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About Jon
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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
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A Good One To Pull Up a Chair For
2007-04-16 07:16
by Jon Weisman

Gosh, as Vinny might say, it was a splendid night at the ballpark. The celebration for Jackie Robinson was about as good as you can find in this age: meaningful instead of commercial, fulfilling instead of overwhelming. And as much as I enjoyed seeing Vin Scully as an active participant, carrying the day was Rachel Robinson, whose speech hit so many right notes. (I hope to have a piece at later this morning about her.)

It sounds as if those watching on television were rewarded with some memorable interviews with Robinson, Don Newcombe and others. I haven't seen those, but I got some hints in last night's comments, so I'll be checking the recording.

The even-longer-than-planned delay to the start of the game seemed to throw both pitchers off, though Randy Wolf later suggested to the media that an extra day off might have contributed to his first-inning wildness. Even Russell Martin, who would end up with another fantastic game, bumbled uncharacteristically when he had Marcus Giles hung up between first and second base and let him get away.

Nevertheless, it was practically an all-Dodger night, as they punt-passed-and-kicked newly millionaired Padres starter (and, while at Princeton, Jackie Robinson thesis writer) Chris Young out of the game in the third inning, just as San Diego had done to Jason Schmidt the night before. (Wolf ended up drawing more walks batting than he allowed pitching.) It was the kind of night where both Wilson Valdez and Andre Ethier had great games - for a while this season, it didn't seem like that was allowed.

And what a difference a year makes. Almost a year ago, a Sunday Padres-Dodgers game ended with the infamous bullpen meltdown in the ninth and 10th innings. This weekend, with the exception of Schmidt, Dodger pitching dominated the Padres from the top of the staff to the bottom.

Perhaps the key to the whole thing was Dodger batboy Johnny Garcia, a real team player. Sunday, Garcia let the bad karma center on him when an unlucky richochet of a foul ball hit him plum in the face. This stood in contrast to the last time the Padres and Dodgers played on a Sunday, the day before the 4+1 game, a day in which the Padres took over first place in the NL West with a victory, when Garcia grabbed all the Dodger glory with a stunning catch of a line drive last season. (From the Register:)

The play of the day Sunday was made by someone in a Dodgers uniform - but not one of the players. Clubhouse attendant Johnny Garcia was serving as a ball boy down the right-field foul line when he made a diving catch of pinch-hitter Paul McAnulty's line drive headed into the stands during the seventh inning. Garcia dove onto the padded divider between the field and the stands to make the highlight-reel grab - and then went back to picking up dirty uniforms in the Dodgers' clubhouse after the game.

As Garcia goes, so not go the Dodgers...

Update: My piece at about Rachel Robinson can be found here:

Rachel Robinson was married to Jackie Robinson for 26 years. She has been a widow for nearly 35.

So much was written about Jackie over the past several days, I fear that people might be suffering from Robinson fatigue by the time this piece hits your browser. And yet, I'm finding that one more thought lingers ...

On Sunday night, sitting in the stands at Dodger Stadium with my wife of nearly seven years and my stir-crazy 2- and 4-year old children as Rachel spoke to the crowd and the national television audience, wondering whether I'd be able to keep things under control at least until the first pitch was to be thrown, I listened carefully to Rachel's words but kept returning to the same question: How has she done it? How has she kept it all together?

I also check in briefly with the Dodgers' next opponent, the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.

Comments (168)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-04-16 08:10:00
1.   gpellamjr
Well-played, Jon! I had completely forgotten about that!
2007-04-16 08:30:36
2.   ToyCannon
Just finished reading the comments from last night and noticed no mention of the great singing by Jennifer Hudson of the Anthem.

The Dodgers surprised me and put on a great show from begining to end. I can't say enough how much fun last night was and a teary one for me. It was wierd seeing all the old guys who were in their prime when I started watching baseball.

As for parking, for the 1st time in history at Dodger Stadium the parking attendants in Lot 1 were using their light sabres to direct traffic and as I walked through the lot on the way to the street they seemed to be doing an excellent job of maintaining car flow through the exit. It is a start but this is what is needed instead of cars trying to wheedle their way into the main flow. Of course the main problem was the drivers themselves who wouldn't move fast enough when directed to by the attendants.

2007-04-16 08:32:31
3.   s choir
2 Yeah, the ceremony last night stands in stark contrast to the one on opening day, starting with Jennifer Hudson's soulful performance. She sang her heart out.
2007-04-16 08:33:29
4.   overkill94
Special kudos goes out to our own Eric Enders for his article in the Jackie Robinson pamphlet handed out at the gate. It's nice to go to a game and be able to tell the friend your with that "this guy posts on my favorite Dodger blog all the time."
2007-04-16 08:54:04
5.   Bumsrap
Valdez reminded everyone that it is not too late to start a MLB career at age 29, that others have done it and done it quite well.
2007-04-16 08:57:54
6.   Bumsrap
Rachel Robinson, all class and looks like she will be truning 49 any day now.
2007-04-16 09:08:13
7.   Bumsrap
Loney 3 for 4 last night.
2007-04-16 09:09:07
8.   ToyCannon
Really, I think you'd have to look real hard to find 10 position players who had meaningfull careers who began their major league careers > the age of 29 in the last 30 years. Lots of journeyman but a productive player?

Juan Pierre has a 22% Hit Rate right now. His norm is much higher. Normally you would think the hits would come as the rate normalizes but does anyone hit the ball softer then JP?

2007-04-16 09:22:13
9.   Jon Weisman

2007-04-16 09:36:54
10.   bhsportsguy
2 I believe I mentioned the performances of both the anthem and "God Bless America" in my summary last night, but again very nice job on both.
2007-04-16 09:49:41
11.   D4P
Normally you would think the hits would come as the rate normalizes but does anyone hit the ball softer then JP?

Yeah. It's not as if a lot of his dribblers thus far should have been hits. It's hard to watch him and believe that he's a career .300 hitter.

2007-04-16 09:59:27
12.   dkminnick
Excellent post, Jon. i was there last night, too, and had a great time.

Whenever I hear Frank McCourt speak, I am struck by the apparent humorlessness of the guy, but it should be noted that last night's celebration was an excellent job by the Dodger organization. It was touching and thoughtful.

In all of the build-up in MLB to JR night over the last week, I have been waiting for someone to mention Branch Rickey and the Dodgers. It was left to the person closest to Jackie to give them their due, and she did.

Attending with me was a 9 year old boy who likes the Yankees "because of Derek Jeter and A-Rod". During the tributes I turned to him and said, "The Jackie Robinson story is one of the best reasons to be a Dodger fan." By the end of the night, I think we might have made a convert.

Thanks to the McCourts for an excellent job.

Short parking update: Not terrible, but would've been really bad if I hadn't disobeyed the parking attendants and parked near the lot exit.

