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Saturday, October 18, 2003

This is what happens...

When you let a Fine Arts major make the promo for the World Series. I've never seen anything so vulgar, and disgusting in my entire life. Any classiness baseball had was totally ignored in favor of an orgy of LSD laden images that were supposed to represent the past century, complete with Sheila E drumming throughout. Sheila frigging E, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? It's a good thing I've been taking my heart medication, because I might have gone into cardiac arrest otherwise. Last year it was Voodoo bizarre bullshit, now it's, it's, I have no fucking clue what it is. Thank God I won't have to see that again.
This is why I never post

I never post to message boards concerning sports because this is what the posts always look like:

Let's trade Shawn Green for Vlad Guerrero, Roger Clemens, and Bobby Valentine. I think that would solve all our problems.

Or.

If you do a VORP analysis coupled with an EQA, of the bilateral concerns of windspeed at Wrigley, it should determine that the Dodgers would benefit from rebuilding Dodger stadium with the outfield facing upwards, which would improve their hitting by 200 percent.

That's why.

Friday, October 17, 2003

We were like them once

I'm a fan of a team that wins, and has won within my lifetime, twice actually. The first time in '81 I was but a babe in swaddling clothes, but I'm confident that when the Dodgers won, some part of me was aware. Whether I made a bigger mess in my diapers that day, or dodged a fight with sudden infant death syndrome, I KNOW that I KNEW the Dodgers had won the series.

But things weren't always like that for the Dodgers. Can you imagine what it would be like to root for a team that had NEVER won the Series? I mean a team that was already sixty years old, and had never won. I read Page 2 of ESPN.com, and there was an article of the ten worst losses, and one of them was the 1951 Pennant battle where we lost to those Damn Giants, and that famous call was uttered "blah blah, blah blah", you know the damn call. Anyway, we recovered to become the premier franchise of the West Coast, and the Giants recovered to a ne'er do well has-been squad, whose best player ever is being investigated for steroid use. His Will be done.

Mind you that was a team with Duke Snyder, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, and Earl Mossor. These were legends.

I guess my point is: Baseball is a game where the difference between the best team and the worst team isn't so great. And the difference between the best team in the playoffs and the worst team is usually miniscule. Five short games, or seven short games, for these to determine the better group make it seem preposterous. I heard from a family friend who are big time Sox fans, and who live in Boston, that after the game the dad was crying and his son was vomiting. How silly will they look a year from now, when the Red Sox cruise into the playoffs once again, and win the whole damn thing? The Red Sox and Cubs front offices are very strong, they learn from their mistakes. So's the Dodger's front office by the way. Here's to seeing all three in the playoffs (and then the Dodgers destroying them once again!).
We were like them once

I'm a fan of a team that wins, and has won within my lifetime, twice actually. The first time in '81 I was but a babe in swaddling clothes, but I'm confident that when the Dodgers won, some part of me was aware. Whether I made a bigger mess in my diapers that day, or dodged a fight with sudden infant death syndrome, I KNOW that I KNEW the Dodgers had won the series.

But things weren't always like that for the Dodgers. Can you imagine what it would be like to root for a team that had NEVER won the Series? I mean a team that was already sixty years old, and had never won. I read Page 2 of ESPN.com, and there was an article of the ten worst losses, and one of them was the 1951 Series where we lost to those Damn Yankees.
Addendum

I just looked up Ichiro's stats from his last year in Japan. 999 OPS. That's still better than Matsui version 2.0, but using hare-brained mathematics I predict Matsui v. 2.0 will probably be an 800 OPS MAX, and at worse a high 600s. Ichiro isn't a DONG hitter, but Matsui v. 2.0 is one, so when he goes for those big cuts, expect him to fall on his ass when he sees an AMERICAN REDNECK FASTBALL. (See, I told you I hit ALL ethnic groups). Singles hitters require a lot more finesse than homerun hitters do, which explains their tendency to not consistently produce offensively, unlike big hitters who produce consistently until their breakdown year (usually caused by diluted steroids).
The Other Matsui

It's been my opinion for quite awhile that Japanese players are VERY overrated. The Dodgers have two. One is good, the other is not.

We need a new shortstop. We will save 19 million dollars next year. The media and the message board chuckleheads have pointed to Matsui.

This is not the Matsui you and I know. This is another Matsui. Evidentally, Japan is like America, and occasionally people have the same last name. This Matsui plays shortstop, while the Matsui on the Yankees plays left field. Interesting.

I decided to look up this new Matsui's stats, and I went to japanesebaseball.com to get the info. Kazuo plays for the Seibu Lions. This guy had a 914 OPS this past year, and he'll be 29 when he comes to the US (if he comes). In Japan, teams after they draft your ass, get to have you for 10 years before you declare yourself a free agent. Then we come in. This is the first strike I have against Japanese players: They've already played 10 years in a minor league and major league system that I see as inherently defective when compared to our league. How have I come to this conclusion? Watch my children.

The best hitter ever in Japan is not Japanese. He is Venezuelan. Alex Cabrera ended the 2002 season with a, get this: 1.223 OPS !!!! That is Barry Bonds-esque. He also tied the Japanese home run single season record with 55 DONGS. Hideki Matsui in his last year as a Japanese league player hit only 1.153 OPS with 50 DONGS. BOTH players played in America. Cabrera played a season with the Diamondbacks in 2000, and had a 799 OPS, whilst Matsui played for the Yankees you might have heard and had a 788 OPS. Matsui earns six million a year. Cabrera is paid in sushi and saki. I earn nothing. And the world goes round.

Now if the two best hitters from Japan can't rise above an 800 OPS, and we're being told that this new Matsui is merely a 912 OPS hitter in Japan, I expect him to be in the high 600s here. One of the misconceptions that statheads put forth is that the Japanese leagues are merely another triple A league, and if you subtract a blanket 20 percent off their stats, that's how they'll play in America. Ummmm, no. Clearly the Matsui drop off is over 30 percent, and for six million dollars, I'd rather the Dodgers spend that on some new seats in the upper pavilion. Would he be an improvement over Izturis? Yes, but so would a card board cut out of a baseball player with a mechanical arm to swing at balls. The Japanese leagues in sum total have produced one above average position player in Ichiro, and one above average pitcher in Nomo. Ichiro played TERRIBLY this year with a 788 OPS, and even when he won the MVP in '01, he had the LOWEST OPS FOR A WINNER in thirty years. This is also his second year in statistical decline, and he's demanding a payraise. Awesome.

The Dodgers need to totally revamp their offense, and they can't play guesswork with the money they have to spend. This new Matsui is going to be the result of a bidding war, and it's a bidding war we can't frankly afford. I can think of three teams off the bat that have no problem giving him an enormous salary, the Mariners, and Angels are two. The third is us. We have a tradition of winning, they don't.

