Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Financial Perspective (Linked Here)

I wrote an piece today for ThinkBlueLA.com ( LINKED HERE ).  I normally don't mention my postings over there, but I think this one is worth reading.  For those of you that want to have an idea of the big financial picture of the Dodgers, it's my perspective of things.

Clayton Kershaw, no gold glove award this year.

Under the topic of "Off-Season Awards that a deserving Dodger didn't get," it should be mentioned that Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle was awarded the Gold Glove Award over Clayton Kershaw.  Other National League Winners included outfielders Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, and Jeyson Heyward, first baseman Adam LaRoche, second baseman Darwin Barney, third baseman Chase Headley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

AJ Ellis a new Daddy, Super-Mom Cindy delivers daughter in car

Eric Stephen at TrueBlueLA.com mentioned today an interesting post on the AJ Ellis family.  I'm definitely not the first to report this, but it has to be mentioned.  On October 12, 2012, A.J. welcomed his third child to the world, his daughter, Audrey, but not in the usual way.  His wife Cindy gave birth in Wisconsin, on Interstate 43, a full twenty minutes from the hospital.  The whole story can be read in Molly Knight's ESPN.com story.  This story had a very happy ending and Audrey, born at 6 lbs. 10 ounces is doing fine.  As a catcher, not sure if it was AJ or Cindy who caught Audrey first.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Three Dodgers Options Declined Less than 24 Hrs. After End of World Series

The only thing surprising about the Dodgers declining the options of Juan Rivera, Todd Coffey and Matt Treanor was the speed of it.  Less than 24 hours after the final out of the World Series, all three were let go.  They were simply expendable and the Dodgers were able to save over $7 million by taking them off the books.  Clearing an additional three people off the 40 man roster was a significant development too.
Matt Treanor's option declined.
Matt Treanor’s .175 batting average and awful second half doomed his future with the team.  He went a full two months without collecting a hit during the pennant stretch.  It’s a shame too because there was no better team guy than Treanor this year.  The story of his wife winning the Olympic gold was one of the top “feel good” stories on the team this year.  Hearing Misty May yell “Go Dodgers!” in the NBC microphones after every volleyball win was pretty cool too.  Unfortunately Matt’s skills have eroded significantly.  I think it’ll be tough for him to find a Major League job next year.   It is time to allow Tom Federowicz to get a chance in the majors.  The Trayvon Martin  Robinson trade might actually result in two players on the Major League roster this year with Stephen Fife and Fed-Ex.
Todd Coffey underwent season ending TJ Surgery.
Todd Coffey’s Tommy John surgery ensured that his option wouldn’t be picked up by the Dodgers.  Another team player adn good club house presence.  Coffey remained a loyal Dodger all the way to the end as evidenced by his Tweets that rejoiced over late season Dodger victories.  Hopefully he can comeback somewhere and his career isn’t over.
Juan Rivera's struggled for most of the 2012 campaign.
Juan Rivera was an overall disappointment this year.  His .244 average and lack of significant power came to hurt the club down the stretch run.  By the end of the year, Rivera had been relegated to a 4th and 5th outfielder role and was hardly needed.  There simply is no place for him on next year’s team.  Juan’s career may be over.  There doesn’t seem to be much of a market for an aging outfielder/first baseman with declining numbers in all offensive categories.
So here we are, 24 hours after the end of the World Series and 3 moves were already made.  Reports are that Colletti is attempting to ink Brandon League to a three year deal.  With Matt Guerrier having landed a 3 year/$12 million deal back before the 2011 season, we can count on League being offered something higher than that.  With League taking over the closer's role in a pennant race in a high profile city, is it possible that he'll test the free agent market for even bigger dollars?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Award of Which to Be Extremely Proud

