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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Frank's Burned Bridges At MLB

On Friday, Rob Manfred, a Selig deputy who is an executive vice president of Major League Baseball, gave voice to the deep skepticism about McCourt.

“There is no owner,” he said, “who, during the period 2004 to 2011, that we’ve spent more time with on his business problems, his business issues and his desire to be treated differently under applicable rules, than Frank McCourt.”

H/t Jon.

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Oldest Living Negro Leaguer, Emilio Navarro, Passes

I heard this via Facebook e-mail, but I see his Wikipedia page has been updated accordingly: Emilio Navarro, the oldest living Negro Leaguer has passed in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He was the last living player to have played in the Negro League.

Update 5/1: His AP obit, via ESPN. He was also apparently the oldest professional ball player.

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Parsing The McCourt Interview

Frank at a rare introspective moment.
Lifted from Getty Images.

There's a saying: sports doesn't build character so much as reveal it. I can scarcely think of a case where that's truer than with Frank McCourt. Practically handed a franchise, putting little of his own money into the thing, he turned it into a sort of personal piggy bank.

To the interview:

Q: To the fans who buy tickets and hot dogs and cable subscriptions to support the Dodgers, how do you explain that a team that turns tens of millions of dollars in gross profits every year gets to the point where you needed a personal loan to make payroll?

A: We shouldn't have gotten to that point. This transaction should have been closed four months ago. And we told MLB that.

It's not how you run a business. On the other hand, if somebody prevents you from accessing your capital and executing your financial plans, then things like this happen. We were way out in front of all this. There is nothing abnormal that is occurring here. These are the natural obligations that a business takes care of, and they plan in advance to take care of them.

We all have obligations in our personal life and our business life. The idea is to plan in advance to take care of them. We had a plan. We executed the plan. The problem here is that baseball has been unwilling to allow us to close the transaction. Had we closed the transaction when we were planning to at the end of the year — when we were ready to — then this would all have been a nonissue.

It's the series of delays in allowing us to close this transaction that has created the problem here. Otherwise, there would be no problem here. My recent investment into the club (the personal loan) was necessitated by the delay.

The reality of this particular self-serving, whiny version of events is that it omits the vital part: the Dodgers should be a self-financing operation. McCourt sucked so much cash out of the team that he needed to juggle very, very fast to keep current. Speaking of —
Q: That may be, but MLB did not run up $500 million in debt. You did.

A: The debt that you refer to is not the issue before us right now.

Back to self-delusion, I see.
Q: Could you explain to Dodgers fans why you believe you are the best person to own this team?

A: First of all, I want to apologize to the fans. I want to tell them how deeply sorry I am for what has occurred over the last 18 months. I'm sorry that my personal mess has entered their lives and affected their experience being a fan of the Dodgers.

I'm sorry that some of them think that lifestyle decisions I made affected my commitment to putting a winner on the field and winning a championship for L.A.

Q: Are you saying that is simply the fans' perception, or did those decisions affect the team?

A: I'm saying it's clearly the perception of some.

Q: So you would not agree with that perception?

A: What matters is that is the perception. I'm sorry that is their perception. I'm sorry that they don't think I'm committed to them. I'm sorry that my situation has been a source of embarrassment for the community, an embarrassment for the team and an embarrassment for the fans.

So, basically, it's our fault he decided to turn the team into a huge speculative real estate investment, and that we're judging him harshly for spitting on a public trust for his own gain. It's our fault Major League Baseball — which has seen fair to allow the Pirates and their idiotic ownership to fail to collect even a single .500 season since Barry Bonds left the team in 1992 — almost two decades of failure — has decided to break out the ugly sticks and install a monitor, investigate your finances, and likely send the team into bankruptcy, all so they can be rid of you. What does that say of the wretched nature of your character, of your self-pitying venality, of your towering arrogance? It's our fault we think you're a bankrupt scumbag.

Thanks, Frank. Get on the bus and don't come back.

Update: Missed this (thanks, Jon), but sweet Steve Dilbeck blog post on the aftermath of the McCourt interview.

And I’m getting real weary of his "love the team" and "love the community" routine. He’s not from our community and doesn’t know it. He's from Boston and now lives in one of the Southland’s most expensive hotels a block off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Games

The Price Of Winning: Angels 8, Rays 5

The Halos chased David Price after only four and a third innings; he was wild from the start, though not overly so. The wonder was that he only walked one batter, yet he seemingly careened from three ball count to three ball count, riding the edge of peril the whole night. The Angels' offense was accordingly locked in, tying the game on Mark Trumbo's three-run jack in the fourth, a high fastball that Trumbo utterly crushed.

Perhaps the best part of the night was watching Vernon Wells get a hit and drive in a run, though not on the same play. Anything in the offense department now is gravy for Wells, who increasingly was looking like a lost cause.

Ervin Santana's night wasn't the catastrophe of his prior start, but neither was it as bad as some of his other road starts, and he held on for his first win of the year. Scott Downs made his first appearance since returning from the DL, and pitched a scoreless seventh. Fernando Rodney actually looked pretty good despite giving up a solo homer to B.J. Upton, and Jordan Walden nailed down the save with a clean ninth, pitching around a leadoff double to catcher John Jaso. A really nice win; combined with a 3-1 Oakland win over Texas, the Angels are once again tied for first.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

Dodgers Squeak Past Pads: Dodgers 3, Padres 2

First, I should mention that Andre Ethier's 1-for-4 night extended his hitting streak to 25 games, putting him in a six-way tie with Paul LoDuca, Willie Davis, Steve Sax, Buzz Boyle, and Harvey Hendrick. One more, and he takes third place all by himself; the next step is 27, attained by Duke Snider and Joe Medwick, with the franchise crown belonging to Willie Davis again, with 31.

The Pads this year go from merely inept to tragically incompetent, trailing the league in runs scored, and being almost half the league's leader, St. Louis. Luckily the Padres have the best pitching in the league, which they need because their offense scores so few runs. Unsurprisingly after tonight, San Diego is 9-17, the worst record in the division and tied with Houston for the worst record in the majors.

Ted Lilly surpassed Clayton Richard, the Dodgers getting the winning runs on solo blasts by Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe. The Pads came close to tying it late, as Jonathan Broxton nearly blew another save; fortunately (and I missed this), ex-Padre Tony Gwynn, Jr. saved the game with a great catch.

ESPN BoxDodger recap

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Casey Blake Out Minimum Six Weeks

For a staph infection in his left elbow. He underwent surgery on Thursday morning. Ow.

