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.
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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.