Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Australia (Page 1 of 2)

March 22/23 pregame: After-the-nap edition

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Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks, 7 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Mike Baxter, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

No, I don’t imagine many Dodger games have started on one date in Los Angeles and another at the ballpark.

Matchups against right-hander Trevor Cahill of Arizona for tonight/tomorrow’s second game of 2014 move Dee Gordon and Mike Baxter into the Dodger lineup in place of Opening Day starters Justin Turner and Game 1 star Scott Van Slyke, who combined for four of the Dodgers’ eight times on base.

Cahill is 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his career against the Dodgers, notes J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News. Last year, Cahill allowed the Dodgers four earned runs in 25 2/3 innings, despite striking out only 12. Los Angeles hit one home run against him.

The next time the Dodgers face a righty hurler, against the Padres in a little more than a week, expect Carl Crawford in the lineup. The anticipated birth of his son, Carl Leo Crawford, came this morning, and we send our sincere congratulations.

  • Here’s Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona DiamondbacksOpening Day through the lens of Jon SooHoo.
  • Kenley Jansen’s cutter is “emasculating,” as Carson Cistulli of Fangraphs illustrates in this post.
  • Brian Wilson lowered his Dodger ERA to 0.61 with his scoreless inning in the first game of the season.
  • From the Dodger press notes: Half of Van Slyke’s 42 career hits have gone for extra bases (11 doubles, 10 home runs).
  • Zack Greinke had a fine outing in Arizona today, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Times: five innings, one run (a solo homer), three hits, no walks, eight strikeouts.
  • Though the Dodgers are again the road team in Game 2, they are taken advantage of an opportunity to wear their white jerseys.
  • Hoonstra on the fans at Opening Day: “The crowd was not anti-Dodgers, as some predicted. It was mostly neutral, with plenty of cheers for the Dodgers and very few boos. It’s hard to comment on the D-Backs’ rooting contingent since they had little to root for.”
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports explains why the Opening Day experience was “delightful.”
  • More on the fans from Doug Miller of
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that it is his “personal wish” for Major League Baseball to open a season in Korea.
  • “Ryu was 5-for-10 (.500) with a double, a triple and a walk at the plate against the Diamondbacks in 2013, and 7-for-48 (.146) with two doubles and a walk against everyone else,” writes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Recent Dodger utilityman Skip Schumacher will be out about a month with a dislocated shoulder, according to Mark Sheldon of
  • Recent Dodger reliever (and Australia native) Peter Moylan is potentially facing a second Tommy John surgery.
  • Someone’s having a nice experience with Vin Scully in Australia, as Sons of Steve Garvey notes.
  • An update below on Van Slyke’s pursuit of history …

In case you missed it: We’re gettin’ close, folks

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By Jon Weisman

Like the saying goes, “It’s Opening Day somewhere …”

  • Dylan Hernandez of the Times explores why the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are in Australia in the first place, talking to Paul Archey, MLB’s vice president of international business operations.

    “We’re not going to know the benefits of this game on Sunday night,” Archey said. “It’s long term. It can be generational.”

    MLB was paid by a promoter to open its season in Sydney, but Archey said that wasn’t the league’s motive for coming. “This is not about money,” he said. “This is about the future. It’s about developing the market for bigger business and it’s about developing the market for more players.”

    MLB has opened regular seasons in Mexico, Japan and Puerto Rico. What makes Australia different is that baseball doesn’t have a large fan base.

    The Dodgers were also involved in MLB’s last venture into a nontraditional market. That was in 2008, when the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres played a two-game exhibition series in China.

    Archey views that trip as a success. MLB now has 11 television partners in China, where it funds three youth academies and a 60-school intercollegiate league.

    “None of this existed prior to that game,” Archey said.

  • You’ve read all about the players fighting jet lag. Now, here’s a guide for us game-watchers on how to handle the sleep challenges for the 1 a.m. season opener, from Mark Newman of  Again, I see no mention of how to handle my son’s 9:30 a.m. birthday party after the game.
  • Brian Wilson gets cricket, writes Ben Horne of the Sydney Morning Herald.
  • A.J. Ellis shared a day in the life from the Australia trip with Michael Chammas of the same paper. I’m ignorant, so I had to Google “a long black with milk.”
  • Did you know the Diamondbacks have won seven straight Opening Day games? I didn’t until I read this stats piece from Mark Simon at The Dodgers have won three in a row.
  • Also of note: Clayton Kershaw has a 2.31 ERA in his past seven starts against Arizona — and one win to his credit.
  • Team Australia, which led the Dodgers 2-0 late before losing, shut out Arizona, 5-0.
  • $36 hot dog, anyone?
  • Chad Billingsley has passed another milestone in his rehab, facing a real-life batter (in this case, Matt Kemp) in a 15-pitch session, reports Jesse Sanchez of Sanchez adds that Billingsley is on track for his first outing in a minor-league game April 6.
  • Kemp then doubled and homered in a Triple-A game against the White Sox.
  • Here’s another piece picking the Dodgers to win the National League West and maybe more, from Marc Normandin of Sports on Earth.

