Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Four In A Row? Madness!

Yes, the Dodgers have their first four-game winning streak of the season. Even better, Arizona lost last night, so the Dodgers maintain second place in the division, and now find themselves only 5.5 games back. I don't think asking for a ten-game win streak at this point is too much, right?

The game looked like it was in hand early. When I left to go ahead a crew screening of Ironman (here's my review: it's awesome. See it.), the Dodgers were up 6-2. But Derek Lowe kept letting runners on base, and the Marlins scratched their way back to a 6-6 tie by the time I sat down in my seat at the theater.

Lucky for us, this Dodger team of the last week has a little fight in it, too, and they decided not to just roll over and Florida take the game away. In the top of the ninth inning, with the score still tied, Furcal grounded out, Ethier walked, Matt Kemp grounded out and advanced Ethier, and then Jeff Kent singled to center to score the go-ahead run. Saito, who has been shaky lately, to say the least, pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, and got his third save in five tries this season.

Getting a good record out of this road trip (they go to Colorado next) is key for these Dodgers, to prove they can win away from Dodger Stadium. Tuesday night was a good start. Let's keep it up on Wednesday.

Player of the Game: Andre Ethier (2-3, 2 BB, 3 runs scored)

Record: 13-13


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/30/2008 12:00:19 PM

you wouldn't be a very good newspaper movie critic with short explanations like that!

How About Those Spurs?

I love seeing the Spurs win, and it's especially gratifying to watch them beat the Suns in the playoffs. Again. For the third time in four years. What a wonderful series. Nice to see the Spurs prove they have a little left in them, when (once again) everyone was counting them out.

In case anyone who watched the game is wondering, the refs made the right call when Bruce Bowen poked the ball away from Nash in the final minute. I thought so in real time, but I slowed it down and watched it frame-by-frame, just to be doubly sure. Nash had both hands on the ball when Bowen touched it, and the last thing in contact with the ball was Nash's left hand. Besides, is anyone really going to say that the league was favoring the Spurs in calls in this series? Please. We all know it will kill David Stern to see the Spurs in another finals. It's bad enough they're moving on at all.

Anyway, the series against the Hornets will be tough, but I like the matchup for the Spurs. I won't give you any in-depth analysis, but I like this team's chances of going somewhere.

Oh, and Bulls or Knicks fans, if D'Antoni comes to coach your team (as Jack Cobra wrote about earlier today), get used to seeing the face I've posted below. It's pretty much the only one the dude knows how to make. Even ESPN knows it, since they put a similar picture up on their site (I'll post it below the collage my girlfriend created). But, oh yeah, the Spurs are the whiny team in the league. The Suns smell of roses, and never complain about calls.



AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/30/2008 02:58:16 PM

I'll be honest, I only watched the first game of this series and I was appalled at all the flopping the Spurs (especially thomas and bowen) were doing. I'm not a Suns or a Spurs fan so.....

I'm not sure if this was happening the rest of the series but when Bruce Bowen falls over after running into his own man (thomas) on a pick and roll and a foul is called on the Suns defender who didn't touch Bowen....something isn't right. Then they had Thomas flopping every time Shaq entered the lane. It was sad to watch. If the Spurs weren't making a furious comeback at the end I would have turned it off.

The first game set up the entire series and I knew it was over when the Spurs pulled it out in double OT.

This isn't to take anything away from the Spurs, they are a veteran, championship team but I just thought the first game was called pretty poorly.

DATE: 04/30/2008 03:07:39 PM

I saw that play when Bowen tripped over Thomas, and I agree. It was a bad call. There were others in that game that went unfairly against the Spurs. It happens.

The thing is, flopping happens everywhere, on every team. Certain teams, like the Spurs, get called out on it more, frankly because most people have a grudge against them because they are "boring" and because they keep winning. I watch a lot of Spurs games, and I watch a lot of calls go against them, including ones involving the other team flopping. Sometimes more than the average. But I tend to think these things even themselves out. The Suns were certainly not victims in this series.

I don't like flopping, but every team is going to do it until the league decides to do something about it. I mean, every time a guy takes a charge, he's essentially flopping. These are big men hitting other big men. Odds are, most of the time they're not hitting them hard enough to make them fall over, unless the guy falling wants to show the ref he got hit.

DATE: 04/30/2008 03:18:00 PM

One more thing, as an example:

Kobe Bryant is a superstar in the league. People pay to watch him play. So he's allowed to bitch at the refs quite a bit. Granted, he got a fair mount of technicals this year. But I guarantee if anyone on the Spurs (or any lesser stars) took the same approach with refs as Kobe Bryant does, they would have been thrown out of every game. But he can get away with it.

He also gets away with his own brand of flopping that few people ever comment on. Whenever he drives the lane and goes up for a shot, if anyone is anywhere near him, he flails his arms and yells (loudly enough to hear on the local broadcast of the games) as though he has just been stabbed. Even without legitimate contact, this is often enough to get the refs to make the call. It's kind of like flopping, no?

Kobe Bryant had 742 free throw attempts in the regular season, as compared to Tim Duncan, who had 463. I would say that Tim Duncan spends quite a bit of time in the lane, getting hit while taking shots, but Bryant had nearly 300 more free throw attempts. I mean, Dwight Howard, another big man, had 897, to lead the league. Amare Stoudemire? 691. That's quite a discrepancy.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/30/2008 03:25:02 PM

No doubt, you are correct about the flopping as a whole. Like I said I only watched the first game of the series so I can't say what happened the rest of the time.

But, I watch a lot of NBA games and I've rarely seen that much flopping, outside of Anderson Varajeo and Andres Nocioni. There is flopping but this time it just seemed so over the top. Shaq gets the ball in the post, dribbles once, Thomas acts like he's been shot. Foul on Shaq. Anytime players were near each other they were falling to the ground.

I understand that it's difficult for the refs to pick up on some of the flopping because they make their calls in real-time but there is such a thing as a 'no call'. It's ok for players to fall to the ground and have a situation where neither player fouled the other.