That being said, I don't want this to seem like an anti-Japanese blog, it's actually an anti all ethnic groups blog, so don't be confused. It's just my opinion, and the opinion of the statistics that Japanese players are HIGHLY overrated. And they're fiendishly expensive. What the Dodgers need is to get players who KNOW how to play in the MLB. Nomo was one of those, he struggled for years, and Evans knew that was ready for a comeback, because the guy had changed his mechanics since his one pitch Tornado BS had been found out by the hitters in the late 90s. You'll notice that the Dodgers have essentially gotten all the good seasons out of Nomo, and the shitty teams that God hates like the Mets and Red Sox got the bad ones. Nomo probably will cease to be effective this year after an amazing season this year, because he doesn't come back well from injuries. As good as Nomo was this year, we have to remember, he was a Spring training invitee in 2002, not a free agent signing or a trade. That means he was on his way OUT, if he didn't show Evans he still had talent. Remember, this is the best Japanese pitcher EVER. Don't even get me started on Ishitty.

So whoever reads this blog, and I hope McCourt himself does (let's have a drink sometime my Irish friend, I'm buying since I heard you're hard up), don't buy into the hype unless it means buying into Beane. Let other fools get overrated players like Matsui or Ichiro. Buy things you know work, like guys who've played here for a few years. And when you're done, hire me for a job in the front office. I spin a good yarn around the water cooler. Tomorrow, GAME ONE OF THE 2003 WORLD SERIES. My prediction: Yanks in six. Home field advantage teams have something like a 70 percent advantage. Over and OUT...




Thursday, October 16, 2003

Our prospects...

Real quick, before I go to bed. Dodger Thoughts linked an article to an analysis of our top 10 prospects. My running off at the mouth of Hanharan was wrong, the kid's not ready for the big leagues yet; he needs at least another year. Jackson on the other hand is being compared to Gooden. While I find it funny that he MUST be compared to another young black pitcher from the past rather than just a pitcher, here' s to hoping he is as good as Gooden, without the cocaine addiction. I've seen him pitch, and I wouldn't be surprised if he shows himself to be a ROY candidate next year. Very conservative throwing style unlike Dontrelle, who is asking for an injury.
Listen Up!

I've been reading the posts and various opinions of so-called Sox fans and Cubs fans, how because the Yankees are going to the Series, they're not going to watch. That's just what baseball needs, low ratings that drive the Series to cable, and the beginning of the end for baseball's popularity. I'm a Dodger fan and I watch the playoffs every year, I love the sport, not just my stupid team. If I was solely a Dodger fan, I would have taken a 12 gauge pump action and put it under my chin and pulled the trigger with my toes at a regular season game. It's a silly mentality.

And another thing. People are going to bitch and moan that it was bad calls by the umps and other bullshit. Umps don't call home runs, and shit managing. The Red Sox lost that game because of Grady, and bad luck, and the inevitability of Satan's hand. Maybe if your team had hired more than two black guys in the 60s and 70s when Yawkey was your owner, you would have pulled off some Series wins. Even the Yankees learned that lesson, and came back strong in the late 70s. Your team was incredibly strong this year, both the Cubs and Sox have enormous payrolls, and good front offices. They blew it, because they're just not as well run as their opponents, but if they continue to make the right choices, and in the Cubs' case focus on their young players, and FIRE THEIR STUPID THROWBACK managers who think a pitcher can pitch for eternity and beyond, then they have a chance. Bag on Torre all you want, that guy hooks you as soon as you start to slip. And that's what it takes, a manager who has ZERO confidence in his starters, even if they're named Clemens. The fans want a win, not a wimp or an idiot who will cow-tow to his pitchers' wants. 20 minutes between throws, and non-stop walks means his arm is jello pudding. PULL HIM NOW. Thank God I'm not a Sox/Cubs fan, I would have had a stroke this week. Yuck.
Whoa

I was the prick. I was that guy who wanted both the Cubs and Sox to fall. There was something wrong about it, sort of like Charlie Brown actually kicking that football, America winning a war after World War II, or that chick you porked in a drunken haze at the bar actually turning out to NOT be twenty years your senior.

I don't think people realize that a Cubs/Sox world series actually would have been a terrible thing. As game seven of that theoretical series wound down, the earth would be torn asunder, Christmas elves would pour forth from cracks in the ground, it would rain cats and dogs, and Bush would withdraw from Iraq. It couldn't happen, good things don't happen.

Again, it's hard for me to understand what's going through Sox and Cubs fans' minds. I follow a team with a winning tradition, I'm not an alcoholic, and the average winter tempature of the metropolis I live in doesn't dip to negative 50 degrees. I might write more about this tomorrow when I have a clearer head, but boy oh boy, there IS A GODDAMN CURSE. Just thank Beezlebub that it's not on the Dodgers. Uh-oh maybe it is. Is Piazza a Bambino?

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Other baseball teams' news (Yes, they still exist)

Shawn Green is being reported as having successful shoulder surgery, and Brad Fullmer was released by the Angels. I'm usually that big mouth jackass who yells at the wimp to suck it up and play through the pain, but I think in Shawn's case I might have been wrong, considering that the Dodger's aren't on TV anymore. Shawn if you heard me this season from the seats, I'm sorry for calling you a pussy.

I'm a worst case scenario type of dude, and Fullmer seems the perfect stop gap for first base, possibly with Chin Feng Chen backing him up. The guy was making a mere million dollars this past year, if he stays healthy he's quite capable of an 800 OPS, and 20 homers. Chen should see more playing time, if anything to get the enormous Taiwanese population in LA to come to games, much like Valenzuela, Nomo, and Park did for their respective ethnicities. When Karros played, the population of hairy Greeks attending games went up 4000%.
Yes Virginia, God hates the Cubs

As several thousand Cubs fans descend upon the bottom of Lake Michigan with cement weights on their ankles, I'd like to make a comment. The camera caught people praying throughout the crowd. First of all, a just and fair God would never favor one side over the other, and anyone with half a brain knows that the God that rules over us is not a fair and just God, but rather an evil being who favors the rich and powerful, over the meek and pathetic. There is obviously a curse against the Cubs, just as there is for the Red Sox, which will manifest itself with a heart attack for Grady Little, and a possible assassination attempt on Pedro in tomorrow's game. If God was merciful in the slightest, he would have allowed the Sox to be eliminated in game six rather than seven.
Well, well, well....

There's a Beatle's song that has a chorus line with those words. I forget which one. Actually I think it's a Lennon song. Anyway, it's pretty typical of pop writers such as myself to compare just about anything with LSD popping, bad haircuts, millionaires from Liverpool, so I did it as well.

Kobe Bryant, he plays for the Lakers, he's pretty damn good. So when he's accused of something, other than punching out a waiter, or speeding in his Ferrari, shit that will cause him to miss games, well then we have a problem folks.