"I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give."
Roberto Clemente
Several years ago pitcher Curt Schilling told his wife, Shonda that the one award he coveted over any other is the Roberto Clemente Award.  He was a witness to Roberto's fina; game and hit and his father idolized the Pirate star.  When he accomplished that goal by raising $1.5 million for ALS research in 2001.  Upon receiving it, Schilling said “I cannot tell you what an honor this is.  I’ll never receive a greater one.”
Clayton Kershaw received that honor today, being named the recipient of this all important Humanitarian Award.  It’s an achievement that is as difficult to earn as any of his on-field exploits and definitely more rewarding. Kershaw’s humility though is what has stood out the most when it comes to humanitarian efforts.
Clayton and Ellen Kershaw in Zambia, 2011 (NY Times photograph)
Clayton and his wife Ellen spearheaded “Kershaw’s Challnege,” a fund raising effort to build an orphanage and school in remote Zambia, Africa.  For two years the Kershaws have traveled to this remote location and raised and donated funds to accomplish this goal.  Additionally they penned a book together that provides exposure to the charity.  Clayton has been involved in numerous other charitable works that are outlined in the press release from the Dodgers and Major League Baseball that announced the award today:

DETROIT, MI - Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw was named the recipient of the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet today at a press conference prior to Game Four of the World Series at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. The annual award pays tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character by recognizing current players who truly understand the value of helping others. It is named for the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

“Major League Baseball is proud to present our most prestigious off-field honor, the Roberto Clemente Award, to Clayton Kershaw,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “His accomplishments on the mound at such a young age are well known to baseball fans, but I am delighted that our game can shine a light on Clayton’s extraordinary efforts with his wife Ellen to make a difference in the lives of children in Zambia. Clayton Kershaw is a leader through his inspiring example, and he is a wonderful representation of the enduring, philanthropic spirit of Roberto Clemente.

Kershaw was selected from a list of 30 Club nominees by a panel of dignitaries that included Commissioner Selig; MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of Roberto Clemente, Vera Clemente; FOX broadcaster and former MLB All-Star Tim McCarver; FOX Broadcaster Joe Buck; Hall of Famer and TBS analyst Dennis Eckersley; MLB Network analyst, TBS broadcaster and former Roberto Clemente Award winner John Smoltz; MLB Network analysts and former Roberto Clemente Award winners Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds; Hall of Famer, ESPN analyst and former Roberto Clemente Award winner Barry Larkin; ESPN analyst and former MLB All-Star Nomar Garciaparra; and MLB.com senior correspondent Hal Bodley. Additionally, fans were able to cast a vote for the award exclusively on MLB.com, and the winner of the fan vote was tallied as one vote among those cast by the selection panel.

Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw’s Challenge, a charitable organization that encourages people to make a difference by giving back to at-risk children and communities in need. The charity has provided assistance to a variety of organizations, including to its cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” which is helping the Kershaws build and sustain an orphanage for children in Lusaka, Zambia called “Hope’s Home.” In addition to providing a safe haven for orphans, Kershaw’s Challenge also seeks to create an emergency fund for the children, many of whom suffer from diseases and infections related to HIV and AIDS. Each year, Kershaw and his wife travel to the orphanage to visit with the children and bring awareness to this issue. He has also co-written a book with Ellen, released in January 2012, entitled, “Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself,” which is about their life together and trips to Africa. Money raised from the book’s proceeds goes directly to Kershaw’s Challenge for Hope’s Home. In addition to Hope’s Home, Kershaw’s Challenge has also supported the Peacock Foundation in Los Angeles, which provides animal-assisted interventions and activities for at-risk youth by partnering with mental health practitioners, public service agencies, and community organizations. Kershaw’s Challenge is also involved with Mercy Street in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, which provides mentoring, sports and recreation, vocational and educational opportunities to young people in at-risk communities. Kershaw has participated in numerous Dodgers’ community initiatives such as the offseason Community Caravan, a Habitat for Humanity Build, the distribution of back packs and school supplies to 1,000 underserved children and the annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Youth Baseball Camp.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this award,” said Kershaw. “Just being associated with someone like Roberto Clemente is truly humbling and I am extremely grateful.”

