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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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What Is a Fourth Starter?
2007-12-18 08:55
by Jon Weisman

In the wake of the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda signing, Dodger Thoughts commenter Eric Stephen researched the realties of No. 4 starters in the National League. Enjoy his work!

With the recent signing of Hiroki Kuroda by the Dodgers, many reports peg Kuroda as the team's "fourth starter." What should we expect of Kuroda in 2008? How well will Kuroda have to perform to be considered a success? To define his success, we need to figure out just what a fourth starter is, and how will Kuroda compare with his 2007 Dodger counterparts.

The Dodgers' "Big Three" of Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley, and Derek Lowe are all above average pitchers. In 2007, they combined for 85 starts and put up stellar numbers, a combined 3.44 ERA and 133 ERA+. No team in the NL got better pitching out of its top three starters (ranked by IP) in 2007:

LA850.612518 1/33.44133
SD980.592594 1/33.24125
Atl960.594591 1/33.50122
Chi1000.540618 1/33.90119
Ari1000.580633 1/34.01117
SF910.429551 2/34.05110
Col880.534545 4.43108
Cin980.490620 4.35107
NY950.579568 1/33.99107
Hou940.511581 4.23104
Pit930.462587 1/34.18104
Mil890.528531 1/34.6197
Phi910.571544 1/34.8495
StL880.466516 4.8092
Was720.472389 4.8487
Fla950.474531 5.2482

The Dodgers had the highest ERA+ at 133 (Note: When I plugged in Dan Haren's 2007 into Arizona's numbers to replace Livan Hernandez, their ERA+ is also 133) and highest winning percentage at .612. However, only the Washington Nationals got fewer starts out of their "Big Three," and only the Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals got fewer innings than the Dodgers.

Outside of the "Big Three," I lumped every other starter into a category called "The Rest." Here is how "The Rest" fared in the NL in 2007:

Ari620.516324 2/34.66101
Col750.573398 1/34.79100
Mil730.493401 2/34.48100
Chi620.500337 1/34.7299
SF710.451417 4.4999
Phi710.521394 5.0092
NY670.493372 1/35.0385
StL740.500373 5.3882
Hou680.368376 2/35.4581
LA770.390398 2/35.7180
Cin640.375337 5.8080
Was900.433467 5.3479
SD650.477340 2/35.6372
Fla670.388326 6.1370
Atl660.409325 2/36.1669
Pit690.362345 2/36.4368

While other teams may have gotten worse pitching from the dregs of their rotation than the Dodgers, only the Nationals had more starts from their back end.

The Dodgers' pitching figures to improve in 2008 simply by having Chad Billingsley in the rotation for a full season (he only made 20 starts in 2007). Having Kuroda will also help, albeit it a hefty cost ($12.3 million for 2008 alone), as he simply has to replace the dastardly duo of Mark Hendrickson & Brett Tomko, who combined for a putrid 5.84 ERA in 30 starts and 155.2 innings in 2007.

Looking further into the numbers, it underscores how important depth is when evaluating potential starting rotations. There is simply no such thing as a five-man rotation, at least in literal terms. It really does take a village to build a pitching staff. In 2007, the average NL team used:

  • 10.7 starters
  • 8 pitchers with 5+ starts
  • 6 pitchers with 10+ starts
  • 3.8 pitchers with 20+ starts
  • 2.3 pitchers with 30+ starts

    The Cubs got the most starts out of their top five starters, with 152. Here are the numbers for each NL team:

    Chi - 152 (93.8%)
    SD - 143 (87.7%)
    Ari - 139 (85.8%)
    Mil - 137 (84.6%)
    SF - 136 (84.0%)
    NY - 133 (82.1%)
    Atl - 133 (82.1%)
    Hou - 131 (80.9%)
    Fla - 131 (80.9%)
    Cin - 129 (79.6%)
    Pit - 127 (78.4%)
    StL - 125 (77.2%)
    Phi - 123 (75.9%)
    Col - 122 (74.8%)
    LA - 118 (72.8%)
    Was - 103 (63.6%)

    Those pesky Nationals again kept the Dodgers out of the bottom spot.

    Using, I ranked each team's starters by innings pitched to define each rotation slot, and averaged them. I used the league 4.43 ERA to calculate the cumulative ERA+, so they may be a bit off. Here are the numbers for the 2007 NL:

    Rotation SlotGSIPIP/startH/9HR/9BB/9K/9ERAERA+
    #1 Starters33.3209.76.319.000.833.006.623.84115
    #2 Starters30.9187.46.069.331.132.746.284.32103
    #3 Starters27.9160.45.759.381.163.386.584.5398
    #4 Starters21.7124.45.739.
    #5 Starters16.488.95.4310.171.263.355.845.0787
    #6 Starters11.360.45.3710.181.153.326.225.2684

    What's interesting is that even if you expand the average NL rotation to include six starters, that still leaves roughly 21 starts unaccounted for!

    What does this mean for the Dodgers? None of the eight hurlers who started a game for the Dodgers outside their "Big Three" had an ERA+ of 100 or better. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins can share this dubious claim. Think about that for a moment. Nearly every team in the NL got league average innings out of at least one starter outside their top three. Not the Dodgers. David Wells and his 5.12 ERA in seven Dodger starts made him the fifth best starter on the team!

    What does this mean for Kuroda? If they can get more than 124 IP with an ERA+ of 96 or more out of their newest Japanese import, they will be above average in the National League, and I'd call his season a success.

    (Editor's note: And if the Dodgers' top three retain their advantage over the rest of the NL, so much the better.)

    * * *

    In other Dodger Thoughts commenter news, Nate Purcell went through Kuroda's 2007 boxscores and determined (with some small amount of self-confessed margin for error) that Kuroda's groundout/flyout ratio was 2.25 to 1.

  • Comments (260)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2007-12-18 09:50:04
    1.   Jacob L
    That's nice work, Eric. The conclusion that I draw is that its not a horrible idea to ridiculously overpay for average production from the back end of the rotation.
    2007-12-18 09:51:54
    2.   Bob Timmermann
    LAT'ed while looking for the difference between baseballs in North America and Asia:

    In North America, cowhide is used to cover baseballs. In Asia, it's horsehide. There is a difference in its tackiness.

    2007-12-18 09:52:43
    3.   bhsportsguy
    Of course, the Dodgers still need to score more runs.

    (Just saying)

    2007-12-18 09:53:24
    4.   MC Safety
    Coletti wasnt a good GM last year is what I get from it.
    2007-12-18 09:54:02
    5.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
    Awesome perspective! I really liked that analysis. Thanks for that.
    2007-12-18 09:56:08
    6.   ToyCannon
    Great stuff. I can remember arguing that we were only asking for Tomko to be a 5th starter for the last two years but that didn't turn out very well. I knew the back end of our rotation was bad but I didn't know it was that bad.
    Kershaw can't get here fast enough for me. I hope he dominates enough that he's pitching in some capacity for us in August. I think even if he does a Joba like job out of the bullpen he could have an impact.
    2007-12-18 09:56:39
    7.   D4P
    The conclusion that I draw is that David Wells is a(n) FTOG.
    2007-12-18 09:57:18
    8.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
    Of course, the thing I like most about the Kuroda signing is the idea that it probably quells the rumors of Kemp plus others for Bedard, etc. If he makes a league-average contribution for the rotation, so much the better.

    Upside, fantasy-like: if the "big three" pitch slightly above their projections, Schmidt does something miraculous, and Kuroda is league-average, we could be looking at 90+ wins regardless of how many games JP and Garciapara take to play themselves out of their jobs...

    2007-12-18 09:58:07
    9.   bhsportsguy
    1 Great work Eric.
    2007-12-18 10:01:58
    10.   kinbote
    Great read. It's important to remember the interrelationship of all things pitching. Having starters who can pitch deep [and effectively] into the later innings affects both the rest of the rotation and the bullpen. If Kuroda can perform at the level outlined above, his impact will be felt beyond his personal statistics.
    2007-12-18 10:03:35
    11.   Reiichi
    That back end of the rotation looks like it killed us more than our PVL in the fielding positions.

    Assuming the big 3 stay healthy and and continue to produce at last years levels, the back end of our rotation will likely determine if we make the post season. I wouldn't call 96 ERA+ a success for the money being paid, but it would be a significant upgrade over what we had pitching #4 last year.

