Oct 21

Giants steamrolling through NLCS: Try not to think about it

I’m not someone who lives and breathes the Dodger-Giant rivalry — I’m always more interested in the Dodgers winning than who they’re beating — but I have to admit, each Giants win this past week has been making me cringe.

That being said, it’s not all because of the rivalry, but the second whammy of how close the Dodgers came to winning the National League pennant themselves the previous two seasons.

I’m definitely rooting for the Rangers right now.

Oct 21

The Ted Lilly payment plan: Think different

Ted Lilly’s contract is backloaded, reports Beth Harris of The Associated Press. Factoring in the distribution of his signing bonus, Lilly will earn $7.5 million in 2011, $12 million in 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013. For your own sanity, I think it’s important for you to mentally reverse those figures and make Lilly a $13.5 million pitcher next season (similar to what Hiroki Kuroda made) and a $7.5 million pitcher in 2013.  Trust me, you’ll sleep better.

Lilly also has a no-trade clause through the end of the 2012 season, Harris says.

Oct 20

Glenn Burke documentary readies for premiere


“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” is a documentary to air in November, first on Comcast SportsNet in the Bay Area. (Thanks to Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News for the link.) I’m very keen to see this; hopefully, it will make its way down south for all Dodger fans to view.

A clip of former teammate Reggie Smith being interviewed for the documentary is shown above.

From the press notes:

… Many of Burke’s teammates were aware of his homosexuality during his playing career, as were members of management. And many of those teammates believe that his sexuality – and the reaction it provoked – led to the premature derailment of his baseball career.

Out. The Glenn Burke Story tells the tumultuous story of the wedge that was driven between Burke and the Los Angeles management, the ensuing similar situation in Oakland that led to Burke’s abrupt retirement, and the hero’s welcome that Burke received in San Francisco’s Castro District after he left professional baseball.

Comcast SportsNet’s narrative follows Burke through his public announcement of his homosexuality in a 1982 Inside Sports magazine article (‘The Double Life of a Gay Dodger’) and on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel, to his subsequent downward spiral to drugs, prison, and eventually living on the same San Francisco streets where he was once hailed as an icon. …

Tangent: The semi-true legend of Burke giving sports’ first high five was the subject of Chapter 47 of 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. “As much as George Washington is the father of our country, Glenn Burke is the father of the high five,” the chapter begins. “Which is to say that he was involved, and he gets most of the credit — but it isn’t quite that simple …”

Update: According to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, “people in Southern California can view the documentary on DirecTV’s Sports Pack channel 696 and Dish Network’s Multi-Sports Package channel 419.”

Oct 19

Colletti: Dodger player payroll to increase in 2011

The Dodgers held a mini-press opportunity tonight related to the Ted Lilly signing, and general manager Ned Colletti told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com and other reporters that the Dodger player payroll budget would rise for 2011, though he didn’t say by how much. So the news value here is: It’s not going down.

Elsewhere …

  • Some nice and arguably thrilling pictures of the Kirk Gibson auction items were posted by Roberto Baly at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy. Gibson is raising money for his foundation, which supports “Michigan State athletics and to help fund partial scholarships at the two Michigan high schools where his parents taught,” according to The Associated Press. Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News explores the question of why this stuff hasn’t gone to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Ivan DeJesus, Jr., who had a single, double and homer today in Arizona Fall League action, is profiled by Danny Wild of MLB.com.
  • Former Dodger Takashi Saito is officially a free agent. Per a clause in his contract, Atlanta could not offer Saito arbitration.

And now, this …

<a href="http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&#038;from=sharepermalink^facebook&#038;vid=97794e63-2bca-4774-9686-5fc412275d54&#038;from=en-us&#038;fg=dest" target="_new" title="Homeless Man Lipdubs Under Pressure">Video: Homeless Man Lipdubs Under Pressure</a>

Oct 19

Dollars for Lilly: $33 million for three years

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details of Ted Lilly’s signing becoming official, to the tune of $33 million over three years. The figure isn’t surprising, given that Lilly was averaging $10 million per year in his last deal — and in fact, the average of $11 million per year is lower than the $12 million Lilly made in 2010, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Oct 19

October 19 playoff chat: A little Magic?