“I am happy to congratulate Clayton Kershaw on being named the recipient of this year’s Roberto Clemente Award,” said Vera Clemente. “The work that this young man has accomplished to help youth around the world is wonderful, and we are proud to welcome him among the many players who have carried on Roberto’s legacy.”

On the field, Kershaw has established himself as one of the game’s best pitchers, earning the 2011 National League Cy Young Award, two All-Star selections (2011, 2012) and a Rawlings Gold Glove Award (2011). Kershaw has led the Majors in earned run average (ERA) in each of the last two seasons, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Pedro Martinez in 2002-03, and won the National League’s pitching Triple Crown in 2011, when in addition to the ERA title he tied for the league lead with 21 wins and led the NL with 248 strikeouts. Since making his debut on May 25, 2008, Kershaw has posted a 61-37 record and leads the Majors with both a 2.79 ERA and .215 opponents’ batting average in 151 games (149 starts) in that span. The 24-year-old southpaw was selected by the Dodgers in the first round (seventh overall pick) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas.

Kershaw is just the second Dodger to capture this prestigious award, joining Steve Garvey, who was the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award winner.

Kershaw joins a distinguished list of national Roberto Clemente Award recipients, which includes 14 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

Willie Mays*
Ken Singleton
Barry Larkin*
Edgar Martinez
Brooks Robinson*
Cecil Cooper 
Dave Winfield*
John Smoltz
Al Kaline*
Ron Guidry
Ozzie Smith*
Carlos Delgado
Willie Stargell*
Don Baylor
Kirby Puckett*
Craig Biggio
Lou Brock*
Garry Maddox
Eric Davis
Albert Pujols
Pete Rose
Rick Sutcliffe
Sammy Sosa
Derek Jeter
Rod Carew*
Dale Murphy
Tony Gwynn*
Tim Wakefield
Greg Luzinski
Gary Carter*
Al Leiter
David Ortiz
Andre Thornton
Dave Stewart
Curt Schilling
Clayton Kershaw
Phil Niekro*
Harold Reynolds
Jim Thome

Steve Garvey
Cal Ripken, Jr.*
Jamie Moyer

* Member of The National Baseball Hall of Fame

For a full biography of Kershaw’s charitable endeavors, please visit the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet page at MLB.com/ClementeAward. For more information about Kershaw’s Challenge, please visit KershawsChallenge.com.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Very Peculiar Fan Base

  • In a morning briefing at work, they are talking about the Giants World Series victory and someone speaks up and wants to acknowledge the Dodger fans in the room that helped make it happen.  

  • A “friend” on Facebook broadcasts on his page the Plaschke article that opines that the Giants have passed the Dodgers as the better performing franchise and it gets over a dozen “likes” and several Dodger bashing comments.

  • The notes left on my desk and the emails and texts from Giant fans following their playoff and World Series wins are about a dozen.

  • Chants of “Dodger suck” erupt as the Giants complete their game seven victory over the Cardinals at the local Chilli's Restaurant in San Bruno, CA.

All this leads me to reach a conclusion.  Even at the peak of their success, Giant fans still think of the Dodgers.  It’s really quite extraordinary.  They are on the verge of becoming the team that is the only dynasty in the new century, and they are  still thinking of us.  It really is quite flattering actually.  It leads me to one conclusion though: their fans don’t know how to behave when they win.  

It is reported in some circles that Vince Lombardi said:  “When you get in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”  In other words, being successful brings with it a certain responsibility that requires “class” and “dignity.”  Talking about your greatest rival in the finest moments of your franchises history doesn’t do anything but show what a jerk you really are.  Even thought the Giants were there in 2010, it looks like many of their fans remain the same as ever.

