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Monday, October 31, 2005

Minor League Scorebook

2005-10-31: Surprise 2, Mesa 3 #
Anderson: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Kendrick: 1-4
Morales: 1-4
Wood: 0-4, 2 K
Jimerson: 3-4
Bass: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3.26 ERA
Barzilla: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 9.22 ERA
Demaria: (L, 1-2) (in relief), 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 5.59 ERA
2005-10-31: Phoenix 10, Peo Javelinas 3 #
Kemp: 4-5, 1 2B, 1 BB
Drew: 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Loney: 2-5, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Ethier: 3-6, 1 RBI, 1 K
LaRoche: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Barton: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 K
Saltalamacchia: 2-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Komine: (W, 1-1), 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0.96 ERA

Angels Decline Christiansen's Option

The Angels have declined the $1.05M option on Jason Christiansen.

Theo Epstein Resigns As Red Sox GM

Contrary to earlier reports, Theo Epstein has resigned as Red Sox GM after turning down a three-year, $4.5M contract.

The Dodgers could do worse, I suppose.

Update: Rotoworld says Epstein will likely take time off rather than consider another GM position.

Update 2: now the ESPN story page above is reverting to Epstein rejecting the $4.5M/3 years contract. From the Boston Herald story:

Epstein had come close to agreeing to a deal Saturday evening but had not officially conveyed acceptance of it. On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed -- in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.

A Panic Button We Hope Never To Use


Pickoff Moves, Lunchtime Edition

Meta: Sea Changes

And so the blog goes full circle. I hadn't intended on this becoming a 24/7 diatribe against the McCourts, although it surely started that way. Nonetheless, for those here for Angels material, consider yourselves perhaps a bit warned while Hurricane Frank revs back up to a category 5 storm.

Other GMs Surprised At Frank's Hairtrigger

Other GMs, perhaps used to thinking of the Dodgers in their glory days, find DePodesta's firing disconcerting:
"It's very surprising to everybody within the industry," said Jim Duquette, who was recently hired by the Baltimore Orioles as vice president of baseball operations.

"A lot of people scratched their heads that after two years Paul would be out."


Duquette said he could relate to DePodesta's plight because he was replaced by the New York Mets in 2004 after 15 months as GM. He's hoping for a longer leash with Baltimore.


"Typically, the first year is for evaluating the operation," he said.

"Year 2 is often a transition year, and Year 3 is the make-or-break year for many GMs.

"From Paul's standpoint, I think it is a little unfair to pull the plug on a process that he was just in the process of building."

What did I say about the Dodgers being run like the Mets?

Billy Beane in Oakland said he would welcome back DePodesta as an assistant.

"Paul is a capable, bright and talented guy," said Mark Shapiro, general manager of the Cleveland Indians. "It's hard for me to believe that given enough time in the right environment, he wouldn't be extremely successful."

Veteran Presence GM Pool Shrinks

I wonder that the Dodgers ultimately don't come down to a situation like that in Oakland, where Billy Beane ultimately decided to re-sign Ken Macha after failing to find a better manager available on the open market. First, we discover that the Red Sox have re-signed Theo Epstein, and second, the Times reports that Pat Gillick is nearing a deal with Philadelphia. Who's left? Jim Bowden? Orel Hershiser? Tommy Lasorda? The mind boggles...


McCourt has scaled back an earlier promise of a $100-million payroll, and now says somewhat vaguely, "We will spend what it takes to win." But sources said DePodesta operated within a strict budget that is more likely to shrink than grow.

What A Lousy World Series -- For Fox

Acknowledging the incremental improvement over last year's dull sweep, this year's Fall Classic remained a sweep with little drama over the series as a whole, though the individual games themselves still held my attention. Nonetheless, Maury Brown writes, this was the worst-rated World Series in the history of the game, even worse than the 2002 Angels/Giants matchup, in my view the most exciting series played since 2000. Yet, what most coverage of the ratings fail to report on is the fact that the World Series collectively still had more viewers than any other program in those time slots. That is, the Series suffers from the same problem afflicting all other TV these days, and that is it's just one of many things to watch on an increasingly fragmented dial. That it still holds sway as the main event on the days it's going is something baseball should be proud of, and extremely pleased with.

Bobby Jenks Offers To Turn The Other (Butt) Cheek

A sight to remember

Bobby Jenks, on those in the Angels system who gave up on him:
"For everyone that ever doubted me," Jenks said. "I say, kiss my ass."
It'll be interesting to see just how long the Wizard Named Ozzie will be making those "big boy" calls...

Short-Season Leagues May Yet Return

Baseball America says that as time grows from the original proposal to eliminate the AZL and GCL, so does opposition to it and inertia to keep things as they are. This is good news for the Angels, let's face it: they love longshot prospects that can't be tested any other way than in these situations.

Silver Sluggers Awarded

Jeff Kent of the Dodgers and Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels both won Silver Sluggers. Kent was the only NL player to have been previously awarded the trophy.

The Serpent's Tongue And The Bitgod

Tommy Lasorda, whose perfidious whispers have made the leap to the legendary, unsurprisingly represents the backlash to change, writes Jeff Angus in Management By Baseball. Angus talks about "the Bitgod contingent", where Bitgod = "back in the good old days", that group who finds a way to obstruct changes they find threatening for principally political reasons:
In the Dodger case, the resistance [to Paul DePodesta's designs] is centered around Tom Lasorda, the ultimate Bitgod. For him, the fight is not so much ideological as it is personal. Sure, he favors the model that he cut his teeth on and managed in; that's perfectly natural if not always functional. But his own political power base within the Dodgers is in the process and people who were paramount in the old pre-DePodesta model the young G.M. was committed to change.
It looks like Angus is planning a series based on the Dodgers front office escapades. Stay tuned.

No Tectonic Slip, But A Slide Nonetheless

Once more up at some ungodly hour, and what do I see but this Times story about the Dodgers' fan base slowly turning red, complete with this quote from Jon:
The Angels outsold the Dodgers in season tickets and exceeded them in television ratings this year, evidence enough to persuade Fox Sports Net to offer the Angels a cable contract on par with the Dodgers'.

"I'm not so sure the Dodgers are L.A.'s team any more. The team doesn't seem to have a particular direction," said former Angel President Richard Brown, citing this winter's renovations at Dodger Stadium. "The team doesn't seem to be fan-oriented — $20 million for taking seats out and putting seats in rather than putting it into the team?"


"If, with every hurdle that comes, McCourt is going to fire somebody, that increases the chances he'll turn the team into the Royals, a team that is constantly starting over and repairing mistakes," said Jon Weisman, proprietor of the independent website http://www.dodgerthoughts.com.

The Kansas City Royals, another once-proud franchise, lost 106 games last season. They have not appeared in the playoffs since winning the World Series in 1985.

