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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
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107-Year-Old Fan Roots, Roots, Roots for the Home Team
2007-03-10 14:38
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

And why shouldn't she? She was eight years old when "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was written.

Anyway, nice story from Ben Platt of MLB.com on 107-year-old Ruth Smith, apparently the Dodgers' oldest living fan.

There was probably a moment or two in the past 18 years when Dodger fans stopped being born, as if Children of Men took place at Chavez Ravine. In any case, Smith sits supreme - even though there are people who have been fans of the Dodgers longer than she has.

Mrs. Smith has been around so long, she not only predates the freeways in Los Angeles, she predates paved roads.

"There were just dirt roads all around," said Ruth. "I liked it better years ago, than it is now."

Smith, who has spent most of her life in Burbank, Calif., has always enjoyed baseball. She followed the old Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, but didn't become a Dodger fan until the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1958.

* * *

In news involving people 80 years younger, Dodger outfielder Jason Repko has pulled a groin muscle, Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise writes at his blog.

Comments (77)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-03-10 14:52:36
1.   trainwreck
"There were just dirt roads all around," said Ruth. "I liked it better years ago, than it is now."

That is pretty telling when you rather have dirt.

2007-03-10 14:58:26
2.   Bob Timmermann
Getting from Burbank to Downtown LA wasn't easy in 1907. I don't know when the first paved road from the Valley over the mountains was laid down. I would think that it was Cahuenga

I'm just glad the story wasn't with a bitter Brooklyn centenarian.

2007-03-10 15:08:58
3.   dzzrtRatt
My son is a good example of what you're talking about. He is lost to major league baseball because of the Dodgers' mediocrity the past 18 years (he's 16). That, and the Piazza trade. To a little kid, that trade was incomprehensible. It was barely comprehensible to adults.
2007-03-10 15:34:37
4.   ToyCannon
Took me two years to get over it mainly because it brought over Sheffield who I just couldn't root for no matter how good he was.

Repko hurt again! Another shocking story out of spring training.

It would seem that most of our youth has turned their nose up at baseball but as bad as it is compared to the past I still find about 3-4 big Dodger fans in the 10 year old age group out of 30 kids every year. In the Mexican community it is much much higher with over 25% of the kids knowing and rooting for the Dodgers. I do a Dodger Geography game in the classroom that is sponsered by the Daily news so that is what I'm basing my unscientific data on.

2007-03-10 15:45:05
5.   trainwreck
I am probably going to be ripped to shreds for this, but although I was sad to see Piazza go, I was happy to get Sheffield. I am a Sheffield fan! Yeah, he is a jerk and bought a car made out of gold, but that bat wiggle!!!
2007-03-10 15:57:29
6.   ToyCannon
To each his own. I've always had a hard time rooting for jerks so it was with more then a little pleasure that the Sheffield/Brown years resulted in nary a playoff victory.
2007-03-10 15:58:08
7.   Andrew Shimmin
What's Dodger Geography?
2007-03-10 16:02:22
8.   trainwreck
I do not like jerks either, but when I was a kid I did not really realize Sheffield was a jerk.
2007-03-10 16:05:23
9.   dzzrtRatt
Sheffield is a great hitter, no doubt. But so was Piazza, at a position where you don't find too many great hitters. Piazza is a sure Hall of Famer. Sheffield is a maybe.

The irony is that Fox traded Piazza because he was being a little bit outspoken about his contract demands, according to Chase Carey. And who do they get back? Sheffield, who threatened to play poorly on purpose if his contract demands weren't met.

Because Piazza was such a great player and good citizen, his trade could net us a Sheffield-quality player. Because Sheffield was such a first-class jerk, all we could get for him was a broken down outfielder and Odalis Perez.

But that's not what threw my son off. His thing was, I took him to a late-season game in, what, '97? A game that mattered. This was the game when Piazza hit a homerun out of the stadium. His heroics were instantly grasped by my son. So what happens a few months later? They dump him. My son didn't have '81 or '88 or the other great years to balance against that stupidity, like I do. To him it was: Why would they trade him? He was good, so why would you trade somebody who was that good?