2007-04-16 10:06:15
13.   Jon Weisman
Incredible tragedy at Virginia Tech:

2007-04-16 10:09:52
14.   chazmac138
Agreed. Although I am finding it increasingly difficult to even watch Pierre at all. He's been just plain terrible. That error last night that let Cruz go to second base was totally unacceptable. I wasn't a Pierre hater before (wasn't exactly an advocate either) but now as much as it pains me to say this, I would rather root for the Goon in LF than Pierre..
2007-04-16 10:09:57
15.   Daniel Zappala
12 I too was reminded last night that the Jackie Robinson story is a great reason to be a Dodger fan. I've spent many of the most recent years paying more attention to the half of me that is an Angel fan, mostly due to the way the Dodger organization has been handled poorly. Last night brought me a long way back. I hope the current owners realize the depth of the tradition this great organization has and treat it well.
2007-04-16 10:14:58
16.   Daniel Zappala
Does anyone have any insight as to why/how the Dodgers were able to steal so many bases last night? It seemed like the Padres weren't even trying, like they were playing with a big lead and letting runners go uncontested.
2007-04-16 10:15:44
17.   dkminnick
11, 14 - The good news is JP can't actually be THIS bad. We are bound to see some improvement soon. Right? Right?

I was thinking the same thing last night: he hits the softest balls I've ever seen.

Grady, please move him to eighth.

2007-04-16 10:23:14
18.   Hallux Valgus
16- Chris Young has an extremely slow delivery (partially because he's so tall), and the catcher had something like 41 of 45 runners steal on him (Bob posted the exact numbers last night). Joe Morgan was all over it during the broadcast.
2007-04-16 10:24:48
19.   Daniel Zappala
17 I'll echo a "me too". I've watched him only a few times, but he seems to purposely slap at the ball just to put it in play and take a gamble that his speed will get him on base. The play where he slapped it to first and got Valdez out at the plate was especially irksome.

[Speaking of which, I used Tivo on that play and Valdez could just as easily been called safe. It looked to me like his toe touched part of the plate.]

2007-04-16 10:24:53
20.   twerp
16 TV announcers were talking about how long Young took in his delivery, saying there was almost no way base stealers would get caught.

They apparently were right. Also IIRC, a couple steals may pretty much have been indifference.

2007-04-16 10:25:28
21.   bhsportsguy
Just a speculation but I would guess that this week we will see days off for Kent, Russell Martin, Luis Gonzalez and Nomar.

My hunch is that Nomar will get one of the next two games off, Luis will sit on Wednesday night, Kent and Russell Martin will have Thursday afternoon off.

I know Grady loves to keep Russell playing but he has to give at least one day off a week when they don't have an off day.

2007-04-16 10:26:53
22.   Eric Enders
4 Thank you.

16 I think it's just a simple combination of Chris Young not being able to hold runners on and Rob Bowen not being able to throw. Mostly the former. When you're 6'10" the moving parts have to do more moving and your delivery time to the plate suffers. It looked to me like most of the bases stolen last night were stolen on the pitchers (Cameron included).

2007-04-16 10:27:21
23.   Marty
9 Wow, what is Live Journal?
2007-04-16 10:34:09
24.   bhsportsguy
BTW - Apparently Kemp is swinging a bat and reporting no pain so he should be available by the 25th. Kuo and Brazoban may start rehab assignments soon, if they do, I believe you get 3 weeks before you have to be activated. Oh and Grady said over the weekend that Tomko is his 5th starter and the Dodgers will not be skipping his turn in the rotation for now.

So I see this happening, for the pitchers, it is easier, after Kuo recovers, he will stay down in AAA and start. If Brazoban is ready to go, I think he takes Seanez spot on the team.

The Dodgers have to make a decision between Ramon Martinez and Wilson Valdez, if Betemit is sticking around, they just can't keep them both of them. And as Jon said earlier, ultimately they need someone like Betemit or LaRoche to hit and play 3B.

If Ethier is beginning to break out of his slump, that makes the future of Matt Kemp on the roster very interesting because Ethier should be able to play everyday.

2007-04-16 10:34:10
25.   twerp
22. Isn't Randy Johnson also 6'10"? Has he also had trouble for the same reason, or did he find a way to slow base stealers?

What about other very tall pitchers?

I think Morgan said Young also has a hesitation at the top of his delivery, which makes his problem worse.

2007-04-16 10:36:12
26.   Hallux Valgus
22- Keep in mind that Johnson is a lefty
2007-04-16 10:37:47
27.   Jon Weisman
See update to this post for more on Rachel Robinson.
2007-04-16 10:37:54
28.   bhsportsguy
22 When I got to my seat, I saw a copy of the handout on the ground, knowing that you wrote part of it, I picked it up and put it in my bag for two reasons, one, I hated to see Jackie tossed on the ground like that and two, I thought you deserved better.

I was with friends last night so have not had the chance to read it but I am sure that it is great. BTW, I saw kudos to you and others at the HOF for their assistance in the writing of the latest book on Jackie so nice job for that too.

2007-04-16 10:38:34
29.   tjshere
13 Oh, no! When will it end? That is absolutely horrible!
2007-04-16 10:40:39
30.   Hallux Valgus
26 was referencing 25.

Bad morning for the Angels- Santana gave up 6 in the first, and Vlad came out of the game after getting plunked.

2007-04-16 10:41:00
31.   Vishal
[23] it's a blogging portal essentially. livejournals tend to be more like personal diaries than blogger blogs though. you get to list your friends and get a feed of their entries, and vice-versa, and there are ways to filter through people by interest and location, and you can join communities based on your interests. anyway, i've got one. i don't use it much anymore, but it's a good way to keep in touch and know what's going on with many friends at once, or share your news and thoughts without having to call or email people individually. now that myspace and facebook have become people's primary portals for that sort of thing though, i think livejournal has suffered a bit.
2007-04-16 10:44:01
32.   bhsportsguy
27 Well done Jon, hopefully if they do make another film about Jackie and Rachel, they will cast that movie with an eye towards Pride of the Yankees.

I have always regretted not going to Vromans (sp.?) when she was there for a book signing a number of years ago. Just to say thank you would have been cool.

Finally, if she has not been honored by her alma mater, she needs to be and soon.

2007-04-16 10:45:03
33.   Jon Weisman
Ervin Santana gave up six runs in the first inning this morning.
2007-04-16 10:47:58
34.   bhsportsguy
33 And his home/road splits (plus pitching in the daytime) continue.
2007-04-16 10:55:12
35.   Daniel Zappala
Yikes, please don't remind me about this series with the Red Sox, I'm already suffering enough. I wish they had pitched Weaver today.
2007-04-16 10:56:56
36.   chazmac138
I love watching the Angels get pounded. All the front runner fans I work with have NOTHING to say! So it's been a pretty quiet morning here at the office..
2007-04-16 10:57:18
37.   Vishal
any classical music fans catch the stunt pulled by the washington post?

