Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: January 2015 (Page 2 of 4)

The Kershaws welcome their baby, as we say farewell to Mr. Cub


By Jon Weisman

Tonight, we offer the happy news of the birth of the first child of Clayton and Ellen Kershaw. Cali Ann Kershaw was born today, and she and her parents are all doing great.

Cali Ann was born at 5:43 p.m. CT. She is 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long.

Our hearts are full but also heavy, as we digest the news of the passing today of Mr. Cub, the legendary Ernie Banks. The entire baseball community, and especially the Cubs family, is in mourning, and I can’t help but think of my Dad, a Cubs fan for more than seven decades, in this moment.

“Ernie Banks was a great, great player,” Tommy Lasorda said tonight, “and when he no longer could play, he became a great ambassador for the game. He represented the game with the highest of class and dignity. Everybody loved Ernie Banks. He enjoyed baseball, life and people.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. We have truly lost a baseball giant.”

Give your loved ones, the youngest and oldest and everyone in between, a big hug.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Rachel Robinson left poses with Ernie Banks after the press conference prior to the game to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on April 15, 2007.  The Dodgers defeated the Padres 9-13.  (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Rachel Robinson with Ernie Banks at Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day in 2007. (Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

“He was my picture of why baseball is such a wonderful game,” my father just wrote to me.

In case you missed it: The new Blue Review

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By Jon Weisman

This week’s Think Blue Review (above) kicks off with a segment on last week’s Scouts Foundation dinner, then looks ahead to FanFest (January 31) as well as this Saturday’s open house for those interested in Dodger ticket mini plans.

Additional open houses for mini plans are scheduled for February 7 and February 21.

Season or mini plans are the best way to guarantee tickets for Opening Day — however, a limited number of individual Opening Day tickets will be on sale — online only — January 30 at 10 a.m.

Elsewhere …

Jeff Bridges card

  • Topps has put out a Celebrity First Pitches card set that includes Jeff Bridges at Dodger Stadium. David Brown has more at
  • The annual need for depth in starting pitching is examined by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Dodgers Digest has been counting down the top 100 Dodger prospects. Today, Dustin Nosler passes the halfway point with Nos. 50-41.

Baseball America rates top 10 Dodger prospects

By Jon Weisman

In Baseball America’s new assessment of the Dodger farm system, the triumvirate of Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias rates up top, in that order, followed by top 2014 draft picks Grant Holmes and Alex Verdugo.

Jose De Leon has leaped to the No. 6 spot, outfielder Scott Schebler to No. 9 and catcher Julian Leon to No. 10, with pitchers Chris Anderson and Chris Reed returning from 2014’s list. (Here’s the 2013 list for reference as well.)

“Aside from the Cubs, the Dodgers’ top three prospects are as strong as any other organization’s in basebal,” writes BA’s Ben Badler.  “After the vaunted trio, the Dodgers farm system is in a better place than it was a year ago because of the emergence of depth beyond them. Their top 2014 draft picks—first-round righthander Grant Holmes and outfielder Alex Verdugo—both had strong debuts and look like potential impact talents.”

Video: The Dodger way, 2015 (continued)

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In this video, hear Gabe Kapler talk more about the Dodgers’ developmental focus to MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds (with this Dodger Insider article as a launching point) and then detail the difference between my hometown of Woodland Hills and his hometown of Reseda.

Ken Gurnick also has a piece on the process at

— Jon Weisman

Brett Anderson, Clayton Kershaw share 10-year history

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For an update on Brett Anderson’s offseason progress, read Ken Gurnick’s story at

By Jon Weisman

So, 2015 won’t be the first time that Brett Anderson and Clayton Kershaw are teammates.

Turn the clock back about 10 years, and the new Dodger lefty and the standout Dodger lefty found themselves on the Team USA 18-and-under squad.

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April schedule offers test for Dodgers

April sked

By Jon Weisman

A fast start isn’t essential for winning the World Series, but it does correlate with success.

Since the Dodgers’ last World Series title in 1988, only three Fall Classic champions have been below .500 at the end of April, none since 2003 and none by more than two games.