Kobe's not the best player on the Lakers, but he is the flashiest. However, most sportswriters, before this rape trial, said that he was the best, without any statistical analysis, but just because he looks pretty cool. The best player on the Lakers is Shaq, and I'll tell you why. When Shaq attempts a shot, he either makes it, or is fouled. If you look at Shaq's percentage of shots made per shots attempted, the percentage is one of the highest in the game, consistently. Because of his large size, and the fact that when he makes shots, he's so close to the basket, he can't help but make two points. Kobe can't drive inside as well, not because he's not as skilled, but because he's just too damn small. It's just sheer logic, that the farther you are from the basket, the harder it is to make a shot. Both Shaq and Kobe take a lot of shots, but Shaq makes them more often.

Just because Shaq is the better player, doesn't mean we should underestimate the value of Kobe. I saw that game where he made all 3000 3 pointers he attempted, and that was some pretty amazing shit, except for the fact that it took place against a visiting CBA team. The guy's got skills. But sportswriters hate giving credit to the better player, so morons like O'Reilly on Sports Illustrated will say Shaq is the most "dominant" player, which is like saying how Jeter's "intangibles" are what helps the Yankees. Those are bullshit watchwords that mean nothing. My "intangibles" of white magic are what allows the Lakers to win the championships. Whatever. The better looking player is thus made to look better than the ugly big oaf, in the Yankee's case, Giambi.

So did Kobe do it? Well, I could use my legal powers, as a third year law student, even though we didn't cover rape in my criminal law case, but like most of the media and the world at large, I'd rather go with my gut, and throw the legal system out on its ear. Nah, Kobe didn't do it.

Yes, women get raped all the time in our society; it's obviously an epidemic. I read somewhere (no I won't cite) that one third of all American women have been raped, and I've known two girls myself who've been raped (not by me, yeah I know you were thinking it). And plus in many cases its the only way a Frat guy can ever get laid.

That being said, I would have believed her, because a guy like Kobe stopped hearing the word "no" from other people when he was around seven years of age, and they realized he was a future prospect. Then the carefully leaked evidence from the defense changed my views. That she tried to kill herself, not once, but twice, in the past year. Now I don't know about you, but someone who tries to OD, blow their brains out, or slit their wrists is about the last frigging person on the planet I want to hear make ANY statement of fact, or attempt to do such. And then the fact that they've found caucasian PUBIC hair in her panties, from recent sexual intercourse the night before.

Now I know, at this point, there are some of you who are saying, well Dodger Kid, she may have just wanted to go visit Kobe and play Game Cube in his room, and you know maybe rub his feet, and maybe she has a tendency to remove her panties when she makes out, but all that doesn't mean she wanted to have sex. And even though it's come out now that she at NO POINT during the sex said the word "no", we at come at point to the real crux of the issue: when is rape, RAPE? Is it rape, if the woman takes her clothes off, never says no, allows you to have sex with her, then waits a couple of hours calmly, showing no outward sign of being raped, AND THEN, reports being raped? On top of having a medical history of extreme depression and insanity? Is it rape at that point? Did OJ do it? Who killed Kennedy? I before E except after C? Ponder these questions my readers.

One final note, the sports writing community has advocated that Kobe take the year off. Hey folks, the guy's got to earn money to pay for his constitutionally given right to a defense. If you get accused of something, do you take the year off until the trial's over? Get a fucking clue, sheesh.
The Code of the Game Attender


Thou shalt not be a little child and stick thy undeveloped feet and hands in seat crevices to annoy those in front of you.

Thou shalt not, on the upper levels, be a little child and hang periously over the ledge onto the lower levels, scaring the bejesus out of fans around you.

Thou shalt not reveal thy nerdy self to the world by scoring the game in front of others, and using thy own copy of Baseball Prospectus, as a hard surface from which to score thy game.

Thou shalt not drink thy beer by the bucket before thy game, and then drink more during thy game, so that thou art so drunk as to think that if thou dost just get over the fence and shake the center fielder's hand, or knock out the first base coach, then thou will hath won thy game for thy home team.

Thou shalt not make out and stick thy hand up thy girlfriend's dress during thy game, unless willing to share with overweight fellow game attendee's sitting behind thee.

Thou shalt not urinate in the trough in front of others, nor eat of the white detergent wafer that doth sit in the midst of the stream. There are ample wall units for you to make use of, my Son.

Thou shalt not leave thy half full super large bladder buster coke in thy pathway, so that it explodeth like a land mine and doth soak other's feet in syrupy Coke.

Thou shalt not bring thy full family of seventeen to the game, and have thy own rugrats crawl amongst the seats, as if thy seats be a jungle gym.

Thou shalt not feed bratty children sugary sweets, to force them to stay awake. Baseball is a boring game, so that thy little youngsters will collapse onto your lap, and remain there silent, so that the rest of us might enjoy thy game in peace.

Thou shalt not dress up in full baseball gear, as if thou were one of the players on the field, when all of us around thou know fullest well, that thou stopped doing organized athletics at the age of four, when thou were not chosen for the school yard kickball team.

Wilt thou please sitteth the fuck down?!?! Yes, thou must please be seated!

Thou must not look at every fly ball by thy weak and pathetic Dodger offense as if it were a homerun. Thy noble catcher of questionable sexual orientation hath already left the Dodgers for the most pathetic team in all of Christendom, thouest know them as the Mets.

And finally, though thou hast only escaped from LA County Prison one half hour ago, wilt thou please leave thy firearms, daggers, bodkins, nunchuks, assorted ninja stars, girlfriend's hair pins at home, and let us pretend that the real battle is upon the playing field, much like thou hast seen at Medieval Times, during the winter.

If thou art a brave and noble man, and if thou followest this Code, then thou wilt have made thy game all the more enjoyable for the rest of us. Thou may however willingly break all these rules in the parking lot, so that when the rest of us are stuck in the inevitable traffic out of the game, at least we will have something enjoyable to watch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Analysis from others

Baseball Prospectus updated today with an analysis of the Dodgers. I really wish someone who lives on the East Coast, and watches maybe, two Dodger games a year would resist posting ANYTHING about this team. They make a blanket statement about how Fox really profited from the sale of the team, forgetting that they had this thing called a PAYROLL, that cost them over 100 million dollars a year. And it's hard to make money from cable distribution, if you distribute all the games yourself, and pay only yourself money. Fox Sports Net 2, isn't like YES or NESN, because it's not an additional premium channel. And plus the ratings it gets aren't nearly as high as those YES and NESN receive.
Let's make a bet...

Anyone care to make a bet that those charges against the Yankees' bullpen will mysteriously disappear if the Sox win and go the Series? And if they don't, shall we expect them to go forward? Yes to both questions, in my book.
Errata

Ok now I'm reading that they pelted him, and he had to be escorted out. Good one guys, my faith is renewed in the Cubs.
That fan

I missed that guy reaching over and stealing the foul ball, because I was taking a whiz. They were mentioning it throughout the game, and I thought Psycho Steve Lyons was just blabbering on about some lewd picture he took of his privates and emailed to Leiter with his SBC cell phone, which they're always waving around like its the goddamn Star Trek communicator. I actually wish it was, so they could beam those stupid chuckleheads out of the booth and into the atmosphere.