2007-04-16 10:57:49
38.   Marty
And Vlad is out after taking a 96 mph fastball on the wrist.
2007-04-16 10:57:53
39.   Daniel Zappala
37 Yes, that was cool and Joshua Bell is fantastic.
2007-04-16 10:58:56
40.   berkowit28
I didn't start watching baseball seriously until last summer, and I don't think I've seen any ESPN broadcasts aside from playoffs/WS until last night. Is it always like that, or was it the Jackie Robinson tribute that made it different? It was great having the various in-booth interviews, but I was really taken aback that - even when some of the guests being interviewed clearly expected to take a back seat now and again for the game and even in innings where there were no guests being interviewed - the game was treated as if it were just some sort of background activity of little or no interest to viewers.

The "commentators" just kept jabbering on and on and on, frequently repeating banalities over and over again, instead focusing, for more than 5 seconds at a time, if that, on the game. Is that actually what national viewers who are non-fans of either Dodgers or Padres would be expecting and appreciating?

I am ready to believe that it was the fact that the real event last night was the Robinson tribute that made this the case - most of the comments, after all, related to Jackie in one way or another. His role in both baseball and the history of the United States was so important and overwhelming that it's perfectly appropriate for it to have dominated the evening, and also understandable that the ESPN commentators - minor nonentities of no consequence - were unable to rise to the occasion in the way that the special Dodger and ESPN guests could - and degenerated into triviality.

Or is this what ESPN Sunday games are always like? Even the national FOX broadacasts are nowhere near so mindless. I realize that we are especially spoiled with Vin Scully, but even the regular duos on FSN and FOX games don't babble like that, nor ignore the game so totally. Sometimes they'll even pause a few moments (though never so regularly nor circumspectly as Vin) to just watch and let an event speak for itself. In the later innings last night, I had to turn the sound off to be able to watch the game.

I'd like to be charitable and hope that it was just the importance of the JR tribute and their efforts to devote their every moment to some reference to JR - without being able to do so with much insight or character - that was responsible. I.e. B for effort. It was also well worth missing some of the game to some of the invited guests. But the ESPN non-stop verbiage sure didn't show too much respect for the game of baseball - the game Jackie played - while they were about it. I guess I'll check up on ESPN some other time when it doesn't conflict with a Dodger game to see for myself.

2007-04-16 10:59:43
41.   berkowit28
37. Yes, and very well done it was too.
2007-04-16 11:00:09
42.   Vishal
[39] it was cool but also really disheartening at the same time, i felt.
2007-04-16 11:06:45
44.   s choir
40 I think if the game had been closer, Miller and Morgan would have gotten more into it in the 7th and beyond. There wasn't much suspense in this one.
2007-04-16 11:09:06
45.   KBL
14) Is the Goon comment necessary, especially when he is hitting so well and appears to have his defense back? In light of Repko and Kemp's injury, I'd say it is not a horrible deal to have him for a year.

40) Many of the ESPN games are like that, Jackie Robinson night or no Jackie Robinson night. It drives me insane to hear them talk about nothing going on in the game. I had to rewind the Martin steal because no one mentioned it.

2007-04-16 11:14:13
47.   overkill94
40 Joe Morgan loves to go off on tangents all the time and I'm sure he felt the need to do it even moreso last night. I was at the game so I didn't get to experience the TV version, but I can only imagine.
2007-04-16 11:17:38
48.   bhsportsguy
My hunch is despite Jon's reference to the tragedy at Virginia Tech, there are other places to discuss this but again condolences to all involved.
2007-04-16 11:19:13
49.   Bumsrap
24 I think Anderson has to be lumped into the Valdez, Martinez mix of who might have to be moved out of the 25 man roster. If Ethier continue to hit and Peirre continues to play pepper instead of hit I really hope Kemp plays center field when he returns.

If Kemp does play CF, Pierre would be the lefty pinch hitting bat instead of Anderson. Add the depth of Loney and Bigbie at AAA and Anderson becomes a trade waiting to happen.

8 Just saying Valdez had a good game and a good start to the season and it just so happens that he is 29 because the age, not the player/person, is the same as was Jackie when he became a Dodger. No need for forcing stats into my simple comment.

2007-04-16 11:20:13
50.   chazmac138
It's very necessary. Don't let a few good weeks jade your vision. It was a bad signing no matter how you dice it. He is blocking Eithier, Loney, and Kemp from playing everyday. That is not right or just.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-04-16 11:24:00
51.   Penarol1916
46. Could we please follow to rule #5 here sir?
2007-04-16 11:24:26
52.   underdog
As irritating as I find Joe Morgan, and yes he and Jon do go off on tangents, I don't think it'd be fair by any means to say last night was a normal broadcast at all. They don't usually have so many guests in the booth - that was all about the Jackie tribute (though they do sometimes have one guest in the booth during regular games, and that's one guest too many if you ask me. Last night was special and it was great seeing Rachel R and the others so I forgave it.) But no, I wouldn't say that was how the broadcasts usually go. Again, Morgan is irritating but usually he and Jon Miller talk about the game at hand more than they did last night.
2007-04-16 11:24:29
53.   D4P
Interesting LuGo observation:

2006: 3 HRs in his first 12 games
2007: 3 HRs in his first 12 games

In 2006, he went on to hit 12 HRs in his remaining 141 games.

2007-04-16 11:26:37
54.   underdog
Quack, quack, quack.

Nobody's blocking Kemp from playing every day except his injury, but I would prefer a Kemp and Ethier line-up with Gonzo in there too, and Pierre on the bench. But we'll see them all get their licks. Little has shown he won't hesitate to push someone down in the order or give them a rest if they're not contributing, contract or no.

2007-04-16 11:29:33
55.   Bluebleeder87
Great read Jon.
2007-04-16 11:31:58
56.   bhsportsguy
51 Agree, but to be fair, he was responding to someone else's comments, again, I think its great to express differing points of view but perhaps those comments could go somewhere else.

50 Ahh, back to baseball, I just think that it is hard to imagine that both Nomar and Luis will play the whole season and that all three of those guys will get their chances but no team unless they have financial or injury circumstances is going to play a bunch of kids all at one time. One or two, yes but not 4 or 5.

And while we may not think this is important, everytime I go to the Stadium, I am reminded how popular Nomar is to the fans who are there and that cannot be overlooked.