2007-03-10 16:14:58
10.   Andrew Shimmin
This is an outrage! Dodgers.com has taken down it's old Dodger themed wallpapers. Brian Jordan is gone, for good. It's like Robin Ventura never existed!
2007-03-10 16:20:16
11.   trainwreck
Also, not living near LA or having the internet when we had Sheffield did not help either. This is the first time I have heard he threatened to play poorly. Heck, I still thought Bobby Bonilla was good.
2007-03-10 17:27:16
12.   overkill94
Day 4 report:

Another day, another loss, but another fun day of baseball. Got to the stadium early again, but they weren't doing batting practice outside today so I was left watching Marlins batting practice for an hour or so.

Anyway, here are the daily speed readings:
Schmidt - fastball 84-92 (mostly 87), slider 80-82
Miller - fastball 87-93 (mostly 91), change-up 84-85, slider 83-86
Saito - fastball 87-89 (mostly 88), curveball 75
Broxton - fastball 88-93 (mostly 91), slider 83
Seanez - fastball 92, curveball 85
Tsao - fastball 93-95, slider 85-87

Today I had the pleasure of sitting next to and talking with a scout who gave a lot of opinions on a lot of things. He said he was going to stop by DT and was intrigued when I told him about the emphasis on statistical analysis we tend to lean towards here. He himself posts a lot at perfectgame.org (his name's Ray Shepherd) as well as many other scouting web sites.

Anyway, Schmidt seemed to be simply getting his work in since his approach to each batters wasn't all that intensive (he threw mostly fastballs).

Miller had a good fastball with excellent secondary pitches - his change-up had a nice tail to it and his slider was pretty dang wicked. The home run he gave up was on his slowest fastball of the day (87 MPH) and was left up in the zone.

Saito looked his usual dominant self by keeping the hitters off-balanced even though he wasn't throwing much heat. He made Hanley Ramirez look silly on a normal fastball because he was guessing curveball.

Broxton looked his normal self as well even though he hasn't built up to his normal arm strength.

Seanez looked impressive again, hitting 92 consistently with his fastball while going right after the hitters. It would be nice to see him in the game earlier when most regulars are in to see how well his stuff really works though.

Tsao looked pretty filthy with a very live fastball and a killer slider. If he can continue showing a mid-90's fastball with the way his slider was working he would make an excellent setup man this year. FWIW, the scout thought he was the most impressive pitcher he saw today.

Not much to say on offense or defense that can't be figured from the box score. Gonzo and Nomar had some big hits and the offense fell asleep after the first few innings.

My dad finally got Nomar to sign a ball for my sister, which was the priority signature of the trip. I'm still hoping to get Martin, but he seems a bit reluctant to sign (plus, he wasn't there today). Today I added Miller, Tsao, Seanez, and Saito to my autograph balls and got a cold shoulder from Broxton.

Tomorrow will be the last report, hope you all have enjoyed them!

2007-03-10 17:36:40
13.   Jon Weisman
Very much so.
2007-03-10 17:40:33
14.   natepurcell
so what did the scout say?
2007-03-10 17:45:37
15.   natepurcell
He himself posts a lot at perfectgame.org (his name's Ray Shepherd) as well as many other scouting web sites.

hes shepster over at the perfectgame message board. eddie bane (angels SD) use to post there as well.

2007-03-10 17:48:22
16.   natepurcell
also, he thought i was a "without a doubt a high-ranking baseball boss because nobody, I mean nobody, other than a professional person of the establishment, could make those inferential predictions w/o a solid background and a lot of 'inside information'"

after serveral attempts to let him know i wasnt anyone special, i gave up and just went with it.

2007-03-10 17:50:36
17.   CanuckDodger
14 -- Nate, you do realize that the scout referred to above is the same scout you communicated with on the Perfect Game message board last year, the guy who thought you work for the Dodgers? I think his user name was something like "Gotta See 'Em Shep" or something like that.
2007-03-10 17:52:37
18.   natepurcell
17

lol yea. shepherd was familar so i just went back to the perfectgame board and re-read all those posts.

