Dodger Thoughts

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

While on Matt Kemp Suspension Watch …

However justified his anger might have been, Matt Kemp sowed the seeds of his own suspension by making physical contact with umpires, writes Chad Moriyama at his blog. So as we wait for that unpleasant news to wend its way, here are some other happenings around town:

  • Don Newcombe, who is being honored at the annual Civil Rights Game on Saturday (between the Dodgers and Braves), is the subject of a nice piece by Spencer Fordin of
  • Good gravy — Brett Tomko is still out there plying his trade. Arizona signed the 39-year-old to a minor-league deal, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
  • Will Rubby De La Rosa be in the same innings quandry next year as Stephen Strasburg is this year? Evan Bladh of Opinion of Kingman’s Performance is curious.
  • Former Dodger prospect Ethan Martin was interviewed at length by Jay Floyd of Phillies Nation.
  • “Major League Baseball owners have agreed to test two different advanced replay systems live during games starting next week, and if they prove accurate they could precede an overhaul of the system for the 2013 season,” reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Sandy Koufax biographer Jane Leavy has a piece at Grantland on neuropathologist Ann McKee, who is doing extensive research on head trauma that could have an impact on the NFL.
  • Some fun history of Los Angeles roadways prior to the Arroyo Seco Parkway comes via Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed.


Angry Dodgers drop finale in Pittsburgh


August 17 game chat


  1. Anonymous

    I’m guessing it’ll be a few games, reduced on appeal, then he gets to choose when (after rosters expand). It’s worth noting that, when Marichal attacked Roseboro with a bat, he got seven days when he should have been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon.

    • Anonymous

       It’s possible that the fact that the ump appears to be a minor league ump who is frequently called up for MLB games, rather than an established MLB vet, could work a bit in Kemp’s favor. It may be that the ump would be under greater scrutiny and not assumed to be in the right and defended automatically. Since Dodgers will be making a point about the fact/claim that Kemp was ejected when he was only supporting Ethier, not arguing balls and strikes though he had previously done so and been warned, if that can be proved and if it’s also deemed to be unreasonable to expect guys in the dugout not to say anything at all out loud (rather than just desist from arguing when warned), he could be treated more leniently. They might still want to make an example of the bumping, but lessen the penalty, and then lessen it further on appeal. It could end up being just a one-game suspension.

      • Anonymous

        Or no suspension.

        Bud wants us in the playoffs – don’t forget, we’re owned by Chicago now – which is almost as good as a healthy Lilly in terms of getting there.

  2. Anonymous

    Tomko only proves, raise your kids to be pitchers.

  3. Anonymous

    Kemp’s reaction was as understandable as Jim Tracy’s after the catch/trap call last week.  The umpires never should have reversed their call, even though they got it wrong the first time.  but more to the point, they needed to give Tracy a whole lot more leeway when they so clearly botched the call.  Similarly, after Campos had such a thin skin, Tim Tschida had no business throwing Mattingly out of the game for such an egregious ejection. 

    • it really isn’t about kemp’s reaction or the ump’s behavior. Don’t DO something that requires you to be suspended period. that’s the idiotic part.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed, but you can understand his frustration.  

        • sure. but who doesn’t get frustrated in real life. doesn’t mean you charge someone when your co worker does something to belittle you. Pos feel entitled to behave how they want in the unreal world. fascinates me. sort of like on the internet.

          • Anonymous

            I doubt many folks in an office setting are as keyed up as a professional athlete.  Vehement arguments like this are not unique to Matt Kemp, the Dodgers, MLB, or professional sports.
            Might be interesting to watch an office behave like an NHL game though.

          • well dale i’ve been in some pretty high keyed corporate office situations where there was a hell of a lot more at stake than a baseball game or being disrespected

  4. First, Kemp was stupid–totally stupid.  Anybody remember Gary Sheffield getting thrown out in the first inning of a key game during his tour with the Dodgers and the criticism he got for it?  Now, it may be that Tschida gave D. Baseball some rope and that Donnie WANTED to get thrown out after all that–that happens.  If MLB–I believe this is Torre’s department–gets the evidence that Kemp was thrown out for the reasons the Dodgers have given, and then suspends him without saying a word about Campos’s actions, then we know MLB is run by people who have no business being involved in baseball.

