Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Tommy Lasorda (Page 2 of 4)

Dodger Insider magazine — April 2015 edition

April 2015 magazine cover image

Lighting spread

By Jon Weisman

How do you write the pitcher who has been disssected from seemingly every conceivable angle? For the 2015 regular-season debut of Dodger Insider magazine, our answer was to step out of the way and let the true experts take the lead.

For the April 2015 issue, we asked Vin Scully, Rick Honeycutt, Orel Hershiser and A.J. Ellis for bylined pieces on what, in their minds, makes Kershaw who he is. Here’s how it begins.

Vin segment

The stories are all insightful, with Ellis’ being particularly poignant and affecting. We’ve also transcribed Kershaw’s memorable awards-acceptance speech from January, which is only the more remarkable when you see it laid out in front of you.

April featuresBeyond the Kershaw series, this issue is chock full of features, including but not limited to what you see at right. Here are some more examples:

  • Personally Speaking: Yasmani Grandal primed to prove he’s worth the price.
  • Stadium Ways: For a few moments every spring, Dodger players make screen magic.
  • Broadcast News: Jaime and Jorge Jarrin form a dream team in ’15.
  • Myth and Reality: Even champions usually lack an ideal leadoff man.

Plus an even more expanded History Corner, our usual collection of photos and games, and much more …

The April issue of Dodger Insider is available to purchase in person at the Top of the Park gift shop at Dodger Stadium now and will be at all Dodger team stores starting with Saturday’s Freeway Series game against the Angels.

To subscribe to Dodger Insider, visit Note: Subscriptions received through April 13 will begin with the May issue. Subscribe by April 30, and receive a free copy of the 2015 Dodger Yearbook.

In case you missed it: Kershaw sails, Gaudin ails

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By Jon Weisman

In his first start since his dental denting last week, Clayton Kershaw gave up one run in the first inning today, then delivered five shutout innings, striking out eight, in the Dodgers’ 9-6 victory over the White Sox.

Jose Abreu went 3 for 3 against Kershaw. The rest of the White Sox were 1 for 19 with a walk.

Yasmani Grandal was behind the plate today for Kershaw. “I’ve been watching his games and have a better feel for what he wants to do in certain counts, when to double-up and just see how he’s feeling out there,” Grandal told Ken Gurnick of “The more I catch him, the better I’ll get.”

Said Kershaw: “Better today. We were ahead in the counts more. I didn’t shake him off as much. It’s a learning process.”

Kershaw also sacrificed twice (once with two strikes) and had a two-out single.

After throwing 88 pitches today, Kershaw will scale back for his final Cactus League outing, scheduled on five days’ rest against Kansas City on Wednesday, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times, before taking his Opening Day start on four days’ rest April 6.

The power-happy Dodgers delivered three more homers, including booming shots by Yasiel Puig and Kiké Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins’ first of the spring. Rollins also doubled and had four RBI, and threw out the quick Emilio Bonifacio today from the outfield grass.

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  • Chad Gaudin, who missed the 2014 season because of neck surgery, has had a recurrence of neck discomfort, according to Gurnick. Gaudin will have an MRI, the latest in a series following Brandon League (who will have a follow-up exam Friday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache), Erik Bedard and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
  • There was some pregame mischief today with Tommy Lasorda and a golf cart, writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
  • The Dodgers have sold their 3,000,000th ticket on their earliest date ever, the team has announced.
  • Don Mattingly, speaking to’s Tracy Ringolsby about the concerns over low offense in baseball: “The commissioner (Rob Manfred) talked about banning shifts,” Mattingly said. “Why don’t we teach guys to hit? Go back to teaching hitters to use the whole field and keep the ball in the strike zone.”
  • It’s hard not to like Eric Stephen’s bullpen battle flowchart at True Blue L.A.
  • The Dodgers sit fourth in right field and 11th in left field on Fangraph’s positional power rankings.
  • If you can’t get enough overviews of the Dodgers’ top prospects, here’s Jim Callis of with his latest.