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McCourt Contests Marital Property Agreement

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Jamie Hasn't Approved Proposed Fox TV Deal

At least part of the problem.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dodgers Promote INF Russ Mitchell, Disable Casey Blake

Per a tweet from Ken Rosenthal; to replace Casey Blake on the 25-man roster as he goes to the 15-day DL. Mitchell's minor league stats aren't that encouraging; the 26-year-old is hitting .214/.281/.393 in the hitter-friendly confines at Albuquerque, but he hit .315/.363/.535 in 2010. Mitchell didn't make the Baseball America top 10 list this year, but I don't think that, even though Dee Gordon is hitting .346/.370/.716, it's a small sample sized conclusion (81 PA) and I wouldn't want to wreck him by starting his clock when he's not ready. Mitchell, on the other hand, is likely expendable.

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McCourt Flails As the Noose Tightens

As expected, a whole lot of words have hit teh Interwebz over the last 24. It's hard to be both self-pitying and toweringly arrogant at the same time, but Frank McCourt somehow managed it with his idiotic line about “hard-earned money and my family’s blood, sweat and tears”. This is true as far as it goes, but it reminds you simultaneously of the old gag about corrupt statistics being like a drunk with a light pole: more useful for support than illumination. Frank's "purchase" of the Dodgers was mostly a function of debt, which is to say, he bought the team in the same way you or I might buy a house. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but then he proceeded to loot the team for all manner of lavish spending.

But maybe the most annoying moment came, as observed by the indispensable Craig Calcaterra yesterday, when Frank McCourt yowped about MLB's lack of "transparency" while operating a corporation that resembles a certain familiar cephalopod.

At last, I leave you with the words of my favorite fellow Dodger traveler, the man who has been with me here in McCourt doubt from the very beginning. Jon likens this action to a second divorce, and who am I to argue?

If it is McCourt's right to sue – a point that's debatable depending upon your interpretation of his ownership agreement with MLB – then let him sue away. But how dare he claim, yet again, that he has the interests of the fan base at heart. His ownership stands, more than ever, at direct odds with what the Dodger community wants and needs.

"Everyone deserves a second chance," McCourt said. This is not in fact true – some people don't deserve a second chance, depending on the circumstances – but even if it were true in McCourt's case, he doesn't deserve his second chance more than others deserve a first chance – starting with Tom Schieffer, the monitor sent to Los Angeles by MLB to get to the bottom of this mess at the top.

"Dad, we're all grown up now. And we're tired of your complaints over a fate you engineered and your hollow apologies." Amen, and hallelujah. While there's still enough wiggle room for MLB to leave the Dodgers to McCourt, I expect that the current state of affairs is looking for excuses to take the team from him, something that Frank is already loudly protesting. It can't happen soon enough.

Update: It occurs to me that yesterday's he said/she said regarding MLB's stand on the Fox TV deal tells us possibly quite a bit about McCourt's thought processes, and just how perilous the franchise's fortunes are at this juncture. Consider: McCourt walks into a room with the MLB representatives, who tell him they won't immediately approve of the TV rights deal without further review. Frank walks out of the room with the idea that they said "no". Why would he surmise that? Only if his time frame for getting the money is, oh, next month. It's unlikely that Fox has the kind of cash that Frank needs just lying around, and so they would have to liquidate assets of some sort in order to pay him, even if it's just stuff like Treasuries. For Frank, any delay means bankruptcy.

Update 2: Missed this yesterday: TMZ says the McCourts skipped out on their $300/day hairdressing bill. You can't make this stuff up.

Update 3: "Mere millionaire" Stanley Stalford readies a bid for the Dodgers. Like McCourt, he's a real estate operator, but unlike McCourt, he's proposing to assemble a public offering in the Dodgers, though the team would operate as a nonprofit.

Bill Shaikin continues his yeoman's work on this story with a piece largely confirming my supposition above about McCourt's disagreement with MLB over the substance of the Fox TV pact:

While MLB has not revoked Frank McCourt's ownership, Selig has empowered Schieffer with financial authority over the franchise and has not approved a television contract with Fox that would have provided McCourt with a financial lifeline.

That effectively constitutes a seizure, according to those close to McCourt, since his inability to access Dodgers funds could force him to miss financial obligations. At that point, Selig could say he has the evidence to show that McCourt is financially unfit to own the Dodgers and say he must install new owners.


"They want us to rubber-stamp the deal with the history of the money they have misused?" said the person, not authorized to speak publicly because of the prospect of McCourt filing suit against the league.

Josh Fisher has more thoughts on this; he's remarkably generous to McCourt about not wanting him to suffer:
And I think Frank McCourt is more hurt by this whole drama than he's ever let on. He's got the look of someone who achieved his dreams for only the briefest moment, and then watched the story of his life's collapse on TMZ. It's E!'s True Hollywood Story in real-time. He probably shouldn't own the Dodgers very much longer--both for the team's sake and his own--and he has obviously made some very poor decisions along the way. But if you want Frank McCourt to suffer as he has...I respect your opinion. I just don't share it.
I frankly think he should suffer in the exact measure he has overreached, overspent, overindulged, looting the Dodgers along the way as a personal piggy bank for his own excess.

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Pickoff Moves

My Dinger With Andre Redux: Dodgers 5, Marlins 4 (10 Innings)

The noteworthy part of this game was mainly its ending, Andre Ethier picking up his second hit to cap the 24th straight game in which he recorded a hit. He's now in a three-way tie for the fourth-longest hitting streak in franchise history (he would be alone in that rank in Los Angeles Dodger history), along with Zack Wheat and John Shelby, thus proving streaks aren't exclusively the province of the gods.

Rod Barajas did what he does, landing a three-run jack in the fourth to get the game within reach after Chad Billingsley put it nearly out of reach with a stuttering second inning that kept leaking singles and runs. Baseball in the morning is very pleasant, and I sometimes regret that the Dodgers moved away from Vero Beach.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

Angels Can't Quite Manage The Sweep, Even With Fuentes' Help: A's 2, Angels 1 (10 Innings)

I can't remember when the last time was the Angels had so many extra-inning games this early, but it sure seems like a record. The best part was the Angels rallying in the ninth off ex-Angel Brian Fuentes to tie it, a reminder of the post-traumatic save disorder from years past. The worst part was Vernon Wells striking out with the winning run in scoring position, and then making a fielding mistake in the tenth that cost the Angels the game, gifting Cliff Pennington with a leadoff triple. If the Wells deal doesn't kill Tony Reagins' career, I don't know what will.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

Angels Make Moves To Recover Piniero, Downs

The Angels called up Scott Downs and Joel Piniero from the disabled list, optioning Matt Palmer back to AAA and designating perpetual AAAA reliever Jason Bulger for assignment. I expect he'll clear waivers, but if not — good luck on your new team.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dodger Press Conferences As Selig Nixes Fox TV Deal

Jon Weisman writing at his day job at Variety has the scoop; apparently, the veto of the Fox TV deal mentioned earlier in the week for $1.3 billion over 13 years came today, rather than last week as I previously understood Dylan Hernandez's tweet from earlier in the day. The veto or approval is contingent on a thorough review of the team's finances, and while there are troubling comments from MLB's appointed monitor Bob Schieffer that McCourt might still be the owner of the Dodgers after all this, I can't imagine this is for anything other than show. Schieffer unfortunately doesn't seem to know what his role will be in all this mess, but I expect that will become clearer as the team's finances become better understood.

