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Dodger Thoughts


Friday, June 06, 2003


About Jon

Hi folks. I decided it was time for a new biography, one that didn't read as if I were having my first child for the second consecutive year.

So in no particular order:

I'm a native of Los Angeles, second generation on my Mom's side. Dad's from Chicago, and attended the last Cubs World Series as a 10-year-old in 1945. He is a lifelong Cubs fan, but the Dodgers were his No. 2 team even then, thanks in no small part to Jackie Robinson. Dad moved to Los Angeles as a teenager in 1951. His family got season tickets to the Rams that year, and they stayed in the family until the team moved to Anaheim in 1982.

My 13th birthday came in 1980, which is of some significance to the Jewish people. However, I was never a religious person. I flunked out of Hebrew school after my first year because most days, I stayed home to watch the Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour instead of attending. I was not moved to change my ways when my older brother was bar-mitzvahed in 1976, nor when my sister was bat-mitzvahed in 1978. In the case of my sister, she had herself quit Hebrew school after a couple of years, but then did a crash course at the last minute when she realized that she was going to miss out on a heck of a lot of presents if she didn't get that bat mitzvah.

Me, I didn't want the presents that badly. I was a pretty content kid. But as the time approached, my father grew a little concerned that I would follow my sister's less-than-sincere path. So, in a fashion he compares to "The Devil and Daniel Webster," he made me an offer. If I gave up my right to have a bar mitzvah, my Dad would give me a lifetime pass to the Dodgers.

Yep, that was the offer. I hope it doesn't alienate the more righteous of my readers to learn that I snapped that offer up in a second. (I would say that about 10 percent of the people to whom I tell this story are appalled to some degree.) But that's why, in at least one respect, the Dodgers are my religion.

Some time passed as details were worked out. First of all, the Dodgers, believe it or not, did not sell a lifetime pass - just a mere season ticket. And at the time, I think the Dodgers had a waiting list for season tickets - demand was greater than their allotment of 27,000. Also, I think my Dad had already committed to the Rams for one more year, and didn't want to be spread too thin.

Anyway, starting in 1982, we were the proud owners of four season tickets to the Dodgers. (Guess my Dad didn't want me to have to go alone - or maybe he just had wanted season tickets all along...)

As far as ambition went, at age 3, I wanted to be a policeman. At age 4, I wanted to be a television star. At age 5, I combined the two ambitions and wanted to be on Adam-12. At age 7, I switched to wanting to be a TV weatherman. Then around the time I was nine or 10, I wanted to be Vin Scully.

That dream lasted for quite some time, until I realized I didn't really have much of an interest in talking for a living. By the time I graduated from high school in 1985, I had been Sports Editor of the school paper and had some inkling I might want to be a sportswriter. By my freshman year at Stanford, I was pretty sure of it. I started writing for the Stanford Daily my first week there. By the time I graduated, I had covered the College World Series in Omaha and Stanford's first appearance in March Madness in 47 years. I had a column and I loved it.

The next appropriate chapter of what has already become a stunningly long-winded biography can basically be found here. In short, I loved sportswriting, fulfilled a lifelong dream by covering games at Dodger Stadium, saw many current major leaguers play in their high school days - but got frustrated with it. I left to get a Master's degree in English at Georgetown in 1992, planning to become some sort of novelist/teacher. But I took a screenwriting elective, and got hooked. I moved back to Los Angeles near the end of 1993, right after wrapping up my quick degree, and went after the screen pretty much up to now.

Depending on your perspective, I had great success or none. I wanted to write for prime-time television, and got an agent to help me to do so, but despite some real close calls, including a tantalizing moment with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I never made it. Well, I did some uncredited punch-up work with Chris Leavell and Brax Cutchin on a short-lived sitcom, If Not For You, but that was it. I did sell about a dozen half-hour children's scripts for So Weird, Hercules, Men in Black, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles and Max Steel, among other things.