Game 1 was such an important game in this series because of the double overtime that to have flopping play such an integral part in it really ruined the series for me.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/30/2008 03:42:39 PM

Kobe led the league in tech's during the regular season if I remember correctly. To say that he got off easy, I'm not so sure about. I've seen Duncan and Popovich work the refs just as much as Nash and Kobe do. That's just what those types of players/coaches do. Sure, D'Antoni always looks like he's bitching but that's just his way of doing it. Phil Jax rarely blatantly complains but you can be sure that he's quietly saying something in the refs ear when he needs to. When you see Duncan on the first block during FT's wiping his mouth with his know he's talking to the refs. Every person has their own way of communicating, just like in real life.

What Kobe does isn't really right but I'm not sure what it's called. Maybe 'lying'? He's been known to do that an awful lot.

As for the foul shots...what is Duncan known for? The 15-foot bank shot. What are Amare/Howard known for? Dunking. Sure Duncan spends a lot of time on the block but he's not driving towards the basket like any of the players you mention. That's why he's not getting the foul calls that other players are. Plus, when he drives to his left he drops the ball down to his waist which is why you see him get tangled up a lot when players reach in and grab the ball, which is why he works on his jumper.

Again, the Spurs are a great, great team and by no means do I find them 'boring' so I'm not saying that at all. They play team ball and I really like Pop and his non-coaching background.

DATE: 04/30/2008 09:49:34 PM

This is why I don't write about basketball. I tend to not really know what I'm talking about.

But I do know that it's inaccurate to say that the Spurs "flopped their way to a championship," as I've heard detractors claim. I just get a chip on my shoulder when all people can say is that the Spurs are cheaters, floppers and whiners.

Four championships since 1999, and they seriously get no respect, and in fact take more sh*t than any other team in the league, often for no reason.

As far as I'm concerned, they're a dynasty now, even if they don't win the whole thing this year (which I'd like them to do, especially since I put money down a few months ago, when the odds were 9-2 against). If the Celtics had been winning these championships, or the Lakers won the four the Spurs won (instead of the three in a row), I don't think the sports media would be constantly having the "is this a dynasty?" conversation.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 05/01/2008 08:23:12 AM

I think most of the people that I talk to that know/love basketball truly don't think that the Spurs 'flopped' their way to all their championships. Their respected for their workman-like effort and ability to play as a team with a coach who's a genius. That's what I usually hear. I think you generally hear the other stuff from Suns fans maybe?

I'm not sure about the Dynasty just yet. they've won 4 out of the last 9 titles but they've been spread apart and none are back to back. Plus, they took three years off after winning their first one. If they win this year I think you'll hear about it a lot more.

An End to the Losing Streak

It certainly doesn't look promising when you've lost five in a row, and then get to come home, but there to greet you is Roy Halladay. That doesn't feel good, since most teams know they're in for a long night when Halladay is on the mound.

It was no different for the Sox on Tuesday, but they were able to come up one run ahead when the dust settled, and finally break the losing streak, showing a little flair for the dramatic by getting a walk-off hit with Halladay still in the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.

This was a crazy pitcher's duel, which I would not have believed if you had told me Jon Lester would be the one going up against Halladay. But Lester was amazing, and this game should go a long way to showing him what he can do when he focuses and throws the pitches he knows he has. The kid went eight innings, giving up just one hit, walking four, and striking out six. What's more, he only needed 97 pitches to do it, which is great, since his need to throw way too many pitches had been his downfall so far this season.

That's a hell of an effort, especially when all you have to show for it is a no-decision (and a lower ERA, by a full run), but Lester did what he needed to do, matching Halladay pitch-for-pitch, and keeping Boston in the game so they could please the crowd with a little ninth inning magic.

In the bottom of the ninth, Crisp led off and flied out to center, then Pedroia popped out to third. But Ortiz walked, and Ramirez singled to center, giving the Sox a chance. Youkilis came to the plate and singled to center. Demarlo Hale waved Ortiz home, and Vernon Wells picked up the ball but dropped it again, and Ortiz was easily safe at home without a throw. Even with a throw, it looked like he might have been okay.

Roy Halladay now has four complete games on the season. He is 1-3 in those games.

Player of the Game: Jon Lester (8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6Ks)

Record: 16-12 (tied for first in the east)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Red Sox Lose Fifth Straight, Dodgers Win Third Straight

The Red Sox are in the midst of a little losing streak, and not even Josh Beckett could save them this time. He pitched well, recording thirteen strikeouts and giving up two runs (one earned), but James Shields pitched that much better, and the Rays got themselves a sweep of the visiting Red Sox.

Today is a much-needed day off before the Blue Jays come to town. The Sox will look to try to avenge the three-game sweep they suffered in Toronto earlier this season, where they just looked tired after the trip to Japan. With the flu bug behind us, let's hope Boston's bats wake up a little this week.

As for the Dodgers, they just finished up their first three-game winning streak of the season, and now they head to Florida and New York to see if they can stay on this roll. Loaiza pitched well enough on Sunday, though he gave up two runs right after the Dodgers scored two to take the lead. But, his five innings went well, and the Dodgers managed to pull out a win in the tenth inning, thanks to a bases-loaded single from James Loney.

I was at the game, and it was hot. I must have missed my left kneecap during the sunscreen application process, because I've got a little burn there now. Other than that, though, I survived without shade in the left field pavilion, and I'm a better person for it. I'm going to try to make it to one more game before I leave town, but if I don't, at least the Dodgers won this one for me. In fact, despite their mediocre start, the Dodgers are 4-1 in games I have attended this year. 6-1 if you include the preseason. The only game they lost was the game I didn't pay much attention to, when I was hanging out in the luxury suite with Dodger executives. There might be a lesson to be learned there. Maybe not.

This commercial is old news, but I love it so much that I'm putting it up here. My favorite part? "Your agility owes my agility twenty bucks." Love.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dodgers Beat Up Rockies, Win Second Straight Game

This game was crazy. The Dodgers faced a struggling starting pitcher, and for once they made him pay for his mistakes. This team who, until Friday night, hadn't scored more than four runs in an inning (they had a five-run inning on Friday) hit Mark Redman and the Rockies for ten runs in just the first frame Saturday night. And nine of those ten runs came with two outs. Impressive, no?

The Rockies took a quick two-run lead in the first on an Atkins' home run, and Dodger fans weren't feeling so great about that omen. But then our offense took the field, and things changed in a hurry.