Photos: ‘We go to Australia!’

Los Angeles Dodgers Harbour Cruise

By Jon Weisman

I see this image, and I hear Vin Scully’s voice after the Dodgers won the 1959 pennant. Check out the rest of Jon SooHoo’s photos from the Dodgers’ cruise here.

Photos: From Chavez Ravine to Sydney

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Australia

Check out Jon SooHoo’s photos from exhibition night in Australia.

— Jon Weisman

Video: It’s Australian for Dodger, mate

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In case you missed it: Sights and sounds of Australia

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By Jon Weisman

Nothing can top Vin Scully with a koala, but there’s still a lot going on …

  • Wind could be a gamechanger in the Opening Series, and there’s a 30 percent chance of rain, reports Ken Gurnick of
  • The Dodgers’ exhibition game against Team Australia begins Thursday at 1 a.m. Pacific. Zach Lee and Red Patterson will pitch, but we don’t know yet who will start.
  • Some Dodgers visited Bondi Beach and played ball with local Little Leaguers, writes Doug Miller of Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles has more, as does the Dodgers video crew:

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  • Carl Crawford left a minor-league game in Arizona early with a right shoulder injury. Don Mattingly passed along word from Sydney that Crawford is expected to play again in Arizona on Thursday after a planned day off and that no MRI exams or other scans were scheduled, “but that could change,” according to The Associated Press.
  • Dan Haren gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings Tuesday but feels rejuvenated, writes Jesse Sanchez of Matt Kemp is also feeling good.
  • The Dodgers set a new record for average game attendance at Camelback Ranch this year, 9.534 per game, notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Longtime farm system analyst John Sickels gives his take on the Dodgers’ top 20 prospects at Minor League Ball.
  • According to the newly relaunched FiveThirtyEight, Hanley Ramirez in 2013 had baseball’s most surprisingly good season in the past eight years, while Andruw Jones in 2008 nearly had the most disappointing one.
  • Wally Moon gets the 1961 Union Oil Family Booklet treatment (see it at Blue Heaven).
  • One last video:

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Vin Scully: I love Koa-LA

“So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that “K” stands out even more than the O-A-L-A.”

Vin Scully has always taken the time to celebrate the cute ones in the crowd. It’s no different in Australia, as Josh Tucker’s tweets show us.

Meanwhile, here are the Dodgers all dressed up with some place to go – the MLB gala in Sydney, brought home to us by Jon SooHoo’s photos.

Los Angeles Dodgers attend MLB Gala

– Jon Weisman

In case you missed it: International Date Line edition

Los Angeles Dodgers workout at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia

By Jon Weisman

Did Monday go by in a blur for you? It sure did for the traveling Dodgers, who were on a plane the entire time before landing in Australia on what for them was Tuesday morning. (Add 18 hours to the current time to know what time it is there.)

While the Dodgers are away, be sure to follow @Dodgers on Twitter for regular updates from our man on the scene, Josh Tucker. And also check in on the Dodger Photog Blog, featuring our very own eyes in Sydney, Jon SooHoo. In his first two posts, the Dodger team photographer chronicles the Dodgers’ arrival in Sydney and at the Sydney Cricket Grounds.

Ken Gurnick is also leading’s coverage of the team Down Under, as you’ll see down under these introductory paragraphs.

In the meantime, here’s what’s been happening while you were sleeping, eating, doing laundry or otherwise going about your domestic business.

Read More

March 11 pregame: A Sandy Koufax-Roger Maris trade?

Oakland Athletics vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers vs. Royals, 1:05 p.m.
Chone Figgins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Justin Turner, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Sydney …

  • The Dodger press notes helpfully point out that the team record for Spring Training ties is five, achieved in 2006.
  • Scheduled to follow Dan Haren on the mound today are Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow and Jamey Wright.
  • Red Patterson was reassigned to minor-league camp today.
  • Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier will rest today, then be scheduled to play the next five days in a row before the team leaves for Australia, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times.
  • Maury Wills, 27 when he became a Dodger regular, talked to Kevin Baxter of the Times about 25-year-old Dee Gordon.
  • Mark Saxon has a couple of pieces at ESPN Los Angeles looking ahead to Australia, including this interview with Australian former Dodger infielder Craig Shipley.
  • Sandy Koufax gets the Union Oil 1961 Family Booklet treatment (via Blue Heaven), with this tidbit: “Allegations persist that the Dodgers twice declined to swap Koufax to Kansas City for Roger Maris.” Maris was the American League MVP in 1960, remember, while Koufax was 8-13 with a 3.91 ERA.


