Jan 31

Derrick and the ownership dominoes

Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall, the former Dodger executive recovering from prostate cancer, is the subject of a fantastic piece at Yahoo! Sports by Steve Henson. Parenthetically, as Steve Dilbeck of the Times notes, “several groups in the running to purchase the team from Frank McCourt have already approached Hall about becoming the Dodgers’ lead executive should they prove to have the winning bid.”

In another blog post, Dilbeck passes along this Ray McNulty interview for TCPalm.com with Peter O’Malley, who reiterated that his direct involvement in Dodger operations, should he return as owner, probably would be a year or less. “Things need to be stabilized, and I’d have a role in that,” O’Malley said. “But beyond that, the key is to bring in good management people to run the day-to-day operation.”

O’Malley has investment support from South Korean conglomerate E-Land, according to Bill Shaikin of the Times.

Meanwhile, Jon Heyman writes at CBSSports.com about the possibility of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong pushing the Magic Johnson-fronted ownership group to the head of the pack.

  • Late bloomer Scott Van Slyke is the subject of a feature by Ken Gurnick at MLB.com that gives you some development background on the first baseman-outfielder you might have missed.
  • Howard Megdal has an interesting comparison of Edwin Jackson and Jason Schmidt at MLB Trade Rumors.

    … The year was 2001. The Diamondbacks had just beaten the Yankees in the World Series. George Harrison died. Anthrax was in the air.

    But none of that stopped Jason Schmidt. The righty, about to enter his age-29 season, had put up an ERA+ of 107 while pitching for two teams. For his career, his ERA+ stood at 99, with career walk rate of 3.8 per nine innings and a strikeout rate of 6.9 per nine innings. He was rewarded with a five-year, $41MM contract from San Francisco.

    Fast forward ten years, and look at Edwin Jackson. The righty, about to enter his age-29 season, has just put up an ERA+ of 106 while pitching for two teams. For his career, his ERA+ stands at 97, with a walk rate of 3.7 per nine innings and a strikeout rate of 6.7 per nine innings. And he can’t find a job.

    If Schmidt is any indication, today’s teams are missing an opportunity for a bargain. Over his next five seasons, Schmidt pitched just over 1,000 innings at an ERA+ of 127. He made three All Star teams, finished in the top four of Cy Young voting twice, won an ERA title in 2003, and reduced his walks to 3.2 per nine while elevating his strikeouts to 9.0 per nine. He was well worth that $41MM investment. …

    Jackson might settle for a one-year deal for 2012.

  • Jayson Stark’s All-Unemployed team, at the bottom of his latest column for ESPN.com, includes Jackson and Aaron Miles, among others.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: Joel Guzman, Jonathan Broxton, Willy Aybar, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier together in 2006.
  • American-Japanese minor-league pitcher Robert Boothe was released by the Dodgers, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
  • Bill Petti at Beyond the Boxscore looks at which teams had the most players producing  negative Wins Above Replacement since 2002. The Dodgers were in the better half.
  • Justin Timberlake will play a young baseball scout opposite Clint Eastwood as an older scout in upcoming feature film “Trouble With the Curve,” Jeff Sneider and Justin Kroll of Variety report. Amy Adams will play Eastwood’s daughter.
  • As for my day at the office, it included a blog post looking at the present and future of the post-Steve Carell “The Office.” I’m thinking mine is a minority view, but see if I convince any of you.
  • Congrats to Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News, who won a special appreciation award at the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Some guys named Kershaw, Monday and Scully also got mentioned for some honor or other.
Jan 31

Dodger Thoughts: Where no one thinks about the Dodgers

Passing by a billboard for the upcoming movie “Safe House” Monday on Westwood Boulevard, my wife and I were having some fun with the slogan, which is just a little too obvious in its twistiness. We kept on thinking of different examples as we drove along …

THERE ARE NO VITAMINS
Vitamin Shoppe

NO UNDERGROUND TRAINS HERE
Subway

THESE CHICKENS DON’T COME HOME TO ROOST
California Chicken Cafe

It’s as if Linda Richman had taken over the studio marketing campaign. Discuss

Jan 31

Exclusive: Interview with Old Hoss Radbourn

Hall of Fame pitcher Charles Gardner “Old Hoss” Radbourn began his earthly existence in 1854, made his major-league debut in 1880 and forsook his mortal coil in 1897. None of that, however, has prevented him from becoming one of the most lively presences on Twitter today.