I should have put quotes around the word "fan", because as everyone knows, people who can afford good seats like that at Wrigley, during the playoffs, aren't really fans, they're yuppies. Yuppies are similar to Steve Lyon, in that they're on the phone the whole game, they wave to the camera if it shines on them, and they'd punch out their mother, or a player to get a foul ball hit by some shit player like Cesar Izturis. That's why they're called Yuppies, which comes from the Greek word for "rotting sphincters, let us be rid of their presence from our humble peninsular society". At least that's why my high school Mass Media teacher told me.

Lyons came to the defense of the guy, God knows why. If he hadn't been surrounded by other "fans", this "fan" would have promptly been beaten senseless, poured their beers on him, and kicked his body underneath the seats to await the midnight cleaning crew. By Lyons' logic, if I jumped on the third base coach and beat him senseless in a game, heck it's what any baseball fan would do. Remember, we're the tenth player. Umm, no Steve, we're paying audience, this isn't the Globe Theater, and I don't get to have an argument with Richard Burbage about how his horse has hoof and mouth disease. With fans like that the Cubs deserve to lose. Here's to hoping the Chicago PD grabbed him after the game and gave him a little blue collar justice, if you get my drift. Kobe tomorrow.
I get it now

That muffled sound you hear is a thousand gunshots going off in a thousand different skulls in the Chicago greater metropolitan area, as the Cubs choke again, and their fans end their misery the only way they can. Yes, my Overlord, Beezelbub has deemed the Cubs doomed to another century of mediocrity and lost hope. Dodger fans are known as laid back, uncaring types, but that's just because we're busy making love, driving, being cool, doing drugs, to watch baseball endlessly, over and over, day after day (with me excepted of course.)

The loss for this game will fall heavily on Dusty Baker's shoulders, at least to everyone who can write, and has a blog. And if you're looking for me to go against the mob, you'd be wrong, because I do think Baker overworked Prior. But he had to.

Most people who are really into stuff like pitch counts, and sabremetrics (and I'm sometimes one of them) know that the best thing that could happen to Prior and Wood is that they leave the Cubs. Their careers would be lengthened dramatically. For Baker, this would be the worst thing possible. A manager isn't measured by how well his players play, he's measured by how many World Series he wins. If Baker wins one, he's got a damn good shot at a Hall of Fame spot, especially if he manages for a really long time and has a winning record at the end of his career. And if he does something memorable like inserting his little kid in the stead of one of the players as a pinch runner, have his kid try out chewing tobacco, or perhaps be used as a batting target, then he's really likely to win the hearts of fans and America alike. Americans love kids' antics.

So what the hell am I talking about? Cubs fans, the ignorant, and Baker all want a Cubs World Series victory. That means blowing out Prior. Sabremetricians, Prior's parents and girlfriend want him to last. Lasorda knows what Baker knows, I mean Lasorda managed Baker, and probably taught Baker everything he knows. What's important is making Hall of Famers, what's important is getting everything out of a pitcher for everything possible. And the Cubs of this year have some similiarities to the Dodgers of '88, and even '81. Strong on pitching, weak on hitting. Blowing out Prior might get that ring, and in the end that's really all that counts. If the Cubs were able to get a ring, even if Prior became a shadow of himself in his later years like Valenzuela or Herschiser, Prior would still become a legend, but probably not in the Hall of Fame.
Ugh

I hate making stupid mistakes, but I've made a few in the last few blog entries. I've also got my first two emails from readers, one of whom corrects me on a few points. (By the way keep up the emails, and if you can, pretend that you're female, it'll get my hopes up). He's right of course, after I threw a temper tantrum when I realized that I was no longer the most knowledgeable person on baseball on the planet (me or that little Greek guy on NBC, Bob something or other, well at least I get to cover baseball you frigging twerp), I want to go over what mistakes I've made, and clear up some of the vomit that this blog has spewn forth.

Hey Rick,
I'm a regular reader of Jon Weisman's Dodger Thoughts blog. I followed
his link to your new blog... nice to have another outlet for Dodger
analysis.


It feels good doesn't it? Sort of like a new Thai (Happy Ending) Full body massage opening up in the neighborhood.


I'm not usually one to nitpick but I found a few glitches in your blog
worth pointing out. Hope you'll appreciate some constructive criticism.


No I probably won't appreciate it, and will view it as internet humiliation. Ok, go on.



1)
>>> I thought that the Dodgers of [1995] might also have played in a
similar division, but I think the Diamondbacks hadn't really risen to
the power house they were for a number of years.

Your hunch is correct. The D'backs didn't exist until 1998.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/ARI/

Doh! Ok about this time my baby brother stole the keyboard when Sponge Bob ended, and his sugar high was peaking. All right I don't have a little brother, and yes I made a booboo. Well, let's all pray the Dodgers weren't successful because of merely a weakened division, and actually had a strong team.


2)
>>> It's interesting to note that 1994 ended with a strike with us in
first place, and would have been the last year before the wild card was
instated.

Realignment occurred PRIOR to the 1994 season!
http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL_1993.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL_1994.shtml
Please stop. Oh wait, I think I may be able to squeak out of this one. Yes that is true that realignment occurred before then, but it was first TRULY IMPLEMENTED with the 1995 playoffs! AHAHAHAH, the ball is in your court Moriarty, my old nemesis!!



3) Re: What would Billy do?
>> I think Gagne might be fired as well. There'd be an uproar in the
newspapers, but it'd be the right move to make, as Mota is actually a
better pitcher.

This is not a factual error but it's close! If you asked 100 people on
Baseball Primer who's the better pitcher you would get 100 votes for
Gagne.

Factual error, I say to thee NAY, it is merely an opinion. It is also an opinion I stole from someone on baseball primer, who argued quite forcefully that Mota was superior because he tended to pitch in two innings to Gagne's one, and had an extraordinarily low ERA. In fact, I believe it was either baseball primer or prospectus that had Mota as the third best reliever in the game, behind Gagne. Of course I can't quote them, nor shall I, because I found that opinions feel stronger when sources are not cited, and sources are created to back up your arguments no matter how insane. Continue on...



4)
>>> Both Beane and Evans rely far too heavily on a statistic analysis
of hitters, that's why both tend not to make strong offenses.

This is sabermetric blasphemy! First of all, Beane inherited an offense
that ranked 10th and 11th in runs scored in 96 and 97. Thereafter the
A's ranked 9, 4, 2, 4, 8, 9. Without even getting into specific
personnel, clearly Beane knows offense.

Evans on the other hand inherited an offense finishing 8th and 8th in
00 and 01. Under his watch they ranked 9th and 16th in the subsequent
years. We know his hands are tied financially and prospects-wise, but
there is evidence of his cluelessness. Namely the Sheffield for
Jordan/Perez deal which punched a hole in the Dodgers attack. Missing out on
Kent, Floyd and Frank Thomas last winter was unacceptable. All 3 made less
than $7m last year and may have been worth 6-8 wins in replacement
value.

