Mar 20

Another painful Spring Training for De Jesus

Very sorry to hear that Ivan De Jesus Jr. has a left-oblique tear, three years after the March broken leg that derailed his career.  Star-crossed kid.

  • Good tidbit on longshot bullpen contender and Royal High graduate Scott Rice, from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “He’s easy to find in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, and not just because he’s 6-foot-6,” Gurnick writes. “His locker is located in the section assigned to players that are generally the first to be cut. Sure enough, eight lockers to his right are now empty, as are five lockers to his left.”
  • Dee Gordon needed only a home run for the cycle today.
  • Andre Ethier: still on fire.
  • Grant Brisbee is as entertaining as usual in his look at the 2012 Dodgers for Baseball Nation.
  • Wednesday at 9 p.m., NBC premieres a new sitcom, Bent. The Peacock, as we say at Variety, is racing through the entire six-episode order in three weeks – putting the premiere against Modern Family, no less – so you might think the network is ashamed of it. But I think the show is worth watching and only grows on you. TV critics Brian Lowry at Variety and Alan Sepinwall at HitFix agree with me. So check it out.
Aug 22

Andre Ethier, off (and on) the charts

Below, you can see in graphic form the ongoing power decline for Andre Ethier, discussed here last week. Charts come courtesy of ESPN Stats and Information. Note not only the reduction in balls hit over the fence but also hits to the warning track, compared with 2009.

Andre Ethier 2009 hit chart
Andre Ethier 2010 hit chart

ESPN Stats and InformationAndre Ethier 2011 hit chart

* * *

Albuquerque baseball expert Chris Jackson freelanced a feature for MiLB.com on new Dodger catching prospect Tim Federowicz.

Fair or not, catcher Tim Federowicz finds himself under some extra pressure after being traded.

Los Angeles Dodgers fans were almost uniform in their dislike of the three-team trade that sent outfield prospect Trayvon Robinson to Seattle and brought Federowicz and two pitchers to the Dodgers organization.

The stated intent by Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was to acquire a catching prospect, something Los Angeles lacked in its farm system. Federowicz said he understands the frustration of Dodgers fans.

“Yeah, they gave up Trayvon — he’s a great player and now he’s in the big leagues, doing his thing up there,” Federowicz said. “That’s tough to lose.

“I guess there is a little bit of pressure to show fans what I’ve got. But I think it’ll eventually work out the way the Dodgers want it to.” …

* * *

Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles was kind enough to show sympathy for Dodger fans when Rubby De La Rosa went down for the count. Now, with the Giants verging toward tailspin, having lost 16 of 23, he might need some for himself. Or maybe time was ripe for a humbling, if you ask Brisbee. From the New York Times:

… Such minor hysteria — sarcastic or not — highlights the uncomfortable fact that, for some, the team’s faithful have come to resemble the type of smug, and yet strangely neurotic, supporters of certain big-money East Coast franchises.

“People get on me when I say this, but it’s kind of that first step toward the path of the Red Sox fan,” said Grant Brisbee, 33, the editor of The McCovey Chronicles, a Web site for Giants fans. “You get a little cocky, a little arrogant. And they say, ‘No, no, no, Giants fans aren’t like that.’ But they’re not that far away from getting that really obnoxious national fan base.” (Just like Yankees fans, Mr. Brisbee added.) …

* * *

Finally, here’s a cool video feature from ESPN Sport Science on last week’s triple play by Milwaukee against the Dodgers:

Aug 03

What’s so funny about … you know

The day began when Young Master Weisman came out of his bedroom at 6:30 a.m. on this, his seventh birthday. I called him over to me, and he gave me, well, he gave me a hug that was the biggest, longest hug any of my children has ever given me.

I would say that roughly 75 percent of that hug was pure excitement about his birthday, but you know, I think maybe a quarter of it had something to do with me. And I’ll take that combination. It felt really, really good. Just the fact that he was that purely happy … I’ll take it.

Then I learned that Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods became a father. It was on July 30, the same birthday as baseball’s youngiest youngster, Joe Nuxhall. How absolutely great.

That brings me to Grant Brisbee’s piece for Baseball Nation today. Brisbee, some of you know, runs San Francisco Giants blog McCovey Chronicles. He happens to be one of the best, funniest and most imaginative and insightful baseball writers around, in any medium. And today, he wrote a very nice column entitled, “The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Not Having A Good Season.”

As a Giants fan growing up in the ’80s, I went to baseball games in a concrete abomination known as Candlestick Park. The Dodgers had a quaint and airy ballpark. I stuffed tauntaun blubber down my jacket to stay warm during the day games. Dodgers fans wore short-sleeve shirts to the ballpark at night. I watched a team lose year after year. The Dodgers won every year. When the Giants did win something, it would be immediately followed by a sharp, piercing playoff exit. When the Dodgers made the playoffs, they’d skip through and win the World Series.

So the dislike is true and pure, forged in the fires of youthful resentment and envy. Not a fan of the Dodgers. And I figured if they ever became the 1899 Cleveland Spiders — earning every bit of a 20-134 record — it would be delightful. When the McCourt madness started happening, it was somewhat amusing. When Selig took financial control of the Dodgers, it was hilarious. And then there were allllll those losses. The German word for taking pleasure in the suffering of others is schadenfreude, and this season has been the freudiest.

At this point, though: enough. We get it.

The tipping point was Rubby De La Rosa needing Tommy John surgery. Fans of under-.500 teams are people too. They have certain rights — things you can’t take away. And the most important, inalienable right of the fan of a bad team is the right to watch a top prospect’s rookie season. The Royals, for example, have stunned the world by not contending, but every Royals fan in the world can turn on a TV and watch Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas play. The performances are up and down, but that’s not the point. The point is that they can watch a bad team and project how the prospects will be responsible for the eventual turnaround.

De La Rosa came up and featured a right-handed repertoire that the Dodgers hadn’t seen from one of their young pitchers since the days of Eric Gagne. And then as quickly as he was up, he was gone in a puff of smoke.

That’s not right. I know I’m supposed to be a partisan fan of a team in a historic rivalry … but, come on … really, when Rubby went down … that’s too much.

The reaction some would say I should have to this is horror. A Giants fan taking pity on us — can things sink any lower?

But that’s not me. I’m glad when someone understands, when someone extends me a hand instead of kicking me when I’m down. That’s the way the world should be.

Giants fans want to win. Dodger fans want to win.  Those are two missions forever in conflict.  But there are moments, such as when Giants and Dodger fans joined forces to condemn the Bryan Stow violence, when our shared humanity — not to mention some “There but for the grace” knowledge — transcends our differences. And I don’t care how trite that sounds — I’m a flat-out sucker for it.

Happy birthday, my boy.