Here's how that first inning went for Mark Redman, when he faced thirteen hitters and threw 45 pitches:

  • Furcal grounds out.
  • Pierre singles to center, advances to second on wild pitch, steals third.
  • Kemp hits sac fly to center, Pierre scores. 2-1, Rockies. Two outs.
  • Kent singles to right.
  • Martin walks.
  • Loney walks. Bases loaded.
  • Jones walks. Score tied at two.
  • DeWitt singles to left, Martin and Loney score. 4-2, Dodgers.
  • Penny singles to center, Jones scores. 5-2, Dodgers.
  • Furcal doubles to right, DeWitt scores. 6-2, Dodgers.
  • June Pierre hit by pitch. Bases loaded.
  • Kemp homers to almost straightaway center (the first grand slam of his career). Penny, Furcal, Pierre and Kemp score. 10-2, Dodgers.
  • Kent grounds out.

That, dear readers, is one hell of a fun inning, unless you're a Rockies' fan. Redman would stay in the game through the sixth inning, and didn't give up another run, but I think it's safe to say that the damage had already been done. The Rockies added a run off Penny in the sixth, but he was otherwise solid all night. He went seven innings, which is exactly the kind of performance you need from a starter the night after a thirteen inning game. The Dodgers added a run off a Rockies' reliever in the seventh, and won the game 11-3. Every starter had a hit, except for Andruw Jones, who walked twice.

Scary moment in the fourth inning. Penny through a high fast ball that sailed over Martin's glove and hit home plate umpire Kerwin Danley on the right side of his face, just under the mask. The man fell like a sack of potatoes, briefly losing consciousness. An ambulance was brought onto the field, and he was taken to a nearby hospital, but all accounts say that he will be fine. His mother was at the game, and was obviously distraught while she waited to accompany him in the ambulance. It was a scary scene, and I'm just glad the guy is going to be okay.

The Dodgers go for the sweep on a hot, hot Sunday afternoon at the Stadium. I'll be there, in what is likely my last game at Dodger Stadium until at least July. It sure would be nice to have the team send me out on a high note.

Player of the Game: Brad Penny. He did it all--pitched seven strong innings and went 2-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.

Record: 11-13 (second place in the west now, but still six games back of Arizona)


DATE: 04/28/2008 08:21:35 PM

They swept the Rockies.

Did you hear about Schmidt?:

Keep up the great work,

Well, That One Hurt

Eight innings, three hits, two earned runs, two walks and nine strikeouts. If you could get that from a starting pitcher, you'd take it, right? And you'd probably expect to win that game. It should have worked out that way for Clay Buchholz and the Sox on Saturday against the Rays, but unfortunately those two runs came at the wrong time, and that third hit was a doozy.

Buchholz was on his game all night, finally showing a glimpse of the kid who threw a no-hitter last season in his second MLB start. He kept the Rays guessing until that eighth inning, and had in fact only allowed one of those hits through seven innings. But how quickly things unravel in this game, especially when your offense doesn't show up to support you.

Edwin Jackson pitched well for the Rays, and the only run he allowed came in the fifth inning when Crisp led off with a single, then advanced all the way to third on a wild pitch. Lowrie walked, then with two outs, Ellsbury came up and hit a grounder to third that ended up as an infield single thanks to Ellsbury's speed. Crisp scored from third, and the Sox had a narrow lead.

That was it for the offense, and in the eighth inning, Buchholz came out with 93 pitches under his belt. It's hard to fault Francona for putting Buchholz back on the mound. The kid had shown no sign that he would be in trouble, and had actually retired the previous twelve batters in order. But with one out, he gave up a single to Dioner Navarro, then got the second out when Jason Bartlett flied out, and then gave up a two-run homer to Iwamura. Just like that, the Rays had a 2-1 lead. The Sox couldn't do anything in the top of the ninth, and so they suffered (an especially appropriate word given the circumstances of this game) their fourth loss in a row.

It was a tough break for Buchholz, but the silver lining is that he really did pitch well, and seemed very confident on the mound. Now we just have to hope that this loss doesn't affect that confidence. The Sox will try to salvage one game at Tropicana Field on Sunday, before heading back to Boston to welcome in the Blue Jays. The good news is, we have Josh Beckett today. Hard to worry when you can say that.

Player of the Game: Clay Buchholz

Record: 15-11 (still in first place, but the Rays are only a game back)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Red Sox News and Notes

Since I last posted about the Sox, they have gone on a three-game losing streak, which followed a six-game winning streak. The flu bug hit the team pretty hard this week, and screwed up the pitching rotation. Pauley started once, Masterson started once (and really impressed, though the bullpen blew his win), and several position players, including Varitek, have been sick for most of the week.

  • Sean Casey was placed on the DL after injuring his hip flexor while scoring from second on Friday night. If you've seen the way Casey runs, you'll know that it was hard to tell that anything was wrong with his gait. But, apparently he's hurt, and Brandon Moss has been called up to replace him.

  • Mike Lowell is rehabbing with the Pawtucket Red Sox as I write this, so it shouldn't be long before we see him back with the team. I guess that will mean that, despite the success with the big club, Jed Lowrie will be heading back down for a while.

  • The Sox are on the road in Tampa Bay this weekend, then head home to face Toronto and Tampa Bay, then back out for a ten-game road trip to face the Tigers, Twins and Orioles.

Record: 15-10 (essentially tied with Baltimore for the AL East lead)

Dodgers News and Notes

I have been absent lately, I know. I've now missed quite a few games, so instead of recaps of each of them, I'm just going to hit the high points. I'll do the Red Sox the same way in a little while, and then hopefully I'll get back on track with daily posts.

Bullet points sound good. Let's do that.

  • The Dodgers had a crappy road trip. In five games, they went 1-4, and in each of those four losses, the Dodgers could only manage one run. The offense can look downright abysmal at times, and Torre has been trying a different lineup virtually everyday in an effort to find what works.

  • Since Monday night, the Dodgers have alternated wins and losses, going 3-2 in that stretch. Let's hope last night's extra inning win (which I attended, but only for the first nine innings) can be a catalyst for something good, like, say, a two-game winning streak.