    2007-12-18 10:04:55
    12.   CanuckDodger
    6 -- I think it would be short-sighted having Kershaw in the majors in his age 20 season, like Edwin Jackson, and I doubt he adds all the polish he needs in just a few more months in the minors in 2008. I think McDonald is the starter prospect we have to look forward to making the jump first. Just compare their numbers in Double A. The different walk rates alone tell a story (McDonald's command is much more more advanced).
    2007-12-18 10:05:26
    13.   kngoworld
    Outstanding work Eric, really very informative and helpful.
    2007-12-18 10:05:47
    14.   Jon Weisman
    I added Nate's work on Kuroda's groundball ratio to the post.
    2007-12-18 10:09:00
    15.   Humma Kavula
    Eric, this is great work and tremendous research. You should be proud.

    I have a question. You note:

    None of the eight hurlers who started a game for the Dodgers outside their "Big Three" had an ERA+ of 100 or better. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins can share this dubious claim. Think about that for a moment. Nearly every team in the NL got league average innings out of at least one starter outside their top three.

    But we also see that taken as a whole, the third starter has an ERA+ of 98 and the fourth starter and ERA+ of 96. Do the Dodgers (as far as the 4th starter is concerned), Pirates and Marlins drag these averages down below 100, even though all the other teams are at 100 or greater?

    2007-12-18 10:11:10
    16.   Xeifrank
    To me this underscores what terrible luck the Dodgers starting pitchers had with injuries last year (Schmidt, Wolf, Guo). Well, perhaps not all of it was bad luck, some of it was probably predictable. But all three!!? It would be the equivalent of Schmidt, Kuroda and Loaiza all going down with early season injuries in 2008 and lost for the rest of the season. Not too many teams are prepared to lose 3-5ths of their rotation. vr, Xei
    2007-12-18 10:11:37
    17.   Humma Kavula

    Nate, what kind of conclusions or projections can we draw from the 2.25:1 GB:FB ratio? Does that number mean that we shouldn't expect Derek Lowesque numbers, but some success wouldn't be surprising?

    2007-12-18 10:11:56
    18.   Xeifrank
    14. Was that only for outs, or all batted balls? vr, Xei
    2007-12-18 10:13:07
    19.   Paul Scott
    That GB rate is new information for me and could completely change my opinion on this acquisition. I have no idea how well it holds up on translation to the US.

    Nate (or anyone),
    I know it would be a small sample size, but do you have any information on whether GB rates stay steady when moving from Japan to the US, or, whether the GB rates in Japan are - on average - comparable across the league to the US?

    2007-12-18 10:14:00
    20.   Xeifrank
    2.25% would've been 8th in the MLB last year.
    vr, Xei
    2007-12-18 10:14:35
    21.   Reiichi
    15 since the starters were ranked by IP, it is possible that the ERA 100+ depth might not have necessarily been in the #4 or even #5 starters slot.

    Basically, the Dodgers had no ERA 100+ depth whatsoever from 4 down.

    2007-12-18 10:15:16
    22.   D4P
    Nate, what kind of conclusions or projections can we draw from the 2.25:1 GB:FB ratio?

    Seems to me we'd really need to know where linedrives fit in before we can really make accurate projections. Clearly, Ratio A would have very different implications than Ratio B, despite having the same GB:FB ratios.

    Ratio A: 9 GBs, 1 FB, 10 LD

    Ratio B: 9 GBs, 1 FB, 1 LD

    2007-12-18 10:15:45
    23.   regfairfield
    17 If it's true, I'm a lot more enthusiastic about this signing. The Dodgers should be targetting ground ball pitchers given how Dodger Stadium plays.

    19 If what Bob said about the Japanese leagues is true, I'd imagine it'd go down with less people trying for the fences and most players just trying to put the bat on the ball.

    2007-12-18 10:16:46
    24.   Kevin Lewis
    Great analysis. Does this mean our back end of the rotation was actually the "trash can". Maybe Kent should have been complaining about the pitching.
    2007-12-18 10:17:03
    25.   Xeifrank
    Conceivably your worst starter could be your #1 starter using IP as the definition. Perhaps an IP & ERA+ combined weighting could be used to determine the starter slots?
    vr, Xei
    2007-12-18 10:17:53
    26.   ToyCannon
    With that GB rate, he is going to love having Kent play 2nd base for him.
    2007-12-18 10:18:07
    27.   Eric Stephen
    Wolf was the #4 starter, in that he threw the 4th most IP. His ERA+ was 97, but no one else was even close to him from the rest of the staff.

    I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I believe the Rockies got 155 starts out of pitchers with an ERA+ of 97 or better.

    Speaking of luck, look at the Dodgers "rest" versus the Padres. The Padres got even worse pitching than the Dodgers (72 ERA+ vs. the Dodgers' 80) yet the Padres' winning percentage in those games was .477 as compared to a nearly league worst .390 for LA.

    I'm sure some of that was due to the Padres' superior bullpen and offense but I don't all of their advantage was due to those factors.

    2007-12-18 10:18:34
    28.   regfairfield
    Bear in mind we were still fourth in the league in runs allowed (and we would be third if we adjusted for park) so either our big three was way better than everyone elses, or there's something we're missing here.
    2007-12-18 10:19:16
    29.   Jon Weisman
    25 - "Conceivably your worst starter could be your #1 starter using IP as the definition."

    Seems unlikely, though.

    2007-12-18 10:20:57
    30.   Paul Scott
    23 Yes, that makes sense and is my initial guess as well. I am just wondering if anyone has any data (a quick google search did not find anything), since too often in Baseball what "makes sense" turns out to be completely wrong.
    2007-12-18 10:21:49
    31.   D4P
    so either our big three was way better than everyone elses

    The 8 point difference in ERA+ between the Dodgers and adjacent Padres is the largest gap between adjacent teams in the Big Three ERA+ standings.

    2007-12-18 10:22:09
    32.   ToyCannon
    Andrew should go on a recruiting trip down to San Diego.
    2007-12-18 10:22:45
    33.   Xeifrank
    29. It was a worst case scenario. But it's also unlikely that your pitchers value/skill would be correctly ranked if done by IPs. Good pitchers miss starts for injuries, or good young pitchers miss starts from spending time in the minors etc...
    vr, Xei
    2007-12-18 10:23:27
    34.   regfairfield
    30 I agree, but since Nate had to figure that out by hand, and from my initial searches, I don't think there's been an exhaustive study.
    2007-12-18 10:23:34
    35.   Jon Weisman
    28 - Well, as Eric shows, our big three was better than everyone else's.
    2007-12-18 10:25:03
    36.   kngoworld
    This is a better question for the last thread but does anyone know the best airport to fly into when heading to Vero Beach? Perferably one that South West uses. Palm Beach International and Orlando appear to be about the same distance away. Any tips?
    2007-12-18 10:26:24
    37.   Jon Weisman
    33 - I understand. But bad pitchers do get hurt too, and they pitch fewer innings per outing to boot, and they get sent to the bullpen, and they get skipped over for starts. Innings pitched is a decent way to organize things.
    2007-12-18 10:26:56
    38.   regfairfield
    35 To my credit, I feel like I'm pretty close to death right now, but that was really dumb of me.

    However, our big three would have less weight than anyone elses because they threw less innings.

    2007-12-18 10:27:42
    39.   Paul Scott
    38 Not to mention Brad Penny's off-season diet.
    2007-12-18 10:29:21
    40.   regfairfield
    Purely anecdotal, but scouting reports suggested that Matsuzaka was a ground ball pitcher in Japan, and he ended up being a fly ball pitcher over here (.92 G/F).
    2007-12-18 10:30:13
    41.   Xeifrank
    37. Sure, but you are going to see skewed numbers when someone like Lincecum is considered a #4 starter. Or Gallardo on Milwaukee a 5th starter if the NL Central was looked at. vr, Xei
    2007-12-18 10:32:40
    42.   regfairfield
    How did Nate get ground ball information from Japanese baseball?
    2007-12-18 10:33:09
    43.   ToyCannon
    Maybe Nate could review the 2006 box scores for Matsuzaka and see what his GB rate was.
    2007-12-18 10:35:11
    44.   D4P
    He's on his winter break: he has nothing else to do anyway.
    2007-12-18 10:35:32
    45.   kinbote
    38 Good point. Penny's inability to go consistently into the late innings is all that separates him from the elite class of pitchers.
    2007-12-18 10:35:47
    46.   Xeifrank
    42. He looked at the game box scores that he pitched in. I think he only got the outs, but nobody has confirmed that here.

    vr, Xei

    2007-12-18 10:36:06
    47.   Bob Timmermann
    Nate went here:
    and then looked at the somewhat abbreviated play by plays for all but one of Kuroda's starts.

