Archive for the ‘ Thinking out loud ’ Category

Dodger Stadium settles in for winter

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cassandra Lane

The baseball park can hold close to 60,000 bodies, but it is eerily empty in the days after the Dodgers lose out on a chance to advance to the World Series race for the first time in 28 years. Another race is going on in the country — one of the bitterest presidential bids in U.S. history — yet none of that seems to matter in these parts. Chavez Ravine is a sleeping giant — no, not quite asleep; it is in a deep and sullen state, painfully aware that its soul is gone — the crowds, the roar, the hope — while its body is one great hull of a thing that must stay put until another season. It hibernates in the open, all blue and golden in its loneliness, picked on by laughing ravens and overlooked by helicopters flying over the open mouth of the stadium … to somewhere else.

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With the Dodgers out, I still have a Cub in the fight

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

By Cary Osborne

Your favorite team loses in the postseason, but you don’t want to stop watching baseball. So you pick a team from one of the leftovers — and that team is definitely not the one that beat your team. Yet I root for the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Not because of the obvious — although that history aspect is pretty cool. I root for the Cubs because of Michael Montgomery. Check that — Mike Montgomery.

I’ve always known him as Michael. We both graduated from the same high school — Hart High in Newhall, Calif. — although it was 10 years apart.

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The two words we all want to say to you, Vin

Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2016

By Cary Osborne

All of my baseball memories begin in 1986.

I recall my older brother Ryan’s baseball team that year — the Pinto Astros. It was his first year playing organized baseball. I remember opening my first pack of baseball cards, those unimaginative Topps cards with the black and white border that carried the scent of a chalky stick of stale pink gum with them. And I can actually pinpoint my first memory of listening to Vin Scully.

It was October 25, 1986. I was barely 6 years old, but the memory has stayed with me for 30 years. I can hear it now …

Little roller up along first. Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!

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The latest turn in Yasiel Puig’s story isn’t the last

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Let’s separate Yasiel Puig’s fate as a baseball player from his fate with the Dodgers for a moment.

It’s certainly a convenient time to do it, with Puig on his way to Triple-A for the first time. He is a Dodger, and yet not a Dodger, and to say the least the baseball world is still processing it.

First comes the blame. Some say Puig had this demotion coming. Some say the Dodgers have mishandled his development. It’s easy to throw stones when there’s a free pile of ’em lining both sides of the Internet. No one’s claiming to be perfect, but no one should think it was easy.

What seems relevant to me is that it has never been in anyone’s interest to see Puig be anything less than the best he can be. That remains the case.

Maybe Puig’s next Major League game will be in another uniform. Maybe it’ll be in familiar, cozy L.A. whites before the next homestand is over. Maybe his next chapter won’t be written until 2017.

Even then, the next chapter will only be a chapter.

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Mike Piazza and feeling like a teenager again

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

I was 29 days short of 12 years old when Mike Piazza made his Major League debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 1, 1992.

For most of my difficult, awkward and developmental teenage years, Piazza was one of my idols.

I was there at Dodger Stadium on October 3, 1993 in celebration of my 13th birthday when he hit two home runs and knocked the San Francisco Giants out of playoff contention on the final game of the year. In 1994, I ripped the cover off Sports Illustrated’s Baseball Preview, which featured Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr., framed it and put it on my bedroom wall. It stayed there for years.

I was weeks away from graduating high school when Piazza played his final game as a Dodger. I’ll never forget how special Piazza was when he played in L.A.

One hundred and seventy-seven home runs, a .331 batting average, a .966 OPS as a Dodger.

Today he enters the Hall of Fame.

Thanks Mike.

And thank you Jon SooHoo for posting these fantastic photos today and helping me relive my teenage years.

 

Thinking out loud: If MLB games were seven innings

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Every now and then, your brain takes you to some weird places.

Most of the time, mine thinks about baseball … which can also lead you to some weird places.

For a few years now, I’ve nursed this feeling that sometime in the distant future, Major League Baseball games would be reduced from nine to seven innings. I don’t really think this will ever happen, but there’s a logic to it.

It’s in part because pace-of-play rule changes are fighting an uphill battle against baseball’s evolutionary elongation. (MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday compared the challenge of eliminating the issue to “dandelions in your front lawn.”)

A double inning-ectomy would lop a good 40 minutes or so off the average game, taking them back into the sub-2:30 range that seems to have been the sport’s sweet spot. This would be particularly handy in the postseason, helping more fans see a fantastic finish before midnight.

To be sure, not everyone’s in a hurry to leave the ballpark — certainly not my friendly colleagues here at Dodger Stadium trying to sell food, drink and merchandise — which is probably reason enough to end this conversation.

But the best reason for the seven-inning game is that it’s just getting harder and harder to cobble together the pitching to get 27 outs or more each game.

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Nine reasons not to give up on the Dodgers (for real)

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

So, something went awry Thursday with the Dodgers’ march to an 0-83 finish. They won.

Does that delay the inevitable? When the news came that Clayton Kershaw was going on the disabled list, that was the final straw on 2016 for some. Maybe many. Los Angeles Dodgers (2016-2016), RIP.

But yes, I’m here to remind you that there is reason not to give up. In fact, here are nine of them, one for every inning of this glorious, vexing game.

I offer these not because I’m blind to what can go wrong, but for those who are blind to what can go right.

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Fighting the losing battle against anger

By Jon Weisman

I’ll begin, inappropriately for a day that woke up to the news from Orlando, on a hopeful note.

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The Algebra of Yasiel Puig

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

We’re not really the sum of all our parts. We’re more the multiplication of them.

The fractions of ourselves don’t neatly add up in tidy columns. They clash and they explode like calculus.

So just in the past several days, the answer to Yasiel Puig involves finding the product of this:

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A Dodger fan’s state of mind

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Padres, 1:40 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Trayce Thompson, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

It has been, if one weren’t to mince words, an ugly time.

The Dodgers have lost four straight, six of their past seven, 16 of their past 25.

Since April 25, when they were 12-7, the Dodgers have played .360 ball and have lost eight games in the standings to the National League West-leading Giants, who are 17-8 in that span.

On Saturday, the Dodgers lost when Chin-hui Tsao threw 12 of his final 14 pitches of the game out of the strike zone, forcing in the game-winning run.

“We’re finding different ways to lose games and I haven’t seen this one,” Dave Roberts said afterward. “It’s a tough one and to try to defend it, having a hard time.”

The only thing harder to watch than the final score of the games has been the frustration of the fans, because that’s really whom the games are for.

I’ve been blogging about the Dodgers a long time now, coming up on 14 years. This is when I usually step up and make my attempt at “it’s always darkest before the dawn” arguments. I’ve hesitated, not because I believe any less in those arguments, but because I believe less that the audience for those arguments is willing to hear them.

Nonetheless, there are certain fundamental things I feel worth saying, however succinctly. You either buy in, or you don’t … (more…)