  • It didn't take long for Nomar to get hurt, which anyone with a brain could have told you would happen. Somehow, though, Colletti didn't see it that way, choosing to send down Blake DeWitt earlier this week so that the Dodgers could carry thirteen pitchers in the bullpen. Nevermind that there would be no one else to backup Nomar at third, since LaRoche is still rehabbing his injury. So, now Nomar has to go on the DL, or we would have to wait ten days for DeWitt to come back. When Nomar went out last night in the ninth inning, Russell Martin played third and Gary Bennett went to catch. On the first pitch Saito threw to Bennett, the Rockies scored a run on a passed ball, which tied the game and helped to force extra innings.

  • Andruw Jones was also hurt in Friday night's game, when he fouled a ball off his calf. Kemp came in to replace him after Jones showed limited range in trying to reach a double hit to right center. I guess Jones is day-to-day at this point, but I don't think it would hurt to see Kemp get some time while Jones rests. Kemp's speed helped in last night's win, when he reached on an error and then went first to third on Gary Bennett's first hit as a Dodger.

  • The Dodgers play the Rockies tonight, and again in a day game on Sunday, which I will be attending. Right now, at 4:15 pm on Saturday, it is 93 degrees here. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 91. We'll see how long I last at the game, considering I'm sitting in the bleachers, where there is no relief from the sun.

Record: 10-13 (4th in the division, seven games back of Arizona)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Red Sox Come From Behind to Win. Again.

Josh Beckett was scratched from Tuesday's start due to a stiff neck, but that hardly mattered to the Sox. Once again, they found a way to fight their way back into the ball game, and they took the first game of the series against the Angels, 7-6.

This time, the Sox came back against the starter, Jered Weaver, to tie the game, then scored off the relief corps to win, making it nine of ten and six in a row for Boston.

David Pauley, called up from Triple-A, got the start for the Sox, and he was good through two innings, but then just didn't look good at all. He gave up three runs in the third and two more in the fourth, before being pulled with one out and a runner on base in the fifth. Tavarez came in and got a ground ball double play from Torii Hunter to end that inning, and pitched another solid inning before giving the ball to Okajima, Timlin and Papelbon.

The Sox offense got off to a nice start, when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a leadoff home run on Weaver's fifth pitch. It was Ellsbury's first leadoff home run in the majors, and he set the tone for the Sox hitters. It took them a little while after that home run, but they finally got it going in the fourth and fifth innings. Drew and Cash singled, then Lugo got an infield single to drive in a run and cut the lead to three runs.

In the fifth, Pedroia, who is just smoking the ball lately, doubled, and Ortiz hit a ball that somehow found its way through the shift, scoring Pedroia. Ramirez narrowly missed a home run when Guerrero made a nice catch in right, but it didn't matter because Youkilis came up and hit his second home run of the year into the Monster seats, and the game was tied.

Ellsbury hit a solo shot again with two outs in the sixth, to give the Sox a 6-5 lead, but Okajima gave up a solo home run to Kotchman to tie the game again the eighth inning. No matter. The Sox are used to scoring in the late innings, remember? With one out, Ellsbury laid down a drag bunt for a hit, and when the new pitcher, Shields, came in, Pedroia welcomed him with a double down the left field line. Ellsbury, who, you may have heard, is super fast, scored from first easily, and the Sox were up 7-6. Papelbon set down Matthews, Guerrero and Anderson in order in the ninth, and that was that.

Matsuzaka vs. Garland on Wednesday night.

Player of the Game: Jacoby Ellsbury (3-5, 3 R, 2 RBI)

Record: 15-7

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

See What Offensive Production Can Get You?

In the weekend series in Atlanta, the Dodgers were something like 1-27 with runners in scoring position. Two of the three runs they scored over the weekend came via the solo home run. On Monday, Furcal got things started with one of those solo home runs, but luckily for all of us, the rest of the Dodgers aided him in piling on, and the Dodgers finally got a win, 9-3 over the Reds. Sweet.

Maybe they'll follow it up with another one-run performance today, but let's hope not. They need wins, they need momentum, and they need to continue producing against the Diamondbacks and the Rockies.

All the stories out there seem to want to make this game about how Nomar got his first home run and hit the ball well in most of his at-bats, but I don't think this was about Nomar. He was batting in the third spot, which I thought was crazy, and still kinda do, despite what he produced on Monday. Could be a fluke, right? Maybe he (and the rest of the Dodgers, even) were just hitting mistakes. Let's see if we can string together a couple of good games, and then maybe I'll be on my way to pronouncing Nomar "back." I doubt it. He's probably too old and too often injured, but I'm willing to give it a shot, particularly because a healthy Nomar can only mean good things for this team.

More important to me in this one is that Russell Martin was 3-3 with a walk, and was on base again when he took a pitch in the ribs. Ethier was 3-4, Kemp was 2-5, and even Loney finally got one hit (and three RBI). This is what we need--production up and down the lineup. Let's ignore the fact that Andruw Jones (batting eighth) went 0-4. I'll get on him later. Today I focus on the positive.

Lots of hits, a strong performance from Penny (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks), and a win. This is the kind of thing that does a soul some good. Let's keep it up, huh, boys?

Player of the Game: Russell Martin (3-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI)

Record: 8-11


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/22/2008 08:00:21 PM

I was waiting to see what you said about the lineup Torre threw out there yesterday. It had the youngsters in it but it had the vets at the top of the lineup with Martin and Nomar hitting second and third. I wonder if Torre is going to go with that more often because, if I remember correctly, it seemed that Martin was hitting much lower in the lineup lately, no?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Red Sox Finish Off Four-Game Sweep of Texas

The offense for Boston is certainly clicking, and if the pitching could just catch up, this team would be quite a force to reckon with.

On Sunday, the Sox once again had a comeback win, and ended up beating the Rangers 6-5. This one surprised most fans, I think, since Manny Ramirez was ejected early in the game for arguing balls and strikes. I was angry with Ramirez, particularly when the Sox went down 5-0. It was hard to imagine a comeback without one half of our 3-4 combo.

The Sox waited until the seventh inning to get things started. Jed Lowrie (have I mentioned that I love this kid? Well, I do.) led off the inning with a double. Ortiz came up and hit a hard grounder into shallow left field. The second baseman was playing there because of the shift, and got a handle on the ball, but Ortiz hustled up the line and just beat the throw. While the Rangers were arguing about the call (it was an obvious safe call, not even really that close), Lowrie scored from second to finally get the team on the board. Ron Washington pulled his starter in favor of a reliever.

