Dodger Thoughts

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

A.J. Ellis waxes about changing teammates

Kent’s a ‘Survivor’

As had been previously rumored, former Dodger Jeff Kent has officially joined the cast of the upcoming season of CBS’ “Survivor” — along with former “The Facts of Life” star Lisa Whelchel.

Our pal A.J. Ellis has a first-person piece in place of a vacationing Buster Olney today for (behind the Insider wall), writing about what it was like to be on the Dodgers during the recent non-waiver trade deadline. An excerpt:

… On the morning of July 25, I woke up at our hotel in St. Louis and had a pair of new teammates; Hanley Ramirez, a three-time All-Star and former batting champ, and Randy Choate, a left-handed specialist who has dominated left-handed hitters for years, were now Dodgers. Here was our first move, and we get a middle-of-the order bat and added bullpen depth to strengthen our roster and, more importantly, let the rest of baseball know the Dodgers’ ownership meant business. Anything was possible.

Immediately, text messages and phone calls flowed between teammates. Clayton Kershaw texted me with only the word “Hanley,” followed by five exclamation points. Mark Ellis called me to break down what it meant and if we thought Hanley would stay at third or move back to his natural position of shortstop. The initial excitement of the trade and the fulfilled promise from our new ownership group sent energy throughout our team.

Even after we reloaded with Hanley and Choate, the rumor mill continued to swirl. The team returned home after a 7-3 road trip and took the field on July 30 with less than 24 hours to go before the trade deadline. That night, relief pitcher Josh Lindblom entered the game in the sixth and had a quick inning. He was scheduled to head back out for a second inning of work until the home dugout got a first-hand look at how the trade machine works.

Clubhouse manager Mitch Poole quickly paced across the dugout and tapped manager Don Mattingly on the shoulder, summoning him down to the tunnel below our dugout. Mattingly emerged and immediately went to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, who hurried to the bullpen phone to have another pitcher warm-up. On the bench, we all knew this could mean only one thing: Josh had been traded. The game ended and we entered the clubhouse to learn about the trade, but it wasn’t the one we were anticipating. The Dodgers had acquired Seattle Mariners reliever Brandon League for a couple of minor leaguers at the lower levels. But what about Josh — was his removal a false alarm or was his trade still imminent? …

Read the entire piece here.


Root beer reviews: Rat Bastard


Looking ahead to a wild finish


  1. Thanks for the lengthy excerpt Jon, especially since I don’t have ESPN Insider. AJ’s a pretty sharp guy, good to have his insight–and good to have him on the team!   Btw, Choate’s really been an under the radar pick up as part of that deal. With Choate plus Elbert now, the Dodgers have two legit lefties in the pen for the first time in awhile. Really important.

    Not as important but I actually found this Giants fan whining in the comments below AJ’s guest piece to be amusing:
    Strange that you enlisted a Dodger to do some of your work for you, just go become a beat writer for them and stop pretending to be a baseball writer who covers the entire sport thoroughly. Let an actual objective baseball writer take over your column and turn it into something decent.–Buster Olney really doesn’t cover the Dodgers *that* much does he? I mean I know he grew up a fan, but when he has covered them in the past he’s often been pretty critical. Anyway, just a kvetching fan.

    •  My biggest complaint with Buster regarding the Dodgers, especially when I was working for ESPNLA, is that he refused – and I mean refused – to link to any ESPNLA Dodger coverage. He will only link to the Times. It’s bizarre, and no one could explain to me why he was that way or why no one instructed him differently.

      • Anonymous

        I picture Buster Olney giving a talk to his editors where he sounds like Moe Green talking to Michael Corleone for the first time.

      • That is really odd. For someone who writes for ESPN! Maybe he had, in his own head, some kind of ethical lines he drew, to avoid being called “biased” but that makes no sense. And that didn’t work anyway.  Weird.

