Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Kids

Baseball is not a kids game

So many times in my life, I’ve heard how Major League Baseball players should be happy they’re getting paid to play a kids game.

Baseball is not a kids game. Baseball is a game, that kids happen to play, that can be unspeakably joyous, but that is almost punishingly adult.

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Home run

So, a couple times this week, Youngest Master Weisman, age 4, has asked me to play baseball in the backyard with him after dinner. Nearly 10 years of parenting, and it’s finally happening. 

Aside from the pleasure you can imagine I take from this, I realized just how much I still like to go play ball in the yard. Four decades has made no appreciable difference.

Dads do the funniest things

Regarding the dad who dropped his daughter when trying to catch a foul ball the other night at Dodger Stadium … all I have to say is that I’m glad there were no cameras on me when I lifted my then 1-year-old oldest son above my shoulders head-first into a ceiling fan.

Whap whap whap whap. Still makes me shudder. We all do bonehead things to our kids, sometimes literally – if we can laugh about them afterward, we’re lucky.

  • Tony Gwynn (the pop, not the pup) talked to Tony Jackson of about his encouraging progress in his battle with cancer, as well as his son’s hitting struggles and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Carter’s cancer illness.
  • Evan Bladh Sr. writes about his fond memories of Ken McMullen at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance.
  • A new Jackie Robinson biopic is in the works, and Rachel Robinson is collaborating with Legendary Pictures on the project, reports Dave McNary of Variety.
  • Steve Garvey’s son Ryan and the rest of the Palm Desert High baseball team will be playing at Dodger Stadium on Friday for the Southern Section Division 4 baseball title, reports Dan Arritt of Garvey and friends ousted Oaks Christian and Wayne Gretzky fils Trevor.

Darkness and light

In the middle of Memorial Day, my wife and I punished my two oldest children. We love them more than life itself and have the highest hopes for them, but of course that doesn’t eliminate the paths to frustration with them.

In particular, they have developed some sort of simultaneous mental block to saying hello to people they know. They resist a friendly greeting like some sort of evil bacteria. I understand shyness – I was the shyest one in my family as a kid and it still crops up from time to time today. But these kids got to the point Monday where their grandparents, who have been very good to them, said hello and the kids didn’t so much as look up. It wasn’t shy – it was dismissive.

That ain’t right. It’s damn vexing, and it only seems to be getting worse. To be sure, my wife and I are wondering what we’ve done wrong to cause this and what we should or shouldn’t do to solve it. But in the meantime, taking away some of the kids’ Nintendo DS privileges seemed a logical stopover en route to the next parenting solution station.

Over the next couple of hours, the kids hardly snapped out of their funk.

At the end of the afternoon, we went to see my 101-year-old grandmother, who is deteriorating rapidly now in a manner that is difficult to take, especially for my father. It was not an easy place for any of us, including single-digit age children who, for the first time in their lives, are face to face with someone whose mind and body are failing.

But when we had all but given up hope on the kids salvaging the day, they came alive. They were not only friendly, but they went and put their piano lessons to tremendous use, playing an impromptu mini-concert for Grandma Sue and a few others at the assisted living home, something so wonderful that thinking about it now does something to my head that I can’t find the words to describe. They did something for this woman, who whom they essentially can no longer communicate with through words because of her hearing and speech decline, that I could never do.

I hope I’ll never forget that moment. I know I won’t forget, at least until my mind goes, the look on my grandmother’s face as we were leaving, a look of direct melancholy but also of one that had been engaged in the world at least one more time.

Anyway, I started writing this tonight after the Dodgers took a 5-1 lead against Colorado and reached this final paragraph with the scorer 8-2, on the way to what hopefully for them and their fans will be their third straight authoritative victory, with the plan of drawing a connection of how quickly simmering frustration can turn to elation. That seems a bit forced now that I’ve gotten to this point, so all I’ll say now is that I’ll never cease to be surprised by how often I can be surprised, much less blown away.

The possible dream

My 6-year-old son got a small air hockey game for Hanukkah.  Before bedtime tonight, he was playing with his 8-year-old sister. It started off uneventfully, but then things got more heated.

At one point, the puck went into a corner and my son moved it with his hand.

Daughter: “You can’t do that.”

Son: “I had to.”

Daughter: “It’s not allowed!”

Son: “I had to! It was impossible.”

Daughter: “Nothing’s impossible.”

Son: “Some things are impossible.”

Daughter: “Like what?”

Son: “Like … seeing God.”

Daughter: “Seeing God’s possible.”

To be clear, anything’s possible when there’s a game on the line.

Hong-Chih Kuo closer to the disabled list

Mark Duncan/AP
Hong-Chih Kuo, shown here March 2, last pitched in a game for the Dodgers on March 19.

Another spot in the bullpen is on the verge of opening with the news from Dodger manager Joe Torre that reliever Hong-Chih Kuo has been shut down and likely will be on the disabled list when Opening Day comes, according to Tony Jackson of

With Ronald Belisario AWOL, that leaves a core of four starters (Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla) and three relievers (Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Ramon Troncoso) and either four or five open spots on the pitching staff. If nothing else, Carlos Monasterios is pretty much a lock at this point to make the team.

* * *

Russell Martin will rest Saturday after a busy Friday in which he caught six innings, batted six times and scored from first on a double (in a minor-league game).

* * *

Giants pitcherum Tim Lincecum is also playing catchup, writes Chris Haft of

… Lincecum allowed only one run in four innings in the Giants’ 5-3 Cactus League victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, but allowed six hits and walked two — though he did strike out seven.

The Giants ace said afterward that he’s “85 percent sure with my body of what I’m doing out there and confidence-wise. Hopefully that last tuneup job will help.” He admitted that he’s progressing “a little slower than I wanted to.”

Lincecum’s final exhibition outing before he starts the April 5 regular-season opener at Houston won’t be a high-profile appearance. Though his next scheduled turn would arrive next Wednesday, when the Giants play their Cactus League finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’s virtually certain to pitch a Minor League exhibition or intrasquad game instead.

This would serve a dual purpose. It would prevent the Dodgers from getting a studied look at Lincecum before the regular season, and it would enable the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner to address his pitching flaws in a relaxed atmosphere. …

* * *

On weekends, my 5-year-old son sleeps in a sleeping bag on the floor of my 7-year-old daughter’s room. Tonight, my daughter wanted to switch. Because of the way they were behaving before bedtime, I declined her request.

Later, my daughter went up to my son:
D: “I envy you.”
S: “What does that spell?”
D: “I envy you.”

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