I was making a living, but frustrated by the lack of job security in the business, I've found myself taking salaried jobs outside of screenwriting since 2000, and have been a writer/editor at our museum here in Los Angeles since April 2002. I still do some screenwriting - and, as you can see, some sportswriting - and hope to be paid for both again someday. (I've got two feature screenplays that aren't spoken for, if anyone's interested in snapping them up! Oh - and "Dodger Thoughts" doesn't run on spit and axle grease, either. Well, I guess it sort of does - but still!)

Okay, let's wrap this up. Hobbies? I play softball and ski whenever I can (the latter, of course, ain't as easy where I live). I root hard for the mighty Cardinal. I love great television and was as passionate about Hill Street Blues in its day as I am about the Dodgers today. I still sometimes think my future might be as a TV critic - I did some reviews for the Times in 2002. That'll be my next blog, at any rate.

Well, that's it. If you've read this far, you deserve a prize or some help. I'll close with this: While the amount of time I've spent writing here about other things is going to dwarf the amount of time I've spent on my family, suffice it to say, I'd be nowhere, nothing, nobody, without my wonderful wife and my wonderful daughter.



I would really like to be at the game tonight to cheer his return to Dodger Stadium when he throws out the first pitch. His debut in 1981 intensified the excitement, if not desperation, I had for season tickets to the Dodgers, which we got the following year. Whenever I see Fernando on TV, in highlights from his career or just this week with his hiring as a Dodger broadcaster, he really does bring an automatic smile to my face. I'm glad he's happy, and happy he's glad to be back with the Dodgers.

I have one comment about the first bookend of his estrangement from the Dodgers.

I was working at the Daily News in 1991 when word came that the Dodgers were releasing Fernando. I remember it clearly because I had the task of compiling a detailed history of his career for the retrospective we published the following day. I can't speak to what the Dodgers were telling Valenzuela during Spring Training, nor whether the Dodgers owed Valenzuela a farewell tour after he wore out his arm on their behalf.

But I can speak to the fact that his release was not much of a surprise, which makes it hard for me to believe that Fernando should have been mad that the Dodgers did not give him time to line up another job.

Despite his no-hitter and .304 batting average (.730 OPS/102 OPS+) in 1990, Valenzuela had the worst ERA (4.59) among Dodger starters that year. Then, his 1991 exhibition stats were awful on a team that would boast a rock-solid starting rotation: Tim Belcher (2.62), Mike Morgan (2.78), Bob Ojeda (3.18), Ramon Martinez (3.27) and a combination of Orel Hershiser (3.46) and Kevin Gross (3.58). Again, I don't know what the Dodgers were telling Fernando that March, but the wall had some prolific writing on it.

A couple of months after his release, Valenzuela signed with the California Angels. I covered his first game back, and there was a lot of excitement as well as the requisite dissonance of seeing him in another uniform (and one that did not highlight his figure nearly as well as the Dodgers' uniform did!). Unfortunately, Fernando allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings of a 5-0 loss, and then lasted only 1 2/3 innings in his second start before the Angels released him.

Fernando (I apologize for switching between his first and last names, but my desires to be familiar and respectful are competing with each other) did not return to the majors until 1993 but did have some productive moments, including a 13-8, 3.62 season with San Diego in 1995. (He also homered twice that year.) However, there's no mistaking that he did not have the stuff to pitch in 1991 - for anyone.

Looking back, I guess it would have been nice if the Dodgers had put Valenzuela on the disabled list in 1991 instead of releasing him. It would have cost them over $2 million to do so, and that was a lot more money back then. It would only have hurt the Dodger pennant efforts. But in hindsight, it might have been a small price to pay for some goodwill and good times that we have missed out on until this week.


Bottom of the 6th:

Dave Roberts doubles to left.

Paul Lo Duca sacrifices; Roberts takes third.

Thursday, June 05, 2003


John with an H

As if a Dodger blog by a Jon wasn't enough, now there's a Dodger blog by a John. Check out John's Dodger Blog by "obsessed Dodger fan" John Wiebe. He's got some fun stuff on there, including a personal take on Tuesday's losing pitcher, D.J. Carrasco. I'd also scroll down to read his interesting account from Saturday, May 17 of a Fred McGriff riff. And I have to say, he's most kind in his references to this site.

Dodger John, your next step is to go after an endorsement from Farmer John.