    And echoing an earlier comment, Japanese hitters hit more grounders because they are just trying not to strike out.

    2007-12-18 10:36:50
    48.   Reiichi
    29 depends on your manager!

    Wolf had 18 starts of 97 ERA+
    Hendrickson had 15 starts of 88 ERA+
    Tomko had 15 starts of 79 ERA+
    Wells had 7 starts of 89 ERA+
    Kuo had 6 starts of 62 ERA+
    Schmidt had 6 starts of 72 ERA+
    Loaiza had 5 starts of 55 ERA+
    Stults had 5 starts of 79 ERA+

    Kuo, Schmidt, Loaiza, and Stults all went 1-4 each.

    Wells got lucky and went 4-1.

    I had forgotten about Wolf. Kuroda will need to do make many more starts than Wolf's 18 to be much of an improvement. The rest will depend on starters #5-6+ being healthy enough to not go 1-4 or god forbid 2-11.

    2007-12-18 10:37:16
    49.   Jon Weisman
    45 - Where did Penny rank on innings per start last year? I bet it's higher than people think - because of his consistency.
    2007-12-18 10:40:00
    50.   Eric Stephen
    Milwaukee was the only team to get better numbers from outside their "big 3". Gallardo was actually their 6th starter by IP.

    I tried to remove all subjectivity from this. We could go through and debate which starter occupied which slot, but in reality the innings pitched kind of determine that. Think of it as a way to show how teams allocated their staters' innings. Perhaps if Gallardo was called up sooner, the Brewers would have had a bigger division lead and would have made the playoffs. But they didn't, and that's instructive.

    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2007-12-18 10:40:21
    51.   regfairfield
    47 I checked there, but could only find them for 2007, is that all there is?
    2007-12-18 10:40:30
    52.   D4P
    Japanese hitters hit more grounders because they are just trying not to strike out

    Are any Japanese teams looking for a centerfielder...?

    2007-12-18 10:45:56
    53.   kinbote
    49 Penny was 9th in the NL in overall IP. At quick glance, in 33 starts, he pitched:

    5 innings or fewer: six times
    6/6+ innings: 13 times
    7/7+ innings: 13 times
    8 innings: once

    2007-12-18 10:46:02
    54.   Bob Timmermann
    I think the owner of the website has them, but he might not have the boxscores on his website now.
    2007-12-18 10:47:22
    55.   Jon Weisman
    53 - Yeah, I don't know, but I have to think 27 starts of six innings or more and 14 starts of seven innings or more rank highly.
    2007-12-18 10:48:29
    56.   Eric Stephen
    I have my Excel file at home. I can search when I get home, unless Nate isn't busy. :)

    I know Penny averaged 6.30 IP per start.

    2007-12-18 10:50:30
    57.   Sushirabbit
    53, that does surprise me. Penny really impressed me this year. Here's to him winning the CY Young next year (and getting one HR in DS).
    2007-12-18 10:51:13
    58.   Suffering Bruin
    Dear Eric,




    2007-12-18 10:51:47
    59.   regfairfield
    55 Penny was 35th in baseball in innings pitched per start (min 100 IP).
    2007-12-18 10:53:58
    60.   kinbote
    55 Jon, I'm failing at finding his NL rank for innings pitched. I think you're right, though: his overall consistency is what would place him highly in that category. Another topic up for debate is how much Little's handling of him impacted his pitching line. I wonder how many times he wanted to go out for the 8th inning?
    2007-12-18 10:54:01
    61.   Johnny Nucleo
    Let me second everyone's compliments on a really interesting piece of work, Eric.

    Something I don't fully understand: among the "big 3", the Padres had more innings pitched and a lower ERA, but a lower ERA+ . Does this reflect park adjustments?

    2007-12-18 10:56:22
    62.   Jack Dawkins
    36 Would you be flying Southwest from an LA area airport? If so, the advantage to flying into Orlando is that you'd likely have fewer stops and plane changes.

    I researched this same question last year and I don't believe any carrier has direct flights from any LA airport to West Palm. Plenty directs from LAX to Orlando, though.

    2007-12-18 10:58:53
    63.   regfairfield
    More importantly, he was 14th in the NL, since comparing him to AL pitchers in unfair.
    2007-12-18 11:01:28
    64.   ToyCannon
    What a difference a year makes when talking about a Penny.
    2007-12-18 11:01:37
    65.   kngoworld
    62 Thanks. Those are pretty much the same results I am getting. Most likely going to fly from LA area, but possibly Las Vegas. Orlanda is offering quite a few more trips then Palm Beach.
    2007-12-18 11:04:26
    66.   Bleed Dodger Blue
    Thumping good read, Eric. Thanks for putting that all together.
    2007-12-18 11:07:51
    67.   Eric Stephen
    Yes, it's purely park adjustments. A league average ERA in Dodger Stadium was 4.57, and was 4.04 in Petco.

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words and thanks to Jon for the opportunity!

    2007-12-18 11:15:22
    68.   underdog
    Hah. Check out Ken's picture on Catfish Stew. Nice one.

    And nice work, Eric - this is most illuminating! Considering the Dodgers also have Schmidt (fingers crossed) and Loiaza (toes crossed) plus Kershaw-McDonald-Stults-Kuo, it's hard to imagine how the bottom of the rotation can't be markedly improved over the '07 model.

    2007-12-18 11:15:55
    69.   underdog
    PS: I like this new font, even if it's just accidental.
    2007-12-18 11:19:01
    70.   jasonungar07
    Wow great job, Eric. As much as Jon provides great info and awesome persepctive, it's the group and the commentors that makes this site a must login for me daily. Great job everyone.
    2007-12-18 11:24:28
    71.   Jon Weisman
    69 - The font is called Guestcommentator Gothic Condensed Regular Light.
    2007-12-18 11:32:18
    72.   jasonungar07
    Fox sports:

    Carlos Silva, perhaps the top starting pitcher remaining on the free-agent market, does not figure to be available much longer.

    The Mariners are in serious negotiations with Silva on a contract that would be worth at least $44 million over four years, according to major-league sources.


    2007-12-18 11:45:50
    73.   das411
    This is a terrific post! Hopefully we'll all have it bookmarked to come back to when you guys trade Andy LaRoche for Adam Eaton ;)

    68 - wasn't this the general consensus going into '07 with Schmidt and Wolf added though?

    2007-12-18 11:52:42
    74.   Eric Stephen
    Going into 2007, the "Big Three" were Schmidt-Lowe-Penny, with Wolf in the Kuroda role, and Tomko/Hendrickson in the Schmidt/Loaiza role, with Billingsley-Kuo in the up & coming role (although most of use here thought Billingsley should have been in the rotation much sooner, if not from the beginning of the season).

    Meaning, now matter how much we plan, we will probably need one or more of Kuo, McDonald, or Kershaw to start at some point this season.

    2007-12-18 11:57:33
    75.   natepurcell
    I only figured out Ground out/ fly out ratios.

    They didn't have specifics on whether the hits were groundballs, flyballs or line drives.

    I included sac bunts as ground outs and line outs as fly outs if that makes any difference.

    What does this mean for Kuroda? If they can get more than 124 IP with an ERA+ of 96 or more out of their newest Japanese import, they will be above average in the National League, and I'd call his season a success.

    You could have just used the Kuroda Accord!

    2007-12-18 12:00:39
    76.   Bob Timmermann
    Now the font... it's all gone...
    It's back to normal...

    Ahh, it was a good ride..

