Dodger Thoughts

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

Author: Jon Weisman (Page 1 of 376)

Introducing my new music newsletter, Slayed by Voices

So, I know I didn’t do a wrap-up on the 2021 Dodger season, which is a shame, though if ever there were a season that sort of explained itself, it was this one. Also, I’m just past recoiling from what I thought was an innocent tweet I posted the night the Dodgers were eliminated, that somehow engendered more anger (from three different fan bases) than anything I’ve ever put out. 

In any case, I’m hoping some of you might be interested in reading a new endeavor I’ve begun, called Slayed by Voices. Quite simply, it’s a limited series newsletter dedicated to songs I adore. I plan to a deep dive into one song in each post, twice a week, 13 weeks in all. And, before you sweat this part out, it’s FREE. Not just at the start, or on certain days a week – it’s free all the way through. 

(I know, it’s a bit weird for the Dodger guy to be doing this, but call it a change of pace.)

I’m publishing on Substack, which means you can subscribe and get it in newsletter form each time, Mondays and Thursdays. Or, you can journey to https://slayedbyvoices.substack.com.

Check out the introductory post here, which explains things further and will allow you to subscribe with the touch of a button. 

https://slayedbyvoices.substack.com/p/introducing-slayed-by-voices

I hope you’ll give it a look, with the first featured song coming Monday. That said, my feelings won’t be hurt at all if this isn’t your cup of tea. I just wanted to let you know about it. 

Hope you all are doing well!

The 75 greatest Lakers of all time, as chosen by a 53-year-old who really followed the Lakers in the 20th century but less so now (by the way, there are 83 names on this list)

Butch Lee and Magic Johnson, May 16, 1980

  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  2. Tom Abernathy
  3. Lucius Allen
  4. Elgin Baylor
  5. Ron Boone
  6. Jim Brewer
  7. Chucky Brown
  8. Kobe Bryant
  9. Corky Calhoun
  10. Mack Calvin
  11. Elden Campbell
  12. Tony Campbell
  13. Kenny Carr
  14. Cedric Ceballos
  15. Wilt Chamberlain
  16. Don Chaney
  17. Jim Chones
  18. Jim Cleamons
  19. Michael Cooper
  20. Adrian Dantley
  21. Anthony Davis
  22. Vlade Divac
  23. Ernie DiGregorio
  24. Larry Drew
  25. James Edwards
  26. Derek Fisher
  27. Don Ford
  28. Rick Fox
  29. Pau Gasol
  30. Devean George
  31. Gail Goodrich
  32. A.C. Green
  33. Happy Hairston
  34. Ron Harper
  35. Connie Hawkins
  36. Tommy Hawkins
  37. Spencer Haywood
  38. Walt Hazzard
  39. Brad Holland
  40. Robert Horry
  41. Lou Hudson
  42. Andre Ingram
  43. LeBron James
  44. Clay Johnson
  45. Magic Johnson
  46. Earl Jones
  47. Eddie Jones
  48. C.J. Kupec
  49. Mark Landsberger
  50. Rudy LaRusso
  51. Butch Lee
  52. Ronnie Lester
  53. Mark Madsen
  54. Bob McAdoo
  55. Mike McGee
  56. George Mikan
  57. Swen Nater
  58. Chuck Nevitt
  59. Norm Nixon
  60. Shaquille O’Neal
  61. Keith Owens
  62. Anthony Peeler
  63. Sam Perkins
  64. Kurt Rambis
  65. Julius Randle
  66. David Rivers
  67. Cazzie Russell
  68. Byron Scott
  69. Brian Shaw
  70. Elmore Smith
  71. Larry Spriggs
  72. Earl Tatum
  73. Terry Teagle
  74. Billy Thompson
  75. Mychal Thompson
  76. Sedale Threatt
  77. Nick Van Exel
  78. Kermit Washington
  79. Jamaal Wilkes
  80. Jerry West
  81. Orlando Woolridge
  82. Metta World Peace
  83. James Worthy

Update!