    • Anonymous

      A whining Giants fan.  THERE’S a first!  :)

      And yes, a subscription is required to read the rest of the piece. :(

  2. PS: Kent and Lisa Whelchel?! Holy Trashcan, Batman, I may have to watch some of that, despite (or to spite) myself. 

    • Anonymous

      At first I thought you meant they were getting married.  This should bring in some new viewers.

      • Anonymous

        I’m expecting some immunity challenges to involve the placement of trash cans.

        •  The younger contestants aren’t gonna work as hard as Kent. This is gonna be great.

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks to the Gnats, I get blacked out tonight.

    • Anonymous

      I feel your pain.  I was only able to view one game this weekend.

    • You’re in Argentina? Or outside the bay at any rate…? I wish there were some sneaky way to tweak MLBTV settings so travelers wouldn’t be punished for their home base. 

      I “get to” hear Kuiper and Krukow on my regular TV so not sure it’s all that much of a win; I may use mute button.

      • Anonymous

        No, I’m in the East Bay and, even though the Gnats deny that it’s their territory, they block MLBTV here. I have watched MLBTV in Chile and Argentina with no problems.

  4. Anonymous

    I need to pay to read the rest? :(

  5. Anonymous

    Can’t wait to see Harley Rodriguez interviewed on Between Two Palm Trees. 

  6. Anonymous

    If CBS really wanted to include a former Giant infielder who went on to play with the Dodgers, they should have taken Uribe. How he has managed not to get voted off the Dodger bench is worthy of its own reality show.  

    • Anonymous

      that probably has a lot more to do with upper management then Uribe or maybe a little of both, who knows man. 

  7. Boo.
    Nats pitching prospect Giolito re-injures elbow:

  8. Anonymous

    I was surprised to see that Kershaw’s 2011 did not include 6 Ws in a row.  But for a little bit of offensive help, his second half might have included 9 straight Ws.  A Sept. 4 No-Decision against Atlanta, in which he gave up 2 ER in 7 innings, interrupted a string of 9 straight Ws.  Kershaw left the game with a 3-1 lead, but the pen allowed the Braves to tie it, and Hawksowrth gave up the game-winner in the 9th.  

    • Anonymous

      90% of the entertainment value in the 2011 dodgers (and, possibly the 2011 G’s) were the Timmy/CK duels.  Lifetime memories!  And truly strange that they matched up from Game 1 through Game 140 or so.

  9. Anonymous

    I don’t watch these programs, but I would if it included Kent and B*nds or even Melky.

  10. Anonymous

    CK vs bum ///
    fat joe vs timmy ///

    capuano vs cain ///

    Gonna be fun!

    • Anonymous

      I’ll be sitting in section 2 of the reserve tonight. Row K.

      • Anonymous

        I tried hard to get one of my best buddy D fans to show up for the series.

        But some of us have to work for a living, even with Fernando huge late-80s glasses bobbleheads on the table.

      • KT

        Right behind home plate
        I don’t mind those seats when they are low but the higher up I go the harder it is for me to tell if the ball is popped up, flying into the outfield or coming back towards me

        • Anonymous

          Yes, but you get a terrific view of balls in play, without the distortion that comes from sitting at an angle down the lines.  If you want to know whether the ball is popped up or flying into the  outfield, watch the fielders, not the ball.  And if you even think it’s coming back at you, a groundswell of people who’ve never been to a game will start to get eager with anticipation any time it comes within five sections of your seats.

  11. This Onion story is great and so random.

    David Ortiz Convinced There’s Something Like The 7th-Inning Stretch But For The 70th Inning,29227/

  12. Farewell, Phyllis Diller  

  13. Anonymous

    Where have all the trade Bills people gone?  I hope Honeycut (and Bills himself) has figured out why this has happened all of sudden.  I guess everyone hits good and bad streaks, but this is a remarkably different pitcher than 2 months ago.  His fastball command is probably the reason (not that I am an expert), and it’s fun to watch.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s the beard.

      • Anonymous

        As long as he does not start coloring it black

        • Anonymous

          Indeed.  Bills really does seem like a different person/pitcher during this streak.