2007-03-10 17:54:19
19.   overkill94
14 He talked a mile a minute so it was hard to keep track of everything he had to say. He's not a regular MLB scout anymore (spent 12 years with the Orioles), so all he had to go by was what he saw so far in the spring as well as what he had seen in some minor league games last year.

He called Tsao the best outing of the day, but he also liked what he saw from Schmidt and figured he'd do great this year. He classified Miller as a middle-reliever right now with a 4th starter ceiling, but I believe that was just from watching him today.

TJ Nall and Wesley Wright were two guys he called sleepers in our system, especially Nall's curveball.

On offense, he thinks Gonzo looks great and will have a good year and he thinks Bigbie is looking excellent this spring.

I'm planning to sit next to him again at tomorrow's game and will hopefully pick his brain a bit more. Anyone have any specific questions you'd like me to ask him?

2007-03-10 17:55:07
20.   Jon Weisman
Wow, that's pretty cool, Nate. Sure would be interesting to see him over here.
2007-03-10 17:56:36
21.   natepurcell
He talked a mile a minute so it was hard to keep track of everything he had to say

thats basically the same way he posts. small world!

2007-03-10 17:57:38
22.   natepurcell
im getting pretty estatic with tsao so far considering hes throwing filthy stuff up there and his arm hasnt fallen off yet.
2007-03-10 17:59:37
23.   CanuckDodger
19 -- Nall signed with the Nationals as a free agent after last season.

Please ask him if he saw lefties Alberto Bastardo and Marlon Arias pitch for the Vero Beach Dodgers last year, and ask him if he remembers their fastball velocities and what secondary pitches they threw.

2007-03-10 18:01:16
24.   Steve
I like Tsao back from when Clint Hurdle used to misuse him.
2007-03-10 18:01:43
25.   natepurcell
19

if you want, ask him about the 2007 prep scene for the mlb draft. who does he like, who does he think will be top prep prospects drafted from his area.

2007-03-10 18:05:54
26.   trainwreck
We can help keep up the charade for you Nate.
2007-03-10 18:11:15
27.   overkill94
25 I casually put that question out there, but he then just started talking about the guys his company represents (he's a scout for a sports management group). I'm not sure how much of a straight answer we'd get out of him for that one.

23 I'll give it a shot, but I'm not sure what his scouting schedule was last year. Seems like he does go to a good amount of minor league games in Florida, but he travels all over the country looking for players to represent so I'm not sure how much expertise he has on any certain team.

2007-03-10 18:12:44
28.   overkill94
One interesting note is that his company represents Matt White and he was saying how annoyed White is with all the attention he gets from the billionaire thing - movie offers, TV offers, book offers, etc. - and told his agency to not accept those calls anymore because he's just trying to make the Dodgers right now.
2007-03-10 18:13:27
29.   natepurcell
27

he watched a ton on FSL games last year. he did alot of reports on dodger players.

2007-03-10 18:14:20
30.   CanuckDodger
27 -- At the Perfect Game board, he wrote a lot about seeing Vero Beach Dodger games. He really loved Elbert.
2007-03-10 18:15:49
31.   overkill94
29 and 30 Cool, I'll try to pick his brain on some of those guys then.

What are your guys' names on the Perfect Game board? It would be interesting to see if he remembers you guys and has anything to say.

2007-03-10 18:19:13
32.   overkill94
Fittingly, while watching Fever Pitch on the plane ride over, I couldn't help but crack up over this exchange:

"Fallon: uh, me and my friends, we go down to Florida.

Barrymore: You and your buddies go down to Florida for spring break? At your age?

F: No, no, no, not spring break. Spring training with the Red Sox.

B: Oh, you get to train with the Red Sox?Are you allowed to do that?

F: Well, we don't actually - We watch the games.

B: Aren't those just practice games?

F: Yeah, yeah, but there's more to it than that. We scout the players. We-We say which players they should keep...which they should get rid of.

B: And the Red Sox ask your opinion?