2007-04-16 11:37:37
57.   CajunDodger
I agree that last night's broadcast was miles from ordinary. For those of you who don't like Jon (love him) or Joe (not a fan), you can email the ombudsman at ESPN via the following link:
2007-04-16 11:37:58
58.   Penarol1916
56. You are correct, and I have no idea what the post he was replying to said, since it was deleted, but it just was incredibly uncalled for.
2007-04-16 11:38:15
59.   Jon Weisman
I think I should be able to mention the Virginia Tech tragedy here without people turning that into an excuse to debate gun control. I have my own views on the subject - notice how I'm able to follow my own rules, though?
2007-04-16 11:40:20
60.   Dodgers49
49. If Kemp does play CF, Pierre would be the lefty pinch hitting bat instead of Anderson.

I'm having difficulty visualizing a $44 million pinch hitter. :-) Especially one who has no power whatsoever. In fact, when we have a rally going the absolute LAST person I want to see at the plate is Pierre.

2007-04-16 11:41:32
61.   Xeifrank
DodgerSims has the Dodgers with an expectancy of 50.33% tonight (basically a toss up), the Cubs have a similiar WE over the Padres too. vr, Xei
2007-04-16 11:42:02
62.   D4P
I apologize, though I must say: to limit our comments to "Let's all throw our hands up and call it a tremendous tragedy and act like there's nothing we can possibly to do to reduce the likelihood of these events taking place" is irksome.

But I will say no more.

So, about that Juan Pierre...His Stolen Base got lost in the shuffle last night.

2007-04-16 11:46:01
63.   CajunDodger
If I am not mistaken, Pierre had a dreadful beginning last year as well and wound up being decent the last 4-5 months. I could care less about the value we are getting for him any more since what's done is done and it is unlikely to dictate money spent in the future (though he will always be one of the starting 9). I just want him to get back on track.
2007-04-16 11:46:21
64.   Jon Weisman
62 - Guideline #10.

If I gave into that, that would be a very worthwhile site, one with much potential social value, but Dodger Thoughts would basically cease to exist as it is today. I will say that some tragedies have made me contemplate doing just that, but you have to understand that it's a distinct choice.

2007-04-16 11:49:53
65.   overkill94
Fun with numbers, NL West edition:

Runs per game
AZ - 4.6
LAD - 4.4
Col - 4.1
SD - 3.7
SF - 2.8

LAD - 3.14
SD - 3.23
AZ - 3.38
Col - 3.75
SF - 4.40

Other tidbits:
- Tampa Bay has an astronomically bad 6.20 ERA so far
- Cincy's much-maligned bullpen has an MLB-leading 1.44 ERA
- NYY are (not surprisingly) leading the league in runs/game with 5.8 (along with the Marlins), but Toronto's not far behind with 5.6
- the bottom-feeders in runs/game aren't surprising (Wash, SF, KC, Pitt), but those barely above them are (StL and CWS at 3.5)

2007-04-16 11:49:53
66.   D4P
I don't begrudge the existence of the list, as I understand and support its purpose. There are costs associated with the list, but I agree with your implicit calculation that the benefits outweigh them.

In unrelated news, it has been very windy here. The weather page I visit on the tubes has been reporting that a "High baby advisory is in effect."

Yes, "baby".

2007-04-16 11:50:09
67.   Humma Kavula
No one has spent more of their life so far this year bashing Juan Pierre than me. I've set up an entire blog just to bash the guy and I've been fairly faithful in updating it. I always knew that Jon showed an incredible amount of patience and dedication to update this site with a thoughtful post every day, but really, it's all I can do to post a couple of obnoxious, snarky words that keep track of his outs...

...but here's why I'm posting: the silver lining here is the manager. 54 has it exactly right. The fact that Pierre sat out on Saturday is extremely telling. It's my firm belief that out of respect for the team that Colletti constructed, Pierre will get every chance to right the ship -- and if (when?) he doesn't, he will be dropped in the order... and if he STILL doesn't, he will be benched. I honestly believe that Little and Colletti are having frank conversations about who's performing, who isn't, and what's best for the team long term. That's a good thing.

2007-04-16 11:54:05
68.   CajunDodger
New thought:

My wife and I disagreed on this last night, so I want to see what you vets think:

If parking and concession prices were lowered, do you think that fans would mind having a sponsor for Dodger Stadium? Or would this be similar to the mascot PR debacle of the McCourts' early tenure.

Not ignoring the horrific events at Virginia Tech by the way, just trying to compartmentalize...

2007-04-16 11:55:36
69.   bhsportsguy
67 Agree, it was demonstrated last year and also why Grady is really trying to get the pitchers to go 6 or more innings.

Wolf, Penny and Tomko have gone 6 in each start (Penny went 6 1/3 once) and Lowe has come back from his poor first outing with the longest outings of 7 and 8 innings, respectively.

This was the plan from last year and while it is hard to envision them doing this with the same frequecy (8 out of 12 games, starter has gone 6 or more), if they keep it close to that percentage, it will benefit the bullpen and I think keep the starters on a nice roll.

2007-04-16 11:57:51
70.   Marty
Man, Boston just carved up the Angels in that series. They seem to have worse offensive problems than the Dodgers. Especially if Vlad is out for any period of time.
2007-04-16 11:59:21
71.   bhsportsguy
68 First, I don't think they would lower the prices if they got a corporate sponsor, it might just delay raising them again in the near future.

That said, I don't think they would do it until they decide to build a new stadium, for everything that Dodger Stadium, within the next 5-6 years, it will be the 3rd oldest stadium in use (behind Fenway and Wrigley) and 50 years might be a benchmark to start examining that question.

But until then, I don't see naming rights being an issue.

2007-04-16 12:00:46
72.   Marty
I liked how Valdez talked about playing third for the first time:

"I'm ready. I have to be ready," said Valdez, sounding a bit apprehensive. "Just stay low and don't panic.

2007-04-16 12:02:32
73.   Sushirabbit
On the Martin throw: I was surprised when the announcers missed this, but probably should not have been... I think Kent would have caught the throw but for the fact that Mark Carlson blocked Kent's view of the ball when Carlson tried to get out of the way.

If you have Tivo you can back it up and watch it again.

Also, it was great to have friends at work talking about Jackie Robinson today.

2007-04-16 12:06:03
74.   s choir
Not only is discussing gun control inappropriate for this blog, it is tone-deaf to debate the issue anywhere at a time when injured people are still dying, and people are still trying to find out if their friends or family at Virginia Tech are safe.
2007-04-16 12:07:43
75.   Jon Weisman
73 - From my vanatage point at the game, I felt that Martin had ample time to run at the runner, as we are always advised to do by Vin and others, before even attempting the throw.
2007-04-16 12:15:53
76.   Sushirabbit
75 - Yeah I think that's true but Carlson was on the first base side blocking a throw to Kent on that side. Which is why I think Martin double clutched the throw. It was weird. Not that it's that big a deal.

I wonder if Alyssa Milano got one of these?

