear of being discovered, but ended up not getting caught. I congratulated myself for putting one over on the teacher, but in retrospect it seems obvious that she knew exactly what was going on. Everybody in school, even stern Mrs. Schlak, knew I would never in a million years miss a Dodger playoff game. She must have let me listen out of the kindness of her heart. So thanks, Mrs. Schlak, wherever you are. You taught me a lot that day after all.

All of this is a roundabout way of bringing me back to today, the day the Dodgers were trying to clinch a playoff spot with the most exciting team they've had since that magical summer 18 years ago. I was damned to spending all day in airports, flying from El Paso to Vegas to Honolulu. I don't much listen to the Dodgers on the radio anymore, what with Vin Scully calling the action on MLB.tv and Extra Innings. But today, I did. Thanks to the miracle of wireless technology, I was able to listen to the first six innings while waiting for my connecting flight at the Las Vegas airport. I must have looked a fool to many as I boarded the plane with my folded up laptop underneath my arm, blaring the game broadcast from its speakers. Hey, it's a pennant race.

Having lost the wireless signal when the plane started moving, I switched to an old-school Walkman as soon as the jet was in the air. It was the top of the eighth inning now. I had to hold the Walkman flush to the airplane window to get any radio signal at all. Since the Dodgers were ahead, I was rooting for them to make outs, lots of outs, and quickly, so the game would end before I lost the signal from the Las Vegas AM station. I soon lost the broadcast, but after much coaxing of the tuning wheel, I heard the dulcet tones of Vin Scully break through the static, calling the action on a Bakersfield station. I am always glad to hear Vinny's voice, but probably never so glad as I was today when it burst upon me so unexpectedly while I was 30,000 feet in the air. This broadcast, too, soon started to fade, but the game was moving quickly so I didn't give up. I found that the signal got stronger when I pressed my ear up against the plane's wall. (Don't ask me why.) So here I was, slumped over, straining to listen to a Dodger game, just like I was 11 years old again. The signal got fainter and fainter until, like magic, it came back crystal clear just before the last pitch of the ballgame. Like an old friend, I heard the joy in Vinny's voice and shared it with him. I'm sure Mrs. Schlak would be proud.

2006-10-01 06:42:42
29.   Daniel Zappala
Eric, that was fantastic, thanks for sharing it. I have been a fool for radio broadcasts since I was a kid, and never gave it up. During the '88 season I was pacing outside my dorm at Stanford, tuning in an old transistor radio to the Las Vegas station I could pick up at night, desperately listening to Hershiser's scoreless innings streak. This year I was stuck with the TV broadcast from Fox. It was great to be able to see Saito's expression when he saved the game, but it would have been even sweeter to hear Vin Scully describe what happened, in that magical way he brings the game to life.
2006-10-01 06:58:17
30.   tjshere
An excellent story, Eric. There's lots of stuff I can relate to in there and those childhood memories of following the Dodgers are among the best I have. So many magical moments. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who hasn't outgrown them.

^5 for getting to hear the final, clinching out.

2006-10-01 07:17:01
31.   Jon Weisman
Great stuff, Eric.

6, 11 et al - My argument - and this was a critical argument I tried to make last year - would be to ask what was wrong with the people on last year's team? What's the difference between this year's team and last year's team? Milton Bradley turned off many people, it's true. So did Jeff Kent, but he's still here. And Brad Penny turns off considerably more people now than he did a year ago. Last year you had Jason Phillips, this year you have Toby Hall.

Beyond that, the 2005 team had plenty of decent people to root for. Oscar Robles was a great human-interest story. Mike Edwards, Jason Grabowski, etc. might not have been great players, but they were fine people. Choi was polarizing, but he was an incredibly decent person.

The difference this year, plain and simple, is that the team is winning. That's what people like about them. That's why people grow attached to them. As for which group it would be more fun to invite to your picnic, it's a tossup. (Milton would probably be happy to bring the potato salad.)

2006-10-01 07:21:50
32.   Suffering Bruin
I did not spend this season criticizing the press, as I did much of last year. I did not spend my summer jealous that I can't write like Jon, Bob, Enders or a host of others that make this site required reading even if I have barely a moment to spare. I spent the summer enjoying the team and the game it was well worth it.

But.

I must say that Bill Plaschke's continual shots at last year's GM and TJ Simers continual insistence on making himself the center of attention (and then they came after me! They came after me!!)... well, it's silly. I just hope they're still writing deep into October.

2006-10-01 07:34:58
33.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 28

Enders, that was a great story. This is a great venue, of course, but I hope you put it up someplace where more people can see it. It'd be awfully easy for something like that to get lost in the huge comment threads around here.

WWSH

2006-10-01 07:36:02
34.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 32

SB, you can just do what I do, and not even bother to read Plaschke. One usually knows from the headline if he's going to indulge himself in DePo hatred.

His recent piece on Loney was actually a nice human-interest story.