    • Anonymous

      Kemp was totally stupid for cheering on his teammate? 

      • Anonymous

        for bumping the ump

        • Anonymous

          Agreed. Bumping the ump was foolish.

        • Anonymous

          I’m not sure how any competitive person with a pulse put in that same situation could not react in such a manner.  Kemp, IMO, did the very best any reasonable person could possibly expect under those circumstances.

          •  You really think a person couldn’t avoid charging repeatedly at the ump to escalate the fight. Nothing was stopping him from yelling.

          • Anonymous

            I think there is a difference between being stupid and not being able to avoid charging repeatedly.  What I’m getting at is at that point, reasonable thought is out the door and to expect it is probably a bit unreasonable.  Great athletes are wired differently than you and I.  In that moment, when you are doing your best to bite your tongue and instead you focus your comments on cheering your teammate and you still are ejected.  I’m sure upon reflection, away from the moment, Kemp would say he needs to back off, but not while in that moment. I would bet everything that each retired baseball player now commenting on that moment and saying Kemp needs to be smarter would have reacted the same way or worse.  The whole thing is unfortunate.  I hope Kemp isn’t punished further.  I wish he handled it differently, but I don’t blame him or think less of him for acting the way he did.

          • Anonymous

            What makes you think great athletes are wired so differently that they can’t be expected not to physically assault people just because they are frustrated? Keeping your hands to yourself is something we expect fifth graders to be able to follow.

          • Anonymous

            TiensyGohan, physically assaulting?  Come on now, is that what you want to call what Kemp did?  The point is that Kemp’s actions don’t make him “stupid”. 

    • Anonymous

      Well made point on Mattingly.  After the absurd ejection of Kemp, he had to get run not only to make the point, but to show support.

  5. Anonymous

    The Ichiro farewell-to-Seattle speech up today is worth watching.

    Ichiro has always struck me as a class act.  Ironic that he’s playing with A-Rod these days, in terms of the opposite icon.

  6. A rabid Giants fan’s (she works at KQED) anger at the team for the Melky situation in an open letter:

    • Anonymous

      Jeez, with fans like that…

      • Anonymous

        if the Dodgers had a documented history of juicing like this, I hope I’d respond in the same way – integrity has to trump blind loyalty.

        • Anonymous

          It’s a Gnats tradition. At The Phone Booth, on the same day Melky was suspended, they gave a standing ovation to convicted felon B*rry B*nds.

        • Anonymous

          Players have rights and there is a system for ferretting out the rule breakers.  How would managementt and teammates become accountable and more involved?  Locker searches?  Vigilantism?

          • Anonymous

            I’m looking it at more from the feelings of the fan expressed in the open letter than from what, precisely, you do about it. Some college football programs get labelled ‘outlaw” (you know who they are) because they value on-field performance over player personality traits. they end up with players who don’t think the rules apply to them – shootings, robberies, drugs and worse result. the school doesn’t care because those players also win games. those schools are ‘enablers’. Bad behavior off-field isn’t the same as ped’s, but a franchise that repeatedly produces juicers must, at some point, look at itself and ask if it can’t do better. are the Gnats just unlucky with hiring players who happen to use peds, orget caught, or does the team need to reexamine its player personnel policies?  When does a ‘rough patch’ of bad luck become a pattern that needs to be addressed? I just get what the fan is feeling.

        • Anonymous

           Manny, Gagne

    • Anonymous

      Not surprising that teammates haven’t rushed to his defense.  He has been a Giant for all of five months, so it’s not like they have some great bond with him.  Hunter Pence has known him for all of three weeks.  Moreover, he let the team down by getting caught.  I didn’t say people behave rationally, but you have to assume there’s some anger, even if there’s some likelihood that some of his teammates (and opponents) are also doing things they shouldn’t.  Although in the case of the Giants’ offense, they’re not doing them very well.  