2007-04-16 12:16:51
77.   overkill94
73 and 75 Definitely wasn't one of Martin's finer moments of the year. He hesitated way too long and should have just gotten it to one of the infielders right away to force the runner to make a decision.

BTW, the news just keeps getting worse out of Virginia Tech.

2007-04-16 12:23:22
78.   underdog
Looked like Martin's throw was pretty high, too. Definitely on him all around, but we can easily forgive him since it's such a rare lapse and didn't matter much ultimately.
2007-04-16 12:24:26
79.   KBL
75 and 76,

It seemed that Martin faked too much instead of just throwing to second after the first fake. The runner was much closer to second than to first. Oh well, since I make at least one throwing error a game on my softball team, I understand how easy it is to have a ball come out "weird".

2007-04-16 12:48:06
80.   bhsportsguy
Platoon alert:

With all the rainouts in Pittsburgh this weekend, the Dodgers will face (scheduled) 6 straight righthanders until a lefty takes the mound on Sunday.

By Sunday morning, the Betemit picture should be a little clearer, especially with only 2 games left until Kemp is eligible to come off the DL.

2007-04-16 12:56:24
81.   underdog
Btw, sort of cheap plug but on topic, we're now offering The Jackie Robinson Story (the one where he plays himself) - which is kind of dated but really interesting too - to watch on demand. If you're interested it's

Rachel Robinson mentioned it last night; as she said, it's pretty low budget and not completely true to life, but it's also kinda charming, especially to see him try to act... as himself.

2007-04-16 12:57:43
82.   JJ42
Great article in SI Jon. I think it's important to recognize Rachael Robinson for continuing the struggle that Jackie started. On top of that, their entire family is doing great things - with their daughter Sharon involved as an author and consultant to MLB and son David making his life in Africa and addressing issues of sustainability in that region. I've made it a point to go to the last 3 Jackie Robinson Days at Dodger stadium - for me that is my opening day.

Some of my obervations from the day:
- I met and chatted with Sharon Robinson in one of the concourses - very classy, very friendly.
- Many Dodgers were visibly moved by the opening ceremonies - Juan Pierre stayed on the field and watched every moment of the pre-game videos and choir performance. He openly wept after one of the videos.
- There definitely was a special aura at the Stadium, different than a playoff game. It was more like one of reverence and celebrating a life. I think it will spur a lot of people to do something that would continue the struggle.

2007-04-16 12:58:10
83.   underdog
Anyone have a response to this?

I'd hate to see it unchallenged.

2007-04-16 13:01:38
84.   caseybarker
To use a horrendous event like this as a springboard for debating or making policy is, I think, folly.

What exactly is the likelihood of this sort of thing happening?

2007-04-16 13:06:15
85.   caseybarker
I saw similar behavior at the 4+1 game. The perpetrators were only a couple of people. And it was in the outfield reserve. I hope the Padres fans found other seats.
2007-04-16 13:07:57
86.   dan reines
what kind of response? obviously we only see four seconds of action in that clip, but those four seconds are pretty appalling, aren't they?

anything know anything about what was happening there?

2007-04-16 13:10:08
87.   dan reines
er, that is, anyONE know anything about that incident, other than the one youtube clip?
2007-04-16 13:14:34
88.   underdog
Well a response could be, "Yes, let's denigrate all Dodgers' fans based on a few seconds of idiocy" versus, say, the always well-behaved Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, etc etc, fans... I was also trying to confirm or deny whether that was from this weekend or some other series. But I am dubious that it was last night's Jackie R game.
2007-04-16 13:27:39
89.   ToyCannon
I'd have a hard time defending Dodger fans. I have great people around me but man my area is full of jerks. God forbid that you wear something other then Dodger Blue. The least you can expect is some serious taunting the worse is getting slagged with crap and that usually escalates into a fight. It used to be good natured ribbing even with fellow Giant fans now as with everything it is much to serious considering it is a baseball game. Lot of people unhappy with their lives.
2007-04-16 13:28:28
90.   Greg S
I suppose it's not a new subject but the behavior in the stands is definitely deteriorating. Not to get to philosophical but it almost seems to mirror the shrinking middle class outside the stadium. There are the rich people in the $75+ seats and they will increasingly stay away from the cheaper seats like a bad neighborhood. Meanwhile, the "bad neighborhood" fills with more and more of the bad element and it feeds on itself. Not sure what can be done but I can say that I no longer have any interest in sitting anywhere but field or lodges inside about 140 due to the behavior. I sat in Lodge 155 for game #2 and my friends 10 year old was verbally assaulted for cheering the Rockies. I'm afraid it will just get worse.
2007-04-16 13:30:52
91.   dan reines
fair enough, and i'll agree -- it's silly to tar all dodger fans based on this one video. my first reading of your post was that you were suggesting someone challenge the notion that there was anything wrong with what we saw. my bad.

i guess my response would be pretty simple: "if what happened there is as appalling as what we see in these four seconds of video, then yeah -- we're appalled too."

i'd be loathe to start in with "yeah, but what about those giant fans?" though. whatever the merits, it comes off like don imus saying "yeah, but did you hear what michael savage said?!"*

*-i hope that analogy will be left alone by anyone hoping to pick it up and run with it all over guideline #5...

2007-04-16 13:32:10
92.   Dark Horse
I sat in the upper reserve section just beyond the (left field) foul pole on opening day, and I have to say...the fans were taunting a guy who wore an Angels cap. Not just a few fans, but the whole section pretty much turned and booed him. Then showed rabid appreciation later for a woman who'd obviously had a bit to drink and decided to flash her breasts.

It was eye-opening. Admittedly every other game I've gone to in the last five years have been with seats immediately behind the Dodger dugout--a different crowd entirely--but my thoughts were: Gosh, these fans, our fans, are just like fans in every other city. Which is to say, not so good...

2007-04-16 13:40:27
93.   Tommy Naccarato
Pardon my ignorance here, but last night I was just barely able to watch the t.v. from some distance during the game, but who got hurt later in the game? It looked like he crashed into the wall and they walked him off.

Was this the clubhouse attendant, Johnny Garcia?

2007-04-16 13:42:34
94.   Tommy Naccarato
92 A very different crowd indeed. Something more like the 1993 or 1994 LA Coliseum crowd, mostly all dressed in silver & black waiting to kill someone, anyone that wasn't dressed the same....
2007-04-16 13:45:50
95.   KBL
I had nothing but great experiences with fans in the Top Deck section 1 last year. Most of them had all bought the 12 pack too, so I got to know some of them, and I was never really embarrassed. I had some awful experiences, though, when I bought tickets in the Infield Reserve. It just reminds me why we need to question this behavior as it is happening. A couple of times I have confronted people with questions like, "why are you treating them this way?"

Oh well...