When Kirk Gibson blasted that homer off of Eckersley in Game one, how many of us thought, “Take that Giants fans?”  When that final out landed in Kenny Landreaux’s glove in Yankee Stadium, were we chanting, “Giants Suck!” at the top of our lungs?  I despise the Giants and their fans with the best of them, but I can tell you that at those greatest Dodger moments, the San Francisco Giants were the furthest thing from my mind.

So I have come to this conclusion.  All those years of Dodger dominance on the west coast (roughly from 1958 through 1996, with a Giant success thrown in there now and then), has created such a swell of animosity and angst against our team, that it is engrained in Giants fans to hate us more than they love their own team.  Am I off base here?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tweeting Carl Crawford

After today’s press conference that introduced Carl Crawford to the media, he sat down and answered some questions from fans on Twitter.  Below is what I cut and pasted.  Questions that Crawford answered today.  Due to lack of time, there will be limited editing.  For those that don’t know Twitter formats, you’re kind of out of luck.   (Welcome to the 21st Century!) I think you'll get the gist of it though.

Carl Crawford is sitting down for an impromptu #DodgerChat. Send us your questions for Carl. 

@Dodgers what was your reaction when the trade happened? 

@REDC9 I was really suprised, shocked really. I couldn't believe that I was leaving Boston. But happy to be with the Dodgers. 

Have you tried a California burrito yet? 

.@jeffharness4 No, is this something people in Twitterland think I need to try? 

Thanks for your questions. I'm so happy to be part of this historic franchise with such great fans. Follow me at @CarlCrawford_

@Dodgers Carl tell us more about yourself? Childhood? Family? Kids? Where were you born? Favorite color, animal, movie, food? 

@dodgers94 I only have 140 characters! 

@Dodgers #DodgerChat How's the arm doing?

.@Jtshudo Rehab is going well, ahead of schedule. Trying to make it back by spring training and be stronger than ever. 

@Dodgers @CarlCrawford_ what's going to be the biggest adjustment for you going from AL to NL?

.@nickgrodo Learning everybody, the new pitchers, and the new fields. I'm going to try my best to learn as quickly as possible. 

All photographs were posted by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Twitter.
CarlCrawford_ greets fans at today's Select-A-Seat event. Be here tomorrow for our Season Ticket Open House.

Some World Series Notes

Ron Guidry won Game 1 of the 1981 World Series against the Dodgers.

Here’s a good omen about this World Series and it’s Dodger related.  The Giants won games one and two with left handers Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner chalking up wins.  The last time a team’s left handed starters won the first two games of the World Series was 1981, when the Yankees Ron Guidry and Tommy John beat the Dodgers to start things off at Yankee Stadium.  We all know what happened after that.
The first two games have shown complete Giants dominance.  Winning by a combined score of 11-3, the National League representative has not only out-hit the Tigers, but their defense and pitching has been stellar.  Left fielder Gregor Blanco has flashed gold glove stuff out there.  Buster Posey is throwing out would be base stealers and the tag he applied on Fielder while avoiding a collision was brilliant defense.  For the many that are critical of home plate collisions, last night’s swipe tag by Posey was a classic example of how to effectively make plays at the plate without having to sacrifice your body and risk injury in the process.  It was a finesse move that may be the play of the series.
Dan Iasoggna, the home plate umpire in Game 2 called the game of his life.
It should be noted that the officiating by this umpiring crew so far has been excellent.  On the few calls that seem to have been so close that they could have been called either way, an evaluation of extreme slow-motion replays show that the umpires got them right.  I have always been a critic of Dan Iasoggna and felt he really wasn’t that good of an umpire, but last night, in the biggest game of his officiating career, he got an A+.  Kudos to MLB for rewarding him and assigning him to the fall Classic.  I still don’t know how Cowboy Joe made it, but we’ll see how he does the remainder of this series.
With Hurricane Sandy about to converge with a Nor-Eastern Cold Front in the coming days, it will be interesting to see how that weather will effect Detroit for the next three games (if necessary) of the World Series.  According to weather reports, the nasty weather will not arrive to the Detroit area until Monday, which most likely will result in a slushy mix of snow and rain that should arrive on Monday, October 29th.  MLB may be able to dodge this one.  You know they’ll want to get in game five, a delay of that could results in a long delay before Detroit weather is clear enough to play baseball.  Had the game been scheduled for New York, we would probably be looking at cancellations and a messy situation in attempting to get this Series completed timely.  Be preprared to see some games played in very cold conditions.
I’m rooting for the Series to go the distance.  Our World Series tickets (owned by a group of season ticket holders) sold on Stub Hub for nearly 5 grand.  If this thing goes 7 games, my wife will be really happy as Christmas will be paid for.  Come on Tigers!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quite the Turn-around

(photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Back in June, Pablo Sandoval’s season was in serious jeopardy.  To some Giant fans, they were ready to move on and turn the page to another chapter. 

Overweight and sloppy with his defense.  He was on a minor league rehab assignment due to a broken bone in his hand.  Sandoval was playing single A ball in San Jose and according to reports, he was dogging it in this rehab attempt.  Rumors circulated that he was eating a lot and gaining weight.  Then he was held for questioning, (never was arrested), for an alleged sexual assault on June 2nd.  It was a date-rape accusation.

Stories vary on what happened and the charges were eventually dismissed.  But the incident occurred during the mid-week and he was out late partying, and in Santa Cruz no less.  Sandoval was supposed to be healing up and concentrating on getting back in playing shape.

The Giants weren’t happy.   Sports talk radio in the region was hammering the “Panda.”  Bruce Bochy called him back from rehab for a private meeting.  Both his manager and G.M. went public with statements that were critical of Sandoval.

To Manager Bruce Bochy’s credit, he never embarrassed his third baseman.  He simply let the world know that his team needed him and he better get back in playing shape and straighten himself out.  “We need to get Pablo in shape to play third,” said Bochy. “I hope we’re not forced to make a change.  That’s in Pablo’s hands.”

Behind closed doors in their meeting, there is little doubt that the Panda got torn to shreds.  He was too fat.  He was losing his job to a career minor leaguer (Joaquin Arias) that was unfamiliar with the third base position.  He wasn’t taking his career seriously and the Giants were in a position to keep him down in the minors until he did so.

It looks like Bochy provided the motivation he needed because within a week, Sandoval was back up in the Majors and by the All Star break, he was the N.L. starting third baseman in Kansas City.  This is the side of the Giants manager that few see.  He’s a quiet motivator.  He doesn’t embarrass his players in public.  He used the subtle quotes to the press to get his player mad at himself and motivated to get his act together.

Yesterday in game one of the the 2012 World Series, Sandoval made history and homered in his first three at bats on his way to a 4 for 4 day.  June was a long time ago it seems.  So long ago that few remember the tumultous period that Sandoval was going through.  Had the situation been handled differently, Sandoval might not have even been on the roster this post season and history would not have been made.  It is quite an extraordinary comeback tale.  Kudos to Sandoval for turning things around.  Even more so, credit Bruce Bochy.  He played a big role in straightening his player out, and few even remember it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On the Day that Jackie Died...A Life Lesson Was Taught

I was in 6th grade and school hadn’t started yet.  There was a group of my buddies that I’d play sports with, depending on the season of the year.  This was 1972 and it was October, so most likely we would be throwing the pigskin around, but there was something different this morning.  My mom told me before school that they announced on the radio that Jackie Robinson had died.  

Sure enough, that morning before classes began as we meandered around the play ground, there were no games to be played as we usually did.  We were actually talking about Jackie.  None of us needed to discuss the importance of the man.  There was a reverence that permeated when he was spoken of.  Jackie was a Dodger.  He was an Angeleno.  He was a pioneer.  Though none of us had ever seen him play and were born after he retired from the game, Jackie was a hero to us.