Joe Thurston, who was in because of Ramirez's ejection, took a pitch on the back to get on base, then Youkilis grounded into a double play, which left Ortiz at third. J.D. Drew came up and hit a single, scoring Ortiz. 5-2, Sox.

Wakefield pitched a scoreless eighth to finish off his day, and his team went back to the plate to see if they could complete the comeback. Cash and Lugo both were retired quickly to lead off the inning, and things weren't looking so promising. But Ellsbury singled to left, then Lowrie doubled to right, and Ellsbury scored from first. In came another reliever for the Rangers. Ortiz hit a bloop single, which scored Jed Lowrie, and then Dustin Pedroia came in to pinch-hit for Thurston. Pedroia hit a ball to deep center, which scored Ortiz to tie the game. When Pedroia got to second, the ball came in and got away from the cutoff man, just barely. Pedroia ran for third, and somehow just avoided the tag before sliding into the base. It was a crazy dangerous play, but it worked out. The Rangers intentionally walked Youkilis, then accidentally walked Drew, and accidentally walked Casey to push the go-ahead run across the plate.

Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth, and the Sox had another victory. It wasn't a great performance from Wakefield, but the runs came on home runs, and he stayed in to pitch some innings and give the bullpen a break. I'm sure he'd like a few of those pitches back, but he still got the win. Good stuff.

Sunday's Player of the Game: David Ortiz (2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI)

Record: 13-7

Monday's game was a very early start. I got back from boot camp and had already missed the top half of the first, thanks to an 8:00 am Pacific time start.

Clay Buchholz allowed baserunners throughout the game, but managed to wiggle out of trouble enough to pitch six scoreless innings, allowing the Sox to take the fourth game of this series. Through four innings, Buchholz had six men on base. In his fourth, fifth and six innings, he faced the minimum, erasing one baserunner on a double play in the sixth. He needed 103 pitches to get through those six innings, which isn't terrible, and this was maybe a good boost for his confidence.

The offense decided to show up a little bit earlier this time around, which is much better for my heart. Ramirez had the day off, which Francona had decided on before the ejection yesterday. But they didn't need him, as the rest of the team picked up the slack and scored plenty of runs to support Buchholz.

The big inning was the fourth, when the Sox scored five runs on a couple walks, four hits, and one crucial error from the Rangers' second baseman. At this point, the starting pitcher, Kason Gabbard, had already been pulled from the game because of an injury, which he may have suffered when he fell on the mound early in the game.

Drew walked to lead off the inning, then advanced to second on a balk. Lowrie made an ugly bunt look pretty, and placed it in no man's land so he could get credit for an infield hit, then Lugo (who was perfect on the day) singled to center to score a run. Kevin Cash then popped up to the second baseman Kinsler on the outfield grass. Kinsler tried to fire to first to double up Lugo, but his throw was wild, and Lugo ended up on second. Thurston popped up to third, then Ellsbury reached on an infield hit and stole second (he still hasn't been caught this season, or in his major league career overall). Pedroia hit a double to deep center, scoring two, then Ortiz doubled to left (Milton Bradly lost the ball in the sun, and it dropped behind him) to score Pedroia. 5-0, Sox.

They would add three more in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to four more hits, and the game was out of reach for the Rangers by then. Texas would score off Aardsma in the seventh, and one off Delcarmen in the ninth, but that was it. The Red Sox have now won five in a row and nine of their last ten, and have scored five or more runs in

The Angels come to town, and this is exactly the team that could bring the Sox off their winning high. Luckily, they face Jeff Weaver first, and he's nothing if not erratic, so this team can take advantage of that, particularly with Beckett on the mound for the good guys. It's three games against the Angels, followed by a trip to Tampa bay. How about another sweep?

Monday's Player of the Game:
Shockingly, it's Julio Lugo. Perhaps he heard the rumors that he could be benched in favor of Lowrie. He was 4-4 with a walk, two runs scored and one RBI. On base all five times in the game.

Record: 14-7

Braves Complete Sweep

The Braves won again against the Dodgers on Sunday, as the Dodgers once again only managed to score one run during the game. That's just not going to get it done. The Dodgers can't hit with runners in scoring position, and they can't even manage productive outs these days. Runners who are on second with zero outs ends up standing on second with no outs. The offense hasn't even been able to handle ground balls to the right side of the infield.

But Jack Cobra told me in the comments section of the last post that I shouldn't worry, since with this new manager, everyone is just trying to figure things out. That sounds right, and I know I shouldn't be so up in arms about everything. But, if the Diamondbacks continue to play the way they have been, the Dodgers won't have a lot of time to figure stuff out, or they'll quickly find themselves out of the playoff picture entirely. It's early, but the Diamondbacks are playing the way my team should, and it's frustrating.

The Dodgers are in Cincinnati to face the Reds for two games. Again, like I said with Atlanta, this is a series the Dodgers should win. The Dodgers need to win both games, and get some momentum going, since they come home to face the Diamondbacks and Rockies this weekend.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Two Runs in Two Days

The Atlanta Braves' pitching staff is currently being held together by super glue, but that doesn't matter to these Dodgers. They're on a goodwill mission, taking time out from disappointing their home crowd to go on the road and make the other team's fans very happy. And how do they do that? Well, scoring two runs in two games against the bottom feeders of a Major League Baseball pitching staff is one sure-fire way. And the Dodgers have come through in the first two games of the series.

Two runs in two games. Two! From this team! We've seen what they can do, and yet they refuse to do it on a regular basis. Are they going to blame the long flight from California to Georgia? Give me a break. I honestly don't know what to say about them right now, though I'm sure you can guess that I'm rather annoyed. After winning the last two games of the series against the Pirates in an impressive manner, the Dodgers just gave up once they got to Atlanta. Everyone has appeared to be in a slump the last two days, with the exception of maybe Rafael Furcal, who continues to get on base.

There is no point in doing full recaps of these games. If you would like to read recaps, go here and here. But I'll just say this: Andruw Jones hit his first home run on Saturday, and that was the only run the Dodgers would score. If you don't think there's something strange about that previous sentence, you haven't been following this team so far this reason.