F: Well, not yet. But if they ever do, uh-"

I swear I get those same questions when I tell girls that I'm going to spring training.

2007-03-10 19:09:35
33.   natepurcell
nick akins watch

61ABs

279/395/525 so far

2007-03-10 19:12:55
34.   ToyCannon
7
It is a program that teaches kids about Baseball, Dodgers and about Geography at the same. Why each team in the league is located where they are and how that city came to be. Things like that. Over a number of weeks you follow the Dodgers via the Daily news as they travel on their road trips. It is fun and you get to incorporate math when teaching about batting average and the other statistics. I haven't attempted to teach them linear weights yet since they are only 10:)
2007-03-10 19:18:39
35.   bhsportsguy
Josh posted the link on Dodgers.com to the pdf version of the 2007 Dodger Media Guide.

http://tinyurl.com/3294v7

I have always found the media guide a handy resource and I have bought one for the last several years, glad to see they have it ready before the season starts.

2007-03-10 19:18:55
36.   Gen3Blue
12 overkill, that is the kind of report that can not be had anywhere else. And it would be very enlightening to see the velocity Greg Maddox threw when he he threw a minimal amount of pitches and then left deep in a no hitter. It dispelled the belief that velocity could trump brains and ability to pitch.
2007-03-10 19:19:57
37.   bhsportsguy
33 I wonder if he thinks his draft status has improved from last year?
2007-03-10 19:21:54
38.   Gen3Blue
I wrote this a couple of hours ago and didn't submit it properly. Isn't this going to be the wierdest daylight savings advance yet---so early. ( ).
2007-03-10 19:24:19
39.   StolenMonkey86
3 - I'm 21 and on the east coast. I kinda lost interest in the Dodgers after the Piazza trade, but we made the trek out to LA for a family trip in 2003. Among the things we did was go to a game at Dodger Stadium - I have the ticket stub somewhere in a box, but I believe we were sitting somewhere on the Loge level. It was a good experience, despite the parking lot, watching Odalis Perez pitch, and watching the Dodgers lose to the Cardinals. It was the game where the two teams combined for 9 homers (interestingly enough JD Drew went 0-5). But either way, that, along with overly hyped postseason coverage that year, helped rekindle my interest on baseball, and particularly the Dodgers.
2007-03-10 19:29:35
40.   natepurcell
37

it depends on if he keeps improving. he got off to a miserable start earlier this year so he must have been pretty hot lately to get his numbers up to his current line. Odd thing is that he is listed as a 2b/ss but in the majority of games, hes been playing the DH position.

OT alittle bit but im just starting to really get into the prep scene for this years draft and one current player that has really caught my eye is a 6'7 210 RHP from irving texas, Blake Beavan.

the reason hes caught my eye? well in 3 games so far this year, hes 3-0 with 46ks, 2 hits allowed and...no walks.

some scouting stuff from his last game...

Beavan struckout 18 and retired the other three hitters on harmless groundballs. His fastball was clocked from 92 to 95 mph, touching 96 as he overpowered MacArthur high school. Beavan's fastball is obviously a plus pitch, but his slider might be even better. He throws a very sharp, late breaking, mid 80s slider that's a real knockout pitch. Beavan fanned 14 MacArthur hitters in a row, before giving up a ground ball.

this guy sounds like the second coming.

2007-03-10 19:31:37
41.   ToyCannon
"The Matador" cool movie but then for some warped reason I like movies about eccentric assasains.
2007-03-10 19:32:00
42.   natepurcell
"When I get up there on the mound, I feel like I'm in control," Beavan said. "I go out there trying to make the hitter look silly. It's either that or get ripped."

this guys awesome.

2007-03-10 19:35:36
43.   D4P
I really liked "The Matador." Brosnan was great in that role. Kinda like his role in "The Tailor of Panama." Sort of an anti-James Bond.
2007-03-10 19:36:12
44.   Ken Arneson
12 Wow, if Schmidt is still throwing mostly 87 mph fastballs during the regular season, he might be a bigger waste of money than Pierre. That's a far cry from his peak, when he was threw 95-98. Hope you're right that he was just getting his work in; I like the dude.
2007-03-10 19:46:02
45.   CanuckDodger
40 -- Beavan has a low three-quarters delivery. I don't trust guys like that against opposite-handed hitters.