In case you missed it: Diving Dee

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By Jon Weisman

I don’t have any special insight into where Dee Gordon stands in the competition for playing time at second base (as well as backing up center field), though I don’t feel he’s done much to hurt himself. At a minimum, I can say I’ve really enjoyed watching him this spring.

Gordon went 0 for 1 today but had a couple of nice diving stops, including the inning-ending play shown above.

Meanwhile, Justin Turner has quietly been going about his business of attempting to cement a spot on the roster. Turner started at short today and had this grab.

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The Dodgers suffered their first home loss of Spring Training 2014, falling 4-1 to Seattle, with Los Angeles’ only run coming on a home run by minor-leaguer Trayvon Robinson. Ken Gurnick of has the recap.

In other news …

  • Fears about pitching prospect Ross Stripling were confirmed: He will be having Tommy John surgery Wednesday, reports Gurnick. Stripling injured himself throwing batting practice February 21, but still pitched in a game February 26.
  • A couple of notes on Australia via Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven: A history of baseball in Australia from John Thorn and a report on the conversion of the Sydney Cricket Grounds to baseball from MLB field and facilities coordinator Murray Cook.
  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports likes the Dodgers chances in the National League West — a lot.
  • Former Dodger Bill Buckner is retiring from baseball. He has been a Single-A hitting coach in the Cubs’ organization.
  • Some upcoming SportsNet LA programming:
    • Wednesday, 10 p.m.: “Talkin’ Blue: State of the Dodgers”
    • Saturday, 10 p.m.: “Connected With…Adrian Gonzalez”
    • March 14, 8 p.m.: “Connected With…Ned Colletti”
    • March 21, 8:30 p.m.: “Talkin’ Blue: Dodger Pitchers”
    • March 26, 8 p.m.: “Connected With…Stan Kasten”
    • March 31, 8:30 p.m.:“Talkin’ Blue: 2014 Season Preview”
    • April 1, 8 p.m.: “Connected With…Brian Wilson”
  • Today in Jon SooHoo includes son and father combo Scott and Andy Van Slyke.


Video: Yasiel Puig is ready for Australia

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In case you missed it: 30 Dodger players traveling to Australia

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

Take heed: With this year’s trip to Australia, the Dodgers’ process for determining the regular season active roster is even more unusual than you might imagine, according to Ken Gurnick of

First, there’s this rather stunning comparison.

“The Dodgers will have only 19 days of Spring Training games to make nearly all of their decisions,” Gurnick writes. “Last spring, they played 36 games before Opening Day.”

But further confusing matters is that the Dodgers’ don’t actually have to settle where everyone beyond the 25-man roster has to go before Sydney.

… Even though the 25-man roster officially doesn’t need to be submitted until March 21 at 1 p.m. PT, the Dodgers and D-backs will break camp on March 16 and take a maximum of 30 players to Australia from which to draw their 25-man Opening Day rosters.

Players on the disabled list can be back-dated to March 19, but those decisions might be made before the flight west, if not announced.

From the 30 players who can make the flight across the Pacific Ocean, three will be designated as “exempt” before Opening Day and would otherwise be active, be they starting pitchers left behind, players out of options (like Javy Guerra or Drew Butera) or Rule 5 selections (like Seth Rosin). Corresponding moves would need to be made to make room for their activation.

The other two players on the trip will be “extras” that can be players on the 40-man roster with options, or Minor Leaguers.

From these five additional players, clubs must be covered by position for an injury, whether it occurs as a result of the exhibition game against Team Australia, or the regular-season opener, because it will be impossible to call up a player and transport him to Australia in time for the next game. So, the five spots are likely to include at least one catcher, one middle infielder, one outfielder and one reliever. …

Read more about it here. Elsewhere around the Dodgers …

  • Andre Ethier echoed Matt Kemp’s sentiments about no potential starting outfielder seeking out a spot on the bench. Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles adds context.

    … Ethier moved from right to center when Kemp got hurt last year, but before that he was entrenched in right field the previous four seasons. He said he’s willing to give the utility role a go if it helps the team.

