Tagged: Dodgers

on the current Dodgers announcing (not scully)

I think that Nomar Garciaparra is  as a first-year Dodgers color man on SportsNet LA. He was tentative and understated early in the season, but is evolving into an important element of the broadcast. Still a distant third in sheer volume of commentary, he takes cues from Charlie Steiner and is a capable banterer during typical on-air discussion. He also lends expertise as a contemporary (as opposed to an Old-Timer) of players, and is conscious of the viewer’s affinity for the Game, thus his ability to explain without condescending. Bravo.

Now about Orel Hershiser. I want to like Hershiser. In fact, I love and will forever cherish what Hershiser brings to my life as a Dodger fan. 1988. The Bulldog.
But listening to him in the analyst role for his team, he’s even more didactic than his days doing Little League World Series and later baseball for ESPN. He’s not only condescending, but he makes it clear that he’s teaching you while you’re just. . .trying. . .to watch the game. Orel is cerebral, this is a fact; he’s not intentionally condescending, which warrants tolerance points; but he’s a strain to listen to for nine innings over three cities when the Dodgers travel East without Vin Scully.
I’m aware of the Steiner debate and not willing to argue that right now; people despise him because he’s a bit loony or, like me, they love him because he’s Uncle Charlie – but he needs ONE additional voice in the both, not both of these former Dodgers. And unfortunately, Orel has to go.
Another point on Nomar: he’s the voice of this team and demographically, this city. He’s a local boy (Whittier/St. John Bosco HS) with an indelible franchise moment (game winner in the back-to-back-to-back-to-back game). He hosted Carne Asada Sunday at Dodger Stadium. His articulate, enunciated vernacular represents the stylings of an informed Angeleno. Pay attention while they’re on the road – he’s an unsung gem of broadcasting.

Dodger Homerun Question

In light of Juan Uribe‘s homerun last night (I would have LOVED to hear the Vin call, that’s another discussion), where does that rank in modern-era Dodger homeruns?

Obviously Kirk Gibson is number one.
For me, Steve Finley grand slam final day of season 2004 to give the Dodgers the NL West crown is memorable, as is the Four Straight Homeruns capped off by Nomar Garciaparra’s blast to win it in extra innings. Those were both regular season, though.

‘s off of Doc Gooden was actually the catapult for the ’88 playoffs in the Mets series, so that would have to be number two. . .

but are there any others in recent history that I’m omitting?

Honestly? At this point it’s a little nuts.

After three more hits today (so far) Yasiel Puig is batting .489. He has 8 multi-hit games in his 13 MLB contests.
Only twice has he went hitless (one of those ballgames was when he was ejected). He is 23-for-47 & his OPS is 1.301.

Have a great Father’s Day.

Yasiel Puig – #66, RF

624577.jpg Bats: Right Throws: Right
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 245 lbs Age: 223-for-3: Single (2)

Today’s Stats

3 3 1 0 0 0 .489

Season Stats

47 23 4 10 1 8 .489
Loves to Face: Curveball
Hates to Face: Cutter

Puig, Mattingly, Brawl. Dodgers Win.

First of all, leave it to Gibby to preside over a Yasiel Puig ambush. And leave it to that a Trojan, Ian Kennedy, to take it to another level with said ambush and hit the Cuban in the face.

Kudos goes to none other than Chavez Ravine’s resident toughguy Zack Greinke having balls on top of balls – the man has now sparked the TWO biggest brawls of the year?! Maybe I had him wrong or maybe he’s really mixing good medications. Either way, thank you Jared for live-tweeting me the brawl while I was at the Bjork concert. Sorry, Björk. Guh. I mean, “I love you, wife.”

Either way, awesome awesome awesome of MLB to not pussy out and edit anything, so here is the brawl in its entirety.

A couple observations:
*Puig throws a punch! at 0:34 right before the camera flashes away. He is irate when the camera pans back out, and rightfully so. The man took a fastball to the face.

*Don Mattingly, the MANAGER of the Dodgers, throws Alan Trammell to the ground at 0:44 (top left).

*1:02. Vin Scully, “no sense calling out names. They’re all there.”

*Mark McGwire at 1:22 – 1:32 and 1:38 is so rageful, so angry, so intense (and literally STILL paul bunyon-esque) that his stature as a dodger just jumped about seven levels. Literally awesome work, McG. You might not be able to coach hitting but you sure have forearms like the Ultimate Warrior.

*Mattingly, back at it at 1:33, right in Kirk Gibson’s face.

*Juan Uribe, the most underrated Dodger (i know i know his 2012 was abysmal but the guy loves the game and loves being a Dodger. Plus he just hacks so recklessly and violently that even though he K’s like a quarter of the time he’s fun to watch. Plus when he gets hot, he goes yard like five times in a week) wild-eyed, charging and looking for any target to smash. Great brawlplayer. Check 0:23 – 0:33 for highlights.

*Don Baylor and Josh Beckett (?!!?) in the middle at 2:00. Yeah, Josh Beckett!!!