The 20 worst Dodger playoff moments of my lifetime

The 20 worst Dodger playoff experiences of my lifetime, in chronological order, each embedded with a video link for your pain:

  1. Reggie Jackson’s hip
  2. Ray Burris (he outpitched Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, crushing for this 13-year-old who was in the stands)
  3. Ozzie Smith
  4. Jack Clark
  5. Javy Lopez
  6. Jeff Kent/J.D. Drew at home
  7. Matt Stairs
  8. Jimmy Rollins
  9. Hanley Ramirez’s ribs
  10. Third inning, 2013 NLDS Game 6
  11. Matt Carpenter
  12. Matt Adams
  13. Daniel Murphy (half a point for the steal, half a point for his homer)
  14. Marwin Gonzalez
  15. 2017 World Series Game 5 (this game was not without its highs, but ultimately counting the whole thing as a moment)
  16. Final three innings, 2018 World Series Game 4
  17. Juan Soto (not Anthony Rendon – I could forgive that one)
  18. Howie Kendrick
  19. Final play, Game 4 of the 2020 World Series
  20. Pending: Steven Souza Jr.’s throw. Not sure I will keep this long-term, but it can occupy this spot for now. 

Update: Yeah, Game 7 of the 2017 World Series needs to be on here. I left it off because it was so defeating from the very first inning, and yet not as crushing to me as Game 5. But it should be here. You don’t lose a World Series Game 7 without it being a bad memory. 

Dodgers-Giants finale:
The postgame tweets

 

https://twitter.com/EHernandezTV/status/1448885050678788097

Comparing major injuries
for the Giants and Dodgers

San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt, who has suffered a fractured left thumb while attempting to bunt (against the shift, apparently) on Sunday for the Giants. Belt will miss at least the remainder of the regular season, and his return date during the playoffs is so far undetermined. 

This is obviously a major injury for San Francisco — for their resurgent lineup in 2021, Belt leads the team with a 159 OPS+ and has 29 homers in only 97 games. (He missed almost two months because of a right knee injury earlier this year.) The Giants are already without one-time Dodger acqusition Darin Ruf, who has a 141 OPS+ in 114 games. 

The news made me curious to compare major injuries between the Giants and the Dodgers this season. As a resource, I used these pages for San Francisco and Los Angeles available at Fangraphs. 

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Jaime Jarrín to retire after 2022 season

The magnificent Jaime Jarrín has announced he will retire from the Dodgers at the end of the 2022 season. At that time, he will have broadcast Dodger games for 64 seasons, only three fewer than Vin Scully. 

While I can’t say I have listened to full broadcasts of his games in Spanish, I can speak to the unfettered kindness he has shown to me — a relative blip on his radar screen — in recent years. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to share the chapter I wrote about Jarrín in the 2021 edition of 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. 

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Slumps end — but struggles by these Dodgers are astonishing

This too shall pass. I promise you. But … wow.

Dating back to August 27 … 

In 16 innings of insanity, Dodgers revive the joy
of a madcap marathon

Many people complained, especially in the press box or on the East Coast, but long before it was over, I realized that the Dodgers’ 16-inning, 5-3 victory over the Padres in San Diego was bringing me as much joy as I’d experienced watching baseball all year. Allow my tweets to be my testimony … 

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Clayton Kershaw to return to the Dodgers, A.J. Ellis predicts

The last time Clayton Kershaw was approaching free agency, in 2018, I wrote a number of times (summed up here) about the likelihood that he would remain with the Dodgers. Because of his unique history in Los Angeles, there was no other team that could sign him for which he could offer more value. 

Kershaw will be a free agent again in two months, but the question hasn’t come up as much, because of the 33-year-old’s more advanced age and injury issues. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that as long as he wants to pitch, it continues to make the most sense for him to stay with the Dodgers. While he shouldn’t command the same salary of his last contract, no contender is better equipped to pay him the dollars he will end up earning.

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Two more crazy intersections for the 2005 and 2021 Dodgers

Ever since the 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers started the season 12-2, matching the breakout of the heart-stopping, game-dropping, low-flying, win-defying, mental-lapsing, season-collapsing, legendary 2005 Los Angeles Dodgers, I’ve been comparing these two squads on a game-by-game basis. Because really, how could I not?

