Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

The Dodgers might be down
in 2023, but they aren’t out

From 2019 to the present, no Major League team has won more World Series than the Los Angeles Dodgers.

(Okay, my cheek is enveloping my tongue, but it’s true!)

But more seriously: The Dodgers have won 67 percent of their games (366-180) over the past four seasons, the equivalent of 108.5 wins every 162 games. To put that in perspective, no other team has won 67 percent of its games even in a single season since the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

Based on their offseason moves, no one (including myself), believes that the Dodgers will sustain that level of play in 2023. But how far down might they go, and what are the consequences?

Let’s start from the outside in — first the postseason, then the regular season.

This is a free post at Slayed by Voices. To read the rest, click here. 

Revisiting ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

I reread The Catcher in the Rye this week, and I had a lot of fun writing about it. Check out my free post at Slayed by Voices — no subscription necessary for this one. 

Trevor Bauer is *not* a Dodger

Reprinted from Slayed by Voices … 

Through January 8, subscribe to Slayed by Voices for 25% off the annual price.

I’m not sure I ever typed “Trevor Bauer” and “Dodgers” in the same sentence, and thankfully after tonight, I never will.

The Dodgers cut ties Friday with the 31-year-old “pitcher” on the following basis, as indicated in their 4:16 p.m. PT statement.

The Dodgers organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be thoroughly investigated, with due process given to the accused. From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball’s investigation and strictly followed the process stipulated under MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Two extensive reviews of all the available evidence in this case — one by Commissioner Manfred and another by a neutral arbitrator — concluded that Mr. Bauer’s actions warranted the longest ever active player suspension in our sport for violations of this policy. Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization.


I don’t have the slightest need nor desire to dive into the allegations of sexual assault that led to Bauer’s suspension from Major League Baseball on July 2, 2021. Bauer started flinging lawsuits around like kale chips from a hot-air balloon. (I just made that up.) There was one high-profile showdown in court, in which the judge ruled that no restraining order was needed to keep Bauer away from his accuser since they were nowhere near each other. Some in the public confused that as an exoneration of Bauer when it was anything but. Click if you want the terrible details.

“Notwithstanding [the woman’s] consent to some form of rough sex,” U.S. District Court Judge James Selna wrote, “Bauer engaged in acts while [she] was unconscious, when she was physically and legally unable to give consent.”

Read More

What are the Dodgers doing, you ask?

I wrote a pretty lengthy status report on the 2023 Dodgers over at Slayed by VoicesThis one, I’m keeping behind the paywall, but I really hope you’ll check it out. You can always sign up with a no-strings-attached, seven-day free trial. And here’s a bonus for Dodger Thoughts readers: If you sign up and then let me know in the comments below, I’ll extend your free trial to 30 days.   

I still plan on posting at Dodger Thoughts periodically (or you might call it sporadically), but my focus is over at Slayed. This free post explains why. If you’re a fan of my writing, I really think you’ll find it worth your while. With an average of at least five posts per week, the annual subscription cost boils down to about 25 cents per day.

I would love to hear your feedback. Please stop by. 

Vin Scully, talk-show host

[Borrowed from a free post at Slayed by Voices]

Hello there. And a very pleasant half-hour program, wherever you may be.

I’ve known for some time that Vin Scully hosted a talk show in the 1970s, but I had never seen a full episode. Well, take that off the bucket list.

This half-hour edition of The Vin Scully Show, with cigar-smoking Carroll O’Connor as the special guest, was taped January 24, 1973, when Vin was 45. The 48-year-old O’Connor literally came downstairs for the interview from the studio at CBS Television City where All in the Family was taped. Not surprisingly, Vin brings out the best in him. While sitting very close to him.

In case you were in any danger of forgetting that Vin’s voice was perfection, here’s your antidote.

Like any good ballgame, there are big moments building toward a slam-bang finish.

You might think the best moment with Vin is the joke he tells in his opening monologue.

You might think the best moment with Vin is when he says to O’Connor about playing the notorious sexist racist Archie Bunker: “You are such a natural for the role.” Then Vin, realizing what he said, adds with a laugh: “And I don’t mean as a bigot.”

You might even think it’s the sketch where Vin plays a suitor for a grumbly old man’s daughter — like Archie and Gloria, but not exactly — capped by a genu-ine Old School rim shot.

But stay tuned until the very end, when Vin spins a tale about an Irish gambler in a perfect brogue. That’s a Hall of Fame moment. That’s our Vin.

Recapping my Reddit Dodgers chat

As advertised, my Reddit chat on the Dodgers took place Friday. It was a lot of fun for me — I always like to hear (or see) myself talk — and we covered a lot of ground. This format brings out the best in me, since I’m better at typing than speaking extemporaneously. And I enjoyed the questions.

A few highlights:

Read More

Mookie malarkey

This writeup appeared alongside many others in my new newsletter, Slayed by Voices. I still want to share Dodger news here, but if you’ve enjoyed my writing in the past, this is the focus of my attention now. Please check it out, share and subscribe. 

In 2022, the Dodgers’ Marvelous Mookie Betts won the Gold Glove Award for National League right fielders, the sixth time in the past seven seasons he has won that honor as an outfielder.