    2007-12-18 12:03:33
    77.   Kevin Lewis


    2007-12-18 12:06:25
    78.   Eric Stephen
    If anything, this verifies the parameters of the Kuroda Accord.
    2007-12-18 12:10:35
    79.   Kevin Lewis
    Who is Helene Elliot over at the LAT? She game McCourt a moral/ethical slap on the wrist over the Bennett signing.
    2007-12-18 12:10:51
    80.   Kevin Lewis
    gave, not game
    2007-12-18 12:11:10
    81.   Humma Kavula
    I realize that Jon has better things to do than update/change the sidebar, but I would like to propose that the Kuroda Accord be added -- perhaps just under the "TYFNs."
    2007-12-18 12:13:57
    82.   kinbote
    As a final thought on Penny, I guess it's better to have a pitcher who consistently pitches 6 innings per start than a pitcher who sometimes pitches 8 innings per start. He's done everything we've asked of him, and it's probably for the best we haven't overpitched him. Along with Martin & Saito [and Loney, Kemp, & Bills], he is essentially blameless for our 2007 dud.
    2007-12-18 12:17:00
    83.   kinbote
    72 I know Nate chides himself for use of the term, but is there anything less sexy than the signing of Carlos Silva? Will anyone in Seattle actually be excited?
    2007-12-18 12:20:19
    84.   Paul Scott
    79 The slap is not deserved. If there is one thing more than any other that should be taken from the MR it is that Baseball's doping issues are pervasive. A particular player's presence or absence from the report is meaningless. It does not, however, surprise me in the least that a list of names is the most significant thing our sensationalist, lazy and mostly thoughtless media takes from it.
    2007-12-18 12:22:10
    85.   Bob Timmermann
    Helene Elliott is a longtime writer for the LA Times sports section. She has covered hockey for most of her career, but she has been made a general assignment columnist and is the de facto national hockey writer.

    She has received the hockey equivalent of the Spink Award and she is also a member of the BBWAA.

    2007-12-18 12:22:21
    86.   Jon Weisman
    Helene is in the sportswriting wing of the hockey hall of fame or has some equivalent honor as far as that goes. She has become a general sports columnist for the Times of late. Her insight into non-winter sports leaves something to be desired, though she's a less offensive read than others typically are.
    2007-12-18 12:22:35
    87.   Jon Weisman
    11 seconds...
    2007-12-18 12:22:44
    88.   D4P
    A particular player's presence or absence from the report is meaningless

    Absence = meaningless
    Presence = has meaning

    2007-12-18 12:28:49
    89.   Paul Scott
    88 What meaning and, more importantly, significance do you take from a player's presence in the report? That is, given the pervasive use of PEDs, how would you treat a player named in the report differently from one not named and under what justification?
    2007-12-18 12:30:40
    90.   D4P
    On second thought, I'm more inclined to assume that everyone used PEDs whether their name is in the report or not, so I guess I agree with you (if that's what you're getting at).
    2007-12-18 12:36:10
    91.   Paul Scott
    90 That's what the MR was getting at. The long list of names were, each of them, just points of data or evidence and each with varying degree of import and strength.
    2007-12-18 12:37:22
    92.   Sagehen
    86 Every time I read Helene Elliot's winter sports columns, though, I find myself wishing she spent more time developing her skills in covering baseball. Unlike the other Times columnists, she actually leaves the house and interviews the players. The insights re: baseball aren't quite there yet, but unlike other current columnists, she's actually literate. She even writes whole paragraphs! Nor does she resort to snarkiness to fill out a column (although perhaps she did this morning -- I can't say I've read her latest -- Dodger Thoughts is just a higher priority than the Times)
    2007-12-18 12:37:39
    93.   Bob Timmermann
    A TO Baby! Dickie V's taking a TO!

    2007-12-18 12:38:17
    94.   Disabled List
    That Helene Elliott column rates about 7.2 Plaschkes on the Sanctimony Scale.
    2007-12-18 12:41:14
    95.   Bob Timmermann
    What is the upper limit of the Sanctimony Scale?

    Is the scale arithmetic or logarithmic?

    2007-12-18 12:41:51
    96.   Paul Scott
    IMO, Michael Hiltzik is the best (and only good) sports/sports related reporter LAT has.
    2007-12-18 12:46:54
    97.   Bob Timmermann
    Not that Hitzlik asked to be put on the sports beat however.
    2007-12-18 12:48:25
    98.   Jon Weisman
    96 - These aren't my top sports, so perhaps I can't judge, but Mark Heisler and Sam Farmer strike me as among the best in their profession.
    2007-12-18 12:48:49
    99.   Disabled List
    95 It's logarithmic, like the Richter Scale.

    Plaschke himself is capable of a fearsome 10.0, keeping all those in proximity to him ever-cautious of the inevitable "Big One".

    2007-12-18 12:50:51
    100.   Sushirabbit
    Mr. T, thanks for the HorseHide/CowHide comparison link.
    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2007-12-18 12:54:02
    101.   Bob Timmermann
    You're welcome.

    From what I've read, Japanese pitchers say it isn't a big transition to make compared to other issues (different languages, food, workout routines, strategies, stadiums, monstrously large sluggers...)

    2007-12-18 13:11:07
    102.   Eric Stephen
    Bob, that was a perfect delivery of that news.
    2007-12-18 13:20:40
    103.   Bob Timmermann
    ERIC! You're a PTCER! PRIME TIME COMMENTER! Oh, when you see an Eric Stephen comment, you know it's great...

    And then there's natepurcell, he's one of DT's DIAPER DANDIES! He works so hard at finding out ground ball rates for Japanese pitchers!

    Hey, what about those Japanese pitchers? Oh, I was talking to my friend Joe Torre and he IS ... SO ... EXCITED about the Dodgers.


    2007-12-18 13:21:51
    104.   trainwreck
    Now you just need to throw in random mentions of Coach K, North Carolina, and the Rays.
    2007-12-18 13:23:42
    105.   old dodger fan
    104 And a guarantee that the Yankees will win the WS.
    2007-12-18 13:26:08
    106.   underdog
    73 Sort of, except I didn't see as much young depth on the pitching front as there is now, or soon. Last year there wasn't even a thought of Kershaw or McDonald coming in to help, and on the other hand there was the dark, looming specter of Tomko and Hendrickson. So there are still a few clouds, but it's sunnier.
    2007-12-18 13:38:54
    107.   MC Safety
    104 Dont forget Notre Dame.
    2007-12-18 13:45:06
    108.   Jon Weisman
    Costanza in line for a promotion?

    2007-12-18 13:45:58
    109.   ToyCannon
    If Mark Heisler had his way the Clippers would have given max contracts to Maurice Taylor and Michael Candyman, which would have made Isiah Thomas look like a genius.
    2007-12-18 13:47:50
    110.   ToyCannon
    I enjoy Dickie V
    2007-12-18 13:48:02
    111.   El Lay Dave
    108 "I was wrong, and for that I'm humbly sorry, your honor," Szen told U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz.

    Generally, it's a better course of action to let others determine if "humbly" is the appropriate adverb.

    2007-12-18 13:50:17
    112.   MC Safety
    The Candyman! A friend of a friend had an incriminating photo of him partaking in the yoda at a party out of a very large instrument.

    If you look up stiff in the dictionary, his picture should be right there.

    2007-12-18 13:50:55
    113.   trainwreck
    I like old Dickie V, before he became a charachature of himself.
    2007-12-18 13:52:34
    114.   GoBears
    I'll take Dickie V over Billy Packer any day. He clearly loves the game, and is just a sort of cheerleader. Packer is a bitter old man, who thinks everyone these days is terrible, and is the personification of 20/20 hindsight.

    Vitale can be exhausting to listen to, but at least he's not evil.

    2007-12-18 13:55:09
    115.   GoBears
    113. I think Vitale was born a caricature. He's only 2-dimensional, you know. With distorted features.
    2007-12-18 13:56:59
    116.   Bob Timmermann
    Yea! Another member of the Anti-Billy Packer Marching and Chowder Society!

    Greg Brock and I have had online scraps about Packer.

    Don't forget that Packer hates women's sports too and thinks they just take money away from more deserving male athletes. Preferably American-born male athletes also. Packer is sort of the Lou Dobbs of college basketball.

    2007-12-18 13:57:02
    117.   GoBears
    113 Dickie V caricature

    2007-12-18 14:04:32
    118.   jasonungar07
    Next year should be fun but I am so excited for spring training 09 in Arizona. I will be going for sure to regulate.
    2007-12-18 14:04:40
    119.   Jacob L
    I'll tell you who I do like - Bill Raftery. Insightful and entertaining without being over the top. Enthusiasm seems genuine enough.
    2007-12-18 14:06:59
    120.   trainwreck
    Do I get some Hooters' wings with that?
    2007-12-18 14:13:34
    121.   Bob Timmermann
    2007-12-18 14:14:19
    122.   ToyCannon
    My memory tells I liked Packer when he was teamed with the old Marquette coach. Not so much since then.

