Dodger Thoughts

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

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Andre Ethier waits at the gate

The last official hit by the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 came from Andre Ethier, whose RBI single to right field in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the World Series put him on base for the 1,994th time in his regular-season and postseason career.

For this Spring Training, Ethier remains delayed at the gate with players still waiting to board major-league teams this year. What’s worse is that he’s not even in Group A or Group B. He’s camped out with his luggage near the Sbarro stand, hoping for a middle seat at best.

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No … just, no …

This isn’t even about the serial comma, which has a subjective argument that can support it even if the objective argument doesn’t hold up. This, from the current New Yorker profile on Donald Glover, is just an abomination.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Two: The Two Emperors

Associated Press

In this week’s preview teasing the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), we come to two pitchers that you’ve heard a little bit about and then some: Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. It’s possible that more words have been written about those two than any other hurlers in Dodger history. So what could Brothers in Arms possibly offer?

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Clayton Kershaw a convert to shifting — but not pitch clocks

Screenshot: Gammons Daily

Clayton Kershaw, I think it’s safe to say, was a shifting cynic when aggressive defensive maneuvering took center stage a couple years back. Speaking with David Vassegh in this interview that ran Friday on AM 570, Kershaw conceded that he had come around to embrace defensive shifts (which always made sense) …

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Bring back the baseball boogie

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Now I remember.

Now I remember what a long offseason feels like.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part One: The Kings of Brooklyn

Hi again. Next in this series of teases for the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!) is a preview of “Part One: The Kings of Brooklyn,” focusing on the beginnings of the Dodger pitching tradition and running through the man who finished off the franchise’s first World Series title.

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Why I stand proudly against the serial comma

Every so often — frankly, all too often — I find myself drawn into a doozy of a debate on Twitter about the serial comma. Yes, really.

Also known as the Oxford comma, it’s specifically the comma that follows the penultimate item in a series: for example the second comma in “songs, tunes, and ditties.”

Usually, the serial comma is completely unnecessary, and consequently it’s almost completely absent from newspapers and nearly as much from magazines, outside of Old School holdouts like The New Yorker. (Not so much in books, I should note.)

Nevertheless, several people I respect, like and esteem are fervent advocates on Twitter, Facebook and the like for the serial comma, putting me in the odd, strange and divisive position of having to explain why I don’t want extraneous, supercilious and clunky punctuation in my writing.

Rather than re-explaining my position again and again on Twitter, I decided to put it here once and for all, so that I can simply point to this post and move on.

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Lindsey Jacobellis: ‘I could be upset, but where is that going to get me?’

Lindsey Jacobellis in 2010

Eight years ago minus a day, I wrote the post “Why Lindsey Jacobellis rocks,” pouring out my joyful respect for how Jacobellis’ fun-loving response in the face of immense Olympic disappointment floored me in the best way.

Lindsey Jacobellis is my new role model. She threw herself into competition at a level few of us could possibly emulate, sacrificed so that she might be the best, and when that failed to yield the ultimate prize, instead of curling up in the fetal position, she had the self-esteem and presence of mind to appreciate the greatness of the effort and the joy of what she was part of, win or lose. I want my kids to be like her.

Four years later at Sochi, Jacobellis crashed and finished seventh overall. This video illustrates where Jacobellis’ state of mind was heading into 2018. To say the least, I was eager to see what would happen to her this time around.

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So, what am I doing?

Mood: blurry

A few of you — and I do mean a few, given that many readers have understandably moved on — might have seen the handful of posts here over the past couple of weeks and wondered, is Dodger Thoughts back?

And the answer to that is yes. And no. And I’m not sure.

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At 39, Chase Utley can still be more than an on-field coach

Dave Roberts and Chase Utley in April 2017 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Here’s something that might surprise you, because it surprised me — Chase Utley actually hit the ball well for the better part of 2017.

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Brothers in Arms prologue: Dazzy Vance and the days before the Dodgers pitching tradition began

Hi there! To get you warmed up for the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), from time to time I want to share some behind-the-scenes tidbits about, for lack of a better phrase, “The Making of Brothers in Arms.” Think of these as if they were the DVD extras. Ideally, you’ll find them of interest even without the book in your hands.

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Bringing back the Miracle
on Ice — and on VCRs

Well, this was a good time — and really fun to play out on Twitter over the course of the weekend. In case you missed it there, I’m bringing it here. Keep scrolling …

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Dodger trades, from simple
to screwball

So by all appearances, Matt Kemp — the once prodigious if not prodigal son –is going to Spring Training at Camelback Ranch, and it got me wondering about how complicated is the composition of the Dodger roster.

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Follow @dodgers_tradition
on Instagram

As another means of keeping you updated and spreading good cheer about my upcoming book — Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition — I’ve created a new Instagram account with the handle @dodgers_tradition. There, I plan to share not only book-related news, but fun historical tidbits, behind-the-scenes extras and more about the Dodgers to get you excited not only about the book but the upcoming baseball season. Enjoy!

***NEW BOOK ALERT***
Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition

Brothers cover
I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this news: Triumph Books has officially scheduled a May 1 publication date for my new book, Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition, and it’s ready and available for pre-order at sites including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph.

Contents 1aTo paraphrase a famous saying, everybody talks about the Dodger pitching tradition, but nobody’s ever written anything about it — not a book, anyway. So beginning while I was still working for the Dodgers, I did the interviews and research that ultimately led to this fascinating and comprehensive journey through the formation and flowering of that tradition, from its birth to its current heights in the form of a certain left-hander wearing No. 22 in Los Angeles.

Contents 2b

Starting with the earliest days of baseball in Brooklyn, Brothers in Arms lays out how a scattershot franchise, occasionally and almost coincidentally graced by great hurlers, became a focused organization generating superb pitchers almost at will. Divided into nine parts (I was tempted to call them innings), the book takes a deep dive into the exploits of the most important pitchers to wear the Dodger uniform since the pitching tradition began to take hold near the end of World War II.

With each chapter, I tell the story of how each athlete came to be the type of pitcher (and personality) that he was and place their accomplishments into context, individually as well as in the pantheon of Dodger and baseball history. I wanted to bring to life those who pitched too long ago for contemporary fans to have seen, and provide new insight into those who are more familiar. To do so, I conducted more than 25 interviews with names from Carl Erskine to Clayton Kershaw, and worked my way through thousands of pages of books, periodicals and websites.

Each chapter became a portrait of a pitcher that stands on its own — you can feel free to jump around the 384-page book if you like — but also holds a specific place in the narrative of baseball and the Dodgers. In addition, several of the section introductions delve into less prominent but incredibly crucial contributors to the Dodger pitching tradition, including catchers, pitching coaches, managers, scouts and the front office.

While the Dodgers were rushing headlong toward the World Series in 2017, my free moments were largely spent diving into the past, working to tell the tale of Dodger pitching in the most meaningful way possible. I’m really grateful to those who spoke with me and helped me along the way, as well as Dodger announcer Joe Davis for writing the forward. I can barely wait for you to see the book, and am happy it will be out in time for Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day gifting, among other things. (However, I like to think it’s good for any occasion …)

Watch for more details to come, here at Dodger Thoughts, via my Twitter feed @jonweisman or on Instagram @dodgers_tradition. In the meantime, pre-order the book today!

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