The big news for us writers and fans of baseball writing is that Rob Neyer’s leaving ESPN.com after 15 years, destination to be announced. Tributes have come across the Internet fast and heartfelt, because Neyer was a pioneer in online baseball writing, open-minded, intelligent and fun, and always welcoming to new points of view (including mine in the earliest days of Dodger Thoughts). All my best to him for the future.
It’s funny — coincidentally, my first anniversary with ESPNLosAngeles.com is Tuesday, and I really wanted to thank Eric Neel, Becky Hudson and the whole crew for how well they’ve treated me. Hopefully, it’s a relationship that will continue for a long time.
- This year’s Dodgertown Classic at Dodger Stadium will take place on March 13 and feature USC and UCLA at 2:30 p.m., preceded by Georgia-St. Mary’s at 10 a.m. Tickets are $7 in advance, $12 on game day, with half-price concessions and free parking. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com notes something different about this year’s event.
… Last year’s Classic was staged for the benefit of the Dodgers Dream Foundation. While this year’s Classic will instead be a revenue-producing event for the Dodgers, a club spokesman said that change has nothing to do with the fact the Dodgers Dream Foundation, the team’s official, non-profit charitable organization, is presently under investigation by the California attorney general’s office.
That investigation centers on questions surrounding compensation to the foundation’s former chief executive, Howard Sunkin, who now is employed by the club in a different role heading up the community-relations department, according to multiple reports.
“It essentially came down to complying with NCAA requirements that an event of this nature had to have a title sponsor attached to it,” said Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers’ vice president for communications. “We were fortunate enough to bring in the Automobile Club of Southern California in place of the Dodgers Dream Foundation.”
The participating schools — USC, UCLA, the University of Georgia and St. Mary’s College from the Bay Area — won’t receive any of the revenue for the event, also in compliance with NCAA rules. The games will count on the schools’ regular-season records, but the USC-UCLA game won’t count in the Pacific-10 conference standings. …
UCLA is ranked No. 1 in the USA Today/ESPN.com preseason college baseball poll.
- David Young of True Blue L.A. offers this gem: the Los Angeles Dodgers All-Spelling-Bee Team.
- If Jonah Keri and Dave Cameron of Fangraphs were in charge of drafting players for a major-league All-Star game, Clayton Kershaw and Hong-Chih Kuo would be the two Dodgers chosen.
- Fun story by Evan Bladh, Sr. at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance about his unexpected connections with Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.