    I also like Raftery.

    I think a teaming of Bill Walton and Dickie V would be an interesting listen to.

    2007-12-18 14:21:18
    123.   Bob Timmermann
    The Enberg-McGuire-Packer triumvirate was quite a while ago.

    That was back when the NCAA Tournament was on NBC. Isiah Thomas was still playing college ball.

    Al McGuire stuck around at NBC for a few years after CBS got the rights to the NCAA tournament. But he did return in time to leave us with one of his greatest calls (although I was unhappy at the time with the result of the game.)


    2007-12-18 14:22:22
    124.   Bob Timmermann
    Apparently, just two mackerels.

    2007-12-18 14:48:22
    125.   D4P
    Members of the Enberg-McGuire-Packer triumvirate I've seen at the Raleigh-Durham airport:


    2007-12-18 14:51:47
    126.   ToyCannon
    I had forgotten that Ensberg was part of the team. No wonder I liked them. Now I'll really show my age. He always reminded me of Jack Lemon.
    2007-12-18 14:57:42
    127.   D4P
    Is there a better basketball announcer than Hubie Brown?
    2007-12-18 14:58:01
    128.   Bob Timmermann
    Morgan Ensberg never announced for NBC. ;-)
    2007-12-18 14:58:16
    129.   GiantturnedDodger
    Oh my! I remember (to best of my ability, game 5 V game 6 apologies in advance to those requiring it) going to UCLA basketball games back in the day at Pauley and then coming home and watching a tape delayed replay on Channel 5 at 11:00 with Ensberg announcing. Talk about showing age.
    2007-12-18 15:00:51
    130.   D4P
    What about Dick Edberg, the Swedish tennis player...?
    2007-12-18 15:02:37
    131.   ToyCannon
    For me it has always been Ensberg, I wonder if I called him Enberg before there was a Morgan Ensberg. If only there was a Tivo for the mind. Download the memory and replay it whenever you needed. Can't some of you smart guys work on stuff like that instead of piddling around.
    2007-12-18 15:04:37
    132.   Daniel Zappala
    Do I have to choose between Vitale and Packer? How about we get them both off the air?
    2007-12-18 15:05:38
    133.   Daniel Zappala
    If the government went after everybody who failed to report tips, there'd be a lot of people with a criminal record.
    2007-12-18 15:10:05
    134.   Bob Timmermann
    Daniel is prejudiced against Italians.
    2007-12-18 15:11:25
    135.   trainwreck
    I like Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, and Jimmy Dykes.
    2007-12-18 15:14:51
    136.   ToyCannon
    Which is why he moved to Utah.
    2007-12-18 15:15:40
    137.   Bob Timmermann

    2007-12-18 15:16:14
    138.   Daniel Zappala
    Billy Packer is Italian?
    2007-12-18 15:18:08
    139.   Chuck Churn
    Forgive me for changing the subject but I am having a hard time comprehending Ned's professed need for another reliever. At the moment, the relief squad includes: Saito, Broxton, Beimel, Proctor, Seanez (I believe we offered him a contract?), and presumably, Loaiza (who will be in the pen if Schmidt is healthy). What about Kuo or Hull? I care because this is Ned's final opportunity to trade away young talent (we've dodged the bullet so far). Or maybe he is thinking of signing another free agent?
    2007-12-18 15:18:24
    140.   Jacob L
    There are many, many good college basketball announcers, which makes it frustrating that Nantz, Packer, and Vitale have the most visible jobs. Not as frustrating as Morgan and McCarver in baseball, but along the same lines.
    2007-12-18 15:19:11
    141.   Jon Weisman
    PDH5204 - thanks for your Royals comment at the end of Monday's thread.
    2007-12-18 15:21:31
    142.   Ken Noe
    Eric, I know I'm late to chime in, but that's great stuff. Thanks.
    2007-12-18 15:23:03
    143.   trainwreck
    I wonder how many hits I account for on the Youtube file of that video.
    2007-12-18 15:27:02
    144.   Jacob L
    One more thing on basketball announcers, then I'll let it go -
    Does anyone else like the "classic" Pac 10 team of Barry Thompkins and Dan Belluomini? I can't tell if I actually think they're a good announce team or if its just my nostalgia for a certain era of Pac 10 hoops?
    2007-12-18 15:33:01
    145.   Slipstream
    Nikkan Sports claims that the money Kuroda will receive in his first year w/the Dodgers (salary + signing bonus) will likely exceed the combined salaries of all remaining 64 Japanese players for the Carp. Some of them haven't yet renewed contracts for next year so they are estimating. (in Japanese).
    2007-12-18 15:33:26
    146.   Jon Weisman
    144 - I feel like you do about them.
    2007-12-18 15:37:11
    147.   D Money
    so what you are saying is, we shouldn't convict proven criminals, because there are criminals whose crimes we cannot prove?

    good philosphy

    2007-12-18 15:48:53
    148.   Reiichi
    145 Kuroda was the most expensive player on the Carp last year at around 3m. Current payroll looks like around 8m total for the Carp.

    It seems in Japan the players at the bottom of the roster are only making around 30-40k. Half the team is making under 100k, with the highest paid player on the Carp going to make around 650k.

    Isn't that around minor league pay?

    2007-12-18 16:03:35
    149.   Kevin Lewis

    Are the games affordable to go to in Japan? It doesn't seem like asking to much to have people making 100,000 a year for playing baseball.

    2007-12-18 16:04:06
    150.   LogikReader
    [all of them]

    Hey Bob Timmermann,

    McGuire DID actually say three "Holy Mackerels".

    May Al McGuire rest in peace.


    Dicky V can sometimes be grating, but his enthusiasm is genuine, and his cause honorable, namely, the Jimmy V foundation.

    I enjoy Gus Johnson, Raftery, Enberg, and the rest as well. Gus in particular seems to be typecast as "over-reacting guy" but in truth I think he's a pretty good broadcaster. He tends to save the excitement for when it's actually needed.

    Here's a good demo reel:

    Show/Hide Comments 151-200
    2007-12-18 16:05:08
    151.   Kevin Lewis

    When did HGH use become illegal? It seems like quite a few on the report are for HGH following injuries. I know that is the mantra for a defense, but when was it actually banned?

    2007-12-18 16:06:49
    152.   Suffering Bruin
    Wait a minute. Wait one gosh-forsaken minute.

    Greg Brock likes Billy Packer? Is that what I was skimming upthread?

    Say it ain't so, GB. I will always cheer for you but, please, say it ain't so.

    2007-12-18 16:12:33
    153.   Indiana Jon
    I think a teaming of Bill Walton and Dickie V would be an interesting listen to.

    That guys has got to be the most annoying announcer in the history of sports. I turn off the sound when he's on, even if I can't listen on radio. Not talking about Dickie V by the way.

    2007-12-18 16:13:05
    154.   still bevens
    151 An article I read today said HGH was banned in 2005.
    2007-12-18 16:13:41
    155.   LogikReader
    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute


    Was trainwreck being sarcastic?

    2007-12-18 16:15:06
    156.   trainwreck
    2007-12-18 16:15:58
    157.   LogikReader
    Just checking ;)
    2007-12-18 16:17:14
    158.   Eric Stephen
    For the record, I think Billy Packer's game observations and analysis are top notch and like him from that standpoint. However, his stubborn jackassery knows no bounds and for that I have to heave him on to the "don't like" pile.
    2007-12-18 16:24:37
    159.   trainwreck
    Some channel should do a reality show with Packer and Joe Morgan.

    Everyone would watch it just to build their hate up.

    2007-12-18 16:35:37
    160.   D Money
    i don't recall saying that using HGH was illegal, it was just an example.

    meaning that whatever the league decides to do with the people named should be totally independent of the fact that not everyone was named.

    2007-12-18 16:37:29
    161.   D Money
    and they can announce Barry Bonds daily life in Prison!
    i would love that!
    2007-12-18 16:44:22
    162.   Kevin Lewis

    Sorry about the implied tone. The question was just a question, not me trying to read something in to your statement.

    2007-12-18 17:05:10
    163.   D4P
    Does anyone else like the "classic" Pac 10 team of Barry Thompkins and Dan Belluomini?

    I'm not sure I know who Dan Belluomini is (though I may have heard him announce), but I've always really liked Barry Tompkins.