Kuroda goes for the Dodgers as they try to salvage a win in this series, before heading to Cincinnati to take on the Reds. Let's see if the Dodgers can make Atlanta's Jair Jurrgens look like Pedro Martinez out there today.

No players of the games. Depending on the outcome of Sunday's game, you might see me bestow that award, but for now there's no one who deserves it.


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/21/2008 01:35:28 PM

While the Braves staff may lack some name recognition and have players injured, they are ranked as one of the top staffs in the NL statistically.

DATE: 04/21/2008 01:38:12 PM

I'm not saying they're not good normally. But this weekend, they were calling guys up from the minors, pulling guys off the DL, and operating with very few pitchers in the bullpen. That's what I meant when I said they were being held together by super glue. When a team's pitching staff is in that condition, you'd like to think your team can score more than three runs in 27 innings.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/21/2008 02:33:04 PM

Bobby Cox has been doing that for years with the Braves. That's why it always seems like their bullpen has a bunch of no-names in it and at least one odd starting pitcher when they get to the playoffs. The guy knows his inventory and how to manage it.

I still think you have to give Torre and the players until mid-May to get used to what each can do. It took the Cubs players a long time to get used to Piniella last season. Don't fret just yet.

Going for the Sweep

It sure is strange being a fan of two teams that appear headed in opposite directions. While the Dodgers continue to perplex, the Red Sox just keep showing up to play ball games. This time, the Texas Rangers are the victims.

On Friday, it was just a good old-fashioned beatdown. After two scoreless innings, Dice-K gave up a run on a sac fly in the top of the third to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. But in the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox got to Mendoza, the Rangers' starting pitcher who had retired the first eight batters he had seen. With two outs in the inning, Jed Lowrie (who has just been really impressive since he's come up from the minors) got a double, then Ellsbury and Pedroia walked to load the bases. David Ortiz came up, with the crowd willing him on because they knew what he could do, and hit the first pitch he saw into the Monster seats for a grand slam. That had to feel good for him. 4-1, Red Sox.

The fun continued into the next inning, when Drew walked, Varitek doubled, scoring Drew, then Casey singled. The Rangers brought in a new pitcher, but it didn't matter. Lowrie hit a sac fly to score another run, then Ellsbury tripled to score Casey, and Pedroia followed with his first home run of the season, and the Sox were up 9-1.

Dice-K wasn't dominant, and his pitch count got very high considering he only stayed out there for 5.1 innings, but he did what he needed to do, allowing the Rangers to only score three runs, then handing it over to the bullpen, who kept Texas down the rest of the game. The Sox added two more when Ortiz singled to center in the eighth inning, and won the game 11-3. Good stuff.

Player of the Game: David Ortiz (2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI)

Record: 11-7

Saturday's game played out a little differently, but the outcome was still the same for the Sox. This time, Jon Lester took the mound. Lately, he's been starting well and then falling apart after three or four innings, but this time he decided to have his struggles early on, then buckle down. Through the first three innings, Lester gave up three runs on seven hits. Strangely, he didn't walk anyone in those innings, which has been his normal problem. Still, though, seven hits is not exactly a commanding performance.

But, after those three innings, he went 3.1 more, walking two and allowing three hits. He held the Rangers to those three runs, and it turned out that was all his team needed him to do. I wouldn't call this necessarily encouraging for Lester, but maybe he'll start to realize that he has some good stuff.

The Sox actually took the lead in this game early, after Lester allowed the Rangers to score in the first. In the bottom of the inning, Ellsbury doubled and Pedroia reached on an error. Ortiz grounded into a double play, but it scored Ellsbury, then Ramirez walked and Youkilis doubled, giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.

Lester would allow the Rangers to tie the game in the second, then take the lead in the third (they scored a single run in each of those first three innings) before he stopped the bleeding. But Jason Jennings, who I just remember as being terrible as a member of the Astros, wouldn't allow the Red Sox to get back into the game. He only allowed two baserunners after that first inning, so Boston was happy to see him go in the seventh. Of course, they couldn't do anything in that inning, despite getting two men on with one out, thanks to Lugo doing what he does best, grounding into an inning ending double play.

But the Sox would get another chance. After Delcarmen, Timlin and Lopez got through the seventh and eighth innings, the Rangers brought in Benoit to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Ellsbury popped up, then Pedroia doubled off the Monster. Ortiz came up and scorched a ball right at the second baseman, who was playing in the outfield because of the stupid shift teams use against Big Papi. The Rangers' infielder couldn't get to the ball, as it went underneath him and into the outfield. Pedroia scored from first, and the game was tied.

Manny Ramirez came up next, and hit the 0-1 pitch deep into the night. I had the game on mute, but I didn't need to hear the crack of the bat to know that thing was way gone. It went out over the Monster, and the Sox had a 5-3 lead. Papelbon came in to pitch the ninth, and gave up a lead-off single, but then retired the next three Rangers to secure his sixth save in six tries this season.

Wakefield vs. Millwood on Sunday, then the Sox welcome the Angels to town for an early morning game on Patriots Day (also the day of the Boston Marathon). It starts at 8 am my time. That's just crazy.

Player of the Game: Manny Ramirez (1-2, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI)

Record: 12-7

Friday, April 18, 2008


Overall, it's been a good week so far for both the Dodgers and the Red Sox. Let's start on the west coast.

The Dodgers beat the Pirates on Tuesday and Thursday, outscoring Pittsburgh 19-3. Kuo got the start on Tuesday, but was only allowed to go four innings, after he threw 33 pitches in the first and walked three to allow one run. He settled down, but he was on a strict pitch limit, so Loaiza (or "Loizia," as FSN, the Dodgers' cable home, spelled it in an on-screen graphic. Way to go.) came in after four and pitched five innings of one-run baseball. It was a good combined effort, and the Dodgers pounded out eleven runs in support. Every starter had a hit, and the Dodgers rolled to an easy victory.

Same thing on Wednesday, which is a game I attended. The Dodgers got started early, scoring four runs in the first inning. Matt Kemp had a crazy baserunning play, where he rounded second and looked like he was going to be out in a rundown. But somehow he eluded the tag and scrambled into third, so the inning continued. It was impressive and awesome to see happen live. The Dodgers scored two more in the second (one on a Furcal home run--dude is hotter than hot right now) and two more in the seventh to secure the 8-1 victory. Now it's off on a road trip to Atlanta and Cincinnati, both of which are series this team should be able to win.