Right now, I am liking OF Kentrail Davis as our first pick. If he can stick in center field, he can be another Kirby Puckett, and Juan Pierre's successor.

2007-03-10 19:47:33
46.   Gen3Blue
Monk86---I too am an East Coast D's fan. I'm old, but am a third generation Dodger fan, who went to a few Brooklyn D's games w/ my Grandfather, but don't really remember the Dodgers until I saw them at a few early Mets games. Really glad you joined up. I have been loyal a long time-the last incentive was 1988, which was a bit of a fluke. But we could be entering a golden age, if anyone has any brains!
2007-03-10 19:47:41
47.   Andrew Shimmin
I haven't attempted to teach them linear weights yet since they are only 10

I understand. The soft bigotry of low expectations rears its ugly head yet again.

2007-03-10 19:59:42
48.   natepurcell
how do you feel about josh vitters canuck? He seems to have the pure hitting ability that logan white looks for.
2007-03-10 20:16:37
49.   berkowit28
35 You can download each and every chapter (link) of the Media Guide from the URL page you posted, as a PDF file to your computer - for free.

There's currently a problem with two of the links (Intro and Players S-Y). I've alerted Josh - I expect they'll be fixed. Inthe meantime there's a few weeks or months reading there.

2007-03-10 20:35:08
50.   CanuckDodger
48 -- Vitters is great, but unless he has a very disappointing season, he will be gone by our pick. Same story with Burgess, Heyward, Porcello, and Harvey. The pitcher I like best that MIGHT still be available for us is Neil Ramirez.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-03-10 20:37:35
51.   JoeyP
Is this the last year the Dodgers are in Vero Beach for spring training? I never heard if they finalized the move to Arizona.
2007-03-10 20:48:09
52.   D4P
Through 18 ABs as a Dodger, Juan Pierre's IsoD is 0.000

.333/.333/.389

2007-03-10 21:09:23
53.   bhsportsguy
51 No, right now the plan is for them to move to Arizona in 2009.
2007-03-10 22:45:24
54.   Jon Weisman
So Pierre's bunt double was an accidental bunt blooper over the third baseman's head.

"That was luck, pure luck," Pierre said. "I was trying to go to the shortstop but the pitch was kind of fading away. Being in a good position to bunt allowed me to do that, though."

http://tinyurl.com/2nnesu

2007-03-10 23:18:51
55.   Icaros
Being in a good position to bunt is like being in a good position to stick a fork in a power socket.
2007-03-11 00:29:26
56.   Uncle Miltie
On offense, he thinks Gonzo looks great and will have a good year
He lost all credibility right there.

nick akins watch
61ABs
279/395/525 so far
Can we still sign him? I'm praying that we can snag him.

2007-03-11 00:33:06
57.   Andrew Shimmin
The anti-draft and follow rule doesn't go into effect till the next draft, right? I think the D'backs are still hoping to sign Scherzer.
2007-03-11 03:11:38
58.   bhsportsguy
57 Yes, starting in the 2007, teams will have until August 15th to sign all draftees except college seniors.

As summarized in a Baseball America article last October.

"One other change to the amateur draft is a uniform signing date of Aug. 15 for all players (other than college seniors), replacing the longtime and clumsy deadline of the moment a player literally attends his first four-year college class.

In addition to creating some order for all involved--from teams to players to college coaches wanting an earlier idea of their incoming class--this also eliminates the junior-college, draft-and-follow rule in which players who attended two-year schools could sign with their drafting club until one week before the following draft."

It will be interesting to see how this new rule effects Scott Boras and other agents but primarily Boras because of his preference of holding players out. Any High School player or College junior like Hochevar or Scherzer would only have until August to sign otherwise they would fall into next year's draft. While it still remains a game of chicken, if that player really wants to go professional, that deadline may force Boras' hand more than he will ever let on.