    2007-12-18 17:19:28
    164.   Sagehen
    139 I like to think that Ned's professed need for a reliever is (1) a recognition that it is possible to do better than Seanez, and (2) all a smokescreen to justify trading Pierre for middle reliever.
    2007-12-18 17:23:21
    165.   Sagehen
    148 Except for the low end, which seems kind of low, that sounds like what a professional baseball player should be paid. An upper middle class income for anyone who makes it to the majors, and an upperclass income for the best players of all. Why does anyone need to make more than half a million dollars a year? (And don't tell me it's to take care of their families). And that includes the owners, by the way.
    2007-12-18 17:26:45
    166.   Eric Stephen
    My favorite Barry Tompkins moment is in Rocky IV, in the early stages of the Balboa-Drago fight, when the Russian was dominating much like he did to Creed, Tompkins says "They might have to stop this fight before somebody gets killed."
    2007-12-18 17:45:32
    167.   Bob Timmermann
    There isn't as much money in baseball in Japan. There is no central TV contract. EACH GAME is negotiated individually. And not a lot of people want to watch the Hiroshima Carp play unless they are taking the two most popular teams: Yomiuri and Hanshin.

    And then I believe that Yomiuri and Hanshin end up with most of the money from those broadcasts.

    The Carp used to be municipally owned like the Green Bay Packers, but now they are in private hands. They try really hard to market the team, but they play in an old stadium and in a relatively small city. The Carp don't draw particularly well.

    Yomiuri and Hanshin all have much higher payrolls and they are turning into the Yankees and Red Sox of Japan. Except they aren't as well-managed.

    The Japanese teams are all corporate-owned, but nearly all of them assign junior executives who know little or nothing about baseball to run the team. Marketing for most teams was awful.

    That's starting to change now. The expansion Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have really pushed their team and other teams are finally wising up to the idea that they can build a local fan base and are adding geographic names to the team to increase fan interest.

    When I first went to visit Japan, the teams that had a city or region name were few: Yokohama BayStars, Hiroshima Carp, Chiba Lotte Marines.

    But now there are the Osaka Orix Buffaloes, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and next year, the Saitama Seibu Lions.

    2007-12-18 17:48:09
    168.   trainwreck
    From Brian Dohn's blog:

    UCLA interim coach DeWayne Walker, a former BYU assistant, was asked what worries him the most about playing the Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl.
    "Really just executing, because they (BYU) don't make any mistakes and they're an older group," he said. "They're well coached. They live right so they have good karma. We're just going to have our hands full so we just can't make mistakes.''

    Well we better just give up if BYU has karma on their side.

    2007-12-18 18:19:04
    169.   Bob Timmermann
    But God is on BYU's side.

    Unless God is on Boston College's side.

    God really needs to pick a side sometime.

    2007-12-18 18:24:09
    170.   trainwreck
    UCLA should hire Joe Gibbs then.
    2007-12-18 18:24:31
    171.   MyTummyHurts
    Is there any real possibility that Pierre will end up in a White Sox uniform or am I just dreaming?
    2007-12-18 18:55:05
    172.   Dodgers49
    171 Is there any real possibility that Pierre will end up in a White Sox uniform or am I just dreaming?

    White Sox Mailbag:

    Is there a possibility of the White Sox going after Juan Pierre? I only ask because I know the Dodgers are looking for third-base help, and since they signed Andruw Jones to play center, perhaps Pierre is expendable?
    --Dane, Lockport, Ill.

    Pierre's current deal calls for him to earn $36.5 million over the next four years. Even with a possible trade involving Joe Crede's contract, the Dodgers would have to kick in some money to make this deal a remote thought.

    There's no denying Pierre stands out as an accomplished leadoff man and base stealer, and he was a favorite of Guillen's during Florida's championship season in 2003. I just don't see Pierre's numbers translating the same in the American League, and he doesn't do much to help the outfield defense. So, there doesn't appear to be a fit.

    2007-12-18 18:55:48
    173.   Daniel Zappala
    God totally goes for the Mormons over the Catholics and the unwashed mashes. The pecking order:

    more Mormons
    non-denominational Christians
    buddists, Jews, and other members of world religions
    Jehovah's Witnesses

    Keep this guide handy when determining who God chooses in any athletic contest.

    2007-12-18 19:00:35
    174.   trainwreck
    Wow, the White Sox reporter makes Gurnick look like a genius.
    2007-12-18 19:04:17
    175.   Marty
    So there's a chance that God is sometimes on the Atheists side. Righteous.
    2007-12-18 19:06:14
    176.   jujibee
    The White Sox also need help at 2nd. Maybe a Tony Abreu and Juan Pierre deal makes sense for a minor leaguer like Fautino De Los Santos.
    2007-12-18 19:16:24
    177.   CanuckDodger
    176 -- We're not trading Abreu. We're one season away from having a "hole" at second base, otherwise.
    2007-12-18 19:19:19
    178.   Daniel Zappala
    God even roots for atheists over unaffiliated schools. He likes it when someone at least takes a side.

    When two unaffiliated schools play each other, he computes the RORP (righteousness over replacement player) of each player, and then chooses the team with the highest average RORP.

    2007-12-18 19:20:52
    179.   Shotupthemiddle
    137 I had completely forgot that Ryan Hollins made both of his free throws in the last minute of that Gonzaga game. Ryan Hollins!
    2007-12-18 19:25:19
    180.   Dodgers49
    Bradley says he'll be ready for Rangers opener

    >> While the Rangers expect him to play right field, Bradley could start the season as their designated hitter. Texas signed the free agent to a one-year, $8 million deal last week. <<

    2007-12-18 19:48:55
    181.   nofatmike
    173 What about the agonostics?
    2007-12-18 19:52:08
    182.   jujibee
    177. Not if we resign Furcal and shift Hu over to second. Who knows, Dewitt might even be closer to be ready by then, either way, I'm not too concerned with who plays 2nd base NEXT year as much as I am on how to get rid of Pierre so we don't have to watch him play wearing a Dodger uniform.
    2007-12-18 19:54:27
    183.   Daniel Zappala
    181 See 178 . They're at the bottom of the heap.
    2007-12-18 19:54:41
    184.   jujibee
    There are limitations to how far I'd go, but I'd definately be willing to shed Abreu and Pierre for a 21 year old pithcer with a pretty decent resume.
    2007-12-18 20:13:40
    185.   68elcamino427
    Eric, great job!
    This will be a great tool throughout the season. Thanks.
    2007-12-18 20:26:58
    186.   CanuckDodger
    182 -- The best defensive SS in the minors is not shifting to 2B. Something like that has probably never happened in baseball. And what makes you think adding Abreu to a trade makes Pierre go away? There is no reason at all to believe that. Pierre isn't going anywhere unless we eat a lot of salary, and eating a lot of salary is probably ALL that is necessary to move Pierre. But Ned probably doesn't want to do that, and McCourt may not even let him.
    2007-12-18 20:31:42
    187.   trainwreck
    Canuck, any other DVD suggestions?
    2007-12-18 21:27:55
    188.   Vishal
    111 i believe the verb is "to be", conjugated as "am". humbly is an adverb. :)
    2007-12-18 21:28:22
    189.   Vishal
    188 okay, i'm an idiot and i can't read. long day, hehe
    2007-12-18 21:29:29
    190.   Vishal
    173 are there a lot of mormons of italian descent?
    2007-12-18 21:30:27
    191.   Andrew Shimmin
    "A lot" is a relative term, when it comes to Mormons.
    2007-12-18 21:41:23
    192.   CanuckDodger
    187 -- When you ordered The Newsroom, did you just get Season One? If that is the case, and you liked Season One, there are two more seasons, and then there is the DVD of the movie, Escape From The Newsroom, which is utterly fantastic.

    Also, you might want to check out a Canadian series called Slings & Arrows, all three seasons of which are on DVD. It stars Paul Gross from the Canadian series Due South, which you may or may not have seen on CBS years ago. Due South is one of the only Canadian shows ever picked up by one of the big American networks. If by chance you have NOT seen Due South, then I recommend the DVD's for that series as well.

    2007-12-18 21:47:11
    193.   Vishal
    192 i only saw a few episodes of the newsroom, but i LOVED it. kind of like a canadian "the office", except i remember seeing it years before i ever heard of the british show.
    2007-12-18 21:54:33
    194.   trainwreck
    I got the entire Newsroom series and movie.