Tommy Lasorda: Turn down for what?!

No other words needed.

— Jon Weisman

In case you missed it: The gnome who roams

By Jon Weisman

After checking out the video above, check out this quick update on what’s percolating in the Dodgers’ world …

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In case you missed it: Yasiel Puig sets the agenda at City Hall

Dodgers Community CaravanBy Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig was filled with insouciant musings during today’s conclusion of the Dodgers’ Pitching in the Community caravan, and Alden Gonzalez of captured it in an entertaining piece. Here’s an excerpt:

… Puig looked strong, but had no idea how much he weighs with 27 days left until the first full-squad workout.

Perhaps somewhere between 255 and 260.

“Whatever weight I come in, it doesn’t matter,” Puig said, citing teammate Juan Uribe as an example by calling him a “gordito,” exaggerating his weight and saying, “He saves us every game at third base.”

Puig also glowed about Astros 5-foot-6 second baseman Jose Altuve, his teammate for an exhibition tournament throughout Japan in November and someone he credited with inspiring him to intensify his workout regimen this offseason.

“I don’t like working out,” Puig said. “It’s like you have to pay me to enter the gym.”

But Puig did, because he wants to steal more bases and he wants to limit the highs and lows of a six-month regular season. …

Jon SooHoo has more photos from the caravan at LA Photog Blog: first stopsecond stopthird stop and fourth stop.

So what else is going on?

  • The 45th annual convention of the Society of American Baseball Research is June 24-28 in Chicago, and if you go, you can catch the Dodgers playing at Wrigley Field June 24-25.
  • Carl Erskine talked about Roy Campanella’s great work behind the plate with Rob Neyer at Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside.
  • This headline should get you started: “On World War II vet’s last day, Dodger Tommy Lasorda was his angel,” by Dennis McCarthy for the Daily News.
  • In’s overall list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, Corey Seager was seventh, Julio Urias eighth and Joc Pederson 13th. Grant Holmes is 95th. Here’s more from Teddy Cahill of
  • Pederson has gone gluten-free, and not by choice, writes J.P. Hoornstra at the Daily News.
  • Keith Law’s take on the Dodger farm system can be found at ESPN Insider.  After the same first four as, the next six are Alex Verdugo, Zach Lee, Darnell Sweeney, Chris Anderson, Jose De Leon and Zach Bird.
  • David Schoenfield of’s Sweet Spot looked back at Baseball America’s top prospects of 2005. Raise a glass for Joel Guzman
  • From official MLB historian John Thorn at Our Game: “Baseball, as with any other course of life, has had its share of death, degradation, and disappointment. For utter horror, however, the story of Marty Bergen, star catcher of the Boston Beaneaters, is unmatched in the annals of the sport.”
  • Some last caravan tidbits …



Vin Scully and Co. celebrate baseball

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By Jon Weisman

The video above captures the flavor of celebration at Saturday’s Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner in Century City, with Vin Scully, Chan Ho Park, Peter O’Malley, Dusty Baker and Tommy Lasorda among the interviewees.

Next is a less Dodger-centric snapshot, with more focus on the transition between retiring MLB commisioner Bud Selig and his successor, Rob Manfred:

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Below, filmed at the same event, Stan Kasten and Charley Steiner talk about the Dodgers’ offseason changes …

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In case you missed it: Dodgers playing baseball

By Jon Weisman

It was fun to see pitching prospects Julio Urias and Grant Holmes side by side this morning at the first full day of the Dodgers’ Winter Development Program. Here’s another video of them in tandem:

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Elsewhere around the Internet …

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Dodgers show pride and giving side

Justin Turner gets ready to drop the ceremonial puck between the Kings' Dustin Brown and the Panthers' Willie Mitchell. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Justin Turner gets ready to drop the ceremonial puck between the Kings’ Dustin Brown and the Panthers’ Willie Mitchell. (Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

111814JO_LAD_USOBy Jon Weisman

Dodgers Pride Night at Staples Center, hosted by our friends at the Los Angeles Kings, took place Tuesday. Click this link to visit a Juan Ocampo photo gallery from the evening, and click here for video.

