Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Halfway House

There was an article in the Washington Post a few weeks ago where DePodesta was quoted as:
"When I first got here...looking at the roster, the bulk of our team was free agent eligible in a year...I thought, 'Let's see if we can be proactive about it.' We said, 'Let it be over in one year.' We wanted to build a foundation and then move forward. Once we started doing that, there was no going halfway. The most perilous position to be in is halfway."

It could be strongly argued that the success of the 2004 team was mostly sheer luck, as demonstrated by the 2005 stats of Finley, Beltre, Lima and others who have since departed. The house was going to fall no matter what. However, the new foundation is already showing cracks. The only thing "halfway" might be for Bradley's anger management very soon.

There was a sense that the Dodgers were in a panic during the last offseason, as DePodesta belatedly snatched up Drew and Lowe, the last of the major Boras clients not named Beltran. Blame it on lack of foresight or inexperience; most of DePodesta's maneuvers have not paid off so far. The upcoming offseason probably won't be another major reconstruction job like the last one, but it'll take more than a coat of paint to fix this mess.
_______________________________________ is reporting that 2 prospects will be called up as the rosters expand this Friday, and that the likely duo is Broxton and Donovan. Shouldn't a catcher such as Rose or Martin be called up as well? Tracy has frequently started Navarro and Phillips at the same time. From a matchup point of view, (and Tracy LOVES matchups) it's hard to maneuver PHs and double-switches in the later innings when both catchers are in the lineup near the bottom of the order.

Yesterday, Tracy yanked Phillips for Choi at 1B as part of a double switch in the 6th inning. Werth probably was the emergency catcher and would have come in the game had Navarro been forced to leave. The last thing I want to see is the emergency catcher make an appearance, a la Trinidad Hubbard a few years ago.

(I could go into a rant on Choi's playing time despite a superior OPS compared to Phillips', but others have covered that thoroughly. Tracy probably believes that Phillips makes more consistent contact, while Choi does so less consistently, albeit with a lot more power. I don't find the notion of a "professional hitter" convincing, but whatever. )

I say call up Martin. It would be a good way let Martin know that he is very much part of the future, even if Navarro is hogging the limelight as of now.

Let's pretend that there is a singles bar called the "NL West", and there are exactly 5 girls inside. Each team is represented by one of the girls.

The Dodgers girl just stumbled of the hospital and can't put 2 words together.
The Giants girl is the 40-something divorcee applying a thick coat of makeup.
The Diamondbacks girl just fell on her face after tripping over herself.
The Rockies girl is the fugliest of them all, beyond all hope.
The Padres girl is the prettiest only by default.

Too bad one of them has to go home with you. Sorry, Bud.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Field Of Dreams

If I had to spend $13,000 in discretionary income in one day, I can think of many ways to blow it all. Buy a motorcycle, book a month-long vacation across the world, etc. This sure looks like a blast, too. A lot of past Dodger names on that staff....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


8/24/05 Emergency Meeting Transcript


F. McCourt: Alright, is everybody here?

DePodesta: Tracy's conducting interviews. He'll be here shortly.

Ng: Jamie, where's your son Drew?

J. McCourt: I told Drew to fetch me some aloe vera. I got sunburned a bit during the game.

Ng: During a night game?

J. McCourt: I'm so white that I'm practically an albino, you know.

Lasorda: Can we order some meatball subs or something? This is going to be a long meeting, right? I mean, I haven't eaten since the 3rd inning!

J. McCourt: (pulling out cell phone) Drew, get us some munchies too... Just go into the clubhouse and take some from the post-game spread... How can THEY be hungry? They did nothing today!... Don't forget the aloe vera. (hangs up) Food's on the way, Tommy.

F. McCourt: Let's start the meeting now. First, let's discuss the team record and what we can do to turn this around. Paul, let's start with you. What can we do to fix the situation?

DePodesta: Well, there's been a lot of injuries to key players. What can you do except hope that they heal and return?