    I remember Due South, but I did not watch it.

    2007-12-18 21:57:36
    195.   CanuckDodger
    193 -- Glad to hear you liked what you saw. I don't know if you are the kind of person who buys DVD's (some people don't), but if you are I recommed collecting the three seasons plus the movie. I think it is one of the best series in TV history -- and better than The Office (either U.S. or U.K. version).
    2007-12-18 22:01:21
    196.   trainwreck
    Nice, I see that Don McKellar and Mark McKinney were also in Slings and Arrows.

    It also seems Rachel McAdams and Sarah Polley were in it for a little bit.

    2007-12-18 22:01:59
    197.   Vishal
    195 do you know a good place to get it, perhaps online somewhere? i don't imagine that it's widely available in the states.
    2007-12-18 22:03:54
    198.   CanuckDodger
    194 -- Okay, what did you think of the movie? The ending is just amazing, in my opinion. So surrealistic.
    2007-12-18 22:09:51
    199.   CanuckDodger
    197 -- Though when I last looked, months ago, they were low on copies (they may or may not have ordered more). If is out of stock, you can use Amazon's Canadian sister company,
    2007-12-18 22:20:13
    200.   trainwreck
    Yeah, I loved it. I was reading how Finkleman did a lot of surrealistic work after the first go around of the Newsroom. Interested in checking that stuff out.
    Show/Hide Comments 201-250
    2007-12-18 22:21:48
    201.   trainwreck
    Love how he went for something completely different after so much time off from that material.
    2007-12-18 22:29:54
    202.   CanuckDodger
    200 -- Yes, in some ways, that other work was even better than The Newsroom, given my tastes. (In short, I think Finkelman is a god.) But his later work was perceived by some to be too "elitst and artsy" and it was not high-rated in Canada. His series More Tears, Foolish Heart, and Foreign Objects (this last one my all-time favorite TV series) are not available on DVD, unfortunately, but his most recent series, At The Hotel, which is a straight drama, IS available on DVD.
    2007-12-18 22:32:53
    203.   Eric Enders
    Wonderfalls, which was cancelled after one season, is another good show that's available from Netflix (although it's only quasi-Canadian).
    2007-12-18 22:35:21
    204.   Bob Timmermann
    And some kid in South Pasadena is running around with the last disc of the series after stealing it out of the outgoing mail from my apartment.
    2007-12-18 22:35:37
    205.   regfairfield
    203 It's a wonderful show, but what's Canadian about it other than Caroline Dhavernas?
    2007-12-18 22:39:15
    206.   Eric Enders
    205 It featured a largely Canadian cast and crew and was filmed entirely in Canada.
    2007-12-18 22:40:50
    207.   Bob Timmermann
    For some reason, they tried to pass off Niagara Falls, Ontario as Niagara Falls, New York when the latter is quite a dump and the former is the tourist trap.
    2007-12-18 22:42:43
    208.   regfairfield
    206 Aren't most shows filmed in Canada though?
    2007-12-18 22:47:07
    209.   natepurcell
    But that's not to say he isn't taking things seriously. Furcal's comeback game last weekend -- in which he played second base, not short, to ease the strain on his shoulder -- was his first in winter league play since signing with the Dodgers in 2005.

    Maybe Furcal moves to 2b for Hu?

    2007-12-18 22:47:48
    210.   Bob Timmermann
    I'm waiting for someone to hit on the idea to film a show in L.A. and pass it off as Vancouver. Or film it in Chicago and pass it off as Toronto.
    2007-12-18 22:57:10
    211.   trainwreck
    Um, they could never go outside. I have no other idea how you can get LA to look like Vancouver.

    That is pretty much, how It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia pulls it off in LA.

    2007-12-18 22:57:28
    212.   CanuckDodger
    202 -- I have checked and apparently Finkleman's At The Hotel is not available from, but it is available from, for $26.38 (Canadian dollars).

    Also, Trainwreck, I can't believe I forgot to recommend Corner Gas. It is still in production (Season Five is airing in Canada now); it is easily Canada's highest-rated comedy in history, and I see that has the DVD's.

    2007-12-18 23:04:30
    213.   trainwreck
    I know I have seen that show on American TV. Don't remember where or when but I know I have seen it.
    2007-12-18 23:07:37
    214.   CanuckDodger
    213 -- I think I read somewhere that W.G.N. in Chicago bought U.S. rights for Corner Gas.
    2007-12-18 23:09:47
    215.   Eric Enders
    They got Southern California to pass for Deadwood, and Scranton, and Utah, so I can't see why they couldn't do it for Vancouver. Just use fog machines.

    Although admittedly, one of the few things The Office does very poorly is make L.A. convincingly look like Scranton. It's like they just decided "ah, screw it" and stopped even trying.

    2007-12-18 23:12:08
    216.   overkill94
    211 If they can make LA look like NY on Seinfeld, then I'm not sure what they couldn't pull off.
    2007-12-18 23:12:29
    217.   silverwidow
    Good Furcal article on his winter ball play and more:

    2007-12-18 23:16:16
    218.   CanuckDodger
    215 -- How many people know what Scranton looks like? I certainly don't. And how many Americans know what Vancouver looks like? The American shows that film here try to avoid the stuff that would make the city they are filming in not resemble Seattle or whatever American city they are trying to pass off Vancouver as.
    2007-12-18 23:18:01
    219.   Bob Timmermann
    I know what both Vancouver and Scranton look like.

    I suppose I am not part of the target demographic for most TV shows.

    2007-12-18 23:20:40
    220.   Eric Enders
    I know what Scranton looks like. And, actually, I also know what Deadwood and Utah look like, which makes the HBO shows somewhat unconvincing also. The location filming on shows like The Sopranos and The Wire added immeasurably to my enjoyment of those shows.

    I mean, if they can film "Rome" in freaking Rome, they should be able to film "Deadwood" in Deadwood.

    2007-12-18 23:25:57
    221.   Eric Enders
    The real Scranton is characterized by old red-brick buildings, factory structures, and forested rolling mountains (which those of us in the West would actually call "hills").

    2007-12-18 23:27:57
    222.   CanuckDodger
    220 -- Rome was the most expensive TV series in history, and had co-financing from the BBC. And while a lot of actors will be fine with spending ages in Italy for filming, how many actors of any note will consent to living in South Dakota for months on end to film?
    2007-12-18 23:32:02
    223.   CanuckDodger
    223 -- Heck, David Duchovny acted like living in Vancouver to film The X-Files was a big bother. South Dakota probably doesn't have as much to offer as Vancouver.
    2007-12-18 23:33:05
    224.   Eric Enders
    "how many actors of any note will consent to living in South Dakota for months on end to film"

    More than you'd think, probably. It's something of an exotic place for Hollywood folk to own vacation homes, like Montana or Santa Fe. Much of the town of Deadwood is actually owned by Kevin Costner.

    But, point taken.

    2007-12-19 00:59:46
    225.   overkill94
    218 I don't think it's important to show what the actual city looks like, just to show that it's freakin' cold - which is hard to do in LA.
    2007-12-19 06:42:43
    226.   Eric L
    220 Deadwood is such a huge tourist trap that it was probably easier to make a back lot in LA look more authentic than the real city.
    2007-12-19 06:58:42
    227.   Daniel Zappala
    190 Not that many, relatively speaking (191 ).
    2007-12-19 07:01:30
    228.   Daniel Zappala
    209 An infield of Hu at short and Furcal at 2B is intriguing. But couldn't Abreu basically put up the same numbers at second and be cheaper?
    2007-12-19 07:06:48
    229.   D4P
    Seems to me that Furcal is (even) less valuable at 2B than at SS. At his best, he's not that great on offense. At his worst, he pretty much sucks.

    If his primary asset is his arm strength, either keep him at SS or get rid of him (and his bloated $13 million contract).

    2007-12-19 07:20:03
    230.   JoeyP
    I cant see the Dodgers extending Furcal, although the market for high OPS shortstops is rather barren even after 2008.

    It'd be nice if the Dodgers could draft a Tulowitski--not likely with White's penchant for high school pitching.