*Uribe, again out of nowhere in the middle 2:20, right before Puig, still angry, starts jawing again.

*Puig’s solo walk at 2:58, very poignant and great camera work. Ejected, battered & (literally) bruised – but not defeated – retires to his corner.

*Great shot of some 80’s/90’s stars now in their 50’s at 3:30. Charles Nagy with Gibby, as Baylor and Trammel join the discussion.

*Dodger crowd at 3:45, showing some great energy and appreciation for what was witnessed.

*4:51 (replay) Vin notices Miguel Montero eyeballs Greinke up & down when he steps into the box “not that that means anything” Uh huh.

*5:30 (replay) Really good and apt shot of Belisario (Blow-a-Savio) flailing and ending up on one knee against, well, nobody. Pretty indicative of his year thus far.

*6:05 (replay) in what looks like a shot out of American Me, Turner Ward up against the camera (and over the railing) as he gets pounded.

*6:38 (replay) real closeup shot of McGwire, in which Vin says “boy McGwire is really dangerous, he’s so angry.”

Angry enough to even coach some hitters, starting with Federowicz, who walloped the game-winning double. But in baseball, tomorrow is another day and momentum is only as strong as your starting pitcher. Hyun-Jin Ryu has been throwing well, but he’s going against an undefeated Patrick Corbin. We’ll see if this was indeed the brawl that started it all for the Boys in Blue.

F*cking Padres.

It started with Marvell Wynne.

It was the 1986 Pennant Chase, and it’s right around this point that my first baseball memories were developing. I remember the likes of Alejandro Pena, Alex Trevino, Bill Madlock accompanying the Dodgers’ ‘stars’ like Steve Sax and Pedro Guerrero.

The Dodgers were involved in the Pennant Chase and I keenly recall Marvell Freakin’ Wynne hitting a bases clearing triple to win a late season game for the Padres, inching them closer to the division title that would eventually be the Dodgers’. Regardless, those fake pinstripes and ugly colors bothered me even then – I mean, you’re NOT the Yankees, lose the pinstripes. Even though my family had a fondess for and cousin residing in the city, it irked me that they wanted to be included under the SoCal umbrella. True, they were SoCal geographically but SoCal is Los Angeles. NOT Orange County, NOT Riverside, and certainly NOT the sleepy beach town that had somehow grown into a moribund metropolis.

Regardless, I ended up meeting Dale Murphy on a family vacation in San Diego the following year, and then in 1988 – as fate would have it – my first ‘real’ little league team, in Mission Hills Major Division, happened to be those ugly-pinstriped Friars. For three stinkin’ years I was a Padre, and for three years we’d come up short. The Braves, the Astros, the Cardinals – these were real teams, real organizations! – would edge us out one way or the other. Realistically, it was because they had more talent and better coaching. I knew better, though – it was because we were the Padres, the franchise that would torment Los Angeles so subtly but so consistently that I grew to out-hate by innate Bay Area rival Giants. This was a true antipathy for the Pads.

From 1990 – 1995, the Pads were a non-factor, never finishing higher than 3rd. They still pestered my beloved Dodgers, however, and Gary Sheffield’s angry bat waving and blistering bat speed might have single-handedly banished the Dodgers to 99 losses in 1993. At least in my own mind. I mean Steve Finley, Brad Ausmus – guys who would become Dodgers – were at the time some of my least favorite players. They just annoyed me, and that’s my whole point here: everything about San Diego is annoying. At least to true Angelenos. And as my adolescence progressed, I became more loyal – fiercely loyal – to mi ciudad. San Diego was a Ken Caminiti throw across the diamond from Tijuana, but the franchise seemed so antiseptic, this quasi-Disney world of self-imposed, sun-enamored isolation. I mean Tony Gwynn was a GREAT ballplayer, a really dynamic player on all levels, but he was a singles hitter. And that’s perfect Padre baseball. Even their all-time greatest legend’s best skill was getting to first base.

The 1998 World Series was particularly annoying, but being that I was in college – the rivalry to the southerly neighbors was an afterthought, and they were swept by the Yankees anyway. Take that, you fake pinstripers. No matter anyway, as the Padres reclaimed their rightful place in the N.L. West gutter for three of the subsequent five seasons.

The arrival of Bruce Bochy and his massive cabeza spawned a renaissance of Padre hatred for me in my early adult years. A pragmatic manager with mediocrity seemingly ingrained in his demeanor, he guided the club through those comfortable years at the bottom of the division. Then all of a sudden the emergence of Jake Peavy somehow thrusts this barely-over-.500 team to the Division Title. With an offense featuring Brian Giles & Ryan Klesko, they were rightfully swept in the playoffs and on their merry way. But with the Dodgers in perennial turmoil (read: Fox, McCourt), the Padres were somehow a better franchise. The Pads, especially after their Adrian Gonzalez-led division repeat in 2006, were literally a superior organization than my beloved Dodgers. Even with the most overrated closer in the game’s history in Trevor Hoffman – hey guys, try to hit my 83mph changeup, because I know you can smoke my 89mph fastball – the Padres were piling up wins faster than my team. And this annoyance was waxing again. It became evident that the Padres would be the perennial thorn in my side, at least vis-a-vis my Dodgers feelings.

