Feb 13

The Emerald City prepares for Hong-Chih Kuo


On the heels of Alex Belth’s feature on Hiroki Kuroda came this piece by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (via Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.) on new Mariner lefty Hong-Chih Kuo. In the picture that runs with Baker’s article, I can’t say Kuo doesn’t look smart in that Seattle uniform, but maybe I just miss him.

… Kuo had battled a yips problem in 2009, then became arguably the game’s top reliever in 2010 with the Dodgers. In the interim, he’d worked with famed sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman to curtail his throwing issues.

But Dorfman passed away last February at age 75. By April, the yips troubles were once agan starting to overwhelm Kuo. He returned after the first DL stint, struggled again, then went back on the DL in May. I asked Kuo whether Dorfman’s death made it tougher for him to bounce back, since he could no longer phone him up for instant advice.

“Yes, it was hard,” he told me. “But you still have to fix it. It can’t come from somebody else.”

Then, he looked at me and pumped his chest with his fist.

“It has to come from inside here,” he said. “It has to come from inside me.” …

Elsewhere …

  • Ken Gurnick produced a status report on the Dodgers heading into Spring Training for MLB.com.
  • In its latest behind-the-scenes offseason video, ESPN.com checks in on Clayton Kershaw.
  • Dodger Thoughts softball teamer Matt Worland blogged at length about Saturday’s tournament. Here is part one and part two.
  • James Loney doesn’t look so bad, or as bad, now that the quality of National League first basemen has declined, writes Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.
  • Twice-baked Dodger pitcher Jon Garland (remembered by Dodger Thoughts here) has signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland. He earned a $5 million base salary from the Dodgers in 2011.
  • Bob Timmermann posted a great historical piece on the Sports Arena at L.A. Observed’s Native Intelligence. I’d call it a must-read for any local sports fan.
  • More history: Mary Mallory of the Daily Mirror looks back at Eaton’s Rancho, which one sat at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevard, currently home to a McDonald’s.
  • A soundtrack for season two of Treme goes on sale April 17 (and has just been added to my wish list). Here’s a link to the season-one soundtrack.
Feb 11

A good day had by all


Though there was no stopping the bats of top-seeded LFP 2 in its 31-7 semifinal victory over Dodger Thoughts, the day was nothing but a success. I couldn’t have gotten a better bunch of teammates if I tried – just a lot of fun to spend the day with. Thanks to Mike at LFP and Big League Dreams for putting on a great event.

Feb 11

Into the semis


Greg Zakwin connects in Dodger Thoughts’ 27-2 triumph in a rematch against Vin Scully Is My Homeboy II. A semifinal game awaited in the semis against LFP 2, the one team to beat DT today.

Feb 11

Twenty minutes to gametime

Initial warmups are done. Realizing just how sore my arm will be Sunday. Hong-Chih, I feel you.

But right now, most worried about reaction time in the field. Thats something you cant practice while jogging on a random weekday morning.

In an 8 a.m. game, True Blue L.A. burst to a 4-0 lead over Dodger Bobble but now trails, 6-4.

Feb 09

It’s time for more softball and Les Nessman

We are only at T-minus 43 hours for the start of the LFP.com Dodger Bloggers Softball Tournament, featuring 14 teams and close to 200 players representing Dodger websites hither and yon.

Like the other squads, the Dodger Thoughts team will be playing at least three games, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Big League Dreams in West Covina. The tournament itself starts at 8 a.m.

As the de facto manager, a role I intend to embrace with all the intermingled enthusiasm and sleepiness of a 1990s Tommy Lasorda, I am here to tell you that I am in little to no condition to play three softball games in one day, let alone more if our ragtag bunch propels us into the playoffs Saturday afternoon. Though there was a time I played every week, I don’t believe I have swung a bat in the two years since the last time I played in a game, a game that left me sore in one particular place for about a month afterward. On the bright side, in November I started jogging again, and have regularly been running four miles a … well, week. So by the time Saturday’s games are over, I might not be fit to drive home, or even walk from the driveway through the front door. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to a good time out in those fields of dreams.

Every now and then, I dip into the prodigious comments of True Blue L.A., where you can find ongoing parsing of the nuances of Saturday’s events and a passion normally reserved only for hallowed occasions like Festivus. It is for that reason that I have labeled theirs as the WPIG squad and ours as the WKRP team, recalling the classic softball game of WKRP in Cincinnati (see video up top). Don’t be surprised to see me, like Dr. Johnny Fever, playing left-center in the comfort of a lawn chair. But at the same time, don’t be surprised if Dodger Thoughts players like David Guerreva, David Higgins, James Higgins, Anthony Mason, Brian Rafeedy, Eric Velazquez, Mary Whitfield, Matt Worland and the Dodger Thoughts commenter known as Xeifrank are poised to shock the world. I’ll tell you this, True Blue L.A.: You don’t want to see us in the finals, unless you’re there to apply sunscreen to our winning faces.

If you’re in the neighborhood, come on by — should be a fun, fun day.