McCourt appears to be defiant while asking forgiveness; as he says in Jon's piece,

In a nod to the concerns over how much Dodger revenue he and his now-estranged wife had allocated for personal spending, McCourt said today that the proposed Fox deal would include an immediate payment of $300 million going directly into the Dodgers.

"None of those dollars (would be) used in any personal way," McCourt said.

"I think I made some mistakes. I’m sorry about that, and I’m definitely commited to doing things differently moving forward. ... I think everyone deserves a second chance."

This is a pretty consistent theme we've heard from him since the takeover, and it should be given exactly the same level of credence as a three-year-old who's been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Update: Molly Knight:

It's never been more clear the jig is up for Frank McCourt, which is probably why he's so apoplectic right now.
Dylan Hernandez:
MLB VP Rob Manfred issues statement saying McCourt didn't accurately portray what happened in their meeting.
Craig Calcaterra has the full text of MLB's response:
“It is unfortunate that Mr. McCourt felt it necessary to publicize the content of a private meeting. It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourt’s public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, Commissioner Selig did not ‘veto’ a proposed transaction. Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the Commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the Club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances.

“Equally important, there has been no seizure of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mr. Scheiffer has been appointed as a monitor, and a multi-page written directive from the Commissioner describing his role has been provided to Mr. McCourt. In our meeting, no one from the Dodgers asked a single, specific question about the terms of the document setting forth the monitor’s role. “Finally, Mr. McCourt is well aware of the basis of Baseball’s investigation and has been provided an eight-page document describing the issues of concern to Major League Baseball.”

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Pickoff Moves

Lead By Rookie Amarista, Angels Offense Back In High Gear: Angels 8, A's 3

Alexi Amarista continued the torrid hitting from AAA with an RBI double in his first major league at-bat, and also collected a sac fly in the eighth to drive in three runs, pacing the club on his maiden game. The sad part, of course, is that his father couldn't be around to see it, having been killed last November in a home invasion robbery.

Tyler Chatwood wasn't sharp, immediately giving up the 2-0 lead his offense gave him in the bottom of the second. After walking leadoff man Ryan Sweeney to start the fourth, it appeared as though another see-saw game was in the offing; but he settled down and retired the rest of the batters he faced in order (and nearly got a double play on the next one).

Unconventional as it was to see Howie Kendrick at first, he went 3-for-4 in the sixth slot, and Torii Hunter came out of his slow start to go 3-for-5. In all, a great effort by the team's offense — save for Vernon Wells, whose horrible April has been well-documented.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

No Horns For Broxton As Kershaw Takes The Loss: Marlins 4, Dodgers 2

Really, not a fun game to listen to, as the Dodgers blew this one fairly early, so Jonathan Broxton didn't have a chance to be a loser again. The Dodgers enjoyed short-lived leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Kershaw ultimately gave up an RBI single to Mike Stanton, one of the most storied prospects in the game. No shame in that, but it doesn't mean the loss counts for any less.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

Bullety Stuff

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

McCourt To Meet with MLB Representatives Wednesday

McCourt will meet with MLB executives in New York on Wednesday. Bud Selig will not appear in the same room as McCourt out of fear his comments could be used against him in a future lawsuit, though my own theories are that

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Dodgers Nominate Ex-LAPD Officer Richard Wemmer As New Security Chief

Pending approval of MLB.
Wemmer, who retired from the LAPD in 2008 after nearly 40 years in law enforcement, was a commanding officer for the Rampart and Northeast patrol divisions and training divisions, as well as the Van Nuys, West Los Angeles and Wilshire-area stations.

Another of his selling points was that he served as the officer-in-charge of the anti-terrorist division's investigative unit during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Wemmer also served on the board of directors of the Command Officers Assn., which clashed repeatedly with then-Chief Bernard C. Parks in the late 1990s and early 2000s over a range of issues. Wemmer was one of three members who sued the department and Parks, alleging they were denied promotions as retaliation.

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More On McCourt's Proposed TV Deal

McCourt was desperate when he went hat-in-hand to ask Fox for a personal loan, but Steve Dilbeck provides some additional insight into just how little leverage Frank had (all emphasis mine):
Major League Baseball, whose national broadcasting contract is with Fox, was nonetheless seriously irate. We should all thank Fox for its stupidity, since it essentially gave Commissioner Bud Selig his excuse to take over the Dodgers. Fox gave McCourt the loan because Time Warner had batted its eyelashes at McCourt and Fox feared losing the Dodgers to the cable giant. This despite Fox’s current contract giving it the right to match any competing offer.

MLB took over the Texas Rangers last year, and shortly after the club was sold to Nolan Ryan and his group, the Rangers signed a 20-year, $1.6-billion deal with Fox. Which would be barely more than half of the deal McCourt supposedly had lined up.

Joe Flint in the Times' Company Town blog writes that "there was no reason other than paranoia to lend McCourt money, especially since Fox had already advanced McCourt money on the current TV deal, much to the chagrin of Major League Baseball." Loans on top of loans.

Update 4/27: This originally was titled "McCourt's Proposed TV Deal Less Than The Rangers' Annually", but I mentally inverted this. The title is corrected above, but still, for the Dodgers to be receiving not even 50% more than the Rangers annually is nuts.

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Neyer: Jered Weaver Lucky And Awesome

A little intellectual honesty, please: Rob Neyer and Tangotiger both really, really like Jered Weaver; after all, you don't write passages like this one without that you're talking about an exceptional hurler:
Weaver, Felix, Verlander, Josh Johnson, and Lincecum are all great young pitchers. And are all in the same ballpark of talent. If one stands head and shoulders above the others, it’s a sabre-nightmare to explain. If they were all free agents, they’d all sign for about the same terms. What we love about them are their K and BB numbers, because after that, all the other numbers follow from there.
Is there something wrong with Neyer observing that Weaver's HR/9 is just not sustainable at this microscopic level, or ditto his BABIP? Enjoy the ride; the wheel aren't coming off, but he can't keep going on being this good indefinitely.

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Dodgers Switch To Closer-By-Committee, Other Dodger News

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Tom Verducci On The Likely Consequences Of The Dodgers In MLB Receivership

Pretty much what you'd expect: no big trade deadline acquisitions, strict adherence to draft slot bonuses, and no international signings, among other things. I think there's a good chance, too, that the club will be forced to go through bankruptcy to discharge the many debts the McCourts engaged through their myriad operating entities before a third party can reasonably buy the team.