    2007-12-19 07:24:01
    231.   Sushirabbit
    229, Furcal's rank in VORP:
    02 - 4th
    03 - 2nd
    04 - 3rd
    05 - 3rd

    BPs rank chart from ASG 2006 to ASG 2007:
    4th (part while injured)

    Career OPS+ of 94 including last year, is not Tejada (114), but I don't think it sucks, either. (izzy's Career OPS+ is 67)

    2007-12-19 07:24:40
    232.   Marty
    It always made me chuckle when they showed the exterior of Seinfeld's apartment. It was obviously an L.A. building because of the the little square plates indicating earthquake re-enforcement bars. all those old apartments did that after the 1933 quake.
    2007-12-19 07:24:44
    233.   old dodger fan
    Kris Benson and Mark Prior are on the market. I wonder what kind of contracts they will get? They both have the potential to be gold mines or money pits.
    2007-12-19 07:25:21
    234.   ToyCannon
    All we need is to be real crappy and get a top 10 pick. That is the blueprint. Let's be as bad as Colorada and Arizona were so that we can get these blue chip prospects.

    Oh wait a minute. We didn't have to be that bad and somehow we ended up with Martin, Loney, La Roche, Kemp, Billingsley, and Broxton.

    2007-12-19 07:33:34
    235.   ToyCannon
    What do you think the average EQA for a 2nd baseman is compared to a SS these days? I'm just curious because an offensive 2nd baseman seems to be quite rare.

    If Furcal bounces back, which he well, I can easily see the Dodgers extending him. What I can't see is Ned ever going with an infield of Loney, Abreu, Hu, and Laroche in 2008 or 2009 unless forced to by injuries.

    Contrary to what Canuck believes, I can easily see Hu playing 2nd and Furcal SS at times in 2008.

    2007-12-19 07:35:00
    236.   JoeyP
    Career OPS+ of 94 including last year, is not Tejada (114), but I don't think it sucks, either.

    If you consider his salary, which is well above the average SS, then it does suck.

    izzy's Career OPS+ is 67)

    Being better than horrible does have merit. Its sort of crazy that the Cardinals let Izturis remain in the league. I figured he'd go the way of Luis Rivas.

    2007-12-19 07:40:46
    237.   bhsportsguy
    232 Once on a Mary Tyler Moore (show) episode, Mary and Bess, Phyllis' daughter, was seen walking and shopping at an outdoor mall, if you are old enough to have gone there before much of the reconstruction and expansion, you will recognize it as the Century City Shopping Center (the bridge they are walking across is the one that goes over Ave of the Stars, I believe.
    2007-12-19 07:42:20
    238.   JoeyP
    235--There was 11 second basemen that OPS'ed over .800 last year.

    There were only 6 shortstops that OPS'ed over .800 last year.

    Furcal OPS'ed only .687 last year. He was bad, really really bad. His OBP was only .330.. He'll need a bounce back year and then some to get an extension.

    2007-12-19 07:43:09
    239.   bhsportsguy
    234 No space in LaRoche unless Andy changes his mind again.
    2007-12-19 07:43:59
    240.   MC Safety
    230 Hard to argue with White's success. I am absolutely enthusiastic with the job he has done with our farm. Sure, Blair would have been nice, but we are busting at the seams with prospects seemingly everywhere besides OF.
    2007-12-19 07:44:03
    241.   ToyCannon
    Given the importance of middle infield defense using OPS+ to define value seems misguided.
    2007-12-19 07:44:37
    242.   JoeyP
    Omar Viquel's line of .246/.305/.316 at 41 years old got him an extension, so anything is possible.

    Maybe no matter what Furcal does in 2008, the Dodgers will extend him because he's PVL.

    2007-12-19 07:46:18
    243.   D4P
    Furcal OPS'ed only .687 last year. He was bad, really really bad. His OBP was only .330

    And yet, Grittle put insisted on keeping him in the leadoff spot for the entire season, despite the fact that it was clear early on that he was injured and not capable of performing at an acceptable level.

    2007-12-19 07:47:04
    244.   JoeyP
    Let's be as bad as Colorada and Arizona were so that we can get these blue chip prospects.

    Or pay over slot.

    2007-12-19 07:48:44
    245.   ToyCannon
    No one can argue that Furcal was really bad last year. No one can argue that Furcal was the best player on the team in 2006 when taking into account offense and defense.

    Are those numbers for players who had at least 400 plate appearances at those positions. Lots of part time players can post decent OPS numbers when being used in platoon roles.

    Headed into 2007 the average OPS for a 2nd baseman was 763, the average OPS for a SS was 749. I don't think these are translated stats but I got them from BP one day.

    2007-12-19 07:53:48
    246.   D4P
    I'm not sure if I'm looking at this correctly or not, but it looks to me as if:

    Overall 2B OPS in 2007:

    NL: 804
    AL: 761

    Overall SS OPS in 2007:

    NL: 757
    AL: 713

    2007-12-19 07:56:49
    247.   Sushirabbit
    245, no one can argue with those that have already made up their minds, either. :-)
    2007-12-19 07:57:09
    248.   bhsportsguy
    244 I don't think by itself, paying over slot always gets you premier players. Also, it some cases, those players want MLB contracts too, which may not be something the Dodgers want to do since it does limit their ability to make moves.

    That said, I do think slot money is dumb and I hope that more teams (including the Dodgers) use a little more discretion in adhering to it next year. (But, most picks outside the first round are paid at recommended slot levels including those picked by NYY, Boston and Detroit)

    2007-12-19 07:57:30
    249.   ToyCannon
    That is what a Chase Utely and Hanley Ramirez will do for you.

    Amazing the discrepancy between the leagues. Why are we the weaker league again?

    2007-12-19 07:59:42
    250.   Sushirabbit
    Plus, Loney will improve Furcal.
    Show/Hide Comments 251-300
    2007-12-19 08:03:27
    251.   D4P
    I think I was looking at that incorrectly. The numbers I reported for 2B are actually the numbers for 3B. The 2B numbers are:

    NL: 759
    AL: 751

    BP lists positions by numbers (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.), which confuses me. I always get the infield positions numbers mixed up.

    2007-12-19 08:03:42
    252.   ToyCannon
    I keep hearing about what a great defender Loney is, but subjectively I've seen little evidence. What do the defensive metrics say?
    2007-12-19 08:05:12
    253.   ToyCannon
    Why is there an "I Think" in that statement. You were looking at the numbers incorrectly.
    2007-12-19 08:07:30
    254.   D4P
    Why is there an "I Think" in that statement

    Because I wasn't 100% certain either way.

    2007-12-19 08:10:00
    255.   Jon Weisman
    232 - Seinfeld was filmed on the CBS Radford lot in Studio City, but it would be odd if the transitional exteriors weren't B roll shot in New York. (As opposed to actual scenes shot outdoors.) The diner they always went to was most certainly a New York spot. In fact, it's the Tom's Diner referred to in the Suzanne Vega song.
    2007-12-19 08:11:48
    256.   Jon Weisman
    255 - The exterior shot of the diner, that is.

    New post up top.

    2007-12-19 08:12:44
    257.   D4P
    Do you know where TMYLM supposedly takes place? (I've read where it's filmed, but can't quite figure out where it's supposed to be. My guess in the midwest somewhere).

    BTW: We've started watching "Big Love". It's very good.

    2007-12-19 08:17:19
    258.   Jon Weisman
    257 - I thought it was set in Chicago, but I could be wrong.
    2007-12-19 11:02:28
    259.   Joe Pierre
    I figure the Dodgers's starters are just mmmmabout average and hopefully slighly better with the addition of Kuroda. I believe the 4th starter is just as important as the other 3 before him. It's the 5th starter that is separated in a way, that sometimes he is needed as a fill in reliever, mainly because he may need work, if he hasn't had a start for a while. It will be good if our starters can average 6+ and than the bull pen, say starting with Proctor or Beimel can take it from there. I hope our offense under Don Mattingley will be a little more supportive.
    2007-12-19 16:24:34
    260.   Joe Pierre
    It's amazing, I got the last comment again, I guess nobody can follow my Well I came back here to make some adjustments on my last comment. Not to be too contradictary, I just want to say that the 6+ average, I think is kind of high and is a very quality start. Let's just say if our offense comes through, we can ask for 15 outs from our starters for an average. Get through the 5th without any help than hand it over to our bullpen with a lead or a few runs behind is pretty good. There is one problem though they have to figure a way to give the bullpen more rest, (maybe with some more 6+s) because I think, that and some lack of offense contributed to the failure to keep up with the Rockies, D'Backs & Padres.

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