Sabremetrics I have found just CANNOT predict a big hitter well. It really can't. It can however pick pitchers marvelously. I'm not saying standard scouting is the way to go, perhaps a combination of stats and scouting is needed for hitters. This is in part because of something I've written before, it's EASIER FOR A PITCHER to strike out a batter, than it is for a batter to get on base, unless his name is Barry Bonds. It's VERY hard to hit a homerun, most full time players can't hit more than 15 of them the whole season, even in this long ball era. Beane does not know offense: See Jermaine Dye, or Terrence Long for more details. He does know pitching. Danno is the same way. He used a standard sabremetric analysis of the McGriff over Karros choice, by saying in an interview (which I will NOT quote), that McGriff's OBP was a full 30 points higher than Karros in '02. What Evans and Beane cannot take into account as sabremetricians is injury. Again, see McGriff and Dye for more details.

As to the deal that got rid of Sheffield, that's just the way teams are run. If a player complains a lot, and stomps around in the offices, and socks secretaries in the face, the team heads want that guy gone. Guys who want to be traded, no matter how bad the team needs them, are dropped. Was it Evans fault? Remember, Plashke, and the whole LA sports writers cabal was demanding that Sheff be dropped. From a stats point of view, even an angry miserable player is going to put up numbers based on his talent, and age. Again, sabremetrics fails to take into considerating people skills, and feelings: If someone is a jackass, you want him off your team. Yes I wish Sheffield was still on the Dodgers, but if you can't work with him, you're going to work without him. That being said, I thought we got decent players for the trade. Perez has much more of an upside than a mid-30's Sheffield.


>>But statheads like Beane and to a lesser extent Evans, tend to forget
the one big stat on the back of every baseball card: Age

The A's have the 7th youngest team in the majors. They have 1 guy over
33:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/roster?team=oak

The Dodgers have 10 over 33:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/roster?team=los



The Dodgers have older players because they have no good players, and baseball economics dictates that if you have shitty young players in your farm system, you must go buy free agents, who of course are older. When you first get called up by a team you then have six years you must spend before being able to declare free agent status.




Anyway, sorry to gripe but I think these are valid points. Looking
forward to reading more entries from you this offseason.

Regards,
Brian

I don't think your sorry, but if you were in my shoes, I'd probably have threatened you with physical violence, like I have the other Jon/John's dodger blogs when I disagreed with them. So all in all, my first critique went pretty well. I only bit myself three times, and hid under the desk for an hour after first reading it, but with the new pills I'm taking, my Asperger syndrome seems to be under control. Now here's a letter from John, of John's Dodger blog. It's a response to a letter I wrote him, begging to be recognized, and out of his good graces, he wrote back to me. God bless him:


Quick thought on your "Baseball Economics" entry. I loved it.

I loved it too. Thought it was real strong.
I think it's terrific that you have your law school experiences and stuff you've learned to fall back on. It's definitely going to contribute to your blog's success.

Actually John, if you're thinking about law school, I must warn you that it helps little to none in sports analysis, or in anything having to do with "real life". It does however help you gain weight, learn to hate non-lawyers, and in general become conceited and evil. And yes it does help you to become a lawyer.



It also got me to thinking about the prospect of McCourt raising ticket prices. We all know that the average fan is going to immediately start complaining if he does this, but as you say, it might not be a bad idea. [John wrote some things about where he has season tickets, and I erased it, in case any one of you is stalking him. In essence he used his experience to detail how a ticket price raise, as I advocate, might actually work and not drive away fans]

Anyway, we all know the typical crowd at a Dodger game: corporate types who arrive late and leave early, sitting in the company seats.


John once again, you not only show that you are a better writer than I am, but how much more money you have than I do. That may be the fan type where you sit, the fan where I sit is the one with the neo-Nazi tatoos covering his body screaming apeshit at Karros for fucking up in the clutch. And yes I did see this guy in July of 2002. Believe it or not he was white and hanging out with Mexicans. Only in LA. Sorry, John, please go on.



I think Fox raised the price of these season tickets by about $3 during their ownership, perhaps by $5 or more. I don't have the exact figures, but I'm guessing the season ticket base actually decreased during their ownership.

But did season ticket revenues? I doubt it. If I were McCourt, I would take the field level season ticket area, between the dugouts, and slap a $2/ticket increase on them. Guarantee that if he loses any season ticket holders, it won't be a whole lot of them.

Keep the blue seats at $10 for the outer seats and $17 for the inner reserve. $6 for top deck, to me, is the single best deal in baseball. For one thing, they aren't THAT high, where you can't see the players or anything. If you're at the top row, you might be at the highest seats in MLB, but you can still see the game, and if you're in the first five rows, you're probably on par with the top rows of most stadia. The fact that the field and loge levels aren't that big or steep contributes to this. I gave up sitting in the pavilions in 2000 after attending a Friday night Mets game and being blocked nearly the entire time by drunks in fights.


Oh so you've met my friends up there too? Actually, (and here comes the pervert in me), I have seen tons of good looking single mothers being good parents and taking their children to ballgames. I'm thinking a little cologne, maybe dressing up in a tux, and skulking next to the only foodstand, and I MIGHT JUST SCORE. Or not. Okay, back to you John:



Raising ticket prices on the non-season ticket seats will alienate the blue collar fans that buy them. Raising ticket prices on the season tickets, where the business is just writing them off anyway, can't be a bad idea.


The business fans will stay I agree with you. The total, dumbass blue collar fans, might leave, but with a mere one dollar price raise in the RED ZONE, aka, the rooftop seats, that won't piss them off that much. One huge fan base we both forget is the blue collar family, that sits in the reserve level. Many of these are Latino in background, and besides being the most steadfast fans of the Dodgers since Valenzuela's debut, they go to games only a few times a year, and see it as a treat for their kids. They buy tons of food, something corporate Hollywood types wouldn't do since they're watching their waistlines, and they don't pay attention to games. But they've probably kept the Dodgers in business. Now for the heartless Capitalist Pig part: Raise the price big time on these suckers!! To hell with the luxury tax, we need Vlad! I want Vlad in right field!!!

Sorry for the length of this letter. Welcome to the Dodger blog world.

John Wiebe

John, the Dodger world is better off with me in it. And a pig flew overhead. Keep up the letters folks, seeing in bold face that I have unread emails that AREN'T pornographic in nature, is like Christmas every day. As much as I love French maids in bestiality videos, a genuine not form letter email, warms the heart. Tomorrow, I become the judge/jury/executioner, of one Kobe Bryant. MUAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!


Monday, October 13, 2003

All right I lied, but it was a good beneficial lie, the kind of lie that kills someone, but someone evil, and we all cheer. It's the reason we have the CIA for instance. I've decided to look back at the 1995 Dodger team today, rather than tomorrow (you can tell I have no social life). This isn't really a comparison, this is more of an analysis of a team that plays in a pitcher's park, and in the long ball era. I thought that the Dodgers of that year might also have played in a similar division, but I think the Diamondbacks hadn't really risen to the power house they were for a number of years, and I think the Giants were just coming into their own. After analyzing the numbers, I really do believe that the Dodgers weren't good just because they were in a weak division (though that was part of it), but also because they were just a damn good team. I've always felt that the team that goes to the playoffs is the most well rounded team in the division, but the team that has the most early success in the playoffs tends to have the stronger pitching (as I've spoken of before).