Recently, the fogey-but-a-goodie kindly deigned to give Dodger Thoughts an exclusive interview, the contents of which follow herewith:

* * *

1) We have to start by asking what your reaction is to the ownership crisis in Los Angeles involving Frank McCourt?

I suppose there is some-thing to be learnt here about trusting one’s spouse with one’s property. My lass was given an ownership stake in a single place: the kitchen.

On a slightly more serious note, I suppose this is a useful lesson about carefully vetting one’s owners and making sure they are financially solvent. I am sure that no one in the upper echelons of base ball’s management will pay attention to this.

2) The Dodgers play in Los Angeles. What kind of appeal does this city hold for an oldtimer like yourself?

None, I am afraid. Base ball is meant to be played in nasty, inclement weather with angry, miserable louts for fans who take the sport too seriously and seek nothing more than to horse-whip you for making the slightest of mistakes. I believe this insane misanthropy has in recent years been mis-labeled as “passion.”

3) In 1884, you won 59 games for Providence (only 23 fewer than the Dodgers won in 2012). So my question is, if you were playing one-on-nine against the Dodgers, would you win?

As you know, J. Weisman, it is quite foolish to compare different base ball across the centuries. This is because my era was so much better. I would estimate, and I shall be conservative, that I would win a game by an approximate score of 17-4. I concede that one M. Kemp would account for at least three and likely four home runs, but otherwise I lose little sleep over the Dodgers’ line-up. Please note that my answer changes quite drastically based on the fellow named in question 7.

4) Who’s tougher — you or Tommy Lasorda?

I assume by linking “tough” and “T. La Sorda” you are referring to a toughness reminiscent of an old blubbery mound of lasagna, impossible to chew and tough to stomach for any amount of time. This well reminds me of T. La Sorda, and I must concede this title to him.

5) Lasorda bleeds blue. What color do you bleed?

This is quite difficult to answer, as I am dead. In my time some swore I sweated poppy juice, though this was but a deuced miserable rumor. I have always fancied myself a Gray, and view their collapse as a result of my departure from their team merely as an indicator of how important I was to the franchise.

6) What was it like facing Juan Castro?

You should ask J. Moyer this, who has been pitching for far longer than me.

7) Which current Dodger do you most admire, and why?

Watching C. Kershaw throw that beautiful looping parabola of a curve ball makes my bones ache. Good god he is a joy to watch take the mound.

8 ) Would you have enjoyed having Manny Ramirez as a teammate?

I would indeed. I rarely needed the assistance of my fielders, as I preferred to obtain outs on my own, and thus his comical adventures in left would hardly have been noticed. Had he made a mistake at a critical time, of course, after the contest he’d find a shiv in his back and a one-way ticket to the bottom of San Pedro Bay.

9) What, in your mind, is the most memorable moment in Dodger history?

Certainly changing their name from “Superbas” must rank rather highly. Another high point came on June 12, 1891, when Darby O’Brien — an Irishman!! — hit a three-run home run off of me in the bottom of the first inning in Brooklyn. This was the only home run I ever gave up to a member of that storied franchise. We should ignore that Mr. O’Brien only hit 19 additional such shots. He is not mourned.

On a more modern note, I have always been partial to Gil Hodges going 0-21 in the 1952 World’s Series. This is not out of some malevolent delight in watching a batsman suffer, though in truth what hurler would not enjoy this? Rather, it is a great appreciation for the sense of camaraderie and affection that existed for Hodges, a fellow who lived in Brooklyn and was something much more than what the term “fan favorite” connotes. The love that borough held for their first base man, even when mired in such an infelicitous slump, is one of the reasons generations of people still fondly reminisce about the Trolley Dodgers. Hoss must admit a soft spot for one G. Hodges.