      • Maybe they should thank him. Without his juice  they would be where the D backs are, like 5 or 6 games out

    • Anonymous

      Unlikely we’ll ever seen Melky in a Gnats uniform again. I’m guessing he gets only a minor league contract in the spring. That’s presuming his current “teammates” don’t literally throw him under the bus before then.

      • Anonymous

        While this will not rank up there with some of your giant mistakes in predictions about the Giants, I predict the Giants and other teams will offer him at least a one year ML contract, would not be surprised if the Dodgers are one of them even. Of course, he will sign with whoever offers the most money.

        • KT

          I was just thinking that

        • Blue-eyed Gal

          I hope your hunch is wrong.
          Manny was enough. (Of course, my initial objection to him was simply that the national press ignored the Dodgers until an ex-Red-Sox star joined LA, then suddenly the Dodgers were “Manny’s Dodgers” with media hype as if the rest of the team– and the rising talent I’d been rooting for– was chopped liver.)

          Surely, Colletti’s penchant for signing washed-up Giants would be vetoed under such smelly circumstances.

  7. Anonymous

    Ugh, replay continues creeping into baseball.  We will rue the day.  Heck, I would prefer Campos just to make his calls.

    • Anonymous

      Disagree strongly. As Vin pointed out during his narration of Tracy’s tirade, replay would get the call right more often, and much faster almost always.  The best viewpoint of the action is no longer on the field; it’s in the booth, where an umpire has access to technology that the naked eye can’t see.  There need to be limits, such as no balls and strikes, but replays are much quicker than a fat old man running out of the dugout to protest a controversial call. In fact, the definitive replay could be shown on the giant screen that now exists at every MLB park just to show the definitive angle.  

      • Anonymous

        You rightly focus on the extreme situations, but how often do they actually happen?  And how often is the ump actually wrong after we see it on replay?

        • Anonymous

          Infrequently enough that replay won’t be intrusive. The problem with the way it’s done in football is that the field official has to stop the game, go down to the booth,  get under the hood, watch the plays, and then walk back to midfield.  Putting a replay umpire in the booth would speed things considerably.  He could look at a controversial call immediately, signal to the field before the next batter comes to the plate (plenty of time during that walk-up music), and then broadcast the proof of the incorrect call over the diamond vision. 

          I anticipate it might be used 150 times over the course of the entire season.  

        • the nfl has done fine with it. still complaints about obvious calls. still evolving. but people are going to complain about getting hung with a new rope.  the complaints go down. and people start referring to it as part of the game. getting it right solves way more problems than the insinuated inconvenience.

          • Anonymous

            The NFL has just taken it to an extreme.

            If you enjoy taking a half hour to get through 3 minutes on the clock (which often happens in the last 3:00 of an NFL game), I suppose it is fine.

            Baseball is a refuge from the modern world, safe/out replay would damage that.

      •  Why not balls and strikes?  This is an area where technology would really help as there are 200-300 pitches in a game.

    • Anonymous

      I detest replay, but there should be an obligation to consult other umpires on controversial calls.

      • detest all you like replay will be used increasingly in all sports. can’t hold back the future or getting it right forever.

    • Anonymous

      I absolutely want instant replay for umpiring decisions.  No doubt about it.  There have been too many bad calls that have turned games around.  The technology is here so it wouldn’t be intrusive or time-consuming.  Just do it!!!

  8. So who has the Pac-12 Networks on their menu?  (If you don’t care, don’t respond.)

  9. John Adams

    Did Matty ever get to Campos? It seemed to me he was intentionally physically blocked by the other umpires, the same way Victorino was holding him back. The intent of the “don’t touch the Umps” rule is to protect them from potential physical assaults by players or managers. The 3 other umps didn’t require protection in this situation. Umps hold back players all the time. But the people who run baseball tend to rule by the letter rather than the intent so I am not expecting a miracle here. I am hoping for just one game.

    • “Umps hold back players all the time.”
      I don’t think this is true, except in the case of brawls between teams. Putting aside Campos’ poor behavior, it is not the umpires’ responsibility to keep Kemp from trouble. If he makes it so they can’t walk away, then it’s on him.    