WWSH

2006-10-01 07:50:37
35.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 31

I think that's all true, but I think Nomah's presence makes this team a bit more poignant, really. I went to school in New England, and Nomar was essentially worshipped by BoSox fans. Then came the messy divorce and the trade that led to the curse-ending WS championship. And poor Nomar was left out in the cold with injury wracked seasons in Chicago. Now he gets to come home to the team he grew up with, while his body continues to threaten to betray him. Milton, of course, was a local kid, with his own personal demons to exorcise, but as a baseball story, IMO Nomar's attempt to make a comeback in Dodger blue is a lot more compelling. The same goes with Maddux, trying to find enough in the tank for one last hurrah. And there's also the DePo holdover of the crusty Kent, a probably HoFer looking for that elusive ring, playing again for the team he grew up rooting for. The three form a critical mass of veteran baseball player stories that wasn't here before IMO. And then we combine that with all the home-grown Dodger farmhands coming up--Broxton, Kuo (especially Kuo for me, being Taiwanese), and Martin. The young players DePo brought in by necessity weren't Dodger farmhands--Bradley, Werth, and Choi. I think most fans would agree that we'd naturally feel attached to farmhands in our own systems, because we tend to follow them more closely through their minor league careers, hoping that they'll succeed.

Anyhow, this is all, of course, personal opinion, but I think a case can be made that the players this year are more compelling than last season's for reasons that go beyond the win/loss column. The same goes for 04 in my view--then, I was more emotionally committed to the front office philosophy than the players per se, but that may have been unavoidable in light of "The Trade" that season.

WWSH

2006-10-01 08:08:13
36.   Sam DC
Wayne -- the way I see Jon's point is that, it's not just the team w/l that makes this team appealing, but the individual performances that add up to those wins. If Russ Martin comes up and people run on him like Jason Philips and he hits .210, then he gets seen as a great kid who may not stick and the story is not so magical. If Saito is blowing saves, his personal charm just comes to matter less to most fans. If Merlin comes over and, er plays like he did for the Nationals, he's seen as a reasonable vet, but not a folk hero for sure.

Flip side is that if folks had managed to make some magic last year and pull out wins, they would've been seen as vastly more compelling and likeable. Bradley would have risen above his demons (and his injuries, I guess); Navarro would be what Martin is; the pitchers who managed to win some games would be cherished.

Even if they were bascially the same people.

2006-10-01 08:12:31
37.   Sam DC
And that is a fine piece, Eric. Great stuff.
2006-10-01 08:18:33
38.   Gen3Blue
35 Well put, and my mind was going down the same path in thinking that I can't help but sort of think of home-grown players as "real Dodgers". Of course, acquired players can begin to feel like real Dodgers in time, sometimes very short time.
I was a D's fan when there were no free agents, but the Russell infield years were a fairly modern period when there were a lot longtime Dodgers. I hope it happens again.
2006-10-01 08:20:43
39.   tjshere
31 I'd have to say what made this season different from `05 and a very special one for me was the opportunity to root for home-grown kids. Martin, Kemp, Loney, Broxton, Billz, Kuo. Even Ethier, although he isn't really home-grown.

How many years has it been since we've had so many potential big-league standouts coming up to contribute in one year? Even if the Dodgers had finished as also-rans, this would have been a very promising and hopeful year for me.

2006-10-01 08:21:23
40.   Bob Timmermann
Not being an expert in this area and I'm just making an educated guess, but I think Eric's radio signal got stronger when it was pressed against the wall of the plane because then then the plane would act as sort of an antenna once it came in contact with the radio.

A similar phenomenon would be a TV signal coming in better when you would hold the rabbit ears in your hand. In that case, you are making your body part of the antenna and then the antenna becomes bigger.

Or it just could all be magic.

2006-10-01 08:31:23
41.   Bob Timmermann
Now that I've read about AM radios and how they work, it turns out that the radio got better reception placed against a window because the window contains no metal or wires to create interference. Or at least less of it than the plane overall
2006-10-01 09:08:06
42.   capdodger
I always thought that AM radios were on the list of banned portable electronic devices on commercial aircraft.

Silly Me.

2006-10-01 09:23:04
43.   dkminnick
Seems like many of us are in the same boat. I also had to miss the TV broadcast after the fifth ining to coach my 7 year-old's Fall baseball team. At least I was missing baseball because of baseball, so I don't feel too bad

The clinching is not real to me yet. Since yesterday I have been searching for video of the post-game clubhouse celebration, but every sports show on TV has been all-football. I need to hear Vin's call or see the champagne.

Does anyone know where I might find either of these?

Thx!

2006-10-01 09:27:50
44.   dkminnick
Found the video - http://tinyurl.com/luahy
2006-10-01 09:28:41
45.   Bob Timmermann
To get Vin's call, you would have to access the radio archive of the game on MLB.com.

Since the game somewhat anticlimactically, it's not overly exciting.

2006-10-01 09:34:39
46.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open.
2006-10-01 10:26:47
47.   Harpo the Bum
»» To get Vin's call, you would have to access the radio
»» archive of the game on MLB.com.

Or just download this file:

www.myfilestash.com/userfiles/harpo/DodgersClinch.wav

2006-10-01 11:19:56
48.   Linkmeister
Good story, Eric! You'll find that if today's game is on the radio at all, it's the Giants' broadcast out here. Drop me a line at linkmeister@gmail.com; we could talk on the phone, anyway, since you're in the same town.
2006-10-01 11:52:22
49.   Andrew Shimmin
25- It was the worst decade of Dodger Baseball since the 1930's, though, right?

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