Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Dodgers (Page 1 of 69)

Dodger Thoughts
20th anniversary celebration: July 21 at Dodger Stadium

On July 21, 2002, Dodger Thoughts came to life. At the hastily assembled URL jonthoughts.blogspot.com, this post appeared. 

Young Miss Weisman, now finishing up her sophomore year in college, was yet to be born. I was still in the first half of my 30s. I’ve had four fulltime jobs during these 20 years, including one that I couldn’t have possibly dreamed of, running editorial for the Dodgers themselves. I’ve written two books about the Dodgers, three if you count The Best of Dodger Thoughts from way back in 2006. (Yes, I’m a little late on a sequel). 

I still have some shirts from 2022, but that’s another story.

The audience built slowly but steadily over those first few years, but by the end of 2008, I think Dodger Thoughts could claim the best community of Dodger fans around. We would even have periodic gatherings at the Dodger Stadium that I treasure to this day. 

The heyday of this site is clearly in the past, but I still like to think we have some happy memories together, like a high school class that was particularly tight. 

And that’s why I’d like to invite you join me at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, July 21 for a game against the Giants, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the site. It’s less about Dodger Thoughts itself and more about reconnecting with people who at any time might feel some kinship. 

Tickets for the game (the first for the Dodgers after the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium) will be approximately $40 each. I don’t need a precise headcount today, but I’m trying to determine how many people are likely to come, so I can relay that to the Dodger Group Tickets office. So if you do have interest, please reach out to me in the comments below or on Twitter

Whether or not you visited Dodger Thoughts all of the time, some of the time or never, I think it will be fun. Hope you can join. 

Clayton Kershaw and the art
of choosing joy over blame

Life offers many lanes going the same direction.  

If you don’t know it by now, I value the journey more than the destination. Don’t get me wrong — the destination can be amazing, and not reaching it can be so frustrating. Failure to go the distance can sour me on my own journey if I’m not careful.

My novel is Exhibit A. Not only am I so proud of my writing, but it was such a great experience — at times, as I’ve probably said here, my best friend. And yet, it’s been a year-plus since it’s been on the market, and I can’t get it sold. I’ve had editors praise it while saying it’s not marketable. Maybe that’s just their way of being nice. Maybe they’re just lazy, since I think it is easily marketed. Either way, I have to remind my self that the process — the moments of writing that thrilled me (especially when I transcended a roadblock) — that all was the best part. 

This is a very long way for me to make a short comment about Clayton Kershaw’s seven perfect innings today. 

I have passed the point where I think a World Series title is the be-all, end-all of Major League Baseball. Obviously, the Dodgers’ title satisfied a big longing 18 months ago. Now, I would have rather seen Kershaw go for the perfect game rather then pull him out for the sake of October. For me, Kershaw perfection would generate more pure joy, like that finding that perfect plot point, thrilling beyond measure.  

That doesn’t mean that the Dodgers committed a crime by pulling him from the game. Pursuit of the playoffs and a championship is a truly worthy goal. Taking steps to protect a 34-year-old lefty with a record of injuries, so that we can see him on the mound as much as possible going forward, is also a truly worthy goal. 

Something good doesn’t mean the other thing is bad. Ice cream comes in many good flavors. I like burgers and I like baby back ribs. We don’t have to choose between one preference and another. Both are there for us as we travel the boulevards of life. We can see the horizon from both lanes. 

Either way, seven perfect innings on a cold April afternoon for a legend ain’t bad. 

Let’s not assign blame on a happy day. The last thing that makes sense on a day like today is to fight about it. 

Today was a moment to treasure. As Vin Scully would surely remind us, be glad that it happened. And let the rest go. 

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

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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What the Dodgers gave up for midseason starting pitching over the past 25 years

Rich Hill (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Here is a list of every starting pitcher over the past 25 years (two or more starts) that the Dodgers have acquired at midseason, along with the players the Dodgers gave up to get them:

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