Now, it should probably be noted that these kinds of stories have been coming out ever since Frank McCourt won the lottery and got the team from a News Corp. all too happy to deliver the team unto an owner too financially weak to negotiate broadcast terms as an equal. Certainly, there would seem to be a goodly number of questions over how many years the McCourts can field bad teams before they go upside down on their debt service. As Shaikin accurately notes, the Dodgers' history makes the threat of a collapse into something like the Royals somewhat remote.

At the same time, history gives us an example of a two-team market where one team had success while the other did not, with the second team finally giving up and moving away. That market was Boston, and the team, ironically enough, was the Braves, a team Frank McCourt's grandfather had a stake in. A powerhouse in the second half of the 19th century, the Braves won two titles in the 20th, but mostly were a second-division team in a market large enough to only grant long-term survival to one club. Outdrawn every year but seven in the 52 years of their coexistance, the Braves finally left in 1952.

Certainly, no one's suggesting this fate will happen in the near future to the Dodgers; that's many years of losing ahead, if ever. But for the moment, all McCourt has to sell is hope:

"We're trying to create greatness here," McCourt said. "We look forward to the stability we're going to bring. You can't build anything without a strong foundation. And until you get the strong foundation in place, you're not going to have the stability this franchise needs and deserves."
His grandfather's club didn't exactly set the town on fire; from the moment the AL rival Red Sox walked in, the Braves were outdrawn consistently, in many years by better than 2:1. They weren't that stable, either, churning through 24 managers in the period 1901-1952. (It should be noted, though, that the far more successful Yankees went through 18 managers in that same time; in those days, managers were expendable, even on winning teams.) It's not a good precedent.
McCourt fired the senior marketing executive he inherited, hired a replacement, then fired him in April. He has yet to fill the vacancy, with the winter drive to sell tickets and sponsorships upon him and no manager or general manager in place [emphasis mine].

"Usually, a franchise that didn't make the playoffs is selling hope right now," said David Carter of the Sports Business Group in Redondo Beach. "What the Dodgers are selling is, 'Trust us, we'll be in a position to sell hope soon.' That makes the off-season that much more difficult."

Nobody, I think, doubts the sincerity of the McCourts in their desire to field a winning team, only their ability to do so. With Tommy Lasorda whispering sweet nothings into his ear about Dodger tradition, the way is being paved, not for a rebirth, but for ongoing mediocrity. Fox could sustain the ensuing losses; it's far from clear whether McCourt can.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

OT: Huge Crack On 405 Nearly Causes Accident


A "New" Angels Photoblogger

Quietly toiling away in relative obscurity to rest of the Angels blogosphere is Erisa Nakano at azangel.com. Focusing on spring training, she now lives in Tempe and so directs us over to ASU's radio station, which broadcasts AFL games. As a Broadcast Journalism major, she's even scheduled to cover a couple of the games (not sure in what capacity), and came back to Anaheim to see the unfortunate results of ALCS Game 4. Good stuff.

Pickoff Moves, Late Edition

Dodgers To Interview Pat Gillick

In the non-news category, the Dodgers are set to interview Pat Gillick for their abruptly, stupidly, arrogantly vacated GM position. I refer you all to Rich's questions:
16. What would Gillick bring to the table today that he didn't back when he interviewed for the same position in 2004?

17. If McCourt "wants Dodgers here," then how does Gillick fit into that goal?

More, More, More On Plaschke

Matt Welch has his own fisking of the Plaschke column, as does Friend-of-Matt's Steve Smith. Also, it turns out that the BTF kids have more on this as well. Finally, this appears to be the last straw for the new blog Fire The McCourts.

Minor League Scorebook

The AFL had the day off.

At Last, Lasorda's Blog Proves Useful

... as a dumping ground for comments. Read 'em before they're yanked by the Dodger Truth Squad!

The New Model Dodgers

I said earlier that the Dodgers are about to be run as one of baseball's second-rate franchises -- i.e., the Mets or Phillies. I hereby retract my comment, and, upon reading Rich's list of 32 questions, declare that their fate is to be far more like that of the Royals, whose front office is infested with individuals whose last names match that of the owner.

Update: I can't believe I missed an opportunity to say this: as with Hollywood, the Dodgers' future is to become filled with refuse and nephews.

Night Of The Long Knives

More on that ugly bloodstain on the Dodgers floor --

Pickoff Moves

A Possibly Tortured Simile

As a girl, my wife had a dog who had an itch so bad he chewed through his skin all the way to the bone, nicking an artery. So do the Dodgers engage in self-destruction. (The dog lived, by the way, but only thanks to prompt veterinary care.)

Braves Tap Roger McDowell As Pitching Coach

The Atlanta Braves have signed Las Vegas pitching coach Roger McDowell to replace Leo Mazzone as their pitching coach.

Padres To Interview Glenn Hoffman For Third Base Coach

I mean, why not? Nobody else besides Dictator For Life Tommy Lasorda will be left standing, anyway.

Minor League Scorebook

There's some news somewhere about the minors but right now I'm too lazy to get it out, so I'm gonna stick -- for now -- to publishing the scores. I'll probably gussy this up in the morning, though --

2005-10-29: Mesa 2, Surprise 4 #
Kendrick: 1-4, 1 2B
Buchholz: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1.93 ERA
Doyne: (W, 1-1) (in relief), 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB, 10.00 ERA
Sanches: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 2.92 ERA
2005-10-29: Peo Javelinas 2, Phoenix 7 #
Kemp: 1-5, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Loney: 1-5
LaRoche: 4-4, 1 2B
Saltalamacchia: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Abreu: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Shields: (W, 2-1), 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 6 K, 0 BB, 1.80 ERA
Woo hoo and a tiger for LaRoche!

Still More On The DePodesta Firing: Deconstructing Plaschke

The Times' Bill Plaschke, who has always had it in for DePodesta, immediately launched his hosannas and exacted his pound or five of flesh (hat tip: LA Observed):
Paul DePodesta has been fired as Dodger general manager, days after the organizational meetings, days before he was going to announce a new manager, weeks after the end of an awful season.

Some will say this means the Dodgers are in chaos. I say this means they are finally seeking order.