The players we followed at the time: Wilt Chamberlain, Happy Hairston, Willie Davis, Frank Robinson, Al Downing, Deacon Jones.  They were all around because Jackie had broken the color barrier.  This was white/middle class suburban America.  90% of us fit in that demographic, yet most of our heroes were African American.  That’s because Jackie made it so.

When our teacher arrived to let us in the classroom, one of the kids spoke up and asked her, “Miss Page, did you know Jackie Robinson died?”  Her face went white.  “Jackie Robinson died?” she said.  “No, I didn’t know that.”

What followed was an impromptu narrative once class began, by a teacher that understood the solemnity of the moment and the importance that day had in history.  Math, science and reading could wait.  There was a history lesson to be taught.  We heard Miss Page speak eloquently of the hero that Jackie was and the roads of American history that he paved.  She made sure that we all knew that Jackie was strong, courageous, and a hero to be admired.

That was 40 years ago today.  I was 11 years old at the time.  It was one of those moments that I’ll never forget.  I’m not sure where that amazing 6th grade teacher is today, but she taught me a life lesson that I’ll never forget.  Thank you Miss Page and thank you Jackie!

Carl Crawford to Be Introduced on Friday

The Dodgers announced today that Carl Crawford will make an appearance at Dodger Stadium on Friday for a media event at 11:30 am.  Since being traded to the Dodgers on the day after he received Tommy John surgery on August 25th, Crawford has not been a part of the team in any way.  It should be interesting to hear from him, see how his rehab is coming along and get a measure of his excitement at being a new Dodger.

The addition of Crawford could be the type of change that the club needs.  A four-time All Star, Crawford brings speed, defense, and pop to the line up.  Kevin Kennedy, the Dodger Talk post game host,  who worked in a similar capacity in Tampa Bay during Crawford's best years believes that L.A. is the perfect fit for him.  On the day of the trade, he had this to say about Crawford on Prime Ticket:

"John Henry, the (Boston) owner, never wanted to sign him.  That was Theo Epstein, who's no longer with the Red Sox...I was with Carl for two years, his best year was 2010, he's a .295 lifetime hitter.  I love this move.  I know he won't be ready until probably next May due to the Tommy John surgery.  This guy is a great guy, he can steal bases, he's a front line hitter at the top of the order in front of Matt Kemp.  I like this move long term.  

I'm sure we'll read much more on Friday after Crawford meets with Dodger brass, puts on the jersey and fields questions from the media.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giants Celebrate, What Should We Do? How About Sign Freddy Sanchez?

Yes, this off-season is awful.  It is what it is though.  The Giants are a great team and now with two trips to the Fall Classic in three seasons they have to be considered as a team that could be seen in the history books as a potential dynasty.  The team in orange and black has hit on all cylinders.  On the verge of elimination for two consecutive series, they have come back and won six straight “elimination” games.  They should lose the first three to Detroit so they can start playing their best baseball.

I worked a late shift at San Francisco Airport and didn’t get off shift until 2:00 AM.  SFO had lit up the Airport in Orange lights.  The city is going bananas.

If I had to pick a team to win the Series, on paper I’d say it would be the Tigers with their superior offense, Verlander, Sherzer et al on the pitching staff, and the fact that they are well rested.  This time Jim Leyland has kept them sharp by having them play intra-squad games against minor leaguers that came up from Lakeland to keep them sharp.  But the Giants, what can we say? Wow!  Talk about playing well with your back against the wall.  This team is playing as well as any team that I can remember.


Each year the Dodgers snatch up a few scraps from other clubs, often signing them to minor league contracts and hoping they’ll latch on and be productive Dodgers.  Jamey Wright was one this year.  Luis Cruz was another success story.   There have been tons of failures in this category, but every once in a while a gem shines through, such as Jose Lima in 2004 or Luis Cruz this year.