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Two Games

Weaver Undefeated In April, Turns In CG Gem: Angels 5, A's 0

It's nice to have a stopper; I got home late to see the last three innings of this one, and man, what an impressive stretch the Weav is having. He's now the first pitcher to go 6-0 in April this early, though the early schedule start had a lot to do with that.

Good news: Howie Kendrick 2-for-4, and the bottom of the order doing well. Vernon Wells reached base twice.

Bad news: another 0-fer night for Torii Hunter that brings his season average below the Mendoza line.

A sad story played out in the stands: terminal cancer patient and ex-Strike Force girl Heather Beyer watched the shutout as a sort of last wish. If that's your last Angels game to see in person on this earth, the Angels carried her home on a doozy. Peace to her family.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

Broxton Gags Again: Marlins 5, Dodgers 4

I was reading MSTI's review of this game yesterday, and Mike is right to laud the good performances by Jerry Sands, Jamey Carroll, and Jon Garland; but the bigger worry is that Broxton, who blew the save and took the loss (deservedly, even though he wasn't helped by a misplay at short by Carroll) will get more chances to blow games. He's not good right now, and I wonder if he'll ever get better.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Reggie Willits The Return On The Amarista Callup

Makes sense. One hopes Mark Trumbo will continue to get at-bats, as he's already shown himself to have some value, and the Brandon Wood experience does not argue for long stretches of absenteeism from the plate for a young player.

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Dodgers Trustee Named, Ronald Belsario Still Has No Visa, And Other Dodgers News

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Angels Stuff: A Bad Sawx Series, A Callup, And Rating The Relief Corps

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forfeit: Red Sox 5, Angels 0

The Angels offense didn't show up, Ervin Santana had another crappy game, and I shoulda stayed home. An appalling game.

Yahoo box

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Dodgers Still Undefeated In The Post-McCourt Era, More On The McCourt Saga: Dodgers 12, Cubs 2

A chilly, windy day at Wrigley was no help to the Cubbies, whom the Dodgers dismantled with contributions up and down the lineup, though four of the runs were driven in by Juan Uribe, on a pair of homers. Every starter — and this includes the pitcher, Chad Billingsley — got at least one hit. That kind of a day.


As Jon notes, the Dodgers have outscored their opponents 23-6 in the Bud Selig ownership era, which seems as though they are celebrating something. Of course, I don't put any stock in such flights of fancy, but it seems kicking this interloper to the curb can only mean good things, and if the team goes on a tear in his absence, so much the better. On that note, a number of related linkies from hither and yon regarding the McCourt non-ownership situation:

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Do-Over: Red Sox 4, Angels 3

It really felt like this game was much further away for the Angels than it was for most of the night, and mainly that was due to their offensive ineffectiveness against Boston starter Jon Lester. Much of that feeling of being 20 runs out came from one bad inning, the fourth, in which an overly-timid youngster, Peter Bourjos, failed to call off his teammates to take charge of a play he clearly should have made — catching Carl Crawford's pop to center. As it was, both baserunners scored and Crawford reached successfully, though mercifully, the play was ruled an error and Crawford recorded no runs batted in. Dan Haren instantly, and both fairly and unfairly, became the loser.

The Angels did virtually nothing against Lester, save for a single run in the seventh that felt like some kind of alien gift, Jeff Mathis knocking home Erick Aybar. Aybar's managing to get into scoring position (by way of a stolen base) was of itself a topic of some horror to the Red Sox, who feature the now-dubious Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish as their starting catcher, the elderly Jason Varitek no longer able to discharge those duties reliably. Salty famously had a case of the "yips" while he was with Texas and later, last year, with Boston. He's been pretty terrible at throwing out baserunners in his career (the 30% he took into today's game was a career high — his career figure is 21%), and I expect the wild pitch was a generous call in the second. Finally the scorer could handle it no more in the eighth, and with Bobby Jenks on the mound, charged him with an outright passed ball that allowed Bobby Abreu to score from second base. He stood at the plate stunned, hands wide, as if he expected the ball to materialize from the ether. Abreu charged him like a freight train, gathering steam as he passed third, and by the time Salty realized his peril, it was far too late.

Gifted with such a boon, the Angels proceeded to squander it, with Mike Scioscia electing to bring in a pinch hitter for Mark Trumbo (the only batter in that part of the lineup capable of changing the game with one swing of the bat), and a pinch runner for Alberto Callaspo. The pinch runner was odd; the pinch hitter, indefensible. Bobby Jenks had a 7+ ERA going into the inning, and if you have any faith in Trumbo at all, you leave him in the game against a struggling reliever who's lost 4-5 MPH on his formerly league-leading fastball. Instead, Maicer Izturis bounced out meekly, 4-3, ending the frame and the threat. It seemed the opposite of good managerial tactics, eventually a ransacking of the bench (Bobby Wilson came in to play first base for Trumbo), and nothing to show for it.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

At last, a couple random comments about the game's environment:

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Pirates Claim Brandon Wood Off Waivers

So says Aaron Gleeman. As I said previously, good luck with your new club, Brandon.

Update: The trenchant Christina Kahrl at ESPN:

The challenge is going to be if Wood's fortunes will improve at all on Clint Hurdle's watch, because the Pirates' past acquisitions of other people's top prospects haven't worked out reliably well. Andy LaRoche and Lastings Milledge had both lauded among the best young hitters in baseball before resorting to Piracy, but both failed to turn any corners at the plate after their acquisitions, and both are already ex-Pirates.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ross Newhan Dusts Off His Smith-Corona

... to file this special report for ESPN:
Before Frank and his wife, Jamie, purchased the team in 2004, I had written critically and skeptically -- in concert with Jason Reid, who was then covering the Dodgers for the Times -- about the McCourts' personal finances, citing knowledgeable sources, and was more than surprised when commissioner Bud Selig permitted MLB owners to approve the purchase.

McCourt, however, had never expressed anger or bitterness toward me in regard to those columns, and we had a pleasant lunch during which he voiced his desire to pick my brain regarding the respect with which Peter O'Malley and his late father, Walter, were held in Los Angeles during their ownership of the team.


I left that lunch flattered that McCourt would take the time to use me as something of a historical source.

But I was almost certain, given what I knew about their finances and the debt they absorbed in becoming Dodgers owners, and having seen a structural turnover already begin amid widespread whispers that Frank and Jamie were proving difficult to work with and for, that he and his wife could never attain the community stature of the O'Malleys.

Now, of course, we know that my doubts were more than indigestion.

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What A Long, Fun Trip It's Been

Thanks for the shout-out, Jon.