2007-04-16 13:47:33
96.   KBL
Although, the only time I have seen people get hit with beer or soda is when they egg on the crowd behind them. If they most sit in their seat and cheer the team, it tends to go ok.
2007-04-16 13:51:11
97.   Greg S
If they most sit in their seat and cheer the team, it tends to go ok.

Shouldn't always go okay? Is it acceptable if they only get pelted with beer and soda once in a while?

2007-04-16 13:56:14
98.   Just Blue
83. That is sad. As a Dodger fan, I am embarrassed. But I wonder what we didn't see that precipiated the unruliness.

I guess I'm lucky that I haven't witnessed that behaviour in person, but the few games I've been able to attend in the past few years I've had either field seats or infield loge. I guess the farther you are from home plate, the less you're involved in the game, and the more likely it is for fans to get stupid.

The worst that I witnessed last year was on the field level towards the LF foul pole, when a Dodger fan across the aisle from me was heckling Ethier. Ironically, we were playing the Padres with Chris Young pitching, but that guy really got under my skin.

2007-04-16 14:08:22
99.   Jon Weisman
93 - Yes it was, Tommy. He got hit in the face with a ball.
2007-04-16 14:08:46
100.   tskent
I've been pelted with peanuts on several occassions. I've given and received dozens of finger gestures. I've had my hat knocked off (the wimps just ran off). I've been threatened and called many bad names(and rightfully so). Ushers have expressed concern for my safety when leaving a stadium. I had a moment of bondation with Odalis Perez. I've danced a gig with a bunch of teeny boppers on the jumbotron. There's nothing like a day at ML Baseball game. LOL..
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-04-16 14:12:13
101.   das411
93 - Tommy Nacc, our dear leader addressed this up top, right before the first update. There was a semi-hard grounder foul of the first base line that took a bad bounce and caught Mr. Garcia just under the left eye, poor guy went down right away and took a few minutes to get back up (which didn't stop Miller and Morgan from going on about whatever...). It looked from the super-closer-up that he had some seams visible under the eye from where the ball had hit but Jon's article notes the following:

"Dodger bat boy Johnny Garcia was knocked unconscious when a foul ball ricocheted off the first-base line wall and hit him flush in the cheek. He walked off the field but was still disoriented afterward and was taken to the hospital."

Jon, terrific recap, as always!

2007-04-16 14:12:33
102.   underdog
Dan, yeah, sorry partially my fault if I wasn't clear. Definitely wasn't condoning the behavior at all. Was just that blogger's note about how this confirms his belief about Dodger fans, which seemed inherently unfair.

On the other hand, after reading the subsequent posts here, now I feel depressed. I haven't been to a game at DS in about 4 years - has it really gotten that bad? Of course, we could argue that it's gotten worse everywhere, just reflecting boorish behavior on a societal level based on fear, the economy, education, who knows (not to turn this into a political discussion). At any rate, sad to see this kind of behavior anywhere, even if it's relatively isolated.

2007-04-16 14:13:24
103.   dan reines

were you ever asked to leave the stadium, like, just for an inning?

and how did you respond?

2007-04-16 14:14:46
104.   dkminnick
The fan behavior at Dodger Stadium has deteriorated badly since my season ticket days of the 80's and early 90's. It is much more like a Coliseum Raider game than the Disneyesque experience we had during the O'Malley era.

Even if we can attribute this to the general decline in civility seen elswhere in society (see LA traffic for reference) it still falls to the McCourts to nip rowdiness in the bud.

The O'Malley-era security people would issue one warning to any fan using profanity, and eject them if it happened again. This set the bar quite low for unacceptable behavior. It was a baseball version of Rudy G.s effective "broken window" policy that turned Manhattan around.

We can only speculate why the McCourts tolerate such crude behavior, but Dodger Stadium is nowhere near the family-friendly place it used to be.

All they need to do is have a pre-game meeting and tell the security people to start issuing warnings to the rowdy creeps early - before they start destroying the game for everyone else. Then toss them at the second offense. It's not complicated.

Josh, are you reading this?

2007-04-16 14:17:32
105.   Bumsrap
60 I don't think the Dodgers can count on Anderson hitting too many pinch doubles or homeruns so not that much is lost with Peirre pinch hitting instead and gained is better hit and run and bunting.

The replay of Martin's throw looked to me that he threw high partly because the umpire got in the path of the ball just before Martin was going to release the throw.

2007-04-16 14:18:44
106.   Bob Timmermann
I got hit by a flying object (I believe it was a rubber ball) when I went to coachjpark's game last year and I sat in the RF pavilion. I guess somebody really hated Team South Africa in the WBC.
2007-04-16 14:31:07
107.   Daniel Zappala
106 That was me. I hate your cat.
2007-04-16 14:31:58
108.   underdog
His cat is South African? I'm confused.

Btw, I dropped Josh a line at ItD about the fan behavior thing. Maybe later he'll address it, when time allows.

2007-04-16 14:32:15
109.   Bob Timmermann
But I had burnished my cat before the game!
2007-04-16 14:32:19
110.   Black and Blue
Just a comment on yesterday from a little different perspective. Those of us who live outside the US are subjected to a constant stream of America-bashing from our official media outlets, from the informal media, from friends and family, from all sides really. Watching yesterday I was at times quite profoundly moved by the contributions of decent, dignified, good-humoured people who appeared throughout the game, and by the absolutely genuine respect for Jackie and Rachel Robinson and their contribution to American society. It seemed to me that the whole day was about dignity and respectful pride, and for me it was a nice reminder of what a special place America is.

As for the game, I'll just say it is such a pleasure watching Russell Martin. Fancy outfielders hitting home runs are nice (and it's great that we have some coming) but a catcher like that is someone you build a championship team around.

2007-04-16 14:32:57
111.   ToyCannon
Mr. Timmerman is it possible to find out how many hitters started out 1/24 and what they ended up with for say the last 20 years? I expect most of them ended up having successful seasons but it is just a hunch.
2007-04-16 14:35:08
112.   thinkblue0
all this pierre talk as pinch hitter = ain't gonna happen.

I'm no fan of Pierre...but let's face it, the guy isn't going to hit THIS bad all year. While I'm not a fan, I really hope he and Furcal wreak havoc on opposing teams running the basepaths.

Is there any news on Schmidt or should we assume he just had a bad outing?

It'll sure be nice if we can get away with a win tonight and nab sole possession of first place...sure it's early, but it still looks nice in the standings.

2007-04-16 14:36:26
113.   Greg S
110. Nice comment. Thanks, we're not all bad we're just drawn that way.

And you're right about Russell. MVP's are usually chosen by offensive stats alone but if they weren't, my money would be on him.

2007-04-16 14:44:14
114.   D4P
I'm no fan of Pierre...but let's face it, the guy isn't going to hit THIS bad all year

Normally, when a player is hitting 100 points or so worse than normal, you think "He can't possibly be THIS bad all year. He's just getting unlucky. His groundballs and line drives will start finding gaps, or his long flyballs will start missing gloves, or etc."

