Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Earvin “Magic” Johnson

In case you missed it: The smokejumper quest continues

By Jon Weisman

Anthony Castrovince of Sports on Earth looks at whether MLB might slowly be stop being slaves to the closer mentality, embracing what I’ve long called the smokejumper concept.

“A weapon is a weapon, no matter what inning it is,” Indians closer Cody Allen said. “You just have to use that weapon to the best advantage of your ballclub.”

The more teams and relievers who subscribe to that theory, the better.

Another approach I offered, almost exactly 10 years ago (the names in the examples stick out), was as the Reliever Reciprocity Rule …

It’s very simple:

If you would use a reliever in a given moment in a game with a lead of X, you should use him with a deficit of X.

Examples:

  • If you would use Yhency Brazoban in a given inning with a two-run lead, you should use him in the same inning with a two-run deficit.
  • If you would use Eric Gagne in a given inning with a one-run lead, you should use him in the same inning with a one-run deficit.

Close games are winnable, whether you are in the lead or trailing. If the reliever is available to work with a lead, he is available to work without a lead. If he needs to rest that game, he needs to rest no matter what.

This goes with the Just Get the Out Rule: Use your best reliever in a tight situation whenever it comes up. If you need an out – give yourself the best chance of getting the out. Worry about the rest later. Rest pitchers when they need to rest – not because you’ve rendered them irrelevant by using lesser pitchers.

The RRR. The Just Get the Out. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

A decade later, my feelings haven’t changed. We’ll see …

Here’s what else is happening in the Dodger world:

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Magic Johnson to receive rare Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Dodger ownership partner Earvin “Magic” Johnson has become the second ever recipient of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award, which “celebrates individuals whose dedication to the ideals of sportsmanship has spanned decades and whose lifetime of achievement in athletics has directly or indirectly changed the world.”

Sports Illustrated today announced the award, whose only previous honoree was Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 2008. More from Ben Golliver at SI:

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Dodger owners Mark Walter, Magic Johnson lead purchase of WNBA’s Sparks

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 8.58.31 PMBy Jon Weisman

An investment group led by Dodgers controlling owner Mark R. Walter and co-owners Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Todd L. Boehly, Robert L. Patton and Stan Kasten is purchasing the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, who will continue to play at Staples Center.

“I love basketball and I love women’s basketball, so this was really simple and easy for Mark and I,” Johnson said at a press conference today. “It’s funny – we were on a plane and we turned to each other and said, ‘Let’s buy the Sparks.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s go do it.’ And so here we are.”

Said Walter in a statement: “Earvin came to me and said we need to help save the Sparks and keep them in Los Angeles. The decision was quite easy for our investment group due to the passion Magic has for this city, these great athletes and our phenomenal fans. This team and its great players should remain a part of the sports fabric of this wonderful city.”

One of the league’s original eight teams, the Sparks won the WNBA championship in 2001 and 2002, and is the last team to have earned titles in consecutive seasons. Los Angeles advanced to the Western Conference Finals in three of the past six seasons, most recently in 2012. WNBA All-Stars Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver lead the squad.

The Sparks “have been in limbo since Christmas when their previous owner, Paula Madison, abruptly told the league and Sparks coaches and employees that her company could no longer operate the team,” Ramona Shelburne wrote for ESPN.com.

In the press conference, Johnson said that the new owners believe the Sparks can be profitable, reports Melissa Rohlin of the Times. .

“We know what we’re up against and that’s OK,” Johnson said. “We love challenges. We feel, yes, we’re going to eventually make a profit, no question about it. That’s why we’re in business, to make a profit. … We want to increase the fan experience because that’s what we did for the Dodgers, that’s why we’re No. 1 in MLB in attendance.”

 

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