Yeah, Bill, your order, one that consists largely of mean-spirited attacks on someone who did exactly jack to you.
Some will say DePodesta wasn't given a fair chance. I say he never should have been hired in the first place.
Wow -- a two-sentence paragraph! Dazzle us with your brilliance, Bill. I know you can. Because, hey, splattering a guy's character before he's even made a single move is just so mature!
You say, a hasty firing. I say, a smart trade.
Smart? How did we ever have time to find out? Or is it just because you agree with guys who bellow and steam and provide good quote... like Tommy Lasorda? Once upon a time, Lasorda was just a likeable blowhard, but his post-managerial career has seen him careen to sheer incompetence. If, as seems likely, he engineered DePodesta's excision and has hand-selected some ex-Dodger great -- Hershiser seems likely -- to take over at GM for no apparent reason, he, not DePodesta, now has my undying loathing -- and Plaschke along with it for inflaming such stupid tendencies in the front office.
Here's guessing Gillick and his World Series rings will be the new general manager. Hershiser and his World Series ring will be the assistant. Bobby Valentine and his World Series appearance will be the manager.
Like Gillick's Toronto rings did Seattle any good. Like Hershiser has the aptitude or knowledge to be an assistant GM. Like Bobby Valentine has either a significant connection to the Dodgers or a track record as a successful manager.
None of this would be possible if DePodesta were still around.
And we will remember every last word of this foolish counsel when the team goes below .500. We will remember this when Whoever T. Hell, General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers, trades this year's Pedro Martinez for this year's Delino DeShields because Frank McCourt actually heeds the shrieking voices in the Times the rest of us merely laugh at.
None of this would be possible if DePodesta were still around.

The kid's computer, once foolishly hailed by McCourt as the organizational savior, had become little more than a flashy box blocking the door.

McCourt should have known better. Or, at least, he should have asked someone other than Oakland's Billy Beane, the most famous general manager who has never won a playoff series.

To fill shoes once worn by Branch Rickey and Al Campanis, should McCourt really have hired a 31-year-old who had never been to Dodger Stadium? Who had never met Tom Lasorda? Who, when with Oakland, had been the most invisible No. 2 executive in the game?

More important question: should anyone deigning to fill said shoes listen to a waffler like Plaschke? Plaschke, you may recall, had nothing nice to say about DePodesta (see post 100 by Matt Welch) upon his hiring, yet with his very first act as general manager -- the trade for Milton Bradley -- he effused "Paul DePodesta swung for the fences, and it says here he connected."

Plaschke is not a man to take seriously.

Remember when, during DePodesta's hiring news conference 21 months ago, McCourt mentioned how it was so cool that his teenage son had been surfing chat rooms that claimed DePodesta joining the Dodgers was like Alex Rodriguez joining the New York Yankees?

Error, hackers.

Bigger error, McCourt.

Well, what did you expect? The man had never been a GM before. Mistakes were bound to happen even if his name were Branch Rickey. Oh, but wait -- it was McCourt's kids who were excited by it. Serves him right for listening to his own offspring -- who, by the way, are now deeply embedded in the Dodgers operations, what with Drew McCourt running the marketing department.
"There's no question I've learned a tremendous amount the last couple of years," McCourt said at Dodger Stadium, filled these days with destroyed seats and shattered potential.

You think?

DePodesta was harmless, a quiet fellow who kept to himself, until he suddenly tore apart a first-place team halfway through his first season.

No. Not back to "heart and soul" again. Please. For the love of all that is holy, not that.
At the time, the Dodgers were 60-42.

For the rest of his tenure, they went 104-118.

It was as if he thought he was smarter than predecessor Dan Evans, who built the eventual division champions. It was as if he cared little about the fans who loved them.

Now that... that's just lame, Bill. Cheap. Stupid. This from the same Bill Plaschke who bagged on Dan Evans for trading Gary Sheffield after he had made himself into a complete nuisance by demanding a contract extension just after signing another contract with the Dodgers. This is the same Bill Plaschke who, on January 13, 2004, had the nerve to say that "[The Dodgers] haven't been able to say that [they have a team all of LA can be proud of] for 16 years." This is the tradition he's defending?
They won the NL West title in spite of his clubhouse remodeling
Except for that part about Steve Finley, who I think had a little bit to do with winning the division. Yeah, just forget that part, Bill.
then he inexplicably tore the team apart again last winter, his struggles with personnel acquisitions matched only by his failures to communicate.

Many will blame this season's 71-91 record on injuries.

Well, it's not as though it isn't at least partially true!
But DePodesta was the one who gave big money to injury-prone J.D. Drew and malingering Odalis Perez.
... and your answers would have been to keep Beltre and his lousy production, and sign what starting pitcher?
DePodesta was the one who gutted the bullpen such that Eric Gagne's loss became a nightmare.
Uh... wha? Is he just hoping we all forget that the only major player in the 2004 bullpen not to appear in the 2005 edition was Guillermo Mota, who hasn't exactly been successful in Florida?
I was in favor of his signing of Milton Bradley, so it's unfair of me to blame him for that.
Wow... a brief flash of honesty. Could it be menopause?
His trade last year for Steve Finley was tremendous
Wait, I thought that was bad... so confused!
and his signing of Jeff Kent was brilliant, so he did some good things.

But, by the time this season ended, the clubhouse was divided by guys who shouldn't have been lumped together, his pet projects like Antonio Perez were not everyday players, and DePodesta couldn't get along with the manager.

And I'm sure that if you had a little weasel undermining everything you had tried to implement, you, too, would have a poor opinion of your underling.
McCourt claims he would have fired Jim Tracy anyway. I wonder.
Well, Steve can hope, anyway.
But even then, DePodesta was given one last chance, his managerial search serving as McCourt's final test.

When his odd list of candidates did not resemble one put together by a savvy general manager with lots of contacts --

Translated: to a list I can at least recognize. How many times will it have to be pointed out to leadheads like Plaschke that Walter Alston had no major league managerial experience prior to being named Dodgers skipper?
and when he didn't even try to ask for permission to talk to Mike Scioscia --
-- who, as a rational adult, and nay, a genuinely classy individual, would have to simply say, "That's not even an issue. ... I don't know a better job in baseball than right here", if he weren't giggling inside thanks to the self-destructive acts the team has made since he's left. I mean, Arte... McCourt... left hand... right hand... uh. Um. It's a wonder you can't hear Mike busting out laughing in his Westlake Village home all the way down in Anaheim from the very suggestion.
the decision was made.

It's awful, it's embarrassing, it cost the Dodgers an important month of off-season work.

But it had to be done.

How nice of you to man up for the Dodgers, Bill! Any other front office mayhem you want to suggest while you're here? Maybe firing the team janitor? Did the groundskeepers annoy your lordly gaze at the park today? Want Frank to fire those guys, too?
"I can't point to any one thing," McCourt said of his reasons for the firing. "I'm a builder by nature, and, to build, you need a strong foundation."
I thought, as the Parking Lot Attendant, he hadn't built anything besides a few squares of asphalt. What would he know about foundations?
Now that McCourt has fixed this huge crack, he needs to remember, the foundation starts with him.
Uh oh.
As their blunders pile up like peanut shells on a July night, McCourt and his wife, Jamie, need to show more personal accountability for everything from Lon Rosen to obstructed-view seats.
Wait, so the buck doesn't stop with DePodesta? You mean, there's somebody else who maybe, possibly, could be at fault if things don't work out?
Not once Saturday would McCourt acknowledge that he blew it with DePodesta. How can we believe they have learned if they never admit they have failed?
I may have to saw off a limb here. I actually agree with Plaschke on something.
Even the way they began Saturday's news conference was disingenuous, with new flack Camille Johnston refusing to announce that DePodesta had been fired, instead announcing only that they were beginning a search for a new general manager.