Again this team featured strong years from Mike Piazza, a startingly good season from Karros, and a strong season from Mondesi. Team OPS was .780, and you can see how this team won the division with many of its players peaking, and then as their skills deteriorated ever so slightly, the result was a wild card win the next year, followed by nothing until this year. Team pitching was even stronger with Nomo's career rookie year, and except for Kevin Tapani, the rest of the staff was quite strong. Team ERA was 3.66. A stronger offense than the 1996 team, but weaker pitching. In contrast the OPS for this year's team was a powerful 671. In order to be competitive, we're going to have really overhaul the position players, and pretty much ignore the staff. 100 points of OPS is enormous, and a tribute to the awful management of Kevin Malone, combined with a tad bit of naivete on the part of Evans.
What does a playoff team look like?

That title is a bit deceptive. I'm just going to talk about a Dodger playoff team. That's not saying that there aren't substantial differences between a Dodger playoff team, and a Yankee playoff team, but we do play in a pitcher's park, and that can effect things. I'm going to look at only recent playoff teams, due in part to the division structure, and because teams in the long ball era are different from teams of say the "dead ball" era.

The 1996, 1995, with the earliest of the two winning the division, the second, winning the wild card. It's interesting to note that 1994 ended with a strike with us in first place, and would have been the last year before the wild card was instated. The 1996 team was phenomenal offensively, and was probably the most powerful offensive team the Dodgers have had ever, even greater than the Brooklyn team of the 1950s. It had a future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza as its catcher, it had a 28 year old Eric Karros in his prime, and it had a 30 year old Raul Mondesi pretending he was 25 in right field. It had power. The respective OPS of those three players was .985, .795, .830. Okay maybe Karros wasn't that good, but those are respectible numbers. Team OPS of the players going into the playoffs was .765, the Angels OPS for 2002 was a mere .769. We were good. How was the pitching?

Hideo Nomo, Ismael Valdes, Ramon Martinez (Pedro's little brother), Pedro Astacio, Tom Candiotti, were the starters, and a good bullpen combined for a 3.48 ERA. Last year's winners, the Angels had a 3.69 ERA. The playoffs are largely a crapshoot, but like I said earlier on this blog, good pitching tends to win the first series. Here, the Dodgers just fell apart.

Now the correllation. Our team has the pitching. We need the power. A mere three good players can create a Dodgers offense. Shawn Green healthy can play as well as a young Mike Piazza (no not one in his prime). There are at least fifty position players who can hit in the 700s, and there are probably at least 10 hitters that can hit in the mid 800s OPS as well. Keep the rest of the knuckleheads on the team, and you got yourself a playoff berth. Tomorrow I talk about Kobe, not now, and compare the 1995 Dodgers as well to see some more changes we could possibly make. Off the top of my head it should be similar to the 96 team though.
Baseball Economics

There are basically three other Dodger blogs out there, and they're all very good. Now if they would just link to me, I could get some visits. Anyway, John's Dodger Blog, (not Jon's Dodger blog), well one's blue background, one's light blue background, okay there's not much difference. Basically one of the blogs today reported how the Dodgers were probably not losing money, and Selig is a lawyer. There was a link to Doug Pappas who I think is a very smart guy, but like most hard core capitalists, he hates any kind of socialism, and thus he hates wealth distribution in baseball.

Pappas is a smart guy like I said, but he tends not to be very logical, though very methodical. The Dodgers ARE LOSING money, Selig is right, but he's still an asshole and a liar, but I'm about to explain why. First of all, if the Dodgers were making money, why the hell would they sell them? AOL/Time Warner sold off the Atlanta Hawks, but they kept the Braves. Why? Because the Braves make money, they're a well run machine that goes to the playoffs all the time.

Do the Dodgers lose money? I'm a law student, so I've taken some classes in corporate law, and though they're not as rigorously followed as they used to be, the laws concerning corporations REQUIRE demanding revelations to shareholders concerning profits. I know we live in the ENRON era, where the books are cooked routinely, but all this leads me to my original posit: If something is making money, why sell it?

The Dodgers do lose money, and the main reason is their high payroll, which since Fox has bought the team has been 100 MILLION DOLLARS a year at least. Add that to the fact that Fox makes ALMOST NO MONEY from cable distribution of the Dodgers. Why? The biggest way cable stations make money is by convincing affiliates to carry their station. Fox Sport West 2 is carried on only local LA cable stations, and maybe a few psychopaths who buy into the baseball package around the country. Whereas a cable station like TBS, or USA, gets paid by different cable distributors around the country. Who wants to watch Dodger games besides Dodger fans? The other area that they make money is from ad revenue, and if you've watched a Dodger game, you'd know that most of the commercials are that fucking SBC rhyme commercial read by Tommy Lee Jones, over and over and over again. When ads are repeated like that over and over it either means that company is really buying up all the spots, or more likely is paying a reduced rate for all those spots because the Dodgers can't find any other big companies to advertise.

Yes the team appreciated in value by about 80 million dollars. So an 80 million dollar profit is supposed to pay for six hundred million dollars in payroll? But wait, what about the attendance? Yes, Dodger attendence has been great, with over 3 million a year every year since the 70s. Ok, but have you been to a Dodger game recently? The tickets are among the CHEAPEST IN THE COUNTRY. Let's say the average ticket is twenty bucks, that means 60 million in seat revenue. So 360 million over six years of Fox ownership, plus maybe five to ten million dollars in revenue each year from the channel, if that. So let's say 420 million was made over SIX YEARS. 420 minus 600 MILLION DOLLARS is a negative amount!!!! No playoff revenue, limited apparel revenue (do you really see kids running around in LA with Dodger gear? Unless the Dodgers have changed their insignia to match the Yankees), and limited revenue from seats, you get a money loser. My estimates are a 30 million dollar loss every year, but Fox has been stating around 14 million a year. The additional revenue is probably from the cable channel. Yes this team does lose money.

So what about Selig? Well Selig is a liar, in general. Most teams DON'T LOSE MONEY. The reason they don't lose money is that when you are a privately owned corporation, the laws concerning ownership are very general in nature. They don't require the public display of finances that a public owned corporation requires, because private companies don't ISSUE STOCK. That means they don't answer to shareholders. Why would a baseball owner lie about losing money? One word: TAXES. When you lose money as a business owner, your tax rate decreases incredibly. And unless you're audited, lie, lie, lie. Fox doesn't have that luxury.