Other things of note: Matt Kemp should be playing everyday. He started three games from April 14-16, and in Tuesday and Wednesday's games, he was 4-9 with four runs scored, two RBI, a triple and a stolen base. Play Matt Kemp everyday, please.

Tuesday's Player of the Game: Jeff Kent (2-4, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR)

Wednesday's Player of the Game:Rafael Furcal (4-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB)

Record: 7-8

Pictures from Wednesday night's game:

For three years, I've listened to the plaintive wails of this man crying, "Pizza!" If you could hear how sad he sounds, you'd buy one from him every game. I haven't, though, because I don't feel like CPK at Dodger Stadium.

Nomar takes a pitch in his first at-bat of the season. He worked a walk.

Onto the Red Sox, and the final game of the Cleveland series, along with the two-game set against the Yankees. In Cleveland, the Sox once again beat the Indians in the ninth inning, thanks to a Jason Varitek pinch-hit home run. They added another insurance run, and won the game 4-3. Luckily for Cleveland, they won't have to face the Red Sox again until September.

The first game of the Yankee series was crazy, with runs being scored all over the place and pitching being destroyed. In the end, the Yankees' bullpen was a little better, and the Yanks got the win, 15-9. Not much to say, except that Ortiz only had one hit among Boston's fourteen, so I still don't think we're seeing any signs of him coming out of this slump. What's going on?

Thursday was a little better, as the Sox got off to a big lead early, and then held on for the win. Manny Ramirez continued to beat up the Yankees, and especially Mike Mussina, as Ramirez hit two home runs in the game. Later, Kyle Farnsworth threw a 97 mph pitch behind Manny's neck. Apparently, this was retaliation for A-Rod getting hit the game before. I've already established somewhere on this blog that I hate that part of the game more than any other. Some people like it. I really don't understand it. Remember this guy? He died when a line drive hit him in the neck. Granted, it's a line drive and not a pitch, but if you think it wouldn't hurt a guy to take a pitch in the neck, you're crazy. That right there should be enough reason to stop all of this. That goes for every team, but especially the team that does the retaliating. You don't always know if the initial beaning was intentional, so the retaliation factor is ridiculous. It leads to injuries and fights and just makes me shake my head in disbelief because when I see this stuff, I forget that these are supposed to be grown men out there. It seems incredibly immature to continue to play the game this way, and it doesn't help when fans cheer the actions (as they did in Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, and as they've no doubt done when A-Rod gets hit at Fenway).

I digress. The Sox won the game 7-5, and moved back into first place in the east. They're headed back to Fenway to host the Rangers and then the Angels.

Tuesday's Player of the Game: Jason Varitek (1-1, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI)

Wednesday's Player of the Game: Sean Casey (2-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB)

Thursday's Player of the Game: Manny Ramirez (3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI)

Record: 10-7


DATE: 04/18/2008 02:47:38 PM

Ortiz looked HORRIBLE against the Yanks on Thursday. He didn't run out any of his outs and looked defeated before he stepped in the box.

Not that I'm complaining, though.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 04/18/2008 03:51:43 PM

I wouldn't take beaning out of the game. I think every activity should have the potential for negative reinforcement (except sex, but it has its own special quirks). But I don't like beaning. I didn't mind it as a kid, but I have done a little coaching since and I took umbrage one time. We were down to a rival squad In a Babe Ruth game and we started rallying. We had a 13 year-old on the mound and he was pitching well and we had a few innings left in a decent 15 year-old we thought could come in for relief. Down a two runs after making up three with an inning and a half to go. I was coaching with a classmate of mine and the other team was being managed by one of our classmates from high school as well. In the top of the 7th, our leadoff guy got beaned by a 15 year-old on the first pitch. I was coaching first and the kid was a left-hander and I could see that it wasn't a curve gone loose. He threw it across the plate at a right hand batter. I was certain my old buddy in the other dug out had called for the bean at the top of the inning. The batter was not hurt but I didn't seem to care. I don't know why I got so mad, but we went out for beers that night with the other coach and I let him have it. I still don't know exactly why, but intentional beaning is not necessary to me anymore.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What Would Jackie Do?

UPDATE #2: Vin Scully is telling the story I mentioned below. Here are the details: it was a game in Cincinnati in 1951, and the man who suggested the whole team wear the number was left fielder Gene Hermanski. I knew I could count on Vin to give me the story.

Only David Ortiz and Coco Crisp are wearing Jackie Robinson's number today for the Red Sox. I'm not okay with that. The more I think about it, the more I think every single player on every team should be wearing it.

Today is Jackie Robinson Day across baseball. Last year, I was at Dodger Stadium for the inaugural event, and I cried my eyes out. It was quite a moving tribute, and it was nice to know that it would be celebrated every year.

So, today will mark the second anniversary, and I won't be at the game. That's okay, because I'll watch it on television and I'll think about what Jackie Robinson meant to the game and to history at large. What I will not do is look at white players and wonder just who they think they are when they wear the number "42" on their backs tonight (since Selig has decided the number will be "unretired" every year on just this day).

Torii Hunter doesn't see things the same way, if he was quoted correctly in this article. In an interview with USA Today, Hunter said:

"This is supposed to be an honor, and just a handful of guys wearing the number. Now you've got entire teams doing it. I think we're killing the meaning. It should be special wearing Jackie's number, not just because it looks cool."

He was supposedly upset that the Houston Astros, who fielded no black players last April, decided to have the entire team wear the number in honor of Robinson anyway.

"That got it away from, 'OK, we don't have any blacks.' "

Seems to me that Torii Hunter has lost the meaning of Jackie Robinson Day. Here I thought this was a celebration of unity and triumph over adversity. You know what, Torii? It does look cool to wear Robinson's number. But can't it be special and look cool at the same time? This is the only day of the year that wearing the number "42" in an MLB uniform is allowed (unless you're Mariano Rivera, who has permission). Anything that happens only once a year is generally considered pretty special, especially when it's acknowledged as a friggin' holiday in the sport. And actually, I think an entire field full of guys wearing the number of the man who did so much for the sport is pretty special. Maybe Torii really means that it makes him look less special if everyone else around him is doing it. But it doesn't. It makes you a part of a team doing something special, which is pretty cool.