10) Would you say Vin Scully is one of baseball’s great broadcasters, or is he still too young and needing to prove himself?

I will never say a harsh or jocular word about former Providence Grays bat boy V. Scully.

Jan 30

Dodger Thoughts is moving


Jeff Lewis/US Presswire

Hi everyone. I’m packing up gear.

January 31 marks the last day for Dodger Thoughts at ESPNLosAngeles.com. Please follow me to my new location, which will have the dodgerthoughts.com URL.

Please note that it could take a few hours before the process of redirecting the URL to the new site is completed. But everything should be ship-shape soon enough.

I would very much like to thank everyone at ESPNLosAngeles for giving me the opportunity to be part of their team for two years. It’s been a great addition to the Los Angeles sports landscape, and I was proud to be part of it. (In fact, you might still see me over at ESPNLosAngeles on a freelance basis.)

And now, on to the next chapter …

Jan 30

Welcome to the new home of Dodger Thoughts

Three years ago, full of piss and vinegar, I took Dodger Thoughts from its idyllic home at Baseball Toaster to the Los Angeles Times. I wrote a farewell to the Toaster that evoked my excitement of moving to a bigger stage, on which I had long dreamed of performing. While I wondered what I was leaving behind, I was filled with confidence.

The journey that followed was better for me professionally than for Dodger Thoughts itself. While I was taken more seriously than ever for my work on the Dodgers, and (in a welcome relief) compensated for it, the site itself suffered. The commenting community, which I valued immeasurably, broke apart. Readers remained, but despite joining a mainstream site with wide reach, the page views for Dodger Thoughts did not rise. Commenters, by and large, had other places to go.

For several months in 2009, I was hoping that improvements could be made at the Times that would bring that community back, but they were neither sufficiently fast nor user-friendly. I value those who have stuck around and who have come anew, but essentially, that Toaster wonderland was gone.

By the time I moved two years ago to ESPN Los Angeles, I was left to focus on doing the best work I could, hoping to at least retain readers if not commenters. As far as my professional life, I dreamed big again.

Well, now I’m back on my own. For now, anyway. The reasons, I think I can say without being indecorous, relate to shifting priorities over there in the big city. So what are you gonna do?

Start over. Reboot. So here we are. I could be here for 10 days or 10,000. Still figuring that out. Still figuring a lot of things out. There’s still so much I dream of accomplishing, but my path is still around a bend or two. I’m eager to see what happens.

So, if you’ve made it this far, here to home No. 6 (four more to catch Tommy Davis), thanks for stopping by. I’ll do my best to provide informative, meaningful and fun posts as much as or more than ever before.  Hope you hang out a while.

Note: The commenting system should be up and running Tuesday morning.

Jan 29

The future of Hong-Chih Kuo

Been meaning to wonder aloud about Hong-Chih Kuo, who remains unsigned with February just around the corner. The Dodgers declined to offer salary arbitration to Kuo for obvious reasons following his massive struggles in 2011, but the memory of his 2010 dominance makes him a good guy to have at Spring Training on a low- or no-guarantee contract. A small item in this Nick Cafardo notebook in the Boston Globe (via MLB Trade Rumors) indicates that a few teams feel the same, and Kuo could be signing somewhere soon. Los Angeles? I don’t know …

Jan 28

Expanded playoffs could lower bar for Dodgers in 2012

Can the seventh-best team in the National League in 2011 become the fifth-best team in 2012?