At Twitter, you can find a Fun #2005dodgers fact every morning after a Dodger game the previous day. 

Over the past week, I think there have been two particularly remarkable fun facts. First: 

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The Latest Chapter in Our Great Adventure with the Dodgers

On August 23, 2018, the Dodgers were 4 1/2 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West with 34 games to play.

Now, we know that in 2018 Los Angeles came back, won the division and went to the World Series. Then, we did not. Then, I dare say, more people thought the Dodgers wouldn’t come back than thought they would. 

Now, the Dodgers are five games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West with 47 games to play. Will the Dodgers come back? We have no idea. 

This is another chapter in our great adventure, another milepost in our epic journey of suspense. And we can rue the uncertainty and curse the inanity all we want, but baseball does not exist without it. 

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Is Albert Pujols the love child of Roy Kent and Ted Lasso?
My column …

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Bring on the DH so Dodgers bring back Corey Seager

OK, the timing and subject of this piece might seem weird considering there are bigger fish to fry today, but hear me out …

First things first: In the world that I’d prefer to live the rest of my life, I still don’t want to see the designated hitter in the National League, primarily for reasons I discussed here. But I’m going to admit that over the past year, I’ve been worn down on this, partly because so many pitchers themselves have completely given up on trying to hit, partly because there are newer, even more cockamamie rules that I’m more eager to get rid of. (Maybe later this year, I’ll write about my grand distaste for the year-old runner-on-second rule in extra innings.)

But in the wake of the exciting reports Thursday about the Dodgers’ apparent acqusition of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner — reports that others are covering at length — I have a more selfish reason to want the DH to arrive in the NL by 2022. 

It might be the only way Corey Seager returns to the Dodgers. 

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What about the Dodger bench?

We can all acknowledge the value of adding depth to the Dodger pitching staff, let alone the thrill that someone like Max Scherzer would bring, 

But some of the Dodgers’ most important midseason trades haven’t been superstars like Yu Darvish or Manny Machado. I’m thinking about guys like Marlon Anderson, Ronnie Belliard, Chase Utley and David Freese. Guys who were role players and/or past their prime, but had a huge domino effect. 

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Nearing 500 wins at age 49, Dave Roberts (like him or not) is on track for the Hall of Fame

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

This is Dave Roberts’ managerial record with the Dodgers through 162 x 5 games:

2016: 91-71 (.562), NL West champion
2017: 104-58 (.642), NL champion
2018: 92-71 (.564), NL champion
2019: 106-56 (.654), NL West champion
2020-21: 104-57 (.646), World Series champion in 2020
Total: 497-313 (.614), five division titles, three pennants, one World Series

Since 2019, Roberts has essentially produced back-to-back seasons of more than 100 wins, including a World Series title. He has won at least 100 games three times in the equivalent of five seasons. At present, he ranks seventh in major-league history in winning percentage. This week, he will likely win his 500th game, all before turning 50.  

The Irony Committee-approved irony about publishing a story about Roberts’ record today is that he would have already hit the impressive 500-win milestone, if not for last week’s unfortunate Dodger meltdowns.  

In this year’s new edition of 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Dieyou won’t find very many hot takes. Depending on how you feel about things, you might not find any.

But maybe the closest that I come to offering one is in the book’s new chapter on Roberts, when I make the case that the Dodger manager is on an early path to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Yeah, that’s right. 

Let me qualify things in a hurry. First of all, “early” is “early.” Roberts still has a lot to do before he would even be considered for Cooperstown. For all I know, his managerial career could end in three months, and this discussion becomes a speck of dust on the basepath of life.

Second, whether Roberts would be elected is a separate question from whether he is deserving. He could be elected without being deserving, and he could be deserving without being elected.

Nevertheless, it actually seems pretty obvious to me that on his current trajectory, Roberts would be enshrined in the Hall, and the only controversy inherent in this news is that it will come as a shock to a number of fans — perhaps Dodger fans more than any others.

And maybe, just maybe, that means there’s more to Roberts than the managerial decisions that infuriate so many. 

To back up my belief, here’s what I wrote about Roberts in 100 Things Dodgers before the season began. I’ll add more thoughts after this excerpt.

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