My suggestion for this coming year would be taking a flyer on Freddy Sanchez of the Giants.

Sanchez is coming off of an injury plagued 2011 due to a shoulder separation and missing this entire year with an ailing back that required surgery.  He’ll be 34 this year and for a minimal deal, why not give him a shot at making the roster.? A Burbank High star, former batting champion and 3 time all star, Sanchez grew up a Dodger fan.  This is a potential feel good story that would allow a native Los Angeleno the opportunity to finish his baseball career as a Dodger on a team that is on the cusp of winning big next year.  Hey, he might not even make the roster, but then again, Mark Ellis was certainly not injury free this year and Cruz has had one productive major league season, and we know the league will make adjustments to the free swinging Cochito.

When I say the Dodgers are on the cusp of winning big next year, it is hopeful enthusiasm.  The changes made did not start paying dividend until the final 12 games of the season when the ball club started gelling.  The moves were made too late in the season and the Dodger simply ran out of games.  This ownership group will not rest until a true winner is in place.  There are so many questions about next years roster and a lot has to fall into place on the injury front for things to work out, but these owners will not sit back and let the Giants dominate the league without a fight.  Money will not be an impediment.  I truly believe that we will look back 12 months from now and forget this awful feeling of watching our rivals celebrate a championship again because we will be watching the boys in blue battling for a World Series title.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How Dodger Stadium Can Be Aesthetically Enhanced

There are times that I can become obsessed with this blog and other times when keeping it up to pace is a chore.  The ideas seem to always come for topics to write on.  This mind of mine thinks about this crazy baseball team all too often.  Over the course of the marathon season, there is so much going on.  If you really think about it, the Dodgers have been through so much transition just the past few years with the ownership in flux and the recent changes, that volumes and volumes of material has been written and discussed.

So as I look back at the near two year history of this blog and at my message board and blog posts at various places dating back over 15 years, I was interested in seeing which article I wrote that received the largest number of “page openings.”  It surprises me to this day, that a post I wrote as an afterthought back in March of this year, before the new ownership group was announced, has about twice as many hits as the next to highest post that I have written.

“Dodger Stadium, What New Ownership Can Do to Win Over the Fans,” was it’s title. ( LINKED HERE )  I discussed at length the beauty of Dodger Stadium and what can be done to upgrade the place.  I didn’t speak about Kool-a-Koos, or better wi-fi and cell phone reception.  There was no discussion of modernizing the bathrooms, more drinking fountains,  increased food choices in concessions or creating a playground for kids.  All of those things are nice enhancements and have be addressed in many blogs over the past several months.  My post was strictly based on keeping Dodger Stadium an aesthetically pleasing experience.  Maintaining the beauty of it and most importantly, enhancing that beauty with accessible artwork that would commemorate Dodger history to all the fans.  I still feel the same way.

2011 Stadium Club Displays, (photo from Roberto Baly's blog, VSIMHB, LINKED HERE )

When Stan Kasten announced in week one of ownership that he welcomed emails from fans with ideas addressing how to improve the fan experience, I fired off an email that addressed what I discussed in the post.  The Dodgers needed to unveil statuary of it’s stars, and starting with Sandy Koufax.  At blogger’s night in July, Mr. Kasten was available for a Q & A session with the many in attendance.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that question in as so many were concerned with the state of the ball club.  A question about statues in various parts of the stadium didn’t seem appropriate when all the discussion was dominated with how to win now, the trade deadline rumors and building up the farm system.

But I’ll repeat it.  Dodger Stadium history needs to be commemorated and displayed for all fans to see.  Sandy Koufax needs a statue before he isn’t with us on this earth any more.  The Dodgers need to enhance the Stadiums beauty with historical artwork that tastefully reminds us of it's great moments such as: Hershiser and Big D’s Streaks, Gibson’s homer, Fernando’s amazing run, the foursome that hit 30, Iron Mike’s incredible games pitched record, Sweet Lou’s clutch World Series homer, Sandy’s perfecto, Maury’s 104, Tommy Davis’ 150+ RBIs/consecutive batting crowns and so much more.