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Joey Matschulat On The Angels And The Altered AL West

He's as surprised as I am:
I don't want to go completely overboard in praising the Angels' offense, because it has been propped up by means of some unexpectedly brilliant performances from Alberto Callaspo (.312/.397/.438), Maicer Izturis (.380/.421/.563), and Peter Bourjos (.295/.343/.525) that we shouldn't expect to continue at that level. Then again, the Angels have gotten to this point despite getting next to nothing out of Torii Hunter (.208/.253/.325) and Vernon Wells (.189/.241/.297), and despite lacking the presence of Kendrys Morales, who figures to rejoin the club sometime next month. It has been pretty easy to overlook this lineup and cite it as a reason why the Angels can't hang with the Rangers (or even the Athletics), but if it rounds into the form that I believe it ultimately will, I can see it being good enough to deal legitimate damage and provide ample support to the pitching staff's efforts.

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MLB To Push For Expanded Playoff Scheme In 2012

Via Baseball Crank on Twitter, Bud Selig is floating a new, expanded playoff scheme for 2012 that would see ten teams making the postseason instead of the current eight. Don't like it.


Even Soboroff Can't Miss The Disastrophe Of McCourt's Finances

I want to redirect your attention to this Bill Shaikin piece in the Times, which is mainly a recap of statements from new — um, what is his title, again? — employee Steve Soboroff:
In a meeting with reporters, Soboroff said, "Frank McCourt is financially fine."
But later (emboldening mine):
However, Soboroff said McCourt should be given the chance to learn from his mistakes and follow through on his promise to redouble the Dodgers' involvement in the community.
If McCourt is "financially fine", what "mistakes" should he "learn" from? Even Soboroff is aware, though he can't openly let on, of the BS being spewed here.

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Belated: Angels.com Finally Belongs To MLB

Somehow I missed Ben Maller's September report that MLB had bought the angels.com domain for $200,000. What clued me in was seeing a tweet from Victor Rojas containing the angels.com domain name. A surprise to me, but overdue.

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More On MLB's Dodger Coup

When I started this blog in 2004 (!), one of its aims if not its principal goal was to cheer on the exit of the McCourts. The McCourts make great villains: greedy, spendthrift, and foreign, they nonetheless provided a useful backdrop for what has turned out to be some remarkably good years, considering their late history under Peter O'Malley.

But the divorce exposed them for who they really were, and that was a story of wasted resources, of an unprecedented looting of team finances to support unimaginable personal opulence. The Bryan Stow beating may not have been the last straw, as Jon suggested yesterday, but it certainly was an additional warning sign that the McCourts had no particular concern about the team (recall that at the time of the beating, there was no head of security).

My own view of Selig's motivations is that Jay Jaffe is right: Selig has the votes needed to force a sale of the team. Why would that be? The obvious reasons to me are twofold:

  1. Frank's indebtedness directly attacks the valuation of the Dodgers, which in turn erodes the value of all other franchises. If, as the Forbes analysis is correct, McCourt's scheming and borrowing had eroded the amount of equity remaining in the team. All it could be sold for would be perhaps $300M — a pittance. With a sale imminent, either of partial or full ownership, there was simply no way the other owners could watch such a debacle.
  2. For Bud, it's personal. The other team that is likely to go on the auction block soon is that of his close friend, Fred Wilpon, who may need to liquidate the team in order to satisfy a judgement against him thanks to his witless involvement with Bernie Madoff. Selig cannot stop that from happening, but a low valuation for the Dodgers would be reflected in the sale price of the Mets. For the Wilpons, that could be the difference between penury and survival.
The last-ditch attempt to get a personal loan from Fox, backed by the Bingham McCutcheon lawsuit shows just how dire Frank's cash situation was. If Bud hadn't pulled the plug yesterday, it would be a bankruptcy court, or maybe a disgruntled player whose six-figure paycheck bounced. While embarrassing to the league, none of that would have been enough to justify taking over the team. Only a direct threat to other owners could do that.

I hope that this will be the real beginning of the end. We've had so many false endings with the McCourts that it's been like a bad slasher picture.

Update: Mike Ozanian once again:
... Selig will prevail because he will use “The Best Interests of Baseball” power of his office (which he has widened under his stay in office) to say that McCourt violated his fiduciary duty to the Dodgers by using the team’s finances to buy real estate.
Update 2: New employee (?) Steve Soboroff defends his boss:
Soboroff, a former advisor to former Mayor Richard Riordan, a mayoral candidate and the developer of Playa Vista, was hired by McCourt on Tuesday. In a meeting with reporters, Soboroff said, "Frank McCourt is financially fine."

Selig was said to be aghast at that statement, but Soboroff did not back down. He cited the Fox deal, potential real estate development in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and unidentified "other potential new revenue sources" as untapped sources of revenue for McCourt.


"We need more people like Frank McCourt."

Okay, Steve, I'll take that as a vote for "I, too, wish to be hated and derided like the sycophant I am." Yesterday's statement — nowhere to be found on the Dodgers' website — sent out by Josh Rawitch, was telling in what it did not say:
"Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner's action today."
Up is down, and down is up.

Also: belated thanks to Jay Jaffe for forwarding an audio clip of Vinny's characteristically we're-here-to-watch-a-baseball-game remarks prior to yesterday's CG.

Update 3: I think I would read the phone book if it had Craig Calcaterra's byline.

If you’re thinking that this is a warning shot from McCourt to Bud Selig, you’re right. That kind of claim — baseball is interfering with our right to make money! — is the stuff of a tort action. And while I was somewhat dismissive of the prospects of a lawsuit in my posts earlier this morning [links mine -- RLM] — and on a straight “does baseball have the right to do this” basis, I still think McCourt has no legitimate claim — these comments (and some more research into Frank McCourt’s more-litigious-than-I-remembered history) make me wonder if we’re not ready for Armageddon.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Games, CG Edition

Our Savior: Angels 4, Rangers 1

Weaver's fifth complete game of his career, and his fifth straight win this year — where are the Angels minus teh Weav? I don't know, and neither does anyone else. The offense kept moving along by dribs and drabs, posting single runs in four separate innings (including a much-needed homer by Vernon Wells, and a league-leading sixth homer by Howie Kendrick).

For one blessed day — maybe the last this season — the Angels are in first place. Hallelujah, and amen.

ESPN BoxRecap

Garland's For The Victor: Dodgers 6, Braves 1

The second complete game victory of the day, Jon Garland — the ex-Angel and ex- and once again Dodger — posted a complete game win over the Braves, the eleventh of his career. Somehow, somewhere, there's an irony about this, but I can't now find it.

On a day when Frank is scurrying into conferences with his legal team to investigate ways he can keep the franchise that is steadily evading his grasp, this complete game win seems utterly apropos: a brief celebration of the great things of baseball that allow us to overlook its transcendentally vile business dealings.