C'mon, Dodgers. Have more respect for your fans.

Yeah, 'cause taking Plaschke and Simers seriously isn't a good way to do that.
You hired the wrong guy to run your team. Two years later, you fired him. Admit it and move on.

DePodesta will be paid for three more years, the wealthiest 32-year-old former general manager on the planet. He will undoubtedly become a great No. 2 executive somewhere else. He'll survive.

This is about something much bigger than him, bigger than the team, bigger than Chavez Ravine. This is about a Dodger championship tradition worth saving even at the risk of the public humiliation that McCourt will endure, and deserve.

... aaaand what championship tradition would that be? As the LA Observed piece above notes, the Dodgers haven't won jack post-1988, and Bobby Valentine's connection to the organization is tenuous at best. So, yes, let's talk about this championship tradition. It's got nothing whatsoever to do with bloviating bozos in the Times and everything to do with pioneers like Branch Rickey, guys who used statistical analysis and had a gift for finding players in unlikely places -- you know, like the Negro Leagues.
The Dodger owner did an unsightly, uncomfortable thing Saturday.
If there were any justice, the Times would do an unsightly, uncomfortable thing and lance the boils currently infesting its sports pages.
But for the first time in a long time, he did the right thing.
It's going to be a long offseason. Cripes. A million monkeys and a million typewriters couldn't make up stuff this bad, I swear.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Does It Really Work That Way?

Jon speculates that, even now, the Dodgers' front office contains a toxic stew of conflicting wish lists: Frank wants to bring back an ex-Dodger hero, Jamie wants a woman in the GM's chair, and Tommy Lasorda wants to bring back the same cronies who torpedoed the Dodgers in the 90's. As a result, some combination of Hershiser, Valentine, and Kim Ng become, in no particular order, GM, manager, and AGM (which Ng already is). But the kicker for me:
And for sure, this happens: Season ticket sales show a net increase, with more people happy than sad that DePodesta is gone. The Dodgers improve in 2006 thanks to the talent that DePodesta and Dan Evans helped assemble, the new regime takes credit, and the McCourts crow all year.
Mm, dunno. Off the top of my head, In a weak NL West, I expect the 2006 Dodgers, sight unseen, to win 86-87 games, 88 at the outside. General manager Orel Hershiser will be fired, leading to GM Jamie McCourt.

Following another non-losing season, season tickets sales will be appreciably south of their former levels, but Dodger fans, eternal patsies that they are, will show up to the tune of 3,000,000+. So does the cycle begin anew, as the spring brings forth wolf cubs and spring lambs alike.

DePodesta To Be Fired

The Dodgers are, incontrovertably, in the hands of the most neurotic idiots to ever run a franchise since Marge Schott. We have proof of this in the form of the Los Angeles Times article indicating that Paul DePodesta is on his way out.
On the heels of a fourth-place finish and in the midst of a managerial search, the Dodgers are expected to fire General Manager Paul DePodesta, perhaps as early as this weekend, highly placed sources in the organization said Friday.

Barring a change of heart by Frank McCourt, all that is left is for the Dodger owner to meet with DePodesta and make an announcement. DePodesta did not speak with McCourt as of late Friday, although the owner and his wife, team President Jamie McCourt, were in their offices into the early evening.

If anything is likely to make me change my mind about the McCourts, it's this. After a year and a half or so of new ownership, I had softened a bit on them, but it seems they've lost their minds. Tinkering around the edges by firing front office communication personnel like Lon Rosen is one thing; having a revolving door at the GM's chair is quite another. The franchise enters an offseason of great tumult around baseball in that position, with Theo Epstein renegotiating his contract amid public disagreements with ownership, Brian Cashman using his potential exit from the Yankees to emphasize a point about who's boss, John Hart resigning from the Rangers, the Phillies fired Ed Wade, and the Devil Rays gave Chuck LaMar the boot. (Am I missing someone?) Finding a proven GM will be difficult.

A GM search now will also complicate the managerial search. They'll have somebody to fill out the lineup card next year, somebody to blame for whatever troubles the team has, but it won't matter much. They'll also have a GM who's likely to start making some furious trades. I didn't see much coming out of the Dodger farm system before 2007; with this change and the pressure behind it, it's all too plausible to see the likes of Andy LaRoche traded for some magic beans and a handful of aging, marquee veterans, a la the early 90's Dodgers.

Finally, to fire DePodesta after only a year in that position marks McCourt as someone who can't tolerate media carping. If the likes of the Plaschkes and Simers of the press keep Frank McCourt awake at night, if the Doug Krikorians give him indigestion, then the kinds of idiotic, reactionary moves that punctuated Kevin Malone's tenure as GM will almost assuredly ensue. That is, the Dodgers will be run like the Mets or the Phillies: a second-class organization without a clue that swings heedlessly to whatever sentiment inflames the fans this month.

This is profoundly saddening. I'll say this: it makes me appreciate Arte that much more. And I wish Jon were around; for sure, he'd have something sharp to say. I don't have the time, and the Toaster appears to be unplugged right now. If you want, the (limited) BTF thread is here.

Post-Wedding (not mine) update: More on this from Jon, Rich, and Matt.

It appears the firing is official, according to ESPN.

"I met with Paul DePodesta this morning and let him know that the Los Angeles Dodgers were moving on," McCourt said at the afternoon news conference at Dodger Stadium. "I thanked him for his contributions."
Of course, the ones who should be fired are the McCourts.
Lasorda, whose influence seems to have increased steadily with McCourt, said he would sit in on interviews with candidates for the openings.

"He [McCourt] asks me questions and I give him answers," Lasorda said. "He doesn't listen to me all the time."

Which is a good thing, but his increasing influence is not. Lasorda, by the way, was responsible, wholly or partially, for two of the worst post-Walter-O'Malley incidents in Dodger history. First, the catastrophic trade of Pedro Martinez; and second, trading Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw, forgetting that Shaw had the right to ask for a trade. He did not, but the lopsidedness of the deal clearly showed Lasorda's incompetance at the front office role; the very thought of him sending "advice" of any kind to McCourt simply staggers the imagination, and beggars the lexicon.

Arte, in case I haven't sent you a valentine, consider this it.

Update 2: LA Observed chimes in; the blogosphere sentiment is pretty uniformly negative.