Also on Tuesday, Tommy Lasorda, Ned Colletti and Tim and Lori Wallach helped serve Thanksgiving meals to approximately 300 service members at the 9th annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Troops at the Bob Hope USO, located at Los Angeles International Airport. The event was part of the Dodgers’ 2014 Season of Giving.


And on his last off day before returning home from the Japan All-Star Series, Drew Butera joined Jeff Beliveau of the Rays in visiting a children’s hospital. David Venn has more at

Ben Platt/

Ben Platt/

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Video: Tommy Lasorda accepts Bob Feller Act of Valor Award

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Tommy Lasorda received the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award on Wednesday at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington D.C., as Andrew Simon chronicles for Above, please enjoy Lasorda’s speech at the ceremony, courtesy of Jeff Malet.

— Jon Weisman

Delayed live-blog: Reggie Jackson’s evil hip

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By Jon Weisman

A video of horror rests above, 254 seconds chronicling how the shift of Reggie Jackson’s hip would shift the direction of the 1978 World Series that the Dodgers led 2-1 in games and 3-0 in the sixth inning of Game 4.

Let’s Zapruder this sucker. Hit play and read on …

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Baseball’s Yeti: The multi-inning save

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For images from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Dodger closer Steve Howe got the save in the final game of the 1981 World Series, but it was a save you have to rub your eyes and gawk at today.

The star-crossed lefty pitched the last 3 2/3 innings of the Dodgers’ 9-2 Game 6 victory over the Yankees. He threw 54 pitches, three nights after throwing 33 pitches in the final three innings of the Dodgers’ 8-7 Game 4 victory.

How Howe came to my mind today was simple: The Dodgers have a bonafide reliever supreme in Kenley Jansen, but he pitches in an era when it’s rare to see a closer get even four outs. Jansen hasn’t gone past that barrier since he pitched the final two innings of a 14-inning Dodger victory nearly 15 months ago, on July 10, 2013. He has pitched two innings 11 times in his career — never more than that, and none was a save opportunity.

Howlin’ Howe pitched at least two innings 11 times in the 1981 regular season alone, twice going three innings. Sometimes, he was rested, but in a week from May 9-15, for example, he pitched in five games, including a pair of two-inning saves in a three-day span.

However, Howe didn’t spend the entire ’81 postseason rattling off three-inning blitzes. He pitched exactly an inning four times in the first two rounds of the playoffs, then allowed two runs in a third of an inning in Game 2 of the 1981 World Series. The Dodgers basically cut loose on Howe when they knew there were few tomorrows remaining in the season.

Holistically, Howe represents not one but two aspects of a bygone era. One, of course, is the utter inattention to pitch counts. But another that’s more subtle but also extremely relevant is this: Perfection was not expected.

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Tommy Lasorda, Bruce Froemming latest to join November’s Dodger Adult Baseball Camp

Lasorda Playbill cover

Tommy Lasorda on the cover of the final Dodger Playbill of 2014, which will be handed out at Dodger Stadium beginning Monday, Lasorda’s birthday.

By Jon Weisman

Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda and former National League umpire Bruce Froemming have been added to the overflowing group of Dodger legends and guests who will serve as instructors for the 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida from November 9-15.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Historic Dodgertown,” said Lasorda, who has a street there named after him. “It is such a special place in my heart, and I have so many great memories from my time there. We’ll have fun with the campers, sharing stories from our enjoyable days there.”

Previously, the Dodgers announced that Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Mickey Hatcher, Rick Monday, Steve Sax, Don Sutton, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager would be in attendance as instructors.