The Great Race

Pennant race not enough? Here's something that will keep your interest in September.

Will the Dodgers finish the year with more home runs or more sacrifice hits?

Citizens of the other 29 great major league cities - especially Toronto - will be shocked to find such an uncertainty could exist:

HR SH Team
91 10 ... Texas
87 05 ... New York Yankees
87 26 ... Atlanta
85 23 ... Cincinnati
68 33 ... St. Louis
67 02 ... Toronto
66 25 ... Milwaukee
64 20 ... Houston
64 30 ... San Francisco
63 13 ... Anaheim
63 21 ... Colorado
63 24 ... Florida
62 13 ... Boston
62 17 ... Kansas City
61 13 ... Chicago White Sox
61 13 ... Seattle
60 13 ... Minnesota
59 09 ... Oakland
56 19 ... Baltimore
55 25 ... Chicago Cubs
54 26 ... Arizona
53 20 ... Montreal
51 10 ... Cleveland
51 17 ... Philadelphia
47 25 ... San Diego
46 24 ... New York Mets
45 29 ... Pittsburgh
42 31 ... Detroit
39 14 ... Tampa Bay
35 32 ... Los Angeles

Little Ball doesn't come any Littler than that.

Can you imagine the last time a team had more sacrifice bunts than home runs? Without having the data handy right now to answer the question, my first guess would be pre-Babe Ruth times. Perhaps one of the Dodger teams of the 1960s did it, but I even have trouble believing that.

Paul Lo Duca, the Dodgers leading hitter in batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS, a player who has struck out once every 12.1 plate appearances and hit into a double play once every 54.5 plate appearances, is third on the team, behind Kazuhisa Ishii and Odalis Perez, with four sacrifices. That doesn't seem smart.

The majority of the Dodger sacrifices do come from the pitchers, who have 19.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are on pace to finish the season with 98 home runs. No major league team has hit fewer than 100 home runs since Philadelphia hit 94 in a labor crisis-shortened 144-game season in 1995. In a full season, it's been 10 years since a team dropped below the century mark: Florida with 94 in 1993.

Robert from Priorities and Frivolities and I have had more than one e-mail discussion about the Dodgers' self-proclaimed need to play Little Ball and scratch across runs. I'm all in favor of the hit-and-run - that's how the Dodgers scored their only run Wednesday night, for example.

However, I don't believe that the scenario of winning by getting runs on a succession of single/sacrifice/single is a viable strategy. I would argue that opportunities for a base hit are even more precious for a team that isn't talented.

If the Dodgers somehow get a runner on first, does it really make sense for them to give up any chance at a hit just to move the runner up 90 feet?

If they deliver a single the next time up, all that delivers is a run. But they're down an out - a real sacrifice. If the third batter singles, they're probably way worse off than they would have been (unless the batter who bunted would otherwise have hit into a double play.) They've squandered the potential for a big inning.

If any other batter in the inning hits for extra bases, they're definitely way worse off than they would have been.

I can't help but wonder how the Dodgers would do if they banned the sacrifice from their arsenal for a month. Even banning the pitchers from doing it.

Ultimately, that won't happen. But the Dodgers' offensive problem is not their inability to scratch across a run in some random inning. It's that they can't get three runs. It's that they're having a power crisis of historical proportions.

Do keep in mind that this is a problem with the Dodger offense, not with the Dodger team as a whole. As Tim Kurkijan writes today, the Dodger pitching is also on a historic pace:

Through Wednesday, they led the major leagues with a 2.96 ERA, 1.36 runs below the major-league average. Their bullpen ERA is 2.04, around two runs below the league average.

The next best ERA in the National League is the Cubs' 3.63, a a gap of .67. Only four times in league history -- and not since 1953 -- has a team finished a season with an ERA .50 lower than the next best in the league. The 1907 Cubs hold the league record for the largest gap between first and second in ERA: .56. The Dodgers are on a pace to smash that.

It's a decent team. Remarkably imbalanced - remarkably strange - but decent.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003


Insert Cork or Sosa Pun Here

Wilton Guerrero, you may be excused.