Update 3: and David Pinto. Also, Peter Gammons, from behind the tollbooth, issues a prediction that pretty much agrees with Rich: Orel Hershiser will be the Dodgers' new GM, and Bobby Valentine the new manager.

But after meeting with Orel Hershiser and Tom Lasorda, McCourt, ever sensitive to the Los Angeles media, changed direction. Friday, DePodesta was ordered to meet with ownership at 10 p.m. PT, and was subsequently dismissed. Now, what could be better PR to sell the Dodger tradition than hiring Hershiser as GM and bringing Dodger blueblood -- and Lasorda favorite -- Bobby Valentine back as manager from his historic triumph in Japan.

"Don't bet against it," said one person acquainted with the scene. "Tommy really wants Bobby back with the Dodgers."


What most frustrated DePodesta was that -- with arguably baseball's best farm system about to give the Dodgers a potential dynasty by 2007 -- he was not given the opportunity to implement what he saw as his viable plan.

"There is talent here to build a Dodger dynasty for a long period of time," said DePodesta.

"I told Paul he is better off being out of that situation," said another general manager. "It is crazy."

Update 4: Jerry Crasnick, behind the $$$ wall:
"The McCourts can't deal with the media pressure," said a person close to the Dodgers situation. "So every time they start getting hammered, they try and figure out who they can get rid of that's not helping them alleviate the pressure or is hurting them.

"It's all ego-driven with the McCourts. That's the sad part. They think if they sell themselves, the Dodgers will rise up as an organization. But it's really the other way around."


Two years ago, before Frank and Jamie hired DePodesta, Lasorda pushed for Pat Gillick to get the job. And while DePodesta wanted Terry Collins or Giants coach Ron Wotus to succeed Tracy as manager, Lasorda lobbied passionately for Orel Hershiser or Bobby Valentine.

Lasorda's argument: The best way for the Dodgers to repair the damage is by evoking feel-good images from the past.

If only it were that easy. Dodger Blue once had great meaning to lots of people because of the organization's reputation for loyalty, integrity and class. The version making the rounds these days is nothing more than a pale imitation.

One thing seems to be rapidly clearing up, and that is that never in the history of the organization, save when he was GM, has Tommy Lasorda had such influence upon the future of the Dodgers. What a sad turn of affairs.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pickoff Moves, Bedtime Edition

Roster Moves

Phillies To Move Fences At Citizens Bank Park

One of the most homer-happy parks in the majors, Citizens Bank Park, will have the fences extended in the offseason, at least, in left field.

Kevin Towers To Stay In San Diego

Not much of a surprise -- for now -- but GM Kevin Towers will stay put, despite his discussions with Arizona about their previously vacant position.

OT: George "Sulu" Takei: "I'm Gay"

Rest of World: No, really?

Minor League Scorebook

News: Scores follow...

2005-10-28: Phoenix 9, Surprise 5 #
Kendrick: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Gordon: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Morales: 3-5, 1 2B
Wood: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
Haerther: 2-5, 1 2B
Smith: 4-5
Tupman: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Weaver: (L, 0-3), 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 2 HR, 6.75 ERA
A good game from Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales, the former collecting another walk, and the latter going 3-5 with a double. Not much from Brandon Wood, and Jered Weaver still has trouble getting so many strikeouts at higher levels, collecting seven flyball outs to three grounders. Two home runs? Ouch.
2005-10-28: Phoenix 9, Surprise 5 #
Kemp: 2-5
Abreu: 1-5
Loney: 1-5, 1 K
Ethier: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
LaRoche: 3-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Saltalamacchia: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Stokes: (W, 2-0), 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 3.57 ERA
On the Dodgers side of the fence, a really nice day for Andy LaRoche. Adam Ethier, an A's prospect, was responsible for one of the two homers against Weaver.

Diamondbacks Name Josh Byrnes As New GM

The Arizona Diamondbacks have named Josh Byrnes as their new GM, according to MLB.com. The 35-year-old has signed a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year. He was formerly AGM for the Red Sox.

Labels: ,

Stephen Smith Pulls The Plug On FutureAngels

... for the second time.

Salt Lake Changes Franchise Name To Bees

Via FutureAngels, the Salt Lake Stingers have reverted to the Bees for the fifth time in that city's history. They were known as the Bees when they were the AAA affiliate of the Pirates back in 1915, but the last time the Bees name was used for a Salt Lake baseball team was 1969. The team acquired the name from the Nauvoo, Ill. Bees, and shares it with them.

The AAA franchise website is now slbees.com. Sidebar changes to be made presently...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pickoff Moves, Bedtime Edition

2005 World Series Worst-Rated Ever

Via BTF, it appears that the 2005 World Series is the lowest-rated ever. The previous record-holder was the 2002 Series. Too bad, because that was easily the most exciting series played out of the last half-decade or so, with the 2001 series right behind it.

Will Carroll, Rumormonger

Not really a rumor since he was involved in the proceedings, I guess, but in case you hadn't noticed in the comments of my lunchtime post, Will Carroll tags a postseason outfielder as having done steroids, someone with "a name we're actually going to care about". I don't, generally, but those who do may keep their ears pricked. And I agree with David Pinto, the likeliest candidate is Steve Finley.

Did You Really Think Ozzie Would Retire?

Heh, no.

F'r Chrissakes, Pick A Name And Stick With It

So now PacBell Park SBC Park AT&T Field (?) will host the Giants. I fairly expect a "For Rent" sign attached to the posterior of the Willie McCovey statue one day. Sheesh.

Giants Keep Five Vets

Moises Alou, Jason Schmidt, Randy Winn, LaTroy Hawkins, and Ray Durham will all return to the Giants in 2006.

Minor League Scorebook

2005-10-27: Grand Canyon 4, Surprise 12 #
Bourn: 2-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Kendrick: 1-3, 1 BB
Morales: 3-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI
Wood: 1-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Gordon: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Hubele: 3-4
Mathieson: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 5.89 ERA
Demaria: (W, 1-1) (in relief), 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 5.19 ERA
Nice that Wood got his 11th homer and all, but he's only hitting .240 in his last six games. Adam Kennedy took forever getting his first home run, and in a similar fashion (har de har har), Howie Kendrick gets the walk monkey off his back. Kendry Morales seems to be having the best AFL of any of them. Most of the damage was done against Yankees prospect Matt Smith, who surrendered six earned runs while only getting two outs.
2005-10-27: Phoenix 2, Peo Saguaros 11 #
Ball: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
LaRoche: 1-3
Kemp: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Hull: (L, 0-1), 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3.94 ERA
A pasting here, but not by the right team.

Don't Be Chicken, Click On Da Link

Longtime reader and sweater-over-last-minute-details Bruce forwards this Quicktime trailer for Chicken Little, including baseball, Vin Scully, and of course, CL himself. Charming!