          • Anonymous

            He seems like he’s a more mature person than the one that had what seemed to be mental issues a couple of years ago.

            That’s nice to see, along with his still-intact physical command.

      • Anonymous

        It’s the clutchiness.  I think Billz must have gone to the beach and the sand left over in the floor-mats of his car gave him real grit. 

    • Anonymous

       They’re all starting to sharpen their knives for the Great Playoff  #3 Harang vs Cap debate.

  14. Anonymous

    RIP, Scott McKenzie, who sang a great anthem of my generation, San Francisco….(“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”

  15. Anonymous

    Farewell also to Scott McKenzie, who must have avoided the Gnatfans:,0,6246690.story

  16. foul tip

    Snippet basically generated by NY Daily News speculating Dodgers might have interest in Johan Santana if Mets eat a bunch of tasty contract.

    • Anonymous

       I hope not, unless the Mutts want to pay 95 percent of his salary.

      • Anonymous

        Tell ’em to send their 3B as long as well and we’ll do it. ;-)

      • Anonymous

        I would guess it would have to be at least that much.  Might be worth it to acquire him then shut him down this year and see what 2013 has in store. 

  17. foul tip

    Don’t think this has been here.  Good timing for Cliff Corcoran’s take on Dodger-Giant rivalry with history mixed in.  From a few days back–

    Points out toward end that NYY-Boston is not the only longstanding and riveting baseball rivalry.

    Hmm….how would it be to root for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms?

    • Anonymous

      There are MLB teams other than Yankees and Red Sox?  Somebody tell the folks in Bristol, CT.  I hear they have the tubes there. 

  18. Anonymous

    So did AJ also discuss Victorino? He seems conspicuous by his absence in the extensive excerpt above.

  19. Anonymous

    “I found out when I woke up the next morning. This time it was the one we had come to expect from all the speculation. Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin were headed to the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder and leadoff hitter Shane Victorino. Victorino had been a thorn in our side during our playoff defeats in the 2008 and ’09 NLCS. His fearless defense, relentless baserunning and clutch hitting — along with his confident attitude — made Victorino the kind of player you hated to play against but secretly wanted on your team.”

    We gained a new spark and leader in Shane. A battle-tested veteran who has played year in and year out in the biggest games on the biggest stages, his addition changed our team dynamic from the outset. Shane stepped in the first day and added a strong voice to keep the team moving in the right direction and remind us that winning that day’s game was all that mattered. The trade was another sign from our front office and ownership that they had our backs and that they want to win right now. In less than a week, ownership had fulfilled its promise to upgrade the roster and give us the pieces to contend for a championship, but at what cost?

    • Is that second paragraph you? Just curious because I think it would be strange for AJ to write “but at what cost”.

      • No, it’s A.J.
        He continues, “To get something, you have to give up something, and for us, Nathan
        Eovaldi (traded for Ramirez and Choate) and Lindblom were the high costs
        to supplement our roster. …”

  20. Lineup tonight:

    Victorino LF
    M Ellis 2B
    Kemp CF
    Ramirez SS
    Ethier RF
    Rivera 1B
    Cruz 3B
    AJ Ellis C
    Kershaw P

    • Anonymous

      It would be a gutsy call to bench one of your top hitters, like Ethier, this late in the season of a close pennant race, but he just can’t hit lefties, and certainly has less power versus lefties.  I don’t know if we have an alternative to him in the outfield at this point anyway, but it’s just painful to watch him against lefties.  It sometimes reminds me of Van Slyke or Sands, he is just overmatched when hitting lefties.

    • Anonymous

      Good to see that Cruz’s cramping hamstring is OK

  21. Looks like Hanley got a new glove, he posted this pic on twitter with the caption: “My baby blue just got in!!!!”

    Also still wondering when Shane is going to get his blue batting gloves…

  22. Anonymous

    Has our lineup varied less and less overall the past week? Seems that way.

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