ESPN BoxRecap

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Via MSTI, Bill Shaikin tweets that MLB will take over the Dodgers this afternoon. HALLELUJAH!

Update: Times report of the press release from Bud Selig:

"Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days. The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."
Update 2: Bill Shaikin says McCourt was informed of this move late last night, and was given a letter outlining specific issues. I would lurve to get my hands on a copy of that correspondence.

Update 3: There is no truth to the rumor — at least as far as I can tell — that Vin Scully's contract will be sold to a Korean team to make payroll.

Update 4: The New York Times analysis:

The two people with knowledge of Selig’s thinking would not be identified because they had not been authorized to talk publicly about the commissioner’s possible plan of action.

They said Selig believes that McCourt has badly damaged the value and reputation of the Dodgers while concerned only with his own profits and perks.


Although McCourt is not part of Selig’s inner circle, like Fred Wilpon, the principal owner of the Mets, another troubled franchise, it might not be easy to force out even an unpopular owner [emphasis mine].

Ya think??!

Jay Jaffe:

I have to think Bud's got the votes he needs among other owners to push McCourt out. Guy never acts without knowing he's got consensus.
Update 5: Via Craig Calcaterra, TMZ.com reports the McCourts are being investigated by the IRS. This should not come as a surprise; Dodger Divorce wrote about their distributions hiding as tax-free "loans" from their various operating entities back in February.

Update 6: Joshua Fisher at Dodger Divorce finally gets away from his more prosaic pursuits (law school? Bah!) and gives us an earful:

Jamie, for her part, released a statement expressing approval of baseball's actions (link above). However, the necessity of MLB intervention in the first place is likely terrible news for her. Her biggest payday was going to come from either a sale of the team at market value or a massive check coming from the infusion of new capital in Frank's ownership of the Dodgers, through a sale of a minority share, the creation of a new cable network, or a lucrative extension of the club's current TV deal. Now, everything is in limbo.
Update 7: Via Dodger Thoughts, AP via ESPN is reporting the Dodgers could ultimately land on the auction block:
A person familiar with Selig's thinking said the commissioner may choose to force a sale. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because Selig's statement did not mention that.
Update 8: Dylan O. Hernandez tweets that Ned Colletti has not been told who his new boss is.

Update 9: Tim Brown at Yahoo:

This, you should know, is not only about Frank McCourt’s inability to make payroll last week, for which he secured a $30 million loan from Fox, as the Los Angeles Times reported. Nor was it only about firing the security chief just before he let all the people into his building. Nor was it only about funding his divorce through season-ticket and beer sales. Nor was it only about a team that sometimes looks like it should be in Pittsburgh and not the second-largest market in the country.

This was about all of it, every stinkin’ inch McCourt has taken, when he should have given two. This was about a franchise that can’t know how it will live tomorrow, since it never thinks about tomorrow, since it’s already borrowed against all of tomorrow’s money. This was about an owner securing a $30 million loan, using as collateral the settlement he expects to win from suing his own former attorneys at Boston’s Bingham McCutchen, which drafted the faulty marital property agreement. And then about being so desperate to take a below-value television deal in L.A, potentially devaluing other owners’ future contracts in places that aren’t L.A.

That, and the fact that with the team so very indebted, the clearing price for a forced sale would be around the $300M remaining in equity estimated by Forbes. With the Wilpons on the hot seat due to the ongoing lawsuit that could conceivably wipe them out, the last thing Selig wants to see is a transaction that could erode franchise values — especially one that would be used as a comp for his friends' team.

Steve Dilbeck in the Times has more. Apparently the Fox loan was collateralized by a promise to give Fox any proceeds from a suit against Bingham McCutcheon in case of default.

"No accountant would even let you put that on your balance sheet," said Raman Sain, principal at Holthouse, Van Carlin & Trigt, a Southern California accounting firm that reviewed the Dodgers' financial records for The Times last year.

Sain said the nature of the loan -- as opposed to McCourt getting a traditional bank loan or line of credit -- indicated the Dodgers' financial situation was "pretty dire."

Update 10: More from Josh Fisher:
Total MLB takeover is a real possibility, but I want to spend a moment talking about one not quite as public at the moment: a sale in bankruptcy. A factor leading to bankruptcy, of course, is insolvency. I have no idea if the McCourt Enterprise's debts exceed its assets. But we have strong evidence that the Dodgers were very near the point of being unable to pay bills as they came due. MLB's intervention might keep the McCourt regime from having to declare bankruptcy, but there may come a point at which availing himself of bankruptcy protections and the opportunity to reorganize his finances might be attractive to Frank from a business standpoint.
Jamie, he writes, "might be seeing a 9-figure payday vanish into thin air", and I'm inclined to agree. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see both of them in irons at a Club Fed near you.

County supervisor Mike Antonavich wants to see Peter O'Malley run the team as an agent of MLB. I agree with others, who say that Kim Ng, recently transported to the Commissioner's office, would be in the best possible position to land here and become the team's overlord.

Update 11: One last post before tackling the day's games: Jon Weisman on the irredeemable Frank McCourt. Excerpt:

... as I walked through all the different stories about today's news, as if I were a shopper in a McCourt Mall of Horrors, I found myself thinking about the person whose name has been in the news, top of mind, every day this month until today: Bryan Stow.

The Giants fan whose horrifying beating in the gloaming of Opening Day in the Dodger Stadium parking lot March 31 will not be found on any McCourt spreadsheet. The severity of the event, sadly enough, wasn't even unprecedented in Dodger Stadium history.

But in the days after it occurred, as you felt the groundswell of horror and shame sweep through the world of the Dodgers - an emotional wave that only gained momentum with McCourt's initial public declaration that nothing could have been done to prevent it - I began to feel that Stow's beating, more than any rising parking fees, inconsistent spending on players or appalling revelations of greed in court documents related to McCourt's divorce from wife Jamie, was the baseball world's "Network" moment.

It was just too ugly, and people weren't going to take it anymore.

I think McCourt realized this too, which is why, at a certain point this month, you started to see almost daily press releases, press conferences or other kinds of announcements determined to show his commitment to rehabilitating the Dodgers' (and in turn, his) relationship with the fans and baseball.

If Jon's analysis is right — and there's good reason to think that it is — there's a tremendous irony in the prospect that the senseless bludgeoning of a Giants fan at Dodger Stadium impelled Bud Selig to finally eject the McCourts from their ownership position.

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McCourt Continues To Drain The Dodgers

Mark Oznanian says Frank McCourt is draining the Dodgers of equity by taking out additional loans, and estimates his equity could end this year; his estimate says the McCourts have only $300M left in equity now.