Pickoff Moves, Lunchtime Edition

Lawyer Sues Over Open Roof At Minute Maid Park

I thought it was lame, too, but this is amazing:
Houston attorney Lisa Sechelski is planning to file a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig.

She claims some fans got sick because they weren't given adequate notice that the roof would be open and therefore, weren't prepared for temperatures in the 50's. Some think the lawsuit is a joke, but Sechelski says she's serious.

"They expected to go and enjoy a game instead they were met with conditions they weren't prepared for," said Sechelski.

"I'd be surprised if a judge let this case get very far. But again there may be facts that none of us know about," said U of H law professor Richard Alderman.

Via The Dugout, which I liked better when it was Astros Girl or some such.

Front Office Go-Round

Isn't It A Little Early To Declare D-Mac A Bust?

Not if you're Joe Sheehan, who declares McPherson's star to be on the decline. Wake me when he's had a healthy season.

Update: Correspondant Joe (apparently from the heretofore unknown Angels blog SoapBox Sports) thinks D-Mac looks more like "the next [Russell] Branyan". It seems fairly close when you look at it; Branyan's a free swinger who hit a ton in the minors but has never really translated that to major league success. He hit 40 homers in single-A Columbus in 1996, and in '97 he hit 39 dingers between two levels, single-A Kinston and AA Akron. And also like D-Mac, Branyan has had a history of injury dating to before he was even in the Show. In 1998, he injured his wrist and spent much of the year recovering. In a sense, he's never been the same player, although once more, he provides a useful warning for those who think Brandon Wood will be something useful unless he can cut down on his strikeouts.

The same is still true of Dallas McPherson. There's plenty of reason to believe D-Mac could get appreciably better in the Show -- he had back injuries throughout his career in the minors, and his hip surgery could be the fix for that -- but we still have to wait and see. As I told Joe, only 110 days until pitchers and catchers report.

You Can Ring That Pavlovian Bell: Free Agents List

At long last, the AP has a list of free agents, and of course acres to talk about; does Kevin Towers, assuming he's still the Padres GM by the time the dust settles, re-up their great closer, Trevor Hoffman? Do the A's even care about Octavio Dotel? Will somebody else pay for him to spend part of a season ineffective and possibly never be as good as he was before surgery again? Is Kevin Brown's career over? (Is the Pope Catholic?) Does anybody (aside from astonished Orioles fans, who are probably grateful he won't be in Baltimore next year) care if the Rocks sign Mike DeJean to a one-year deal?

Pickoff Moves

Three Finalists For Dodger Manager Spot

The Press Telegram reports that the Dodgers' managerial search has been narrowed to three candidates, with Orel Hirsheiser and Terry Collins as the two known quantities, and an unknown (but likely Alan Trammell) as the third. Whoever takes over, the announcement won't be made until next week. Some coaches are expected to be retained, though pitching coach Jim Colborn and bench coach Jim Lett are already gone; hitting coach Tim Wallach is not expected to return.

Las Vegas Pitching Coach McDowell Expected To Join Mariners

Roger McDowell of the Las Vegas 51's is one of two finalists to join the Mariners as a pitching coach, according to the Kitap Sun. The other finalist is the former pitching coach of the Yankees, Mel Stottlemyre.

Jermaine Dye Wins Series MVP

Talk about unlikely, Jermaine Dye won the World Series MVP, getting hits in every game, and driving in runs in both the first game, and crucially, in the last. It was his first injury-free season in five years. And to think, only a year ago he was a high-priced bust with the A's.

Some Schmuck Advances To BBWAA President

Peter Schmuck, that is, so now when you see the Cooperstown votes next year, you'll know who's at the head of that heap.

Cubs-Flavored Sour Grapes

I suppose Jim Litke is right; the chances of the Chisox repeating are about zero, especially considering the number of rounds in the playoffs, not to mention the fact that A.J. Pierzynski hasn't hit 18 home runs in his freaking career outside of 2005, not to mention their Pythagorean standings, etc., etc., etc. Will it light a fire under the Cubs to improve? Sure. Will they? Ask the Dodgers...

Failures In Scouting, One In A Series: Albert Pujols

How would you like to be one of the many scouts who failed to recognize Albert Pujols' talent?
"For a while, I just thought I was hexed," said Dan Jennings, who is now the vice president of player personnel for the Marlins. "I'd come in the room when he first got in the big leagues and it would be Pujols hitting a double, Pujols driving in a run. I'd say, 'God, I get the message.' You can make one bad decision and it will bite you forever."
The Padres, Devil Rays, Marlins, Reds, Brewers, Red Sox, Royals, and Rockies -- all failed to pick up on the earthshattering talent that is Albert Pujols. Just amazing. (Pujols ended up signing as the 402nd pick overall, in the 13th round of the 1999 draft for $60,000.) Will the Angels regret letting Bobby Jenks and Derrick Turnbow go? Sure. But at least neither are Pujols.

MILB.com Angels Minor League Roundup

MILB.com has a review of Angels prospects, checking up on preseason favorites Jeff Mathis, Ervin Santana, Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson, and Erick Aybar. A bunch more over there, and I'm too lazy to summarize it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No More Waiting, Chicago: White Sox 1, Astros 0

What a remarkably well-pitched game on both sides. It came down to Brad Lidge being unable to do what he's done all year, shut down the opposition, and Phil Garner even used him in an unconventional way by bringing him in early. Nonetheless, the game, the series, and the year is Chicago's. Congratulations to the Sox, who had a remarkable romp; I suppose from an Angels fan's perspective, I can take some solace in that the Angels were the only team to snatch a postseason win from the White Sox.

The Astros hadn't scored in their last 15 innings. Wow. But 88 years without a World Series win ended today.

And now to the offseason, and the pent-up announcements that will soon clutter the landscape.

Update: Wouldn't it be nice if, next year, they actually go to five games? This sweep stuff is getting pretty old, pretty fast.

ESPN BoxRecap

Time Warner Cable, You Incompetent Jerks

We have no problems with Time Warner Cable all year long, and suddenly the idiots push the reset button on everyone's cable box. Now, not only can't we see the game, not only can't we get any channel but local access cable (all the local broadcasters are blanked), not only can't we get Time Warner Cable support (they clobbered everyone's cable, so the line gives an "all circuits busy" error), but MLB.com Gameday Audio got clobbered with some damn Spanish-language singer.

And on top of all of this, Gameday tells me the White Sox just went up 1-0 over the Astros. Cripes.

