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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pickoff Moves

Dodgers Sweep Cards: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 3

How did this happen? I was as shocked as anybody to see the Blue blow past the Cards, who have given them trouble every year the last decade, it seems. Doing some research, it turns out that the last time they got a three-game home sweep of St. Louis, it was a very magical year indeed: 1988, and specifically, July 18, 19, and 20 against a fairly weak Cards team (finishing 74-88).

Manny Ramirez (first inning homer) and Blake DeWitt (a two-run single) drove in all the Dodgers' runs, and against Adam Wainwright, of all people. When Clayton Kershaw gave up Ryan Ludwick's no-doubter to left in the fourth, the immediate thought was, oh boy. But he settled down and finished seven innings. Broxton got himself into some little trouble in the ninth — but with the help of a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God ground rule double off the bat of Yadier Molina that prevented Albert Pujols from scoring from first, no further damage occurred. In the end it was a narrow thing.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

Angels Maul Oakland: Angels 7, A's 1

Sort of retribution for the previous night's 10-1 battering. Great game by Hokie Joe, who went the distance.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

Dodgers Hired A Psychic

The McCourts so don't deserve to run this franchise.
Frank and Jamie McCourt paid him to help the team win by sending positive energy over great distances.

Shpunt says he is a scientist and a healer, not a magician. His method could not guarantee the Dodgers would win, he says, but it could make a difference.

"Maybe it is just a little," he said. "Maybe it can help."

In the five years he worked for the Dodgers, he attended just one game. Instead, he watched them on television in his home more than 3,000 miles from Dodger Stadium, channeling his thoughts toward the team's success.

Shpunt's work was one of the best-kept secrets of the McCourt era. The couple kept it hidden even from the team's top executives. But from e-mails and interviews, a picture emerges of how the emigre physicist tried to use his long-distance energy to give the Dodgers an edge.

The McCourts, who are embroiled in a contentious divorce, declined to be interviewed about Shpunt. Through their representatives, Frank said it was Jamie's idea to hire him and Jamie said it was Frank's.

Update: Noted in the comments at MSTI's piece on this topic:
At one point, Shpunt also tried to heal a player. In 2005, Jamie referred outfielder Jayson Werth to him for treatment of a wrist injury, after Werth had told her of his interest in alternative medicine, according to Cohen and representatives for Frank and Jamie.

Werth had one in-person healing session and one distance healing session, apparently not successful. In 2008, as he emerged as a star with the Philadelphia Phillies, Werth said Dodgers doctors had misdiagnosed the injury and that he did not get proper treatment until he went to the Mayo Clinic on his own. He made no mention of Shpunt.

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