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Dodgers Swamped By Beachy Tsunami: Braves 10, Dodgers 1

James Loney had a 1-for-4 night at the plate, which represented one-fifth of his offensive output over the last week. Loney's craptacular start led MSTI to write a post defending him, albeit as someone who desperately needs to get the hell out of Los Angeles (his road splits, and splits against right-handed pitching, show a fairly compelling-while-cheap first baseman). It occurred to me early on that Loney was remarkably similar to the Angels' Casey Kotchman. While their career arcs are liable to be quite a bit different, neither is outstanding. One of Loney's comps is the infamous High Pockets Kelly, widely regarded as the defining moment for vote-rolling favoritism by the Veterans' Committee, while Kotchman's comps include underwhelmers like Sid Bream. Kotchman seems to have reinvented himself in limited playing time for Tampa Bay, where he currently sports a small-sample-sized .313/.389/.313 slash line. It seems a similar fate awaits Loney, who deserves jettisoning at the first reasonable trade opportunity, or at the very least, a dramatic reduction of his playing time.

The real question this game answered, was "Is the Dodgers bullpen really this bad?" The answer, it seems, is an emphatic "yes". The team's relief corps is the fourth-worst in the league, with a 5.00 ERA collectively, with only three relievers — the fragile Hong-Chih Kuo, the unreliable Mike MacDougal, and Matt Guerrier — having ERAs below 3.50. Kenley Jansen, last year's 0.67 ERA superhero, and Ramon Troncoso, who still hasn't found his 2009 mojo, both self-immolated on the mound to put the game well out of reach. Leaving Jansen in a game that he was allowing to steadily slip away felt like a vote of no-confidence in the offense from Don Mattingly.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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Mark Saxon: Angels "All But Certain" Wood Won't Clear Waivers

Too bad for LAAoA, but I can think of a bunch of teams — the Orioles, say, or the Mariners — who could find room on their 25-man roster for a potentially high-risk, high-reward player like Wood.
If Wood were to clear waivers, he could report to Triple-A Salt Lake, but the Angels sounded all but certain that wasn't going to happen. If they don't trade him, another team likely would claim him off waivers because of his potential and relative youth.
I very much doubt the Angels succeed in trading him, especially when all the other teams in baseball know he's been DFA'd.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Trip To The Maul: Angels 15, Rangers 4

First off, the unexpected Angels' offensive outburst was their highest tally since a 17-8 slugfest against the Orioles on August 16, 2009. It's a pretty staggering thought; yet even after the Angels still have scored fewer runs than the Rangers. The 2010 team didn't score as many all year.

At first, it looked like it might be a pitcher's duel, with both teams tied after three; but then Mark Trumbo homered in the fourth, and the Angels never looked back. With the help of four errors from Texas (three of their 15 runs were unearned), the Angels had their way with the scoreboard. Let's face it, when Maicer Izturis homers, you know the baseball gods are on your side. Ditto Mark Trumbo with four RBIs.

Peter Bourjos — and the bottom of the order — did virtually all of the hitting. Heck, even Vernon Wells had a twofer day.

The Angels are now tied for first. It may be the last time this year, but it's grand, considering how everyone (me included) figured them for a third-place finish.

And lastly — sadly — Brandon Wood was DFA'd to make room for Erick Aybar. Good luck on your new team, Brandon.

Update: I just got done looking at the Trumbo homer, and I was shocked at how many empty seats there were in Arlington.

Update 2: Bill Plunkett of the Register has more about the consequences for Brandon Wood.

ESPN boxRecap

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Erick Aybar To Be Activated Wednesday

Bill Plunkett sez so. The return will be a position player is unknown, though I doubt it will be Jeff Mathis or Bobby Wilson.

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It Could Be Worse Dep't: Chone Figgins' Horrible Start

In the comments of yesterday's Angels game recap, Maxwell mentioned the godawful baserunning being put on by Torii Hunter last year. That got me thinking about Chone Figgins and what a dreadful year he had last season, posting a season .259/.340/.306 line. This year's start is even worse: .150/.188/.250, though he did manage a home run against the Rangers earlier in the season. He's got a left thumb contusion that's sidelined him this week, but so far he hasn't hit the 15-day DL. For all that I've excoriated Tony Reagins, it looks like not re-signing Figgins was one of his better ideas.

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Ervin Santana Bombs In Arlington: Rangers 7, Angels 1

The Angels' five-game winning streak thudded to a halt yesterday as Ervin Santana delivered a real stinker of a game. Now, granted, he posted three straight quality starts prior to yesterday, so an interruption of that trend wasn't entirely unexpected. Also, he has a history of getting shelled in Texas — he's hardly the first pitcher to do so — so yesterday's abuse was hardly unprecedented. Still, you do have to wonder how he'll fare once Josh Hamilton returns from the DL.

The real problem was that the Angels' offense never bothered to show up. Nine Angels struck out — predictably, Mark Trumbo did so twice, but unexpectedly, the other double-whiffer was Bobby Abreu. At least there was only one GIDP: Torii Hunter's, also somewhat of a surprise, though he seems to be doing that a fair amount this year. He's already got seven of the damn things this year, which would put him on a pace for an eye-popping 61 if extrapolated to the 646 plate appearances he made last year. This needs to stop, now.

ESPN BoxRecap

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Dodgers Hire Steve Soboroff

The Dodgers made a big deal of today's announcement that they've hired Steve Soboroff to serve as a vice chairman, which is good, because the McCourts have a lot of vices to look after.
Soboroff, 62, is a former president of the city's Recreation and Parks Commission, former CEO of the Playa Vista community and current board chairman of the Weingart Foundation and the EXPO Center in Exposition Park. While serving as senior advisor to former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, he played a lead role in bringing the Staples Center to downtown L.A. and putting together the Alameda Corridor project.
All well and good, but as I am reminded on teh Twitter by Molly Knight, Soboroff penned a sycophantic op-end in the Times last September 26. Kind of embarrassing, really, but good luck in what is sure to be a thankless, short-lived tenure — especially with Frank chronically short money. Come to think of it, I wonder if Soboroff will get paid ...

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Bryan Stow Back In A Coma After Seizures

Bryan Stow, the Giants fan beaten at opening day at Dodger Stadium, went into seizures today and was placed back in a medically-induced coma. He remains in critical condition.

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Dodgers Designate Xavier Paul For Assignment, Call Up Jerry Sands

Via the Dodgers on Twitter; here's Jerry Sands' impressive minor league stats (.400/.422/.875 in 45 PA with AAA Albuquerque). I believe this means that Xavier Paul is out of options and must needs pass through waivers. (Via Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.)

Update: dodgers.com reports that Dioner Navarro, sidelined with a torn right oblique since spring training, will start a rehab assignment Monday night at AA Chattanooga.

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Rant: MLBAM's At Bat 2011 App

Regarding the new MLB 2011 iPhone app: Seriously, this is the first time since I've had an iPhone that an upgrade to this useful app — once a paragon of how to do things — has actually turned into a step backwards. Please, MLBAM, fix this.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Angels Sweep The Chisox: Angels 4, White Sox 2

Despite what might be the shakiest outing by Jordan Walden since being anointed closer, the Angels hung on to sweep the White Sox on the road.