Does this bode well for future ownership? No. McCourt out of financial necessity will need to lower payroll, OR RAISE TICKET prices. I expect that the payroll will be kept at a comparable level (not necessarily a competitive level mind you), because McCourt is obligated to take over the contracts of Green/Dreifort/Brown. He can't make money off of the cable channels since he doesn't own the rights, so the only way he can make money is by raising prices. I say go ahead and do it. Six bucks for a Dodger game, plus you can dodge parking by car pooling or taking transit now, is a huge bargain. Fox was giving away for 40 bucks this season on Thursday and Sundays a family pack with food and drink and four tickets AS WELL AS FREE PARKING, this year and last. That's a ridiculous bargain, considering that Fenway has ZERO PARKING, unless you're a player, (or PLAYAH), and the cheapest ticket is 25 bucks. It will indeed be a test of the Dodger fan, but I think they will pass it. Most people see Dodger games as a family outing, and it's something they want to spend big on. A buck more in ticket prices won't hurt anyone. McCourt seems to know how to make money, so expect the prices to go up as well. And expect the official Dodger message board to complain mercilessly, especially if we don't make the playoffs. Ok, I know I promised to talk about Kobe, but that'll come later in the week. See ya.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

What would Billy do?

I'm one of those WWBD followers, aka people with common sense. Yeah I read Moneyball, yeah I have no life, yeah I think I'm smarter than most general managers. So why am I here, typing a silly blog instead of making million dollar moves? People skills! I have none. But I'm working on them.

The rumors have reached a fever pitch in regards to Billy Beane coming to LA. We all know by now that he has a daughter in Los Angeles, and would love to be close to her or whatnot. Of the three teams in So Cal, only one has a possible opening. The Padres are pretty happy with Towers, though he's just your standard run of the mill GM who's convinced the ownership that they're rebuilding now. The Angels have re-signed their GM to a long termer, because afterall they did win a Series with him last year. But my boy Danno, he's signed through next year, so if he's released, they'd still have to pay him. Of all the GM's in the world though, Billy is the most famous. If he leaves the A's, he'd probably only come here.

So what would he do if he came here? Looking at what he's done with the A's, and how he basically could care less for base stealing or guys who can't draw walks, I'd expect the following players to pack their bags: Izturis, Cora, Roberts. As for the relievers, I think Gagne might be fired as well. There'd be an uproar in the newspapers, but it'd be the right move to make, as Mota is actually a better pitcher. And cheaper too.

Would Beane bring Tejada down? Probably, and he'd be an ENORMOUS improvement over Izturis. Defense doesn't mean shit in baseball, how many runs prevented has Izturis been responsible for, and is an average defensive shortstop really that worse than Izturis. Izturis still makes the occasional error, and the guy just plain cannot hit. If we didn't have enough money to replace both Cora and Izturis, I'd suggest a platoon, and not the stunt Tracy pulls of switch hitting Izturis. For some reason in baseball, two incompetents at one job are better than one incompetent, and if you look at the OPS of both Izturis and Cora when they platooned at shortstop, the improvement at that position was dramatic. It would be a stop gap for next year or perhaps two years until the Dreifort/Green/Brown salaries could be taken off the books. Izturis played a bunch of second base for the Blue Jays, so he knows what he's doing.

I think Billy's moves wouldn't drastically be different from Danno's moves. I honestly believe Dan is a sabremetric copy cat of sorts, but he also blends the eye of a traditional scout with that. Both Beane and Evans rely far too heavily on a statistic analysis of hitters, that's why both tend not to make strong offenses. Big hitters are unpredictable, they're unpredictable to find, and when they collapse they collapse hard. The A's offense was at best average this year, and the Dodger's offense was a joke. Before McGriff was procured from the Cubs, Evans said in an interview that he was an enormous improvement over Karros because of his dramatically higher on base percentage. What kind of GM says that, unless he's been reading up on stats? And McGriff would have been better than Karros (who is totally overrated, player, and I hate his Pert Plus commercials), a guy who had little to do with the Cubs success, and in fact platooned the whole year with Choi, and Randall Simon, two guys who are far better than he is. But statheads like Beane and to a lesser extent Evans, tend to forget the one big stat on the back of every baseball card: Age.

That being said, if Billy were to take this job, he'd totally luck out and succeed on the basis of past efforts. He's got phenomenal pitching talent in the minors, he's got an enormous payroll to play with, Shawn Green will undoubtedly be healthy next year, and he won't be fooled into keeping crappy offensive, great defensive players like Roberts, Izturis, Cora. He'd be smart to take the position. Ya hear me Bill? Smart. And if you need a GM assistant, I'm here for you buddy.

To conclude this rambling mess, if we stick with Danno, we succeed. If we succeed in getting Beane, we succeed. I think the future looks bright for the boys in blue. Coming up in the next few days: I talk about Kobe. Remember I didn't say this blog was ALL about baseball.
McCourt again

By the way, aren't I a badass for not making a Frank McCourt "Angela Ashes" joke, and instead reverting to common little man Leprechaun stereotyping of Irish people? Wow.
McCourt McCourt McCourt

I like little angry people. They tend to have Napoleanonic complexes, red faces, tiny little baby fists. McCourt, from what I understand is one of these people. They make good leaders, they don't take shit from people. In the LA Times gossip section, err, I mean Sports section, word on the street was that McCourt didn't take shit from people in negotiations and played hard ball with FOX. I imagined he was short because that's a common Irish stereotype from the 19th century, and VIOLA, you have a character borne.

By having a personality, he's already a bit better than our last Great Leader, Murdoch, who was too busy supporting the Spanish American War "Remember the Maine" in Iraq bullshit to realize he owned one of the great sports franchises ever. Score one.

There's fears that he would raze Dodger stadium. Bunk, I say. The reason for these fears is that McCourt wanted to raze Fenway, but people forget that Fenway is the smallest park in the majors, that McCourt owned suitable land to build a new park in Boston (something he doesn't own in Los Angeles where land is VERY expensive as well), and that Dodger stadium is an enormous park that already seats an enormous number of people. Profit right there. Plus if McCourt is looking for state financing for a new ballpark, he picked the wrong state, because even if we wanted to give him tax money, which we don't, we're bankrupt and can't afford it. So no new park for the immediate future.

The other fear that he has is that the payroll will suffer. We're getting rid of some 19 MILLION dollars in Malone era crap, and mistake salaries from Evans (McGriff, that fat dude from the Astros). But we've got a lot of shit still to pay for (Dreifort, Green, Brown). About 15 million in buying position players and you got yourself a division winner is my steadfast opinion. Can McCourt afford this? I think it depends on two things. One, who is backing McCourt, since he can't afford this by himself. Two, is McCourt the kind of guy, a real estate kind of guy, who sits on a property, and lets it appreciate but invests little in the upkeep? Donald Sterling rings in my ears. Will the Dodgers become the Clippers? Whereas I had strong logical arguments as to why McCourt wouldn't nay couldn't raze the stadium even if he wanted to, there's not much to be said about the payroll. Personally I believe that McCourt isn't a psychopath like Sterling, he cares how others view him, he wants to be a winner, and he wants a baseball team because he's a lifelong fan. He has powerful backing, the kind of backing that wanted a big team like the Dodgers, and not a piddlyshit team like the Angels, which is why that deal fell through making McCourt look like a pauper.