Christian Ruzich of The Cub Reporter appropriates an interesting physics lesson that questions why anyone would even want to cork their bat. Check it out.

The Times, They Are Not A-Changin'

According to the Orange County Register, of the Dodgers 20 selections Tuesday, 17 came from high schools.

Chad Billingsley has the quintessential profile of a first-round draft pick - if you haven't read Moneyball.

You can read more about the Dodger draft here on Baseball America. Here's just one excerpt, quoting Dodger scouting director Logan White:

"People think I'm a high school guy," White said of the Dodgers' trend in his first two seasons coming over from Baltimore. "They always ask me if I'm a college guy or high school guy. We're an equal opportunity organization. The truth of the matter is, we draft who we think is the best available player."

My question is, if you think the best available player is from high school 85 percent of the time, doesn't that make you a high school guy? Not to start a political debate here, but if a company hired 85 percent of its people from one demographic, I'd say it would be time for some enforced affirmative action.

Anyway, this is all speculation, not confirmation, so please - no whining.


It really does seem as if Adrian Beltre is seeing pitches come at him from a funhouse mirror.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday, two out, tie game, Beltre got the count in his favor 2-0. He took a strike, then twice went after those diving breaking pitches that it seems anyone could see are nowhere near the plate. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Beltre fouled off the latter of those, to stay alive at 2-2.

The next pitch was a fastball that, from my seats between home and first base, looked way too good to take. Just like the 2-2 pitch to Fred McGriff on Saturday that was called a ball, allowing McGriff to stay alive and hit what would prove to be the winning home run. If anyone was watching on television, let me know if the 2-2 pitch to Beltre didn't look like a strike.

What is it that makes Beltre take that pitch and swing at the previous two? Is he simply programmed? "Swing at pitch No. 5. Take pitch No. 6." Does he simply have incredible strike zone judgment on fastballs and none on breaking pitches?

Anyway, with the count 3-2, it was clear that the next pitch would have to be more than perfect to be called a strike. And it wasn't - it was further off the plate, giving the Dodgers the victory. Give Beltre credit for having the poise to take it.

I wasn't focused on the aftermath, at least from the Royals' end, but I understand that Royals manager Tony Pena came out to argue after the game - if so, it had to have been about the 2-2 pitch.

Ultimately, it was a nice ending for Beltre on a night when Mike Lowell hit two home runs and drove in six runs off the American League's best pitching staff.

This Was No Day at the Beach

A guy walks into a bar - not a stranger necessarily, but someone from the neighborhood who comes around only rarely.

He hangs out, minding his own business for most of the night, when some of the regulars' uncouth behavior disturbs him. They're just a little too rowdy. There's a certain way you conduct yourself at a bar, he believes.

So, this humble stranger turns to the regulars - a large, boisterous bunch - and tells them, calmly, to cool it.

Can you just feel the bar's collective jaw drop?

Now imagine that you came to the bar with this guy.

That was how I felt Tuesday night at the Dodger game.

For about five innings, my wife, my Dad, a friend of his from high school and I sat in nondescript fashion, watching the Dodgers get baserunner after baserunner against the Royals without scoring most of them.

Then sometime in midgame - almost belatedly, one could argue - a beachball materialized in our section. The crowd, like a group of grade-schoolers whose leader is throwing around a paper airplane in class, gets giddy with excitement. And then the beachball landed at the feet of my father's friend.

As methodically as a factory worker, he picked up the beachball and put it under his seat.

My mouth was open wide. So was my wife's.

My dad's friend is a nice guy. A fun guy. The action seemed totally out of Brian Jordan field.

Morally, I think the guy he was in the right. It's always sort of bummed me out when fans are more interested in what's going on in the stands than what's happening on the field. There is a reason that ushers are charged with the task of taking beachballs away.

At the same time, it's clear how much people at Dodger Stadium enjoy a beachball - especially the keepaway game they play with the ushers. It's hard to begrudge them their fun - and I never would be the one to begrduge it.

But this guy did, and the reactions were interesting.

The catcalls came immediately - "Hey, you were a kid once!" - and then ceased just as immediately. It really was like Short-Term Attention Span Theater. By the time the next batter was up, it was as if the fans had forgotten about the ball.

Except for my wife.

She, who has never taken any passionate interest in the beachball follies, was embarrassed. And appalled. Morally appalled. Who was this guy to take away the fun of so many people?!

For an inning that seemed to last an eternity, she stewed like Lucy Van Pelt in a primo funk. She was as mortified, I think, as if someone had lit up a cigarette in the seat next to her and given it to our baby to smoke.

Finally, she seemed to come out of it. The seventh-inning stretch came, and we got up and swayed easily to the strains of Nancy Bea .

And then, my Dad's friend went to the men's room.

Immediately, it was clear that no one had forgotten about the beachball. The clamor came up from the crowd to get it - and my wife needed no clamor. She immediately had my Dad reach down and get it for her. She handed it to the girls next to her, who were eager to get it. With great enthusiasm, they batted it joyfully into the air.

Right into the hands of a Dodger usher.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003


Quick Ones

Eric Gagne is tied for 27th in the National League in strikeouts. Gagne has more strikeouts than Greg Maddux. He has pitched 28 innings - 12 fewer than anyone else in the top 40. He has struck out 16.1 batters per nine innings...

I'll get some enjoyment out of seeing Kansas City make its first Dodger Stadium appearance, but interleague play is not sufficiently lusterful to justify its existence. Teams competing for the same playoff spots should play the same schedule...

Draft Update 4

With their fourth and fifth picks, the Dodgers took a high school outfielder and their fourth high school pitcher.

I won't be making any more updates on the draft today - from this point on, I'll wait for the commentary from the bigger sites to filter through.

Suffice it to say, an optimist might consider that the Dodgers have plundered territory that others have abandoned, and may end up with better properties as a result. A pessimist might wonder why the Dodgers are looking for real estate in a ghost town.

Draft Update 3

As in three for three:

Third round: Cory Van Allen, LHP, Clements High School, Texas.

As I posted on the Baseball Primer message board, the Dodgers are obviously following the ideals of Jefferson Smith, acting most nobly in helping the 29 other teams draft well:

I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about the lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule: 'Love thy neighbor.' And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust.

You know that rule, Mr. Paine. And I loved you for it, just as my father did. And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others. Yes, you even die for them. Like a man we both knew, Mr. Paine.

You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked, and I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place! Somebody'll listen to me! Somebody'll... (he passes out, knocking one of the huge pails of letters and telegrams (against him) down on top of him as he falls, nearly burying himself beneath them)

From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Draft Update 2

Dodger scouting director Logan White told that Chad Billingsley is "a Tom Seaver-type of guy." Seaver, of course, starred at USC. White also compared Billingsley to Roger Clemens. Clemens attended the University of Texas.

At least the strikeouts are there. Billingsley struck out 138 batters in 56 innings, walking 16. Eric Gagne, eat your heart out.

With their second pick, the Dodgers went with ... a high school pitcher, Charles Tiffany.

Can't you just see these guys being traded in 2007 for a middle reliever?

The Dodgers are roulette players, through and through.

Draft Update

The Dodgers drafted right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley from Defiance Senior High School in Ohio. Billingsley was not listed among the top 30 prospects - or on the bubble - compiled by Baseball America.

Of the 30 first-round picks, 12 were high school players, and three were high school pitchers.

Billingsley is 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. writes: "Well developed, muscular body. Similar to Kevin Appier. Fastball 91-93, occasionally 94, tailing, running life. 2-seam fastball, curveball, slider. Change shows potential. Throws 4 pitches. Signed with South Carolina."

Prelude to a Draft

I'll post again after the Dodgers make their first-round selection in today's draft. The big question: Will they again buck the growing wisdom, racing from radical to conventional, that it is safer to take college players than high school players?

James Loney appeared to make the Dodgers look smart last year in going the old (high) school route with his stellar Rookie League season in 2002 at age 18. This year, however, Loney is batting only .252 with an OPS of .688 in the A-ball Florida State League, so although he may of course make it, it's not going to be a cruise to the majors after all.

It's not that college players are locks to succeed. Bubba Crosby, for example, was a college man. Scouts rated him a dubious first-round pick in 1998, and only recently has he begun to even challenge that assessment. And as a Stanford graduate, it pains me to note that ever since Mike Mussina and Jack McDowell, baseball has been littered with the carcasses of lumpy Cardinal pitchers - the latest being Jeff Austin, who tied a major league record in May by allowing home runs to the first three batters of a game.

Nevertheless, there is solid research out there for anyone to see that your odds are better if you allow colleges to help you weed out the suspect prospects. If you don't, you're much more likely to end up with an abysmal draft history like that of the Dodgers.

There isn't much advantage in getting a younger guy - the point is to try to get the right guy.

Monday, June 02, 2003


Getting the Lowelldown

By reaching base in 13 of his past 25 plate appearances, has Adrian Beltre found himself - or found his trade value?

Flying rumors already have this air-traffic controller on edge, even though the non-waiver trade deadline is not until July 31. Flight 2919, connecting Los Angeles and Florida, carries the possibility that the Dodgers will go after Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell. Not only has the Los Angeles Times boarded this plane, but the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as well:

Like the Chicago Cubs before them, the Los Angeles Dodgers have made the Marlins' All-Star third baseman their top trade priority, major league sources said Saturday.

Former Marlins manager John Boles, now a senior adviser in the Dodgers' front office, apparently came away impressed after watching Lowell in a four-game series against Montreal last week. During a subsequent organizational meeting, sources said, the Dodgers decided to focus on acquiring Lowell to replace enigmatic third baseman Adrian Beltre.

As bait the Dodgers plan to use Triple-A second baseman Joe Thurston, who lost a spring battle with Alex Cora for the starting job. Thurston, 23, is hitting .284 with four homers and 20 RBI for Las Vegas.

Young right-handers Joel Hanrahan and Edwin Jackson and hard-throwing lefty Steve Colyer also could figure in the deal, sources said. Hanrahan and Jackson have ERA's in the low twos at Double-A Jacksonville, while Colyer had a 1.02 ERA in 16 relief outings at Triple-A.

The trouble is finding a taker for Beltre, hitting .203 with four home runs and 17 RBI entering Saturday's play. It's possible the Dodgers could include Beltre in a prospect-laden package, with the idea the Marlins would then move Beltre, 24, at a later date.

Here's a primer on the two principals.

Lowell is 29 years old, and debuted in the major leagues at age 24 with four singles in 15 plate appearances. Beltre is 24 now.

Lowell appears to have been an above-average fielder, based on fielding percentage and range factor. By the same stats, Beltre has been average.

Lowell had OPS+ marks of 108, 106, 116 from 2000-2002. Beltre's are 116, 93, 98.

Lowell's OPS dropped 195 points after the All-Star Break in 2002; Beltre's rose 183 points. Beltre was the better hitter in the second half last year.

In 2003, Lowell has been the second-best third baseman in the National League, behind Scott Rolen of St. Louis, according to Baseball Prospectus statistics. Playing home games in a ballpark that slightly favors pitchers, Lowell has 16 home runs and an OPS of .940 in 2003. On the road, he has an OPS of 1.037. Beltre's 2003, we need not speak of.

Lowell is earning $3.7 million in 2003 and will be eligible for arbitration in the offseason - the same as Beltre. A team could renounce its rights to either player in the offseason, sign a one-year contract with the player and then allow him to leave after 2004, or neogtiate a multi-year contract.

In short: Lowell is a better player than Beltre right now. Beltre's advantage is his remaining youth and potential; it's very possible that Lowell is in the midst of his peak season as we speak. Of course, Beltre will have to improve considerably just to regain his peak level of 2000. A likely scenario would find Beltre and Lowell meeting at the same level in the next couple of seasons - and perhaps continuing opposite trajectories.


As a Beltre loyalist, it shocks and saddens me to say this. But you can make a strong case for trading Beltre, a reliever (presumably Guillermo Mota would be one that the teams could agree on) and/or a package of Las Vegas 51s for Lowell.

For Marlin fans, the question is whether they would want Beltre at all - even if he is a better hitter than he has shown in 2003. The Marlins' have a third-baseman in AA, Miguel Cabrera, who is OPSing 1.030.

The point for Dodger fans is: this would be an exchange that would probably improve the Dodgers now without burying them in the future.

If you've been reading this site for any length of time, you know how hard it is for me to come to this point. I have invested so much hope in Beltre, and still believe he will succeed. But the degredation that is the Florida baseball market is making an opportunity available that the Dodgers might just have to leap at.

Put another way, it is very doubtful that if the Dodgers had Mike Lowell, they would trade him for anyone who wasn't an All-Star. He would be their best offensive player.

Sunday, June 01, 2003


WeekOdds and WeekEnds

--Don't say that the Dodgers don't ever catch a break. Did you see the 2-2 pitch that Fred McGriff took Saturday night, just before hitting his two-run home run. That pitch caught plenty of the plate.

--Letting the Dodgers homer must feel like letting the Clippers win on the road. You know it's going to happen eventually, but it muse be humiliating to have it to happen to you.

--How about the starting lineup that beat the Dodgers on Sunday:


--The font on the left-field scoreboard is such that when the name of Brewers outfielder Scott Podsednik appears on it, it looks like "Scott Pooseonik." I don't know - it'd bother me.

--Despite getting picked off today, Jolbert Cabrera has ascended to the No. 1 spot among Dodger reserves. (Take that for what you will.) He is slugging .553 on his way to an .890 OPS, and played great defense at second base Sunday.

--Which makes Jim Tracy's decision to pinch-hit for Cabrera in the ninth inning Sunday all the more puzzling. I can understand not wanting to leave McGriff on the bench in a one-run game, but given a choice between sending him in for Cabrera or Ron Coomer, how can you pick Cabrera?

--"Bub-BA Bub-BA" chanted the crowd as the count went 3-2 to young Mr. Crosby, somehow left as the Dodgers' last hitter with the game on the line. It was a nice moment before the end.

--My dad's recommendation for the offseason: Shawn Green for Mike Piazza, straight up.

--If Roger Clemens hadn't started for the Yankees on Sunday, he could have won his 300th game in relief. Think about it. Not too hard, though.

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball. To respond or contribute -- or if you are having technical problems with this site -- please e-mail

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Dodger Salaries (on Ahead-of-the-Curve)
Walter O'Malley - The Official Website
2004 Dodger Schedule
2003 Dodgers at (sponsored by Dodger Thoughts)

Mostly non-partisan baseball sites:
Rob Neyer at
Baseball Musings
Will Carroll Weblog
The Futility Infielder
The Transaction Guy
Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT
Doug's Business of Baseball Weblog
The Score Bard
Baseball News Blog
Wait 'Til Next Year
Thoughts from Diamond Mind
Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.
Julien's Baseball Blog
Ball Talk
Mike's Baseball Rants
Boy of Summer
For Rich or Sporer
The Spitter
Fun With Win Shares
MLB Center

Slightly more partisan baseball sites:
Aaron's Baseball Blog
Bronx Banter
The Cub Reporter
Steven Goldman's Pinstriped Bible
View From the 700 Level
Gregg's Baseball, Etc.
Bambino's Curse
U.S.S. Mariner
Some Calzone for Derek
The Raindrops
But It's a Dry Heat
No Pepper
The Southpaw
Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
Athletics Nation
Mariners Wheelhouse
Only Baseball Matters

Baseball, among other things:
Priorities & Frivolities
Shallow Center
Arrive In The Third, Leave After Seven
Cosmic Tribune

Invaluable resources:
Retrosheet (includes Win Shares)
MLB Contracts

Less Dodgers, More L.A.:
L.A. Observed

All in the family:
Ask Greg (about Gargoyles)
Robyn's latest tech articles

Other baseball writing by Jon on the web:
A Season in Savannah

2003 season:
Dodger home record: 46-35
When Jon attended: 11-11
When Jon didn't: 35-24

Dodger home record: 563-455
When Jon attended: 261-208
When Jon didn't: 302-247

About Jon

Los Angeles Times review of Dodger Thoughts

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