And as one of my Facebook friends would say, it's Dan Haren Day.

I have to admit, I was kind of surprised to see Jeff Mathis behind the dish today, but Hank Conger did catch the other two games of the series. True Grich has a nice summary of the arguments for Conger to take over the number one slot. What might be even more interesting is a discussion of the relative merits of Mathis vs. Bobby Wilson, and whether the team should be carrying three catchers.

ESPN BoxRecap

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Another Day, Another Blowout: Cardinals 9, Dodgers 2

I watched this game diffidently, Clayton Kershaw rendering his first godawful start of the year; during the game, Josh Fisher tweeted
If this is what a Kershaw disaster start looks like now, I'm in. All the way in.
But that was appreciably before Kershaw gave up five runs in less than five innings (4.2 IP, actually, expending 111 pitches). I'm still high on Kershaw, too, and like any pitcher, you occasionally have to forgive the bad outing. But the majority of Dodger fans are not so forgiving, and the announced attendance of 31,614 was the smallest for a home Saturday game since 2002. Yesterday's loss was the fifth straight.

The McCourts have put a bad smell on the park, and they're not going away anytime soon ...

ESPN BoxRecap

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chatwood, Angels Slay White Sox: Angels 7, White Sox 2

Really, an astonishing game when you look at the score alone, especially considering it was Tyler Chatwood's major league debut second major league game. I always feel like I should derate a rookie's first run because of the league's inexperience against him, and just so today; but then there's the tendency to fold and fail the first time, too. I listened to maybe three of the nine innings today, and it was a doozy, a fun romp at a time the Angels needed some to help pump them up to near the division-leading Rangers, who lost 5-2 in the Bronx. Only a game back now, and that's something considering the weakish stumble they made earlier.

Homers by Howie and Hank. Woot!

ESPN BoxRecap

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Stupid Ideas: Fox Gives McCourt $30M Payroll Loan Directly

I hate you, Bud Selig.
The money is expected to cover the Dodgers' expenses into next month.
Well, then!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Craig Calcaterra On The Logical Inconsistency Of Federal Prosecutors In The Bonds Case

Stupid, stupid, stupid:
So: Bonds saying that he was a “celebrity child” who didn’t get into anyone’s business obstructed justice and brought down a prosecution over seven years in the making.

You cool with that?

This is only the beginning. I expect this will get torn apart on appeal, though the appellate judges may well overlook all this.

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Dodgers Cancel Half-Price Beer Sales

I hate the blame-the-substance thinking that goes into this, but given the circumstances, it makes a certain amount of sense: the Dodgers are canceling plans to hold half-price alcohol sales at six games this year. Of course, we have no idea whether Bryan Stow's attackers were drunk at the time.

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Barry Bonds Convicted Of Obstruction Of Justice

Only losers do drugs, which is to say, the government is pleased to force the matter of "loser". A shameful moment in our history of jurisprudence.

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Pickoff Moves

Dodger Fans, Including A Pregnant Woman, Assaulted At Angels Stadium

I'm going to start off this post with an indignant diatribe against fan violence no matter where it occurs. I generally find the atmosphere at Angels Stadium much more conducive to having a good time — more "family friendly" as they say — than Dodger Stadium, and not least because it seems there are more thugs at Dodger Stadium. But the latter has no monopoly on teh stupid, as this LA Weekly report indicates:

A poster at thedirty.com says the woman, 7-months pregnant, jumped in after her brother, in a Dodgers shirt, was jumped by a group of four Angels fans walking behind them and taunting them.

The woman was kicked and pummeled while she was down, according to the blog. Her companion, said to be her husband, jumped in too and helped to break it up.

No, really. Knock it off, now.

Dan Haren Day: Angels 2, Indians 0

Dan Haren (we may now surmise, a good trade) pitched a one-hit shutout for the Angels, their only offense being solo homers by Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos. Slumping Vernon Wells (a bad, and possibly career-ending trade for Tony Reagins) missed the start. It seems awfully sad that the Angels must work their starters so hard so early; I expect they will be forced to take it out in change at the end of the season, being all tuckered out. For now, I'm enjoying the ride, complete with a deep-space-vacuum of run suppression that Haren ended the game with: 0.73 ERA.

ESPN BoxRecap

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory: Giants 5, Dodgers 4

Chad Billingsley gave up four of the runs the Giants needed to win this one, and only lasted five innings. He's having a slow start to his season, ending the game with a 7.71 ERA, but barring injury, he's still one of the league's better pitchers.

ESPN BoxRecap

Even More Roster Moves

Mike Trout Has A Very Good Day

Two homers, one of them a grand slam, an infield single, a walk, and five RBIs overall.

Vernon Wells, I suppose you should be worried about playing time, though not at this exact moment.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dodgers Disable Furcal, Call Up DeJesus

Via damn near everyone, but I'll use Eric Stephen's account at True Blue LA, the Dodgers disabled Rafael Furcal with a broken thumb injured during a slide attempt in last night's game. Eric helpfully adds the following about his replacement on the 25-man roster, Ivan DeJesus, Jr.:
Additionally, because the option period for DeJesus was less than 20 days, it technically doesn't count as an option period and he gets major league service time as if he has been with the Dodgers for the last week. Between the majors and minors so far this season, DeJesus has four hits in 24 at-bats with four walks and 11 strikeouts.
MSTI says he'll likely be out 4-6 weeks, which suggests a 60-day DL trip might be in the offing.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Roster Notes

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Jered Weaver Announces He Wants To Be A Yankee: Angels 3, Blue Jays 1

I suppose it's a bit cynical to run that headline up there, considering the Weav just hit a career high in strikeouts, but when the team seemed to make little effort to extend him — aw, who am I kidding, he's a Scott Boras client, and they always go in for free agency — it's hard not to get a little depressed. I'm enjoying these performances for as long as they last, but with the knowledge he won't be around too terribly much longer.

Bobby Wilson hit into the only GIDP for the day for the Angels, so there was that; but another 0-fer day from Vernon Wells was thoroughly depressing. Luckily the day ended well, mostly the consequence of a Peter Bourjos RBI triple. The kid really seems to be for real, a bright light of sunshine in a partly cloudy offense.

ESPN BoxMLB.com Recap

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Kazmir's Designated Injury Is ... Back Stiffness

The question before the house was, what would happen to Scott Kazmir? Run him out there as an automatic loss à la Bartolo Colon in 2006? Release? Disabled list? And if the latter, what would the injury be? Well, we now know it's back stiffness. Matt Palmer will take his place in today's start following a callup from AAA Salt Lake.

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