Phillies at Giants, 1:19 p.m.

Rangers at Yankees, 5:07 p.m.

* * *

Magic Johnson as a Dodgers owner? This I could get behind, though I’m guessing he has bigger (or at least different) fish to fry, and too many unruly ducks would have to fall into place, and … any other cliche I can bastardize to fit.

Meanwhile, Molly Knight updates the McCourt proceedings for ESPNLosAngeles.com, while Bill Shaikin of the Times throws more cold water on the idea of community ownership of the Dodgers.

  • Vin Scully Is My Homeboy has posted the Dodgers’ 2011 promotions schedule. With the Dodgers’ final home game on Thursday,  Sept. 22, Fan Appreciation Day is as early as I can remember: Sept. 18.
  • Fifty years ago today came the news that the Yankees had fired Casey Stengel — and it was a big deal even in Los Angeles, as you can see from this post at the Daily Mirror.
  • Karen Crouse of the New York Times profiles an ailing but stalwart Giants fan by the name of Willie McCovey.
Oct 18

Yankee fans surrender


Mark Humphrey/APAlone in a crowd

I don’t ever want to hear a Yankee fan again criticize Dodger Stadium fans about leaving early. There were already empty seats in a quiet ballpark when the ninth inning of Game 3 of the American League Championship Series began, more empty seats even when the game was still in doubt, and now Yankee fans are fleeing the ballpark tonight like they found out the world is ending.

This isn’t news, by the way – it’s long been true that fans leave early throughout the country. Nor am I criticizing people for leaving early on a school/work night when it’s past your bedtime. But it just needs to be said again. People like to believe Dodger fans are the only ones who leave early, and it’s never been close to being true. Tonight is but another exhibit.

Oct 18

See the Dodgers juggle their coaching positions

Rangers at Yankees, 5:07 p.m.

* * *

I’m not sure I can remember such an air of mystery surrounding the makeup of a Dodger coaching staff, but maybe it’s just that I’m following it more closely this time around. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com tries to sort out a work in progress:

… Based on information compiled from various sources, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti wants to announce the entire staff at one time once it’s finalized, it appears that Jeff Pentland is the front-runner to become the hitting coach, that pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell will return and that Larry Bowa, the team’s third-base coach for the past three seasons under Joe Torre, won’t be back.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ reason for giving the Milwaukee Brewers permission to interview Tim Wallach for their managerial vacancy — Wallach met with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin in Phoenix last week — but denying the Toronto Blue Jays permission to interview Wallach for theirs has become clear.

The contract Wallach signed earlier this month to become a member of the Dodgers’ major league coaching staff after managing their Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate the past two seasons has a list of clubs with which he can talk to and a list of clubs with which he can’t. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter, Wallach was allowed to make those lists himself while negotiating the deal, which the source said was unusually beneficial to Wallach in terms of both length and financial compensation.

Because there are so many major league managerial openings this winter — there were eight when the offseason began and there still are six — the Dodgers didn’t want Wallach to interview for all of them, presumably because that would have held up their effort to fill their coaching staff. So Wallach was asked to prioritize those eight clubs based on his level of interest before any of those teams even requested permission to talk to him. …

* * *

  • Ken Gurnick of MLB.com talked to Dodgers assistant general manager, player development DeJon Watson about the Dodgers’ Arizona Fall League contingent.
  • Kirk Gibson will announce at a press conference Tuesday that he is auctioning (among other things) the bat, batting helmet, and uniform he wore when he hit 1988 World Series home run via SCP Auctions.
Oct 18

Cody Ross adds twist to Dodger-Giant history

Former Dodger outfielder Cody Ross is a postseason hero for the Giants, breaking up a no-hitter Sunday for the third consecutive game with a home run – his fourth homer in those three playoff games. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News fills in some backstory on how Ross got to the Giants.