Minor League Scorebook

I've been posting AFL game summaries over the last week or two, but it's worth mentioning that the AFL is not really in quite the same class as the regular-season minors. John Sickels reminds us that the AFL just isn't that useful a predictor of future performance. The problem, of course, is that teams send their top hitting talent, but rarely their top pitching talent. Partly as a result of this, and partly because of altitude and the general dryness of the environment, offensive numbers are very high.
Let's take a random season. . . the 1997 AFL.

Batting Average Qualifiers, 1997 Arizona Fall League Brad Fullmer, .414 Sean Casey, .396 Ryan Jackson, .378 Damian Jackson, .374 Paul LoDuca, .363 Chris Sexton, .351 Charles Gipson, .346 Chad Hermansen, .341 J.P. Roberge, .336 Pat Watkins, .336 Kevin Barker, .331 Dan McKinley, .331 Adam Riggs. .317 Robert Smith, .316 Mark Kotsay, .313

Let's take a random season. . . the 1997 AFL.

Batting Average Qualifiers, 1997 Arizona Fall League

Brad Fullmer, .414
Sean Casey, .396
Ryan Jackson, .378
Damian Jackson, .374
Paul LoDuca, .363
Chris Sexton, .351
Charles Gipson, .346
Chad Hermansen, .341
J.P. Roberge, .336
Pat Watkins, .336
Kevin Barker, .331
Dan McKinley, .331
Adam Riggs. .317
Robert Smith, .316
Mark Kotsay, .313

Just looking at that list (I'm going to let you go take a peek at the pitching numbers), I'd say there were a lot of "false positives" in terms of the number of players who did well and later turned into a pumpkin. On the other hand, there also are some good players, too.

And with that, and a sudden outage by Time Warner Cable during the World Friggin' Series -- on to the show.

2005-10-26: Surprise 4, Grand Canyon 5 #
Kendrick: 0-4
Butler: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Morales: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Wood: 0-3
Lambert: 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 3.00 ERA
Sanches: (BS, 1)(L, 0-2) (in relief), 1.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 3.48 ERA
Wood's slumping a bit, hitting .238/.273/.381 in his last six games.
2005-10-26: Peo Saguaros 3, Phoenix 7 #
Schuerholz: 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Drew: 1-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Loney: 2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Saltalamacchia: 0-2, 2 BB
Bush: (W, 3-1), 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 3 HR, 5.50 ERA
Loney now sports a .478/.478/1.043 line. Nary a walk in the AFL, but that's some nice power in very limited exposure.

Hershiser Interview "Went Really Well"

Orel Hershiser said his interview with the Dodgers for their vacant managerial post "went really well", according to a report to be published in the Dallas Morning News.
Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers special advisor to the chairman and the club's former manager (including Hershiser's tenure from 1983-94), introduced Hershiser to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and took part in the interview.

"It was very comfortable because Tommy was there," said Hershiser, just before flying back to Texas on Wednesday. "He was able to ask some questions to help Frank McCourt get to know me better."

Hershiser, 47, said he spent the evening in the interview and got a few updates on Game 3 of the World Series. He said Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta was not at the interview, but that he spoke at length with him by phone.

"I think it went really well," Hershiser said. "It's exciting to go through the process. We'll just wait and see."

Fratricide: Yard Work On FJM

For the record, I have long ago recanted on my early opinion of the boys at Yard Work; in the interceding time, I've learned to take (and recognize) a joke a little bit better. For technical reasons, I don't go there as often as I do to some other sites (my browser seems to have some trouble with their new site; scrolling, for whatever reason, is both slow and jerky). Still, they're sharp writers, and sometimes reach to transcendant.

All of which is a setup for their latest piece, one of a series in which they don the dour garb of the Gray Lady's Daniel Okrent, the former public editor of the New York Times. Once in a while, you'll catch the Yard Work boys writing in someone else's persona and seeming to be writing from their own perspective in camoflage, and this looks to be one of those times. Fire Joe Morgan, it seems, has gotten altogether too much press, and too many are making it out to be actually funny:

I shudder to use scare quotes, but using the word “writers” to describe the purveyors of the unhinged vitriol permeating FJM without qualifying it with some lyrical asterisk would do folks with actual writerly talent a grave disservice. The fish FJM posters aim at are in a barrel already chockfull of buckshot. In addition to attacking Joe Morgan, they gang-tackle bloviating gum-flappers and key-bangers such as John Kruk, Tim McCarver, Bill Simmons, and Skip Bayless, as well as lesser lights plying their trade for Fox Sports and MSNBC. Unable or unwilling to develop a distinct writerly voice from which to compose their ruminations on the national pastime, the pseudonymous FJM cabal settles for viciously attacking those whose opinions are deemed to be inferior to their own. The typical post on FJM contains text from the article / online chat in question, and comments from the author of the post, disparaging what the offending target has said. Take this snippet from a Joe Morgan chat:

JOE MORGAN: Replay would not have helped. I saw the replay over and over and you could say it was inconclusive although I believe he caught the ball.

FIRE JOE MORGAN: You could say it was inconclusive, but you would be wrong.


Oh, the laughter to be had! Clearly the comic timing offered in this brief morsel of prose is the stuff that fuels the best brain-addled drivel television sitcoms have to offer. Ever since the sports hoi polloi took to using Q-Tips, attacking Joe Morgan has become a tradition.

I have to agree with "Okrent" here; even the likes of Mike Carminati had to give up the artless sport of hunting chained elephants once ESPN put a tollbooth at the edge of the reservation. But perhaps I'm complaining too much. The last time I vented my spleen in the direction of someone else's attempt at comedy, I found myself as the one lacking a sense of humor. I'm not sure it will work out the same way with FJM, but you never know.

BA Does A Pretty Good Job

Thanks to BTF for digging up this Sons of Sam Horn thread about Baseball America's 1994 prospect rankings and how that related to the players' subsequent performance. The answer: pretty well:
My general impression is that the two rank orders much pretty well. Seventeen teams are within five spots of their BA ranking. They may match up for the wrong reasons, ie BA thought prospects A, B, C were great, but in reality it’s prospects X, Y, Z who actually were productive, but given the difficulty of the task I’m ok with calling that a basically “correct” prediction without going through each team. I will go through the eleven misses individually though.

For people who like correlations, the correlation of the two rank orders is a surprising (to me anyway) 0.54. I wouldn’t suggest trying to get a drug approved at the FDA with that kind of a correlation, but in the world of baseball statistics that’s pretty good. IIRC, the correlation between year 1 DIPS ERA and year 2 actual ERA is about 0.4.

What this means is that the Dodgers' farm system is likely to produce at least a few major leaguers who are pretty good, although it should be noted in this study that the Dodgers were one of the clubs whose prospects ended up being overrated.

Spearchucker's Ball

Maybe Mike Waldner of the Daily Breeze woke up on the wrong side of the bed:
Some fans grumble that enhancing their experience should start with a better selection of food than currently is available. Then they mention something about the quality of the baseball team.