But in Pierre's case, has he appeared unlucky thus far? Is he clearly hitting the ball different from the way he normally hits it?

From what I can tell, he's doing what he always does: hitting soft groundballs.

2007-04-16 14:47:28
115.   Greg S
114. In all fairness to Pierre "what he always does" does include hitting .300. So yes, he looks terrible but so did Albert Pujols until yesterday. Pierre is likely to improve to the lever he has been at up until now. I think we would mostly agree that level is not acceptable but it IS higher than what he's shown so far.
2007-04-16 14:53:37
116.   Bob Timmermann
I assume you would mean non-pitchers. I'd have to ask the Retrosheet people to see if they could help with that.
2007-04-16 14:54:26
117.   KBL
I have noticed that during low scoring games the fans tend to start more fights. I have seen two people arrested, both at Giants games, and now my wife refuses to go to Giants' games, mostly because she hates the negative jeering. I tend to agree with her. I would rather cheer on the Dodgers than chant "Barry Sucks" etc. I must admit, though, the fantastic fan experiences far outweigh the bad ones. I just tend to remember the bad ones more.
2007-04-16 14:55:30
118.   Eric Enders
113 "And you're right about Russell. MVP's are usually chosen by offensive stats alone but if they weren't, my money would be on him."

His stats are excellent too, though. To take two wildly disparate statistical formulas, Martin is currently:
- The 5th best player in the league according to VORP
- The 6th best player in the league according to Yahoo's Fantasy Baseball rankings

If he keeps up this pace (admittedly a big if), he will be a very legitimate contender for the MVP.

2007-04-16 14:56:30
119.   Fallout
Did anyone take notice when a picture of Jackie Robinson, wearing a suit, was on the screen that Joe Morgan described him as looking "clean"? He then seemed to catch himself and added something liked, "Always dressed well."
2007-04-16 14:57:38
120.   Eric Enders
111 Well, we can start the list with J.D. Drew in 2005.
2007-04-16 14:58:06
121.   trainwreck
I think we get to see Russell as an All-Star this year.
2007-04-16 14:59:39
123.   Eric Enders
122 Site rules and decorum, apparently.
2007-04-16 15:00:08
124.   ToyCannon
BlueJays taking it on the chin. Losing BJ, Glaus, and Johnson in one weekend.
2007-04-16 15:02:09
125.   ToyCannon
Did you catch the numbers that Vinny threw out the other day on Martin. Seems he's crushing LHP but not so much against RHP.

The West could have 3 solid catchers for the next 5 years in Martin/Ianetta/Montero. The Giants next catcher will probably be La Duca:)

2007-04-16 15:03:51
126.   bhsportsguy
Rachel Robinson on the Big Show right now on 710 ESPN in L.A. area, you can catch it on the internet too.
2007-04-16 15:03:55
127.   Jon Weisman
Heck, I didn't even see 122.
2007-04-16 15:05:00
128.   tskent
My gut instincts tell me an awful lot of folk out there are going to be oweing Mr. Pierre a KLoft type of apology before its all said and done.
2007-04-16 15:05:03
129.   underdog
125 Ack! Lo Duca's not old or infirm enough to be on the Giants yet. But maybe soon. I'd actually hate to see that, though; part of me still holds some small measure of fondness for Paulie.
2007-04-16 15:05:05
130.   Greg S
118. Yes but wouldn't you agree that the stats that are looked at pretty much end with Avg/HR/RBI?
2007-04-16 15:15:47
131.   trainwreck
There is a great sketch out of Will Ferrell dealing with a baby landlord, if only I could post the link here. There is just too much baby swearing.
2007-04-16 15:17:36
132.   Marty
131 wow. I just watched that
2007-04-16 15:18:03
133.   Eric Enders
128 If by a Lofton-type apology you mean, "I'm sorry you can't judge fly balls and even sorrier I had to endure your outfield defense," then you might be right.
2007-04-16 15:22:32
134.   tskent
I was thinking more of an apology on the lines of, "We don't play postseason ball without your contributions last season Kenny. I'm sorry for bashing you over and over and over again. I was wrong. I apologize."
2007-04-16 15:25:11
135.   D4P
From ESPN:

The hiring of Piniella and an offseason spending spree that saw general manager Jim Hendry commit almost $320 million to contracts were supposed to restore the competitiveness of a team that returned to its shabby past after coming within five outs of reaching the World Series in 2003. But the Cubs stumbled out of the gate, as usual, losing their first three games at home during a 4-7 start that renewed questions the winter's activity had failed to answer.

Why can't the Cubs win? Are they significantly improved after adding Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, Cliff Floyd, Mark DeRosa and Daryle Ward?

Gee, it's a mystery.

2007-04-16 15:25:16
136.   natepurcell
I think we get to see Russell as an All-Star this year.

I hope so but McCann is probably going to get one spot and with the east coast/new york media, lo duca probably has the other spot.

2007-04-16 15:26:25
137.   overkill94
128 If Pierre does somehow manage a .360 OBP and .763 OPS then a lot of us would gladly admit we were wrong. Lofton's defense though...
2007-04-16 15:29:52
138.   Greg S
Please don't feed the animals.
2007-04-16 15:30:59
139.   overkill94
As for fan experiences...

I don't think that video was from last night because I figured I would have noticed it from my seat (Loge, behind home plate). I'm assuming that's from Saturday's game where we got pummelled, thus enraging the pavillion drunkards even more.

I did see some good-natured ribbing last night when some guys dressed in full Padre gear walked up to their seats, but I never saw anything thrown. The only complaint I had from last night was about the guy sitting in front of me who went on a profanity-laced rant about how he hates America while they were doing "God Bless America". Other than that it seemed like a very well-behaved night for such a large crowd.

2007-04-16 15:37:24
140.   GMac In The 909
138 Can we use flash photography?
2007-04-16 15:50:56
141.   das411
Ahhh just found out that my longtime best friend down at VT is fine, was not actually on campus this morning and seems to have picked the right weekend to go visit other friends!

Kind of puts all of the Pierre, Lugo, etc -bashing into perspective though...please keep the students and community of Virginia Tech in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days. Thanks.

2007-04-16 15:51:59
142.   blue22
139 - You can trace the video to Gaslamp from AOL:

One of their commenters says it was Friday night, so it must've been aggression fueled by superiority rather than frustration...