2007-03-11 04:14:19
59.   Andrew Shimmin
Finally, a reason to buy a Mac that isn't ethereal.

http://tinyurl.com/38d63n

2007-03-11 04:19:27
60.   Andrew Shimmin
Uh-oh. Looks like the toaster isn't DST compliant. Does this mean we get to loot?
2007-03-11 05:19:41
61.   D4P
So Pierre's bunt double was an accidental bunt blooper over the third baseman's head

This is awesome. When I asked earlier whether Pierre's double was a bunt double, I was joking. I had no idea that it actually was a bunt double.

2007-03-11 06:28:11
62.   Bob Timmermann
DST compliance

My watch - yes
My alarm clock - yes
(I just changed them on my own)
My computer - yes
My DVR - yes
My BlackBerry - no (it had to be told to change)
The Toaster - not yet

2007-03-11 06:49:16
63.   Marty
My blackberry changed correctly. My PC did not, even though its set to automatically install new patches.
2007-03-11 07:08:12
64.   Andrew Shimmin
Hooray! I call dibs on looting Bob's Blackberry and Marty's computer. D4P: ask your wife what time it is.
2007-03-11 07:19:47
65.   mankatododger
From the Daily News blog:

"Eric Hull, Zach Hammes and Mike Megrew wers optioned to minor-league camp this morning, Scott Elbert, A.J. Ellis, Chin-lung Hu, Ken Huckaby, Travis Smith, Fernando Tatis and Dario Veras were reassigned to minor-league camp, and Damian Jackson was released."

2007-03-11 07:22:19
66.   Andrew Shimmin
The only thing about any of that that stinks is that we're still a week away from a televised Dodger ST game. So I guess I won't get to see Elbert till next year.
2007-03-11 07:52:13
67.   mankatododger
What is the difference between being "optioned" and being "reassigned" to the minor league camp?
2007-03-11 08:05:45
68.   Andrew Shimmin
Options are for players who made the 40 man roster. They can only be optioned over three years, so there is a cost (if not an immediate one) to sending them down. Reassignment is for players who have yet to make the 40 man. Players who, as free agents, sign a minor league deal, and aren't ever put on the 40 man roster can be sent down without any cost.
2007-03-11 08:07:50
69.   Andrew Shimmin
That should have ended with the words, "I think." As always. If I'm wrong, one of the eighty dozen people who know more about these things will correct me.
2007-03-11 08:09:45
70.   mankatododger
Thanks. I wonder why you release Jackson and reassign Tatis. I know they are different style players but I would think they would serve about the same purpose (which is probably not much) on the Dodgers this year.
2007-03-11 08:25:27
71.   Andrew Shimmin
Fernando Tatis is a better name than Damian Jackson. But Jackson's name is better than Travis Smith's, so maybe that's not the criteria we're using.

The word, "here," should have found its (after people, before who) way into the last comment, amending the one prior to it. I wonder what I'll notice about this one, in five minutes, that I'll decide needs to be corrected.

2007-03-11 08:32:07
72.   bhsportsguy
70 My guess is that it probably has to do with the agreements the Dodgers have with Tatis and Jackson. Tatis may have agreed to go to AAA and see if something opens up during the early part of the season while Jackson may have an agreement to be released early enough to have a chance to picked up somewhere else before the season started.
2007-03-11 08:34:15
73.   bhsportsguy
Since Sandy Koufax is at Vero Beach this morning, I hope Overkill gets a picture of the great Hall of Famer.
2007-03-11 08:34:54
74.   mankatododger
I'll take either of those theories since it won't make any difference in the end.
2007-03-11 09:10:44
75.   Bob Timmermann
It turned out my body wasn't DST compliant and I went back to bed and just got up again.
2007-03-11 09:16:30
76.   Andrew Shimmin
I'm all looted out; anybody who wants to loot Bob's body is welcome to it.
2007-03-11 09:36:47
77.   Jon Weisman
Pro forma new post up top.

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