The Dodgers’ don’t have an easy path in April. They play six ’nuf said games against the defending champs from San Francisco, six more against the Padres that will be fraught with tension, and three at home against the Mariners, who according to Fangraphs project to have the best record in the American League.

Their remaining six April games are against the rebuilding Diamondbacks and Rockies, the latter three at home.

Below are charts showing how World Series champions have fared at various stages of the season since 1988, and the Dodgers’ performance in that time.

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Vin Scully and Co. celebrate baseball

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By Jon Weisman

The video above captures the flavor of celebration at Saturday’s Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner in Century City, with Vin Scully, Chan Ho Park, Peter O’Malley, Dusty Baker and Tommy Lasorda among the interviewees.

Next is a less Dodger-centric snapshot, with more focus on the transition between retiring MLB commisioner Bud Selig and his successor, Rob Manfred:

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Below, filmed at the same event, Stan Kasten and Charley Steiner talk about the Dodgers’ offseason changes …

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In case you missed it: Yasiel Puig asks, ‘Did you see?’

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers avoided salary arbitration hearings this year, making deals with A.J. Ellis, Chris Heisey, Kenley Jansen, Juan Nicasio and Justin Turner. The team hasn’t had a salary-arbitration hearing since Joe Beimel’s in 2007 and hasn’t lost one since Terry Adams in 2001.

Elsewhere …

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Dodger FanFest 2015 set for January 31

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By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ fourth annual FanFest (presented by State Farm) — free to the public — will take place at Dodger Stadium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 31. This year, for the first time, the action will be centered inside the ballpark itself.

It’s such a good time, it could easily be called FunFest. Or FanFun. Or FestFunFan. Or ThatReallyGoodTimeForYourWholeFamily. That’s right — you’re going to have so much fun, there will be no time for spaces between words.

Here’s just a sampling:

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Bradley University names school of sports communication in honor of Charley Steiner

SteinerBy Jon Weisman

This is a big honor, to say the least. The school of communications at Bradley University is being named after Dodger broadcaster Charley Steiner.

The Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication becomes the first named sports communication school in the nation. It was announced during Bradley’s 15th annual Hollywood Gala Reception at the Skirball Center tonight.

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In case you missed it: Kershaw and Spahn

Kershaw Warren Spahn plazaBy Jon Weisman

More notes from the world of the Dodgers and baseball…

  • Clayton Kershaw received his Warren Spahn Award in a ceremony at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
  • Kershaw is the main individual example in a broad post (with lots of math) by Scott Lindholm at Beyond the Box Score, discussing how permutations of pitcher game scores might be used to replace the win.
  • The Dodgers have the fourth-best defense in the Majors heading into 2015, according to Buster Olney of
  • Carl Erskine talked to Clarke Payne of the Muncie Free Press about how an opposing high school coach played a key role in encouraging him to pursue his dreams of playing baseball.
  • Just gonna tease you with the headline here: “Terry Forster’s Musical Feast,” by Dan Epstein at Just a Bit Outside.

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An energizing moment for the Dodgers

Gabe Kapler and A.J. Ellis lead a Winter Development Program session Wednesday on coach-player communication.

Gabe Kapler and A.J. Ellis led a Winter Development Program session Wednesday on coach-player communication.

By Jon Weisman

What’s happening at Dodger Stadium this week is bigger and more exciting than you realize.

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In case you missed it: Donnie Baseball, 2015

Stretch IMG_9761

By Jon Weisman

As the Dodgers Winter Development Program continued (above), Don Mattingly made his first local appearance of 2015, talking shop with the beat writers before joining in on the Winter Development Camp sessions. Ken Gurnick of provides a report of the wide-ranging discussion.

Elsewhere …

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In case you missed it: Dodgers playing baseball

By Jon Weisman

It was fun to see pitching prospects Julio Urias and Grant Holmes side by side this morning at the first full day of the Dodgers’ Winter Development Program. Here’s another video of them in tandem:

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Elsewhere around the Internet …

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Mattingly makes big play in football title tilt

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Danny Mattingly, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound redshirt freshman linebacker whose third-quarter interception keyed Oregon’s comeback attempt in the college football national championship tonight, is a distant cousin of Don Mattingly, according to this August feature by Andrew Greif in the Oregonian. Click the image above for video.

– Jon Weisman

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