Betts is also the only current Dodger outfielder guaranteed a starting spot in 2023. With Cody Bellinger gone and Chris Taylor coming off a terrible season, left and center field are currently wide open for contention among Taylor, Trayce Thompson and prospect James Outman. All three have potential for 2023, but none represents a comfortable choice for either job.

Nevertheless, with the Dodgers emerging as a not-quite-longshot to sign Aaron Judge, the 2022 American League Most Valuable Player who blasted 62 home runs, a weird line of thinking has arisen among some fans and media that in order to make room for Judge in the outfield, the Dodgers might move Betts to second base.

If you follow the Dodgers during the baseball season but lose track of them during the offseason, this conversation probably comes out of left fi— well, out of nowhere.

It’s true that like Betts, Judge is best suited for right field. It’s also true that Betts started five games at second base last year and has 25 starts there in his major-league career (out of 1,069 regular season games).

Some also argue that as Betts gets older (he turned 30 in October), a move away from the outfield would be easier on his legs, though I don’t see how all the start-stop, back-and-forth movement of the infield and the peril of turning the double play in the face of an oncoming runner isn’t as rough as gliding along in the outfield.

Regardless, none of this justifies moving perhaps the best defensive right fielder in the world from his position, especially when his laser throwing arm would be wasted at second base. And that’s especially true when you consider that:

  • The Dodgers have more depth in the infield with Freddie Freeman, Gavin Lux and Max Muncy, plus rookie Miguel Vargas and probably Justin Turner assuming he comes back at a slighter salary) than they have in the outfield.
  • Moving Betts to second base doesn’t solve their vacancy at shortstop, which Lux doesn’t seem equipped to play full time.
  • If you’re going to move an outfielder to the infield, Taylor makes way more sense.

Nevertheless, someone got this Betts-to-infield premise and ran with it, logic be damned. If you hear more about it, just know that it’s as crazy as it sounds.

 

The fates of Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner

In the land of Los Dodgers today, these noteworthy things happened. The Dodgers extended qualifying offers to All-Stars Trea Turner and Tyler Anderson — which is a guaranteed contract for 2023 at S19,650,000 (and not a dollar more). They did not extend such an offer to Clayton Kershaw. And finally, they paid Justin Turner a $2 million buyout so that they wouldn’t have to pay him $16 million for next season.

If you think that means Trea and Tyler are locks to be in Los Angeles next year while Clayton and Justin aren’t … well, let’s turn to our friend George again.

Major League Baseball can be pretty confusing if you aren’t in sync with its rhythms, so here’s why the moves above might mean the opposite of what they seem to signify.

*** Click here to read the rest at Slayed by Voices ***

Check out the new Slayed by Voices

Slayed by Voicesmy Substack newsletter dedicated to a deep dive into a single song, is getting a makeover. 

I am expanding the site to a wide variety of topics that are of interest to me that I hope will be of interest to you — at least, that’s the way it’s worked on Dodger Thoughts before. You can check out the first two new posts here and here. It basically takes my approach to the Dodgers and applies it to any number of topics (including the Dodgers, but so much more). 

At the risk of sailing right into the storm of Newsletter Fatigue, I am planning to charge $5 per month for a subscription. That’s why Slayed is at Substack and not here. The project breaks my 20-year history of blogging for free, but you know … it’s almost free. I’ll probably introduce a discount for an annual subscription. 

You guys are my core audience, and I really, really hope you’ll join me in this new endeavor. I truly think it will be rewarding. Please check out a post and click a subscribe link — it’s free for now, after all — and please share with anyone you can. I’d be so grateful. 

Seeking catharsis with the Dodgers

I had no words last night. Today, I have a few. 

Read More

New Word to the Weisman podcast: ‘Eve of the Playoffs’

Who remembers that I do a podcast every four to 65 weeks?  Inside of 24 hours before the 2022 Dodgers’ first playoff game, I lay down some tracks — well, thoughts, anyway — looking at the team’s strengths and weaknesses and of course, all the potential fan joy and despair. We also revisit — ideally for the final time — the Kershaw Chart, talk about sports fan purity tests, and finally offer a quick update from the book world. Search for Word to the Weisman in your podcasty places, and give us a listen, will ye? 

‘And when everybody’s telling us we have no time,
we’ll prove ’em wrong again’

Just had this thought and I’m still pondering it, but it occurs to me that my approach to the Dodgers and life is like Ted Lasso’s approach to coaching and life. It’s a pretty fundamental need to find and share happiness amid all the chaos.

On growing up and letting go

Maybe a few minutes after my wife and I made it home from four days of travel and a subsequent fast fast-food run nearing sundown Tuesday, I turned on the Dodger game. Though I had kept up with the Dodgers while I was away, only in the final moments before this game did I realize that Clayton Kershaw would be pitching. 

Read More

100 Things book excerpt: Vin

The chapter in 100 Things Dodgers on Vin Scully … 

Read More

Oh, Vin

I didn’t know when it was coming, but I knew it was coming. 

Read More

Page 1 of 381

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén