Results tagged ‘ Bill James ’
By Jon Weisman
If you didn’t get to hear Vin Scully at FanFest on Saturday, above is a special video capturing his words, where you can hear about his nightmare of “being chased by a giant clam screaming ‘Linguine!'” That’s right.
And now for more news about us mortals …
- Rehabbing from two surgeries, Chris Withrow is hoping to make it back to a Major League mound sometime in 2015, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “When I began tossing Nov. 2, my arm felt incredible,” Withrow said. “But you know the back has bothered me off and on for years and it had gotten significantly worse. We just felt it made sense to get it taken care of as long as I was already out.”
- Joel Peralta had a customs nightmare in Miami that prevented him from attending FanFest, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
- The Jaime Jarrin Scholarship is being established by Servite High School in Anaheim for Latino students with leadership potential. “I feel extremely and humbly honored,” the Hall of Fame announcer said.
- In a chat, Bill James suggested the 1942 Dodgers as the best second-place team of all time. His explanation:
The ’42 Dodgers went 104-50, but finished 2 games behind the Cardinals. You know, mathematically, one team in 8,000 should be strong at all 13 positions (8 regulars, 4 starters, relief pitchers). Since there are only about one-third that many teams in baseball history, then probably there should be no team that is above-average at every position–and, in fact, there isn’t, although I think one can argue for one of the Yankee teams of the 1990s. Anyway, there isn’t, but the 1942 Dodgers are very close to being strong at every position, with Hall of Famers at second (Billy Herman), third (Arky Vaughan), short (Pee Wee Reese) and in left field (Medwick). Their first baseman was Camilli–1941 MVP. In center field was Pete Reiser, an outstanding player for a couple of years; in right field was Dixie Walker, who had something close to Hall of Fame ability, athough his career was broken up at the start by a serious injury and fouled at the end by his infamous role in the Jackie Robinson story. Anyway, 7 really good starters; the 8th was catcher Mickey Owen, who was a good player. Starting pitchers Kirby Higbe, Whitlow Wyatt, Curt Davis and Johnny Allen–all of whom had good careers and were effective in 1942, relief ace Hugh Casey. It’s as close to a perfect team as there has ever been. Larry French was the starter/reliever swing man; he went 15-4 with a 1.83 ERA. . ..he also had an outstanding major league career.
In the same chat, James addresses who would win between a team of nine Clayton Kershaws and nine Mike Trouts.
- A career retrospective of Buzzie Bavasi at In Pursuit of Pennants comes from Mark Armour and Dan Leavitt, who rank Bavasi the No. 7 general manager in MLB history.
As good as the Dodgers were, Bavasi is perhaps underappreciated because he made fewer trades than his contemporaries. “Why play poker,” he said, “when you’re the only one in the game with any money?” The Dodgers developed their own talent, and Bavasi was rarely called upon to find more.
- Carl Erskine will play the National Anthem on his harmonica before Friday’s Pacers-Cavaliers NBA game in Indianapolis. Dana Benbow of the Indianapolis Star has a nice feature on the Dodger great, including stories you probably haven’t heard before.
- Dodger senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith will join team historian Mark Langill in presenting an insider’s tour of Dodger Stadium, complete with dinner, drinks and a Q&A, on Tuesday for $50, through a special deal with Master Card.
- Across the country, Smith will also be giving a talk at the Albany Institute of History & Art on February 22, as part of a special baseball exhibition there. Friend of Dodger Insider and official MLB historian John Thorn will also be speaking there on Sunday.
- “The Story of Billy Bean,” a one-hour documentary hosted by Bob Costas about former the one-time Dodger’s experience as one of two MLB players to publicly come out as gay, will premiere Tuesday at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. At one point, Bean talks about being sent down to the minors on the same day in 1995 that his partner died.
By Jon Weisman
One week until it’s time for Dodger (Spring Training) baseball …
- Injury updates on several Dodgers are provided by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. It could be a couple of weeks before we know more about Matt Kemp.
… Kemp has had monthly MRI exams since having surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left ankle in October. Mattingly said the last exam was roughly two weeks ago, so we could have another two weeks or so before hearing anything new. …
- More encouraging news — and a great quote — are coming from Josh Beckett and Dan Haren, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN LosAngeles.
… “I said, ‘Did you ever dream you’d be watching a guy with a beard like Brian Wilson pitch with Sandy Koufax standing 10 feet from you?’” Beckett said. “Dan Haren’s like, ‘Yeah, it seems like there should be a unicorn somewhere.’” …
- Since before the beginning of Spring Training, it’s been apparent that there might not be a full-time starter at second base come March 22. As Saxon and Stephen report, nothing has changed on that count.
- Proclamation time:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 19, 2014
- “There’s no reason not to be confident” in Paco Rodriguez, despite the fact that he ran out of steam last fall, Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com … along with Stephen.
- In this Gurnick news feature about Don Mattingly, managers and long-term contracts comes this tidbit: “Jamey Wright has played for 29 managers in his 21 professional seasons.”
- Yasiel Puig’s signing could have an impact for the Dodgers’ future international efforts, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
… “The way it works down there, [amateur] players come to tryouts at your camp, and we had a hard time getting players to come to the academy [in the Dominican Republic] until we signed Puig,” (Ned) Colletti said. “I was down there about three weeks ago or so, and it was probably the best group of players that I’ve seen. A lot of it has to do with our ability to spend, and we’ve increased our scouting internationally three-fold from where it was. We have the finances to be competitive with players from Cuba and amateurs in other countries. Puig was a very key sign for us in more ways than just his talent.”
- Tommy Davis is the latest to be featured in Ernest Reyes’ 1961 Union Oil Family Booklet series at Blue Heaven.
- Joe Morgan talked with Bill James? It’s more than 80 minutes (via Baseball Think Factory), but this I gotta hear. “A lot of you may not know him as well as I do,” Morgan said, “but he is the father of sabermetrics, so to speak, and a guy that I really have a lot of admiration for. I don’t agree with a lot of sabermetrics people, but I’ve rarely disagreed with Bill.”
Kenley Jansen blew a couple past Yasiel Puig — Puig responds: https://t.co/t6BsEqCpXZ
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 19, 2014
By Jon Weisman
Above, Orel Hershiser talks about coming back to the Dodgers as a broadcaster for SportsNet LA.
- Ned Colletti’s trip to the Dominican Republic included a look with Dodger scouts at the private workout of 26-year-old outfielder Rusney Castillo, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.… Castillo, 26, left Cuba at the end of 2013, and while he’s not a free agent yet, he’s expected to draw considerable interest from major league teams given his tool set and track record in Cuba, including playing for the Cuban national team.
At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Castillo is a righthanded hitter with experience playing second and third base in addition to center field, so his versatility could be intriguing to a variety of teams. …
- We’ll turn to Jon Rosen at Kings Insider for the latest leading up to the Kings-Ducks hockey game Saturday at Dodger Stadium, which included a celebrity skate.
- Bill James is doing a big series of stories on big game pitchers, and as Rob Neyer points out at Baseball Nation, while the list of top big-game pitchers includes Johnny Padres, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Sutton, one name on there that might surprise you is former Dodger pitcher Jerry Reuss.
- Neyer also points us to an MLB.com video offering the history of Japanese pitchers in the majors.
- Joc Pederson ranks seventh on MLB.com’s list of top 10 outfield prospects.
- Dodgers Digest is running down the top 50 Dodger prospects, and Dustin Nosler kicks things off with Nos. 41-50.