  • Nothing’s official yet, but Bud Selig thinks the expansion of MLB’s playoffs to 10 teams could come this year, reports The Associated Press. “Under the new format, whenever it begins, the non-division winners in each league with the two best records will be the wild cards, meaning a third-place team could for the first time win the World Series.”
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: A contemplative Vin Scully inside the Green Monster at Fenway, 2004. (And from a couple days ago, here’s Scully interviewing Tommy Lasorda at Busch Stadium in the 1980s.)
  • Hiroki Kuroda talked to Dylan Hernandez of the Times at some length about leaving the Dodgers for the Yankees.
  • Paul DePodesta talked to MLB Clubhouse Confidential’s Brian Kenny about “Moneyball,” the Dodgers and his current team, the Mets.
  • The Mets could have the largest single-season payroll cut in MLB history – more than $50 million, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Speaking of money: Here’s a yearly progression of the highest-paid player in baseball dating back to Nap Lajoie’s $6,200 salary in 1902, provided by William Juliano at Bronx Banter.
  • Juan Pierre, 34, has signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies, joining Scott Podsednik in the competition for a spot on their roster.  Something tells me that a .279 hitter in 639 at-bats with 27 steals would have gotten a better contract if evaluation methods in baseball hadn’t changed to de-emphasize batting average. His OPS+ was .657 and he was caught stealing 17 times.
  • Another former Dodger, Brad Penny, might be headed for Japan, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Penny, 34 in May, had a 5.30 ERA in 31 starts and 181 2/3 innings for Detroit in 2011.
  • Noted by Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports: If Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension is upheld, his first 2012 game would be May 31 at Dodger Stadium. It’s a weekday afternoon game.
  • This year, Stanford may well have first pair of classmates picked first in both the NFL and MLB drafts: quarterback Andrew Luck and pitcher Mark Appel, writes Jack Blanchat of the Stanford Daily.
  • Some of you might find this interesting: According to this MediaPost story by Mark Walsh, ESPN now feels that “instead of determining how to shoehorn its programming from traditional media to mobile platforms, the process is now reversed, with mobile becoming the starting point.”
  • Maybe the craziest collection of trick shots you’ll ever see is in this video, which is kicked off by Don Mattingly and his son Preston.
  • Even crazier … this IHOP commercial from 1969 (via Emma Span).
  • Farewell, Robert Hegyes. Hegyes wrote about his “Welcome Back, Kotter” experience at his website. Groucho Marx and Lucille Ball were fans.

* * *

The deadline is fast approaching, but there are still spots open to play in TheLFP.com Softball Tournament on February 11 at Big League Dreams in West Covina, where readers of Dodger blogs will play with and against each other. Sign up and be part of the fun.

Jan 27

Dodger ownership bidding moves forward

Potential ownership groups featuring Peter O’Malley, Magic Johnson, Joe Torre, Steve Cohen and Stanley Gold are among those whom Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com is reporting have gained first-round approval in the bidding for the Dodgers.

Bill Shaikin of the Times has reported that Mark Cuban and Dennis Gilbert did not advance, though The Associated Press initially had a conflicting report on Cuban. Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal writes that a group led by cable investor Leo Hindery and New York financier Marc Utay did advance.

Jan 26

Reports: Dodgers were finalists for Fielder

By offering big bucks up front and an opt-out clause after four years of a seven-year deal, the Dodgers were finalists in the bidding for Prince Fielder after all — and perhaps would have signed him if Detroit, reeling from the ACL injury to Victor Martinez, hadn’t swooped in.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com makes note of this, and we can glean more from a report by Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.comContinue reading

Jan 26

Can Kershaw repeat?

At lunch Wednesday with Dodger publications director Jorge Martin, we marveled with glee not only at Clayton Kershaw’s magnificent 2011 season, but our inability, despite knowing all about how hard the job of pitching is, not to expect him to dominate every time out in 2012. Our heads tell us he might not pitch as well this year as last. Our hearts tell us he can pitch even better.

It got me to wondering how pitchers with seasons like Kershaw’s followed them up the following campaign. And the news isn’t exactly good.