Lasorda: That's it? Injuries? Just injuries? Where's the team camaraderie and chemistry? We have our best player crying on TV warbling on about the injustice to "his people", for Christ's sake!

DePodesta: They DON'T have to like one another. Just play hard, avoid stupid mistakes, and don't overmanage.

F. McCourt: Wait a minute, what do mean by "overmanage?" Are you pinning the blame on Tracy?

DePodesta: To some degree, yes. But I will say that I respect his opinions still, and I think the players do, too. Although lately he's been taking it right on that pointy chin of his...

Tracy: Sorry I'm late, folks. The reporters were all over me just now. Simers kept bugging Kent with a toy monkey he called the "Bradley Monkey," and it took a while to calm Jeff down after he stuffed the little monkey into Simers' mouth. Whew. What'd I miss?

F. McCourt: Perfect timing, Jim. Have a seat. Let's talk about Milton. I defended Milton on national TV - NATIONAL TV! - last year after he went berserk, and now he's blowing up again like a 4 year old. What more can I... What's that I smell off you, Jim? Is that whiskey?

Tracy: Uhhh, no, that's my new aftershave. It's supposed to be a hit with the ladies! Kimmy, do you like it?

Ng: No. And don't call me Kimmy, Jimbo.

Lasorda: Hey Trace, can I try some of your "Eau de Captain Morgan"? Thanks. (Gulp.) Yowza! Where's that damned sandwich, Jamie? I need something to wash down El Capitan!

J. McCourt: Paul, be a dear and trade seats with me. Tracy reeks. Literally reeks.

DePodesta: I don't want to sit next to Jim, either.

Tracy: C'mon, sit next to me, Paul! You can give me a little lineup advice, and I can continue to ignore them! Heh Heh Heh!

DePodesta: That's real funny, Jim. By the way, your payroll check will go out under the name "Buntminster Fuller" from now on.

Tracy: Sure, 'ombre. What the hell does that mean, though?

J. McCourt: I got it! That's was lame, Paul.

DePodesta: Sorry.

Lasorda: Godammit! I'm sick of watching these scrubs wearing Dodger Blue. Gio Carrara? What is that, a convertible? And what about that Jason Whatshisname?

Ng: Which Jason?

Lasorda: The funny-looking one who runs after flyballs as if he's walking through a minefield!

Ng: We sent Grabowski down a few weeks ago.

D. McCourt: Food, everyone! Here's your lotion, mom.

Lasorda: Oh,...(Eating noise.) good! Paul, when we needed help a few years ago, I got Shaw, Perez, and Grudzielanek. All you got this year was Jose Freakin' Cruz!

DePodesta: But Tommy, you traded away Konerko! And that team went nowhere anyway.

Lasorda: I did something at least, didn't I?

Ng: Sort of like not knowing the transaction rules and begging Shaw to come back after he bailed out of his contract?

Lasorda: Why you little...

DePodesta: You're from Ohio, right Jim? Just how far is your hometown from Cincy?

Tracy: Fire me and find out, kid. While you're at it, take your laptop and shove it up-

J. McCourt: Stop acting like children and shut up already! Not you, Drew.

F. McCourt: Calm down, everyone. We accomplished absolutely nothing during this meeting, but... Who took my sandwich? Gimme that!

D. McCourt: Hey, that's mine! Give it back, dad! I licked it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Thoughts About The Past Week

Finally got over whatever illness that was hampering me the past few days. Some quick thoughts.

Jamie McCourt and I share something in common.

It's tempting to make some sexist remarks and predict the doom of the franchise now that the team has a woman president. Labeling Jamie McCourt as the real-life Rachel Phelps is somewhat cheaply entertaining, using examples such as the rumored Fernando ticket downgrade last year. It's humorous, but that's an unfair attack on someone I do not know. So I decided to check out out her qualifications a bit.

I was aware that she has a background in real estate and law. What I didn't know was that she received an MBA from my alma mater. Curious, I logged in to my alumni website and did a search for McCourt. Sure enough, she showed up as "Ms. McCourt, Jamie D." It turns out that we're sort of classmates, as she and I received our respective degrees in 1994.