“We are delighted to add legends Tommy and Bruce to our growing roster of guest instructors for the camp,” said Historic Dodgertown chairman and former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley. “Our campers will have a memorable experience spending time every day alongside some of the greatest names in Dodger history. For any baseball fan who has ever thought about a fantasy camp, this is the perfect one to attend.”

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June 22, 1964: 17-year-old Willie Crawford signs with the Dodgers

Crawford batting poseBy Jon Weisman

Fifty years ago today, the Dodgers signed 17-year-old Fremont High School outfielder Willie Crawford to a bonus contract worth $100,000.

That might not seem so unusual in this era of seven-figure contracts for teenage amateur ballplayers. But less than three months later, just nine days after his 18th birthday, Crawford made his Major League debut with Los Angeles.

Crawford’s signing on June 22, 1964 was headline news in the Times, which cited assistant general manager Red Patterson as saying Crawford had “lucrative offers” from 16 MLB teams. The Times added that Crawford “has been clocked in 3.1 seconds going to first base,” which would be faster than Dee Gordon on his Little League home run last week.

Dodger scouts Al Campanis, Kenny Myers and Tom Lasorda worked as a team to sign the highly prized athlete at his parents’ home, 1447 E 69th St.

Even Charley Finley, the controversial owner of the Kansas City Athletics, made a last-minute personal appearance at Crawford’s home Sunday in an effort to sign him. …

… The club said it believed this was the highest bonus ever paid a Negro. It is the second highest ever paid out by the Dodgers, Frank Howard having received $107,000.

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Tales of Tommy Lasorda

CWTL Tommy and Orel

By Jon Weisman

You can’t deny that Tommy Lasorda is a storyteller like no other.

In his life-spanning interview for SportsNet LA’s “Connected With … Tommy Lasorda,” which premieres tonight at 8 p.m., Lasorda spins some of his favorites, starting with his childhood.

“I worked on the railroad when I was 15 years old,” Lasorda said. “I did a man’s job. I worked 10 hours a day, 55 cents an hour. Now I told ’em I was 18, but they kept saying, ‘You’ve got to show us proof that you’re 18,’ and I told them that the church that I was baptized in burned down and the birth certificates were no longer there. I kept getting them off, getting them off, until my father said, ‘Wait a minute — your brother Tommy’ — I had a brother prior to me, he was 2 years old and he died, and he was born in 1925. I’m born in 1927. I take his birth certificate. Now all of a sudden I’m 18 years old.”

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In case you missed it: Put your hands in the air


By Jon Weisman

There’s many more images from Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting of the outfield plazas and subsequent team workout, thanks to Jon SooHoo and his LA Photog Blog.

In other news …

  • Though he is missing his start Sunday, Clayton Kershaw is a candidate to start the home opener April 4, according to Ken Gurnick of Kershaw said he “didn’t think” the flight to Australia “had anything to do with” his injury.
  • Carl Crawford and Brandon League arrived Wednesday from Arizona, Gurnick reports.
  • MLB’s At the Ballpark app has been updated — read about all the many virtues at
  • Here’s a different app you might find fun: No-Hitter Alerts (via David Pinto of Baseball Musings).
  • Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal, aiming to come back at age 36 from Tommy John surgery that forced him out of action in 2013, will start the season on the Marlins’ disabled list — with a strained hamstring.
  • Randy Wolf is the latest former Dodger to get a Spring Training release, though his departure from Seattle came under quite unusual circumstances.
  • The 1961 Union Oil Family Booklet perspective on Johnny Podres is at Ernest Reyes’ Blue Heaven.
  • Charley Steiner talked to Gurnick about the coming year.
  • A.J. Ellis has joined in the Strike Out Cancer effort, writes Gurnick.
  • Tale a peek at MLB’s new state-of-the-art instant replay center, via Paul Hagen’s piece at More on the new instant replay from Will Leitch at Sports on Earth and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Video surfaced of what happens to be the first game of Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-game streak. The featured subject of the video is Babe Ruth, who twists in the batter’s box like a precursor to Juan Uribe.

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