Here are two charts – the first an appetizer, the second the main course:

Top 20 individual Dodger seasons since 1958

Player Year Age ERA+ ERA+ next year   Change
Koufax 1966 30 190 Retired  
Koufax 1964 28 188 160   -28
Hershiser 1985 26 171 90   -81
Brown 2000 35 169 151 * -18
Brown 2003 38 169 110 * -59
Kershaw 2011 23 163 TBD  
Sutton 1972 27 162 144   -18
Sutton 1981 35 161 112   -49
Koufax 1965 29 160 190   30
Koufax 1963 27 159 160   1
Nomo 1995 26 150 122   -28
Welch 1985 28 150 106   -44
Drysdale 1964 27 149 118   -31
Messersmith 1975 29 149 125   -24
Hershiser 1988 29 149 149   0
Hersisher 1989 30 149 88   -61
Hooton 1981 31 148 87 * -61
Penny 2007 29 147 67 * -70
Hooton 1977 27 147 130   -17
Reuss 1981 32 146 113   -33
Average   29 159 123 4 -33

* did not pitch enough innings to qualify for ERA title in following year

Top 50 individual MLB seasons since 1958, ages 21-25

Player Year Age ERA+ ERA+ next year   Change
P. Martinez 1997 25 219 163   -56
Z. Greinke 2009 25 205 100   -105
D. Chance 1964 23 198 108   -90
C. Buchholz 2010 25 187 122 * -65
V. Blue 1971 21 185 102 * -83
J. Santana 2004 25 182 155   -27
B. Saberhagen 1989 25 180 118   -62
K. Appier 1993 25 179 131   -48
M. Prior 2003 22 179 110 * -69
D. Righetti 1981 22 174 105   -69
F. Hernandez 2010 24 174 111   -63
T. Lincecum 2009 25 173 114   -59
F. Hernandez 2009 23 172 174   2
J. Peavy 2004 23 171 134   -37
J. D’Amico 2000 24 171 72 * -99
T. Lincecum 2008 24 169 173   4
J. Candelaria 1977 23 169 115   -54
R. Clemens 1986 23 169 154   -15
D. Ellsworth 1963 23 167 99   -68
K. Millwood 1999 25 167 99   -68
A. Anderson 1988 25 166 110   -56
K. Appier 1992 25 166 179   13
S. McDowell 1968 25 165 127   -38
T. Seaver 1969 24 165 143   -22
B. Webb 2003 24 165 129   -36
S. Carlton 1969 24 164 111   -53
M. Mussina 1994 25 164 145   -19
C. Kershaw 2011 23 163 TBD  
B. Sheets 2004 25 162 128   -34
G. Nolan 1972 24 162 102 * -60
T. John 1968 25 161 119   -42
S. McDowell 1965 22 161 120   -41
J. Magrane 1988 23 161 124   -37
C. Zambrano 2004 23 160 135   -25
A. Hammaker 1983 25 159 164 * 5
J. Jurrjens 2009 23 159 84 * -75
R. Halladay 2002 25 159 145   -14
M. Fidrych 1976 21 159 149 * -10
B. Zito 2002 24 158 135   -23
B. Blyleven 1973 22 158 142   -16
D. Bosman 1969 25 158 118   -40
M. Mussina 1992 23 157 100   -57
J. Guzman 1992 25 156 109   -47
R. Jones 1975 25 156 120   -36
A. Pettitte 1997 25 156 104   -52
F. Tanana 1977 23 154 99   -55
D. McLain 1968 24 154 135   -19
J. Palmer 1969 23 154 134   -20
R. Clemens 1987 24 154 141   -13
T. Glavine 1991 25 153 134   -19
Average   24 168 125 8 -43

As you can see, there’s a host of great names on these lists, including Hall of Famers and Hall of Very Gooders. Just because there’s a decline after a great season doesn’t mean that there weren’t great seasons in their future.

But a decline following a great season for a young pitcher is common, and on average pretty significant.

So the challenge for our dear Kershaw is to buck history. This much I’ll say – if anyone can do it, if anyone can imitate Sandy Koufax (at a younger age), he can.

Jan 25

Wow, where did all these links come from?

A bundle of clickable goodness today …

  • Andre Ethier had some interesting comments in an interview Tuesday with ESPN AM 710.