(Her alumna listing also showed her home address. Befitting its $25 million price tag, the home's street name is one I'd never heard of in all my years in LA. I don't know whether one's address is considered public knowledge, but since the information is from a private website, I will resist the temptation to post it here and save the McCourts the disgrace of having their home address listed in a fan blog. )

Congrats to a fellow Beaver, the highest ranked woman in baseball. If I ever bump into her at an alumni function, I'll make it a point to say hello. Now if I could just get the Rachel Phelps cardboard cutout reference out of my head...

Ticket sales idea.

Back in April, there were some young door-to-door solicitors selling Dodgers tickets at my workplace. I had never seen a sports team not named the Clippers resorting to such tactics to sell tickets.

The Braves had a promotion this year where an autograph from a young player would be given out for purchasing a 9 game package. A similar promotion might be a good fit for the Dodgers, whose future might lie with all those prime prospects who might make the Show from now to about 2007.

There are no attendance problems. LA is currently averaging about 46,000 per game, which might set a team record. Seeing how Mrs. McCourt is a "classmate" and all, that's my small suggestion to raise ticket sales without looking desperate like the Clips.

The bullpen is back, for now.

There has been one deficiency after another throughout the year, given all the injuries. First, the starting rotation was in shambles. Then the offense went into a funk as every important bat except Kent missed significant time. Lately, the loss of Gagne has been magnified as the bullpen collapsed, the exclamation point being that horrific loss to Philly last Wednesday that resulted in Brazoban's demotion from the closer role.

LA's bullpen has recently done a reverse. Prior to tonight's debacle, the bullpen has pitched 10 innings while giving up 1 earned run since last Wednesday, allowing 0 HRs, 1 walk, and striking out 7. In that same span, the hitters got some clutch hits off the opponent bullpen.

All hope not yet lost?

OT: Reverse pedophilia discrimination.

Why didn't I have a teacher like her when I was in middle school? It's sick and twisted and all, but the comments in the link are are absolutely hilarious.

On a related note, I wonder how the movie "Big" would have been if the plot had been about a 13 year-old girl who grows up overnight.

Eh, never mind. That sounds like a cheesy porn waiting to happen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005



What a pathetic loss. It sure feels as if the season is over, as the Dodgers crawl towards the finish line.

Anyway, I need to vent. Some verses in the Haiku 5-7-5 syllable format, an ode to a season going down the drain...

Edit: It looks like I may have started a trend. Haikus here, here, and here.

Easier to spell
than Hiram Bocachica.
Just as crappy though.

Jason Grabowski

Getting divorced for
banging the clubhouse cutie...
Next time, lap dances.

Derek Lowe

Wrist and knee this year.
Rib cage and elbow last year---
Walking MASH unit.

Jayson Werth

If hurt, a Dodger.
If healthy, opt out next year:
Ugly contract clause.

J. D. Drew

Good glove, cartoon swing.
Look as if chopping a tree.
Leaving Las Vegas?

Norihiro Nakamura

No tantrum this year!
But two-thirty, runners in
scoring position.

Milton Bradley

Gave up twelve dingers,
struck out fifteen. Blame defense...
Wife is still hot, though.

Scott Erickson

Grand slam to Howard,
ERA now above 6.
Hurry back, Gagne!

Yhency Brazoban

DFA'd two times.
First game in Blue: 3 strikeouts.
Cruz Sr. he's not.

Jose Cruz Jr.

Does any skipper
look smart when ev'ryone's hurt?
Maybe. Win games? No.

Jim Tracy

"our medical staff...
five standard devs from the mean..."
Translation: blame Trace.

Paul DePodesta

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Just After I Defend Bradley's Bunt On Sunday...

Bradley pops up a bunt in the top of the 8th today with a runner on 1st with 0 outs, with the team down by a run. To quote myself in the comments section in the previous post, "bradley is an EXCELLENT bunter, though. he doesn't bunt often, but i've never seen him botch one." Well said, stupid.