      In my mind, Kemp crossed a line. It’s not like Kemp tripped and fell into the umps. I don’t think he intended anything serious, but trying to push through umpires to get at another umpire seems to me to violate more than the letter of the law.

      I completely respect the idea that there should be no physical contact with umpires, because otherwise we’d have the potential for some really, really ugly situations when things get heated. I don’t mind there being a hard line. 

      I hope Kemp doesn’t get suspended and certainly hope he doesn’t get a long one, but I don’t think it’s a crime if he gets a punishment.

      • I totally agree. He should be suspended. Not that I want him to be bu the should be. You just can’t do what he did and you can’t defend it. He looked like Milton Bradley for a few seconds out there. His own team was trying to hold him back because they knew what he was doing was wrong. Bad calls are part of all sports no matter how bad they are, you just deal with it.

        • Anonymous

          First by his own team you mean coaches plus Victorino. (I didn’t see Lopes out there)
          Whoever they is I don’t think they thought what he was doing was wrong, they were trying to stop him from doing anything that might draw a suspension. Probably that is what you meant and I’m taking you too literally.

      • Blue-eyed Gal

        This. Like I said yesterday, Kemp can bark all he wants for a lousy call, and it WAS a lousy call, but we ALL know that physical contact takes his justified mouthing-off from tossed out-of-the-game (which he already was) to a possible suspension.

        With Victorino grabbing him and reminding him of that, even as mad as he was, Kemp should’ve stopped trying to get at the ump physically, and he shouldn’t have been leaning against any ump. I have no sympathy with the “when you’re that mad, you can’t think” argument: grow up.

         We got a pennant race going on here. We need him. 

        I love Kemp, and was super-annoyed back when Colletti made him the scapegoat a few years back when other players were falling down on the job much more than Kemp was. But in this case: not one of Kemp’s finest moments.

  10. Tonight’s lineup:
    Victorino LF
    M Ellis 2B
    Kemp CF
    Ethier RF
    Ramirez SS
    Loney 1B
    Cruz 3B
    Treanor C
    Capuano P

    • Anonymous

      Nice to see Cruz start, at least the bottom half of the order has that going on.

      I really hope Donnie lets him keep getting starts.

  11. foul tip

    From elsewhere on the LA Observed page Jon linked–

    Apparently the new owner of the OC Register wants to staff the Dodger beat again, and the paper is looking for someone to do so.

    From another link elsewhere on the same page comes the advice not to drink while being interviewed. It does not directly link the two.  ;-]) 

    If a few old time sportswriters from this neck of the woods were still around and interested, it’d be timely advice for them.

  12. Headlines I didn’t expect: SEC charges Baltimore Orioles great Eddie Murray with insider trading

    • Anonymous

      He shorted his stock in LSU after he found out that Matthieu had been kicked off the team?

  13. Anonymous

    I just hope Kemp is not suspended for any of the games against the Giants coming up – I’d much rather him miss a game or two against the Braves, or better yet, against the Marlins, whom the Boys play after the Gnats series.

    • Anonymous

      He can probably push the appeal process off long enough to miss a game(s) of his choosing.

  14. Anonymous

    Can MLB say that he should not have been ejected from the previous game, and that he can get a one game suspension with it being served already in the previous game?  Just hoping to find ways for him to get reprimanded without actually missing any more games.

    • Anonymous

      In all my years of following baseball, I’ve only seen one ejection rescinded and that happened right away. About 10-12 years ago, the Angels, in the midst of a big slump, decided to try change things up by having every batter in the lineup use the same bat the first way through the lineup.

      Orlando Palmeiro led off and struck out. He then placed the bat on its end in the batter’s box for the #2 hitter. The umpire thought he was being shown up and ejected Palmeiro. But the situation was explained and Palmeiro got to stay in the game. 

      • Anonymous

        Interesting story.  Appears to have worked too, as the Angels won that one.  Tim Tschida, who ejected Mattingly yesterday, was the umpire that ejected Palmeiro.

  15. Anonymous

    How professions evolve:

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