    … Asked about wanting to be with the Dodgers long-term, Ethier said, “It comes down to the security part, too, but it also comes down to unfinished business and I feel like, yeah, I’m facing that decision now where hopefully it doesn’t come down to me having to leave and [I can] be a part of this team when we start rebounding and getting back to where we need to be.”The ownership limbo seemingly affected the Dodgers’ ability to deal in free agency this offseason, with general manager Ned Colletti saying earlier this month the team was essentially done with its offseason acquisitions because “we’re at our payroll.” So when news broke Tuesday of the Detroit Tigers nearing a deal with marquee free agent Prince Fielder, it wasn’t lost on Ethier.

    “Why can’t the Dodgers be doing that? Look at the markets those two teams are, and the stability you see through the front office and the team being able to operate … on the level it should be,” he said, adding, “you don’t try to think of it too much as a player, but obviously if you’re not going after the big fish like other teams are, like our partners are down there to the south of us, the Angels [who acquired Albert Pujols], it’s tough to go out there and keep competing year after year if you’re not going out there and making your team better every year. “I think that’s the situation we’ve been in. Obviously it’s going to get better from here on out because of the sell and getting new people in there.”

    Ethier, who hit .292 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs in 2011 before ending the season with a right knee injury, said he’s aiming for a “strong, solid” 2012.

    “I’ve kind of dealt with this knee thing for the past two years, put it off for one off-season and then last season it just became a thing where a lot of things started multiplying and getting worse and something where I couldn’t quite get back my swing … It was very frustrating and I learned a lot from that.”

  • Ethier participated in a prank on Dustin Pedroia for a Boston radio station. Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy has more.
  • Matt Kemp’s new contract looks even more valuable in the wake of the Prince Fielder signing, writes Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports offers up a wintertime preview of their 19th-ranked MLB team, the 2012 Dodgers.
  • Former Dodger co-owner and managing partner Bob Daly had even more to say Tuesday (in an interview with T.J. Simers of the Times) than Ethier. Daly is highly critical of Frank McCourt, critical of the Dodgers’ offseason signings and critical of himself for not trading prospects for a bat in the middle of the 2002 season — though I would say that was a period in which the Dodgers didn’t have a whole lot of trade value in the system.
  • Steve Dilbeck of the Times wonders if the potential interest of St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke in buying the Dodgers could be the first domino that leads to Frank McCourt becoming an NFL minority owner.
  • In a separate post, Dilbeck also offers why the Dodgers might win the National League West, despite all their uncertainty.
  • Just when I think I can’t read any more Hall of Fame voting insight, here comes Lewie Pollis of Behind the Boxscore with a new take, about what he calls “a mistaken assumption about the balloting process: that writers’ own observations of players were expected to be primary factors in their votes.”
  • Daryle Ward, who infamously batted .183 and slugged .193 at age 28 for the 2003 Dodgers, received a 50-game suspension from MLB for testing positive for a banned amphetamine. Ward, who has a .768 lifetime OPS, hasn’t played in the majors since 2008.
  • Former Dodger infielder Wilson Valdez, who ended up the winning pitcher for the Phillies over the Reds in a 19-inning game last May, was traded to the Reds today.
  • There’s speculation about whether Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns 4.5 percent of the Lakers, will get involved with a Dodger ownership bid, such as Magic Johnson’s. Bill Shaikin of the Times addresses it today. Soon-Shiong bought Johnson’s share of the Lakers in 2010. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com interviewed Soon-Shiong in November.
  • The Left Field Pavilion blog has invited all prospective Dodger owners to come out to the Dodger blogs softball tournament February 11 and “meet the bloggers and fans of the team you are trying to purchase.”
  • Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, 26, is about to become a free agent that MLB teams can bid on. More on Cespedes at Baseball America. The Dodgers are not rumored to be pursuing him. “Projections based off his Cuban numbers show a good but not great hitter with 25-homer power and poor strike-zone control,” writes Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk.
  • Sam Miller of the Orange County Register is quickly emerging as a baseball writer of the highest order. He has two new freelance pieces: an account of Scott Boras’ beginnings as an agent for Baseball Prospectus, and a pitch-by-pitch account of how the Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson for ESPN the Magazine.
  • Kevin Kaduk at Yahoo! Sports blogs about a law in Florida “that any ballpark or stadium that receives taxpayer money shall serve as a homeless shelter on the dates that it is not in use.”
Jan 25

Remembering Christina-Taylor Green

APChristina-Taylor Green

On the morning of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ emotional resignation from the House, I checked in on the website in memory of Christina-Taylor Green, Dodger scout John Green’s 9-year-old daughter who died in the mass shooting that severely wounded Giffords.

Here’s what the memorial foundation has been up to:

At the time The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation (C-TGMF) was being formed, The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) held funds in Christina-Taylor’s name. CFSA provided a way to capture the outpouring of love that we felt from our community, many other parts of the nation, and the world.

As CFSA handled the financial oversight of the donations, they provided time for the new foundation to define its mission and initial goals. Before the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation’s 501c3 status was finalized, CFSA funded several projects, including upgrading the technology at Mesa Verde Elementary and Cross Middle schools with SMART Boards, Physical Education equipment, computers and arts programs.

In conjunction with The Allstate Foundation, The Christina-Taylor Green Little Hands Playground was built at Mesa Verde Elementary School, an outdoor space open to students and to neighborhood residents.

Several other contributors participated in the completion of the playground. Community volunteers provided help with construction. Donations were provided by The Little Tikes Corporation, The Sundt Foundation and The JohnJay and Rich Care For Kids Foundation. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health also partnered on building the project by, among other things, getting design ideas for the nearly 2,000-square-foot play area from Christina-Taylor’s classmates. For details about the playground and its dedication, read more at AZStarnet.

Before school started in August, our foundation partnered with Tierra Antigua Real Estate to collect school supplies and backpacks. Hollaway Elementary and Drexel Elementary schools were the recipients of these items.

“Stuff the Hummers”, our last project of 2011, was a huge success. C-TGMF partnered with Team up for Tucson to benefit The Salvation Army in their annual toy collection for Tucson area children in need. Not only did we surpass all goals for toys donated,  we also collected 125 bikes, setting a new record of 10,000 toys/bikes.  Our foundation and its volunteers look forward to a long term partnership with Team up for Tucson in hopes of breaking records every year so we can continue to help our local Salvation Army provide toys for needy children in the Tucson Area.

The C-TGMF will be issuing a call for Grant Proposals in the spring of 2012, and we hope to fund multiple small projects. The goal is to give out approximately $50,000 in grant money for projects that will help carry out the mission of the foundation:

The mission of the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation is to honor the life and memory of Christina-Taylor through charitable and educational projects that reflect and embody her interests, values and dreams.

Earlier this month, on the anniversary of the shooting, Karina Bland of the Arizona Republic wrote movingly about Christina’s survivors, including mother Roxanna and friend Suzi Hileman, who had taken Christina to meet Giffords.

… “Suzi is a dear friend and neighbor,” Green says. “I want Suzi to heal. I don’t want to bring any more sadness to her.”

Each woman has a strong network of friends, but they circle back to one another. A glass of wine. Coffee. Lunch. They live blocks apart.

At times when Green wants to cry, or shout, or rant without someone hushing her, or trying to fix what is upsetting her, she turns to Hileman: “If I need to whine, I go to her house.” Hileman does the same.

There is no comforting them: Christina-Taylor is dead, and nothing anyone can do can change that.

“We both get it because we both went through it,” Green says.

A year later, Green still cries most days. Time hasn’t changed that. …

Here are some pictures of Christina.

Jan 24

Prince Fielder close to deal with the Tigers

Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers are close to a contract — a nine-year, $214 million contract. That’s a bigger deal than I expected Fielder to get, and I’m not surprised or particularly crushed that the Dodgers didn’t top it.