That's it, I just hexed the team. That's what I get for defending Tracy for once. A mouthful of crow. And a discouraging loss, as well.

I'm need to be very, very careful of black cats and broken mirrors for a while.

I'm so puzzled by today's attempted bunt...No bunt will help you score 2 when there's only 1 baserunner. The team needed 2 runs to grab the lead. That's a completely different scenario from Sunday's, which was a tied game in the bottom of the 9th.

Had the bunt even been successful, Kent probably would have been intentionally walked again, with Valentin batting next. Jose just got off the DL and hasn't been a proven bat all year like Saenz.

So was that bunt a sac attempt or one for a single? If that was a sac attempt, I'm goint to be ticked off...

Monday, August 01, 2005


I'd Have Bradley Bunt Too

I was screaming bloody murder yesterday in 2 instances. First was when I realized that Tracy burned up the bench too soon and was forced to use Weaver as a PH in the 11th inning. More galling was when Bradley bunted with 0 outs in the 9th in order to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Why have the #3 hitter, usually the best hitter in a lineup, give himself up when it was obvious that Kent was going to be walked intentionally to load the bases?

Forget Bradley's slump (.179 BA in 28 ABs) since returning from the DL. Forget his .208 average with RISP this season. Forget "clutch" altogether. Anyone can argue that Bradley is the better hitter and more likely to drive the runner in than Saenz. Here's a breakdown of ways to score.

Scoring with runners on 1st and 2nd, 0 outs:

Bradley gets a hit, and the runner on 2nd scores. (.282 BA)

Scoring with bases loaded, 1 out:

Saenz gets a hit, and the runner on 3rd scores. (.289 BA)
Saenz hits a successful sac fly. (He has 2 for the season.)
Saenz draws a walk. (17 walks in 227 PAs.)
A breakdown such as a wild pitch, balk, or HBP. (Unlikely.)
A suicide squeeze. (Really unlikely considering I've never seen Saenz bunt.)

There are a lot more possibilities with the bases loaded. I would say that the likelihood of scoring is higher with Saenz at the plate, considering that Bradley isn't astronomically better with the bat than Saenz.

Another way to compare the likelihood of scoring is to calculate "win expectancy." Here are some of the historical probabilities of scoring a certain number of runs given the out/base situation, courtesy of TangoTiger. I have it broken down this way.

Score zero runs -

Scoring 0 Runs, 99 - 02 Historical

The Dodgers win the game in the 9th if they score score at least 1 run. This is the inverse of scoring 0 runs.

ScoreAtLeastARun(0 outs, runners on 1st and 2nd) = 1 - ScoreZeroRuns = 1 - 0.359 = 64.1%
ScoreAtLeastARun(1 out, bases loaded) = 1 - ScoreZeroRuns = 1 - 0.33 = 67%.

The historical likelihood of scoring is a tad higher with the bases loaded and 1 out.

As a check, here are the historical probabilities of scoring exactly 1 run, which is all the Dodgers needed.

Score a single run -

Scoring 1 Run, 99 - 02 Historical

ScoreOneRun(0 outs, runners on 1st and 2nd) = 21.9%
ScoreOneRun(1 out, bases loaded) = 25.2%

Again, it's slightly preferrable to have the bases loaded with 1 out. It appears that Tracy made the right decision. Too bad Slomedo hit into a DP to end the inning; a walk would have been more appropriate. The Cards were handing out walks like those chicks infront of Staples Center who give out free passes to Spearmint Rhino.

(Edit: Slackfarmer in comment #2 correctly points out that the assumption of a 100% bunt success rate is erroneous. This does even out the odds a bit, I would think. Good thing it wasn't Antonio Perez up there attempting a bunt... )

Now if only I could figure out why the Tracy inserted Alvarez into Robles' #2 spot during the last double switch. Phillips could have taken over for Navarro, who was hitting 7th and had caught 3 straight games...

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