    “I’ve done a lot personally and done a lot with this team and I think we’re still just missing one thing, [a World Series], so if it’s something that leads to that, let’s figure out a way to get it done,” Ethier said. …

  • Saxon quotes Don Mattingly on Yasiel Puig weighing in at about 25 pounds more than last year: “We don’t feel it’s going to be a problem, but we’re paying attention to it, put it that way,” Mattingly said.
  • There’s no urgency for Paul Maholm to be ready to pitch regular-season games before April, and given that he’s behind the other starters, as Gurnick notes, he could use the extra time.
  • Miguel Rojas’ wife flew out of strife-heavy Venezuela this morning, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
  • Today’s guest star in Ernest Reyes’ series on the 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet series at Blue Heaven: Willie Davis.

In case you missed it: Billingsley recovering so fast, he needs to slow down

Chad Billingsley meets reporters today. More from Jon SooHoo here.

Chad Billingsley meets reporters today. More from Jon SooHoo here.

By Jon Weisman

Chad Billingsley is progressing so well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery that he needs to make an effort to pace himself, reports Ken Gurnick of

… “My arm hasn’t felt this good in a few years. I feel like I have a whole new arm,” Billingsley said on reporting day for Spring Training. “They keep telling me, don’t throw 95 [mph] yet.”

“I think this is the dangerous time for him,” said manager Don Mattingly. “He’s going out there with the other guys and he can’t go to another level, trying to keep up with the Joneses.”

Billingsley said he’s thrown off a mound nine times, tossing only semi-fastballs in the low 80s (mph), and was up to 36 pitches on Friday. He speculated that he might add curveballs by the end of the month, then throw to live hitters in March. He hopes to move on to game situations by the end of March.

That would seem to put Billingsley ahead of the projected return of late May or June.

“Nobody knows when I can come back,” he said. “I just continue one week at a time.” …

More in Gurnick’s notebook, which also discusses the Dodgers’ fears about how they will do post-Australia. (Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. takes up this topic as well.)

And elsewhere, A.J. Ellis has cut Cracker Barrel breakfasts out of his diet as part of his attempt to get in better shape for the long haul, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Times.

Who’s staying up for Opening Day?


By Jon Weisman

So, maybe it was because this was the first time in years I didn’t have to get up pre-dawn for the Oscar nominations, but I got to wondering how many of you will be tuning in live for the Dodgers’ opener against the Diamondbacks in Australia on March 22.

The game has a 7 p.m. Sydney start time, which translates to 1 a.m. in Los Angeles. (Quick time-zone sidebar: Daylight Savings Time starts in the U.S. on March 9, but it ends in Australia on April 6. So while there’s a 19-hour time difference today, there will only be an 18-hour time difference when the game takes place. Unless the Internet has lied to me.)

Game 2 in Sydney has a 1 p.m. start time on March 23, which translates to 7 p.m. March 22 in Los Angeles, creating the rare night-night split doubleheader for Dodger fans.

Let us know in the comments below if you’re going to be up for Opening Day!

In case you missed it: Adrian Gonzalez flipbook fun

Just me goofing around while enjoying the embarrassment of riches that access to the official Dodgers’ team photography provides. (These were Jon SooHoo’s shots of Adrian Gonzalez during last year’s playoffs.)

  • Miguel Rojas, stealth second base candidate, was interviewed by J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News. Omar Vizquel is a big influence for the fellow Venezuela native Rojas.
  • Looking ahead to the January 25 Kings-Ducks NHL game at Dodger Stadium, Helene Elliott of the Times celebrates Wayne Gretzky, who will be on hand today when the refrigeration equipment arrives at the ballpark.
  • A fan’s perspective of the Sydney Cricket Grounds, site of the Dodgers’ Opening Series in Australia, is provided by Stadium Journey.
  • Dodger farmhand Corey Seager (not to mention Raul Adalberto Mondesi) makes the list of top 10 shortstop prospects.
  • What does the site of home plate at Eastern Park, the home of Major League Baseball in Brooklyn from 1891-97, look like today? Carson Cistulli of Notgraphs shows us.
  • Check out this history of Dodger knuckleballers, courtesy of We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field (via Blue Heaven).
  • Here’s a good set of 14 questions (and speculative answers) for MLB teams heading into Spring Training, from David Schoenfield of
  • Changes regarding the rules surrounding instant replay and home-plate collisions that have been expected for 2014 have yet to be approved, writes Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.
  • You can see how Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in “42,” will look as James Brown in the upcoming “Get On Up” at
  • Sean Lahman bought a copy of Roger Angell’s “The Summer Game” at a used book sale for $1, and it turned out to have been autographed by Angell for longtime New York sports scribe Dick Young.

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