My main concern was that the Dodgers might miss out on a great deal on Fielder under the misguided notion that they couldn’t even consider him. With their new TV contract staring them in the face, the Dodgers still could have afforded Fielder even at this mammoth contract size, but I won’t lose sleep over the fact that they’re stuck without him. Life and baseball move on, and we’ll dream of what might happen for the Dodgers after the new owner is in place.

Forbes (via Maury Brown), by the way, says that based on initial offers, Frank McCourt can expect a minimum of $1.5 billion as a sale price. Man.

Jan 23

Bidness time


Initial bids for the Dodgers officially have been made. Tony Jackson covered it for ESPNLosAngeles.com, while Bill Shaikin was on it for the Times. Not much in the way of surprises in a process that still has some time to develop. From Jackson:

… Although the passing of the deadline represents a significant step in the sale process, it isn’t necessarily a major one. For one thing, additional bids are still welcome even with the deadline having passed, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. For another, even the groups that placed initial bids aren’t set in stone, as there could be merging of groups, individual movement between groups and individual additions or subtractions within a specific group.

Two bidders said talks about possible group mergers were ongoing. They both spoke on condition of anonymity because Blackstone Group made them sign nondisclosure agreements.

“It would be a shock if they don’t start talking merger,” said Marc Ganis, president of the Chicago-based consulting firm Sportscorp, which is not involved. “I think we’ll get a half-dozen parties that are actually in the bid, plus or minus one.”

What the passing of the deadline does mean is that the weeding-out process can now officially begin. This initial phase will involve eliminating candidates whose bids simply aren’t competitive. Once that process is complete, Blackstone will submit its list of remaining candidates to Major League Baseball for a vetting process that already is underway in a preliminary sense — MLB already is looking at all candidates who were given bid books — but at that point will intensify.

There is no deadline for the submitting of those candidates to MLB, although the April 30 deadline for completing the sale — and the April 1 deadline for selecting the owner and ownership group that ultimately will get the team — necessarily means the process will move comparatively quickly.

One source in the Dodgers camp said McCourt views the April 30 deadline as rigid, but baseball commissioner Bud Selig said two weeks ago at MLB’s quarterly owners meetings that he feels confident the sale will be completed on time and that “I think we’re on track,” both characterizations that seemed to allow for some wiggle room. …

* * *

  • Mike Piazza said it’s “no question” he would like to go into the Hall of Fame as a Met (Mets Blog via Baseball Think Factory).
  • Mike Silva’s NY Baseball Digest has this story of close a 20-year-old Tom Seaver came to being a Dodger.

    … “He was born to be a Dodger,” Travers said. “Born and raised in California, went to USC, had season tickets to Dodger games because his uncle has season tickets in Los Angeles, and he would use them every fourth and fifth day to see Koufax and Drysdale.”

    As luck would have it, Seaver was drafted by the Dodgers in the 10th round of the 1965 draft. Seaver wanted $50,000 to sign; the Dodgers offered $2,000 along with advice from a scout by the name of Tommy Lasorda. “Good luck with your dental career,” Lasorda said. This was in reference to the fact that Seaver was a pre-dental student at USC.

    Seaver would sign a contract with Atlanta the following year, only to see it voided by the commissioner’s office because his college team played some exhibition games. He couldn’t return to school since he was now considered a “pro.” The league responded by setting up a lottery with interested teams. The Dodgers tried to get involved once again, but ultimately failed to follow through, which led to the Mets winning Seaver’s rights in the lottery over Cleveland and Philadelphia. …

  • James Loney is now the dean of the Dodgers in service time, writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. No. 2, if you go by signing date, is Ramon Troncoso, followed by Matt Kemp.
  • The gang’s all there: Eric Stults, Delwyn Young and Hector Gimenez signed minor-league deals with White Sox, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball put the Dodger farm system in the bottom 10 of the majors, while the Padres’ kids were first in the National League.
  • Jon SooHoo passes along this vintage photo of Dodger beat writers from the 1990s.
  • New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is considering a change in the nickname and uniforms of the erstwhile Colt ’45s, reports The Associated Press. I trust the next Dodger owner isn’t thinking similarly.