That's petty. That's sniping.

A long, dull offseason, featuring the worst free agent class in memory, means we can expect a lot more of this. David Lassen in the Ventura County Star offers similar thoughts, though not quite so acidic:
But [fan comments reflect] the degree to which the public at large remains wholly skeptical of the McCourts, their motivations and their ability to run a franchise -- a skepticism they have done little to alleviate to date with some questionable personnel moves, a failure to live up to a McCourt vow to spend $100 million on player payroll, and a lengthy string of public-relations disasters (including, of course, the hiring of a disaster-management PR firm.)
Just wondering: what free agents did the Dodgers miss because they didn't spend enough money? Eh, whatever. It's probably not worth complaining about this sort of thing; the local Plaschkettes can be counted on to bay at the moon until the Dodgers win the World Series, and even then they'll carp about payroll.

Minor League Scorebook

The only news today: a new AFL journal entry from Howie Kendrick.
I'm a pretty aggressive hitter (Editor's note: Kendrick hasn't drawn a walk in the AFL this year) and I think that's been a benefit for me. Oh-fers are going to happen. How often they happen is what separates a good hitter from an average hitter. I think my aggressiveness works for me with that. I don't walk a lot. I look for pitches early in the count. I don't mind hitting with two strikes. I see it as a challenge. I just try to be aggressive at the plate and it's been working to my benefit. Sometimes it depends on how you're feeling. Sometimes I feel I want to go out and hit the first pitch. Sometimes I want to see a couple. What it comes down to for anyone is not missing your pitches to hit. When I'm struggling, I'm not seeing those pitches and I'm missing them. But when I'm going good, I don't miss the good pitches to hit.
I fear for the future of the Angels' organization...

To the games. A makeup doubleheader for Surprise, who probably wish they hadn't played either one...

2005-10-25: Peo Javelinas 8, Surprise 4 (Completed Early: Doubleheader) #
Kendrick: 2-4
Morales: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 K
Wood: 1-3, 1 RBI
Hubele: 1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Bourn: 0-1, 2 BB
Bass: (L, 1-1), 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 2 HR, 2.93 ERA
Brian Bass, a Royals product, blew this one, but he looks to be more filler sent to round out the AFL.
2005-10-25: Peo Javelinas 12, Surprise 2 (Completed Early: Doubleheader) #
Kendrick: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 K
Wood: 0-3, 2 K
Barzilla: (L, 2-1), 1.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 H, 0 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 10.80 ERA
Cameron: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 K, 2 BB, 4.82 ERA
Not a very impressive day for the Angels prospects all told. Their mound opponent was the Mariners' Clint Nageotte.
2005-10-25: Grand Canyon 10, Phoenix 3 #
Pridie: 1-3, 2 BB
Abreu: 1-4
Ethier: 0-1, 1 RBI, 3 BB
Murphy: (L, 2-1), 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 5.40 ERA
Basner: 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 4.66 ERA
Grand Canyon's four-run fifth sealed this one, in which only Tony Abreu was the only Dodgers participant.

Minor League Free Agents

Baseball America published their list of six-year minor league free agents.


Pitchers: Catchers:

Emmanuel Santana: not sure this is correct, as the Cube says he's only been in the Angels system for a year. But then, their data is known to have holes.


Ivan Reyes: weak-hitting third baseman, formerly with the Yankees. Played some in indy ball. Beyond cheap/free/replacement.



Pitchers: Catchers:

Edwin Bellorin: weak-hitting, poor eye, must have some defensive value, else the Dodgers wouldn't have held on to him for so long. 23, so he's probably got some value in a system deprived of catching depth, if nothing else as an organizational player.


Jose Flores: infield depth purchased early on by DePodesta from the Oakland organization, he was the subject of some early bad doggerel around these parts. A 4-A type, he's never going to see a significant number of at bats, and probably will scurry off to whatever club needs a sixth infielder in their AAA club just in case.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Marathon: White Sox 7, Astros 5

Houston lost this one in the five-run fifth, stranding two and a half ballclubs worth of runners. Oswalt didn't have it tonight, and the Astros will have an entire offseason to wonder what might have been. Geoff Blum got to be the hero, and for once the Astros got the benefit of a bad call (a home run that wasn't quite over the yellow line). It didn't matter; the Chisox are a win away from their first title since 1917. At least we may say that, unlike last year, the games were entertaining.


San Jose Still Courting The A's

Not much actual baseball news going on outside of the World Series -- can you tell? -- but it appears that San Jose is still luring the A's southward. MLB won't go for it, of course, but that's no nevermind to the solons in San Jose. It's probably extra-galling for the Giants, because it would mean relocating their single-A San Jose Giants club. Via BTF.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Groan: Rich Lederer And His Seven Petty Opinions

Not one, not five, but seven Tom Petty songs used in puns about the World Series. Oh, Rich.

Selig To Make The Call On An Open Roof For Game 3?

Via the New York Times and astros.com, apparently MLB -- read, Bug Selig -- wants the last call on whether the roof is closed at Minute Maid Park:
Commissioner Bud Selig will make the final call on whether the roof will be open or closed. Pat Courtney, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said baseball would consult with the teams and make the decision based on weather conditions Tuesday.

"We just really want to have some standard procedure in place, to do what the club does regularly during the season," Courtney said.

Hey, whoever's paying to throw the series: write the check out to Bud Selig. That's "S" as in "snake", "e" as in "eel", "l" as in lycanthrope, "i" as in idiot, and "g" as in "graft". (Hat tip: BTF.)

Update: ESPN says Selig wants it open.

Minor League Scorebook

Opening news from the AFL notebook... And on to the scores...
2005-10-24: Surprise 4, Peo Javelinas 7 #
Kendrick: 2-5, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Morales: 2-4
Wood: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Smith: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Buchholz: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1.80 ERA
Demaria: (BS, 1)(L, 0-1) (in relief), 1.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 7.11 ERA
Today's was Brandon Wood's tenth homer in the AFL; the record is 12. Otherwise, quite a "Surprise"-ing game for Surprise, who got ambushed in the eighth with five runs. Chris Demaria of the Royals system gave up all five runs, four earned, as Surprise made four fielding errors in the game.
2005-10-24: Phoenix 8, Grand Canyon 4 #
Kemp: 2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Drew: 0-3, 2 BB
Loney: 1-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Ethier: 1-1, 1 RBI, 3 BB
LaRoche: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Bankston: 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB
Ball: 3-5
Shields: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 8 K, 1 BB, 2 HR, 2.37 ERA
Hoorelbeke: (W, 1-0) (in relief), 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA
Wow -- a 4-4 game Saturday, and now a home run from Loney. Kemp, who hadn't been hitting so much, also has a good day with a multi-hit game and a homer of his own.

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