It's with that backing that I think McCourt will be able at a minimum to get loans to guarantee more salary. And the fears that McCourt wants to be a hands ON type of guy, well I look at Steinbrenner, and Jerry Jones, two guys who tend to win, and well that can't really be a bad thing can it? The last owner we had didn't even know the team existed...


Who's on for 2004?

Well, well, well. It's 1:30 in the morning, and guess who's excited about his new blog, and can't wait to publish more bullshit? Me, that's who! This weekend was a stay at home weekend, not because I'm a dork and a nerd, though I am, but because of a death in the family that has required me to stay home this weekend. My family's sorrow is to you, the reader's benefit, because my usual weekend nocturnal activities consist of boozing and galloping around the bar scene of Los Angeles, rather than contemplating the Dodgers future. That deep thought is usually reserved for the shower.

The following players have guaranteed contracts through 2004:

Paul Shuey
Paul Lo Duca
Shawn Green
Kevin Brown
Darren Dreifort
Hideo Nomo
Kazuhisa Ishii
Paul Quantrill (goddamn that's a lot of Pauls)
Todd Hundley
Brian Jordan (or 2.5 million dollar buy out)

The entire coaching staff is paid through '04, so is Jim Tracy the manager, and Dan Evans the general manager. I would imagine that the rest of the front office is set to be around as well, IF THE NEW OWNER DOES NOTHING AT ALL.

The chances for that happening are slim to none, which isn't unusual for anyone who's worked in the corporate world, whenever there is a takeover. New CEOs have a confident swagger and love to wreck havoc, which is why they're CEOs in the first place. (unless they inherited their wealth, in which case they're CEOs who walk in with trace amounts of white powder around their nostrils). So expect some heads to roll. I'll be talking about my feelings and theories about Frank McCourt, the new owner in the next few days as well.

Ok then. As you can see from the list above, the best pitching staff in baseball, and one of the best EVER in the history of the game, will largely be returning. That's a good thing. Now for the bad news. Much like the Cubs in the playoffs, this was a team that REALLY relied on pitching, and that resulted in injured worn out pitchers who played their hearts out all season. Ishii has a nagging knee injury, Nomo just had surgery, Dreifort blew to pieces and needed a full body transplant, Brown is a ticking time bomb of steroid rage. These guys are older, wiser pitcher types, they are injury prone. I expect at a minimum two, if not three, to go down. Fortunately, there are replacements waiting in the wings. We own Edwin Jackson for another five years because he came up through our farm system, and I've seen him strike out Bonds with my own bloody eyes. I expect him to sit pretty on the bench until Dreifort detonates once again, and him to play most of the year. From what I've read, he's very damn good, but not even our BEST prospect. That goes to Hanharananaaha or however the hell you spell his name. Two good prospects, two low ERAs in the minors, equals breathing room. We also can afford to dump either Alvarez or Perez, two very solid pitchers. I say dump Perez, if Pedro throws old men to the dirt, you can imagine what Perez will do to little children asking him for autographs if one of them were to attack him. Though a little controversy does wonders for ratings, as the Lakers will no doubt show later this year.

Now let's look at the relievers: Shuey, Quantrill

These guys are solid as all hell, Quantrill is the better of the two. Which is why Tracy pitched Quantril more than any other reliever in baseball this year. Quantril is known as a rubber arm by the media, so expect Tommy John surgery in 03. Shuey was used a shitload too, and just recently had hip surgery. He's had surgery before, but come back fast, at least he says he has. I expect them to do well if they're healthy. But their health is a question mark. If Evans isn't fired this season, we can expect a lot of pitching talent to be found. Remember, Evans was the same guy who told Carrera and Chan Ho to take a walk, and we know how well those guys are doing. Evans or whoever is in charge should re-sign Mota, and dump Gagne, but since Gagne sells a lot of T-Shirts we can expect him to be in Dodger blue, or at least Yankees pinstripes next year.

And now the hitters. Boy did they suck. I mean really suck. They made watching Dodger games a possible heart attack each time, because if we won, more times than not, it was by one point. Thankfully most of the position players on our team were not signed through next year, so you can expect there to be major house cleaning. Lo Duca is a very overrated catcher, and he's Mike Piazza-esque defensively. He had one phenomenal season two years ago, mysteriously lost 25 pounds before this season started, and lost his power throughout. He's can hit for average, but he's a little guy, so the beatings of being a catcher take a toll on him. As good of a pitcher manager as Tracy is, he's not a very good position player manager, and routinely doesn't platoon when he should. We have Ross, a guy good enough to be an average if not above average every day catcher, and there's NO EXCUSE why this guy doesn't play about 1/3 of the games in the catcher spot. If I were GM, and thank god I'm not because then I'd be hanging out at the groupie bar along with the players making an ass of myself, but if I were, I would dump Lo Duca's ass for someone right now. And not yet another Italian catcher (which seems to be a Dodger tradition), but a first baseman, or someone for God's sake. I heard Sexson was on the market, and there's nothing more delightful than stealing away good players from incompetent front offices running small market podunk teams.

Shawn Green, my favorite member of the Tribe. Overpaid, yes. Overrated, hmmm, well, not really. He isn't the fielder he once was, he's sort of a lazy Garrett Anderson type of fielder, who loves having a bleached white uniform. Can he hit? Doesn't seem like it anymore, but I figure that once he has surgery on his shoulder he'll make a comeback. He actually had the largest power shutdown of a player since YAZ. Which ought to tell you something of how bad our luck was. Is he tradeable? You bet. Should we trade him? Why not? Who would take him? The Yankees silly. Why would they take him? The Yanks haven't had a good right fielder in a while (Mondesi, Garcia), Shawn Green will undoubtedly appeal to the large Jewish loyal fanbase of the Yanks, and they'd take his entire salary without blinking. Besides Steinbrenner actually WANTED Green, but the Blue Jays wouldn't dare give their best player up to a division competitor, and gave him to us instead. Do I think Green will be traded? No, I don't. Will Green do well next year? If Kevin Brown can be top five in ERA for starters after TWO YEARS of surgery and mediocre playing, then yes Viriginia Shawn Green will return. Why am I asking all these questions rhetorically? Because I thought it added stylistically to the blog, but I think it makes me look kind of psycho. All writers talk to themselves you know.

Yawn, boy am I tired. Who's next? Oh yeah, Hundley and Jordan. Jordan's gone, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's either retired after this season, or a bench player the rest of his days. And then Hundley. Named after the first submarine invented by the Confederacy, he sank soon after his promising debut in the mid-90s on the Mets. I've seen him in interviews, and he seems swarmy, knows that he's just playing for the contract to go out, and his days are soon done. I think if I had been a player we would have been similar types, and for that I hate him. I expect little or nothing from him next year, and quite frankly I don't know why I wrote so much about him right now. Ok off to bed, and tomorrow, or sometime after that, a breakdown of McCourt, and what he might do.

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