Four years ago, Ross was memorably designated for assignment by the Dodgers, a mere four days after he hit two homers and drove in seven runs in an April 13, 2006 game at Pittsburgh. (He was traded to Cincinnati on April 24.) At the time, Ross was 25 years old and had 15 major-league hits. He had his downs and ups after that, but he’s certainly making the Dodgers look bad now. Old story, of course.

Anyway, you might not remember the why of the Dodgers cutting him loose: Ex-Giant executive Ned Colletti felt they needed to add a second baseman rather than rely on ex-Giant Ramon Martinez for infield depth in the aftermath of a beaning of ex-Giant Jeff Kent – though as it turned out, Kent only missed one game. The Dodgers called up Oscar Robles and went with an outfield that included J.D. Drew, ex-Giant Kenny Lofton, ex-Giant Ricky Ledee, ex-Giant Jose Cruz, Jr. and Jason Repko. (Barely a week later, Ledee went on the disabled list, and Andre Ethier was called up to make his major-league debut.)

The team that hit Kent with that pitch? The San Francisco Giants. So that’s who I blame for all this.

* * *

The 1978 Dodgers had the most future wins coming to their pitchers of any staff in major-league history, according to Stat of the Day, though most of them would be with other teams. Led by Bob Welch’s 211, the members of that team won 1,277 games after that season.

Oct 16

October 16 playoff chat: Dodger Cy Young winners in the postseason

Rangers 7, Yankees 2, 6th inning

Giants at Phillies, 4:57 p.m.

To celebrate today’s matchup between Tim Lincecum of the Giants and Roy Halladay of the Phillies, here’s a look at how Cy Young winners for the Dodgers performed in their postseason careers:

  • Don Newcombe (1956): Newcombe famously lost a 1-0 start in Game 1 of the 1949 World Series on Tommy Henrich’s bottom-of-the-ninth home run despite allowing only five baserunners and striking out 11. Subsequent to that, Newcombe appeared in another 1949 World Series game, one in 1955 and two in 1956, and allowed 20 runs in 14 innings.
  • Don Drysdale (1962): After a two-inning relief appearance in 1956 at age 20, Drysdale made six postseason starts. Three he won in dominant fashion, including a three-hit, nine-strikeout shutout of the Yankees in 1963. He took a hard-luck, 1-0 loss in the final game of the ’66 sweep by Baltimore, and was hammered in two other starts, including the apochryphal “Why couldn’t you be Jewish too?” start on Yom Kippur, 1965.
  • Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965, 1966): The amazing Koufax allowed only six earned runs in 57 career postseason innings (0.95 ERA). In seven postseason starts, Koufax pitched two shutouts and four complete games. The only time he allowed a second earned run in a game, he struck out 15.
  • Mike Marshall (1974): Marshall pitched in two National League Championship Series games and all five World Series games for the Dodgers in 1974. Through the first six of those games, Marshall pitched nine shutout innings, allowing five baserunners and striking out seven, before being touched by a Joe Rudi home run in the middle of a three-inning outing in the final game. His career postseason ERA was 0.75, and he also stranded both inherited runners.
  • Fernando Valenzuela (1981): Valenzuela is most famous for his 147-pitch complete game against the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1981 World Series, in which he allowed four runs but won. In the four playoff starts he made before that game, Valenzuela went 31 2/3 innings with a 1.71 ERA. (He of course was also the winning pitcher, one out shy of a complete game, in the Dodgers’ decisive NLCS Game 5 triumph.) His postseason success continued with a victory in Game 2 of the 1983 NLCS and two strong outings against the Cardinals in 1985. Valenzuela wrapped up his postseason career in 1996 with a four-batter relief appearance for San Diego, leaving him with a career postseason ERA of 1.98.
  • Orel Hershiser (1988): His postseason career requires a separate post to give it justice. Well, so does Koufax’s too, I suppose, so forgive me.
  • Eric Gagne (2003): Gagne pitched shutout ball twice in 2004 playoff games for the Dodgers, who were trailing big in each game. His remaining seven playoff games came with Boston (five) and Milwaukee (two) and were mostly good, the main exception being his contributions to a seven-run 11th inning by the Indians against the Red Sox in Game 2 of the 2007 ALCS.