The club level displays are awesome, but how many really get to see them?  Statues need to be in place so fans can pose in front of them for pictures.  Dodger fans need to enjoy the history and read up on it as they meander around concourses or pass through turnstiles.  Behind the Pavilions and at the Field Level entrances there are some great staging spots for statuary of Big D, Little D, Fernando, Gibby, Campy, Jackie or the Garv.
Not a bad background for a Sandy Statue location.

At the Top of the Park, just after you enter the Stadium there is a precipice that overlooks the towering Stadium that sinks below 4 levels.  Something real special could be done there that overlooks the ballpark and all the colors and its backdrop beauty.  I suggest a Koufax statue, possibly enhanced by a fountain with the background being the colors and panorama of the skyline that goes beyond the outfield walls.  This could be the focal point of the Stadium.  It would be the shot that ESPN or Fox constantly uses on National telecasts.  It’s the "Kodak moment" that every fan wants and the most popular post card photo, poster or photo that is sold in every gift shop.  Another special piece must be done of Jackie Robinson, who is, an LA native...so it's appropriate.

There is this Koufax pose.

Or maybe this.  I presume that Sandy would want no part of it, but I'm sure if he had to chose, he'd want a statue of him celebrating with his teammates, such as the photo below with John Roseboro as they celebrate winning the 1963 World Series over the Yankees.

Kasten and Co. are getting things done and enhancing the infrastructure of Dodger Stadium is a must.  As one of the few that has experienced the Dodger locker room as it is packed with players, it's size is embarrassingly small.  We've all experienced the deplorable bathrooms and the awful cell phone reception.  These things are getting fixed this off-season.  Plumbing, electrical, some seismic retrofitting.  It is all necessary.  Once it's all done, I say let's get Dodger Stadium up to snuff with the artwork.  The history of the team that many of us consider to be the greatest franchise on earth needs to be recognized in a tasteful and memorable way that can be enjoyed by fans long after we are gone.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

High School Phenom from Japan on Dodger Radar

Otani in action in the 18 year old and under championships against Canada in Seoul, Korea on August 12, 2012.  (photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images Asia Pacific)

The blogs are blowing up with the news that Japan’s High School phenom, Shohei Otani is opting for free agency and announced that he wants to play in the Untied States.  This is s situation that hasn’t ever happened before, and it won’t result in a bidding war for his services.   MLB has limited each teams international budget to a  paltry $2.9 million.  That new rule under the Collective Bargaining Agreement kicked in this past July, which explained the Dodger’s $42 million Yasiel Puig just before the rule took affect.

So what does it come down to in order to sign this kid with the 100 MPH heater?  A lot of persuasion that has little to do with money, at least initially.  It is reported that the Dodgers have had a good start, with Dodger scout Keiichi Kojima having scouted him since his Freshman year.  According to reports, the Dodgers have already forged a relationship with Otani's High School coach who has been acting as his spokesman and representative.

Now what will happen if NPB team selects him in the draft, against Otani’s wishes?  Apparently they’ll have until March to attempt to change his mind and negotiate a deal with him.  If Otani rejects that, he’ll be banned from playing in the Japanese league for three years.  Since this is unprecedented territory, it will be interesting if NPB teams will pass on him and that MLB teams will have an open season on recruiting him.

There are a lot of questions regarding the future negotiations on the youngster.  Other MLB teams that are said to be in on Otani are the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.  Certainly there will be more.

For further news on the Otani situations, please check the blog roll to the right and click on the links provided.  MSTI, Feelin Kinda Blue and Chad Moriyama all have details and different takes on the situation.  Additionally there are video clips of the kid in action.  A signing of a player like Otani could be the equivalent as signing the number one draft pick for next to nothing.  It would be huge.