2007-04-16 15:53:43
143.   underdog
141 Good to hear and a good reminder/perspective check, thanks.
2007-04-16 15:54:32
144.   underdog
142 I don't think that's all it was fueled by...
2007-04-16 15:56:03
145.   blue22
144 - Ironic (or fitting?), that you've got to be pretty drunk to waste all that expensive beer...
2007-04-16 16:04:47
146.   hernari

Furcal, SS
Pierre, CF
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Gonzalez, LF
Martin, C
Ethier, RF
Betemit, 3B
Penny, P

2007-04-16 16:07:36
147.   underdog
That ItD post also has a nice report from DeJon Watson on the minors. Check it out.
2007-04-16 16:08:51
148.   Eric Enders
The following is, of course, meaningless, and is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Russell Martin, 2007, projected to a 162-game season:
G 149
R 149
H 203
2B 27
HR 14
RBI 95
SB 54
CS 0
BB 95
K 95

BA .366
OPB .449
SLG .488
OPS .937
OPS+ 153
VORP 105.3

Opposition SB 54
Opposition CS 54

2007-04-16 16:09:57
149.   overkill94
146 Come on Wilson, show em what you can do! Of course this has nothing to do with him being on my fantasy team or anything...
2007-04-16 16:10:56
150.   overkill94
148 M! V! P! M! V! P!
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-04-16 16:11:51
151.   underdog
From De Jon Watson: "We just received Yhency Brazoban and he'll be starting for us today in San Bernardino."
2007-04-16 16:12:14
152.   Dodgers49
147 - Yep. I was especially interested in the following:

>>> Yhency Brazoban and he'll be starting for us today in San Bernardino. <<<

2007-04-16 16:12:20
153.   D4P
M! V! O! R! P!
M! V! O! R! P!
2007-04-16 16:15:10
154.   Dodgers49
147 - Sorry underdog. :-) I guess I should have waited another minute.
2007-04-16 16:15:27
155.   Greg S
148 - I guess you're right... A catcher who throws out 50% of runners while hitting .366 with 154 runs and 54 stolen bases would indeed be likely to win MVP.
2007-04-16 16:23:35
156.   underdog
154 No worries! I was going to add a comment about "we just received" making it sound like Yhency was FedExed to San Bernardino or someething. ;-)

Even though he's starting, I'd assume he won't be allowed to pitch more than 2-3 innings...

2007-04-16 16:24:37
157.   bhsportsguy
151 For those wondering, players on the disabled list can be assigned for 20 days if a non-pitcher or 30 days for a pitcher to any minor-league affilliate.

So Rudy has about a month before he may have to look for a new gig.

2007-04-16 16:29:43
158.   underdog
Rudy Seanez, voted Player Most Likely to Be "Placed on Reserved/Retired List" by summer.
2007-04-16 16:40:40
159.   bhsportsguy
158 Nah, he'll just be DFA'ed because I don't think he will report to Vegas.
2007-04-16 16:43:28
160.   gibsonhobbs88
136-We need to get a good campaign out here to get Russell one of those spots. He already is making a case for himself to be named the next Dodger Captain within another year or two. He has a Campanellaesque quality to his leadership and maturity on the field.

139 - I was sitting in the infield reserve section, fans mostly behave in this section, just a few "Padres suck, Angels Suck" chants later in the game when Dodger fans felt the game was in hand.

I really enjoyed the game. I joked with my wife that the Dodgers seemed to have channeled Jackie's spirit and competitiveness by stealing 5 bases including Jeff "piano on his back" Kent.
She replied Jackie is down there helping them like the movie "Angels in the Outfield" except it was Jackie on the basepaths!

2007-04-16 16:45:56
161.   Jon Weisman
Tony Jackson explains "Alice."

2007-04-16 16:52:41
162.   Bob Timmermann

Tour de force for Vic Tayback.

2007-04-16 16:57:07
163.   bhsportsguy
161 "funniest sitcoms ever"? Really?

I hope that comment doesn't color my opinion about his reporting on the Dodgers.

But I do like his blog, so I guess I can let one comment go now and then.

2007-04-16 16:59:46
164.   GoBears
160. Jon Miller and Joe Morgan make the same observation - that the Dodgers seemed to be playing "Jackie-style" with all the stolen bases.

Let me ask the historians among us: how apt is this? Robinson stole 197 bases in his MLB career (which, I grant you, didn't start until he was 28, and likely at or past his base-stealing prime). That's an average of 23 per 162 games, with a career-best of 37 in his MVP year (1949, age 30).

I know that his famous steal of home against the Yankees is the stuff of legend, but was Robinson really a base-stealing machine? He was efficient - (only 30 career CS), but it doesn't appear as though he tried that often, even by modern, slugger-era standards. The proper comparison, I guess, is with the era - were those 23SB/season unusual for the era?

I ask out of ignorance. I'd be willing to believe it if you were to tell me that he'd have stolen 60-70/season had he come up 20 yrs later.


2007-04-16 17:02:07
165.   Jon Weisman
164 - In a way, what you're setting up is the discussion of how Maury Wills revolutionized the game - although I have argued on Dodger Thoughts that Wills gets too much credit for this.
2007-04-16 17:08:58
166.   Bob Timmermann
In 1946, Pete Reiser of the Dodgers led the NL in steals with 39. Robinson led the NL in 1947 with just 29.

In 1950, Dom DiMaggio led the AL with 15.

2007-04-16 17:09:51
167.   GoBears
Hmm, to partially answer my own question, Robinson DID lead the league in SBs twice (1947 and 1949). I don't have averages, but league leaders stole a lot more bases through the 1920s, then dropped off in the 30s, 40s, and 50s (with a couple of outlier exceptions).

So, yeah, clearly Robinson was stealing more than most folks in the late 1940s/early 1950s, but it seems odd that this is considered part of the way he changed the game.

Here's the link:

2007-04-16 17:13:03
168.   underdog
I'd argue that the astonishing number of times Jackie Robinson stole home - which I believe is 19 - adds to his base-stealing mystique.
2007-04-16 17:18:14
169.   Jon Weisman
New post coming up top.
2007-04-16 17:26:55
170.   GoBears
168. Good point. That makes sense.

I'm not saying that he wasn't a good base-stealer, just that 23/yr didn't seem like enough to build a legend on. 2 steals of home per year is impressive, but it actually indicates one of two things:

1. Stealing bases was much easier back then, and should have been done much more often by more players, or

2. Robinson was particularly good at it (fast, smart, whatever), and should have been turned loose more often. And 87% success rate is hard to argue with.

So I guess Babe Ruth and the 27 Yankees ruined "small ball" even more thoroughly than the juiced balls and players did...

And I say that, without irony, as a believer in power and patience.

2007-04-16 17:40:46
171.   rockmrete
The behavior at games has become boorish, I went to the game last Tuesady with my three Little league age boys. All of us wearing Dodger gear. I grabbed a beach ball and handed it to the usher, only to ridiculed by fellow dodger fans. Worse, later an other beach ball made it's way just above us and I was pummeled with it twice. Followed by three innings of more ridicule with no one even attempting to lend a hand...Sad.

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