Which brings us to last night. And Carlos Quentin. Carlos Quentin, who by the way, attended Stanford University, the “Ivy League of the West Coast.” Carlos Quentin, who has been hit 98 times by pitch since 2008, by far the major league leader, decided that Zack Greinke, he of the anxiety disorders, the social awkwardness, the i’d-rather-be-anywhere-than-in-the-spotlight, would intentionally throw at him in a one-run ballgame, with a full count. Based on the reactions of Greinke (kicked the dirt, turned his head), A.J. Ellis (casually pulled off his mask) and everybody in the stadium aside from Carlos Quentin, one could reasonably assess that Zack Greinke did NOT hit Quentin intentionally. Quentin thought otherwise and the ensuing brouhaha left everybody so aghast that Matt Kemp, the centerfielder, was ejected six minutes after the brawl stopped. Jerry Hairston was also ejected, and he wasn’t even playing. Hanley Ramirez made his first on-field cameo in 2013, and Josh Beckett was the peacemaker.

I was flipping back-and-forth between Vin Scully’s poetic blow-by-blow and MLB Network’s live look-in with Greg Amsinger, Mitch Williams & Dan Plesac, and the former ballplayers were downright angry. “Matt Kemp is so angry because he knows Carlos Quentin doesn’t know baseball!” Williams exclaimed. “You don’t hit a guy intentionally in that situation.” Plesac also defended Greinke, “You can tell by everybody’s reaction this wasn’t intentional. When a catcher and pitcher know that you’re throwing at a guy, the catcher will immediately place himself between the batter and pitcher after the pitch.”


Which brings us back to Carlos Quentin, and back to San Diego. It’s a city that is so engulfed in itself that it doesn’t perceive the obvious. You’re nice, you’re relaxing, but nobody really likes you. That applies to real SoCal natives and it certainly is germane to the National League West. I need to just stop concerning myself with this psuedo-rival and worry about the team that’s up north and has earned the moniker of rival through a century of playing on a level ballfield. I mean, Marvell Wynne? Really?

Brawl Video, courtesy of MLB.

That’s it? (runs, opening day)

I was noticing how low-scoring and homerless today’s (Opening Day) games seemed. . .then I see MLB Network flash the stat:

average of 4.7 runs per BALLGAME today. Lowest for a full day (min. 7 games) since May 11, 1983.
*not lowest opening day, folks. Lowest single day run output per ballgame in 29 years!!!*

a good infotweet courtesy @espnstatsinfo: A recap of the day’s pitching and how it – and the game with the most runs – rewrote the Opening Day record book. http://es.pn/I0jIB7.

sidenote(s): Matt Kemp. Dodgers. Magic. Vin Scully. Awww yeah, it’s back!!!


The Real Magician.


Apparently, I’m not as excited as most Dodger fans regarding the landmark McCourt sale to Earvin Johnson & the Kasten-Guggenheim Group.
While I do feel that this change in ownership is necessary, and I certainly believe that this is the right ‘team’ to lead the organization for the next decade+, I’m a bit offput at both the $2 BILLION price tag. As of yesterday, the projected sale price was a robust $1.5 billion, though perhaps Time Magazine was a bit more optimistic, calling the $1.5 billion projection a ‘bargain.’ That latter conjecture turned out to be true, and while the Guggenheim team has $125 billion in assets, I don’t see how you outbid somebody by half a billion dollars. . .

That’s not my main gripe, however. The fact that McCourt still is a partner in a “land venture” in the surrounding Chavez Ravine area. Though he won’t be an organizational decision-maker so that should be sufficient reason to back the Dodger news whole-heartedly, but my enthusiasm is definitely dampened. The main reason I cut back on tickets & attendance (personally) for the past two years was due to McCourt personally. The fallout from the divorce & proceedings led to a subpar experience at Dodger Stadium and Frank-ly, the team was inferior due to the shoestring budget of ownership.

https://i1.wp.com/www.laobserved.com/assets_c/2011/04/frank-mccourt-happy-thumb-200x170-7402.jpg        https://i2.wp.com/imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2012/03/27/sp-magicjohnson_SFC0105230201_part6.jpg
New ownership – especially by one of L.A.’s most beloved icons – is definitely an enticement to head back to ballgames & the Stadium, but as Vin Scully’s years wane, the pull to stay home and “get back to this one” on the TV may outweigh the fact that McCourt will still be getting my money. Furthermore, the unplanned-as-of-yet land venture will undoubtedly be a profit machine, adding to McCourts magical coffers. . .with my hard-earned money. I’m dubious.

Though it is definitely a ‘fresh start’ and celebratory moment at the Ravine, I’ll feel better if Magic can really occur, and somehow Earvin Johnson can make McCourt disappear for good.

Until then, it’s TIME for Dodger baseball. . .