Last year, Vin Scully told the story of how, at a particular game somewhere on the road (I don't remember the specifics), Robinson received a death threat. This happened quite a bit, but before the game the team was discussing what could be done about it. One of the Dodgers piped up and said, "Why don't we all wear number 42? That way the guy won't know which one to shoot." It was a funny comment then, because Robinson stood out for obvious reasons. But it was also a symbol of the support Robinson received from some (hopefully most) of his teammates. And when the Dodgers took the field last year, all wearing "42" on their backs, the story Scully told made it all the more poignant. To me, that's what this day is about. Jackie Robinson was part of a team, as are all the players today, and teams are supposed to stick together.

Obviously, it's unfortunate that there ever even needed to be a Jackie Robinson. The fact that baseball was segregated at all is appalling, but it happened, and Robinson helped to change it. And now, yes, we are at a historic low when it comes to blacks playing in MLB. A new report says it's only 8.2%, and that's disgusting. But before April 15, 1947, that number was 0%. And with different programs that MLB is trying to establish, hopefully that number will rise in the future.

I know all the Dodgers will be wearing the number on their backs tonight. I don't know about the Red Sox, but I will say this--if someone on my team isn't wearing number 42, it's really going to make me wonder why not. How about you?

This video below is what they showed at Dodger Stadium last year. Whoever put it together decided that it was okay to have white guys, Asian guys, and guys from other countries thank Jackie Robinson. Because, really, when we stand up for something we believe in, we all have a little bit of Jackie Robinson in us, no matter what color our skin is.


AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 04/16/2008 02:43:10 AM

My Old Man went to a speech Robinson gave to Methodist group at Purdue in the late Fifties a couple years after he retired. When it was over he went out to get in his car (a new Dodge he had just bought) and found Jackie Robinson looking it over. Robinson asked him if it was the new Dodge and dad asked him if he wanted to get behind the wheel. Robinson said he had to get going and Dad said, in one of his genius moments, "You know, you still look like a great ballplayer." I never let Dad forget that he said that to a guy who had to be close to 40.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/16/2008 02:35:19 PM

I think that if a player wants to wear the #42 on JR Day then he should be required to pass a history exam on JR and what he did.

I'm not worried about entire teams wearing the jersey but I want the guys wearing it to know why they are doing it.

DATE: 04/16/2008 02:49:22 PM

Good point. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, passing that history exam should be a requirement for getting into your first major league game.

DATE: 04/16/2008 04:01:12 PM

Why is it "disgusting" that major league baseball is made up of 8.2% black players? Isn't the day supposed to recognize that anyone of any race can choose to play the game without any overt or covert barriers? Isn't the point that race should be a non-issue? I don't understanding why certain people think it's necessary to take measures to increase black participation in baseball. What would be a percentage that isn't disgusting? 20%? 50%? Are you also disgusted by the low percentage of black players in the NHL, or the low percentage of white players in the NBA. I see no problem with providing the means for more people to play baseball, but anyone should be able to devote themselves to any sport they choose.

DATE: 04/16/2008 06:20:11 PM

Those are some of the same thoughts I had when I originally wrote the piece. Part of me does think that there is nothing wrong with young black athletes choosing a different sport other than baseball. But another part of me thinks that a lot of people have a problem with the low percentage of blacks in baseball because it's indicative of MLB's unwillingness to recruit (for lack of a better word) inside this country, instead choosing to set up better, more far-reaching programs in other countries where the talent might come more cheaply. I think it's a matter of people being upset that the corporation of MLB isn't reaching out to the poorer black communities inside its own country, and attempting to make a difference there.

Frankly, I really don't know enough about the subject to comment competently. I know there are better voices out there who can explain things better than I can. When I find those voices, I'll let you know.

Two Different Ninth Inning Comebacks

What a weird night for my two teams. Both were involved in games that ended 6-4, and both featured ninth inning comebacks. Unfortunately for me, only one of them was a good outcome.

It started with the Red Sox and the Indians, in the first of a two-game set. Jon Lester was starting for the Sox, and I sure would like to see him making some improvements. But, once again, he had three good innings, and then the wheels started to come off. Maybe he should be in the bullpen if he can't go longer than three innings before imploding. He had good stuff in the first three, with a nice curveball working, thanks in part to a generous strike zone from the home plate umpire. But, walks are often a problem with Lester, and this game was no exception.

With his team leading 1-0, due to a Youkilis double in the first that scored Pedroia, Lester walked Cabrera to lead off the fourth, then gave up two singles to allow the Indians to score and tie the game. Lester struck out Peralta, but then gave up a single to Garko, which scored another run and gave the Indians the lead. He got out of the rest of the inning, but then came right back in the fifth to do some more damage. In the fifth: walk, walk, sac bunt, single (two runs scored), single, walk. The bases were loaded with only one out, and Francona went to the bullpen.

All the drama late in the game would crown a hero, but the unsung hero is most definitely Julian Tavarez. Dude is completely crazy, but sometimes he can really pitch. And this was one of those times. With the bases loaded, he struck out Garko and Dellucci to end the threat. Then he pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh, to allow the Red Sox to have a chance to come back. It was big-time stuff from Tavarez.

The Sox scored one in the seventh to pull within two runs, and then Youkilis homered to lead off the eighth, which made the score 4-3, but the Sox saved the best for the ninth inning, off the Indians' closer, Joe Borowski. Lugo led off the inning with a double, followed by a sac bunt from Crisp (who may have been safe at first, but it was so close). Pedroia hit a sac fly to score Lugo and tie the game, and then David Ortiz hit a little bloop single to left. Ramirez was up next, and he took the first pitch Borowski gave him and corked it into the left field bleachers. It was a thing of beauty. 6-4, Sox. Papelbon came in and closed it out, striking out two, and the game was over.

Ortiz had two hits, both little singles, but we'll take anything at this point. He had some good swings and generally looked better at the plate, so perhaps we're seeing a sign of good things to come.

Player of the Game: Julian Tavarez (2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0BB, 4 Ks)

Record: 8-6

And now for a similar tale, this one without such a happy ending. I went to bed quite depressed because of this game, because it such a huge letdown. It certainly looked the Dodgers were on their way to righting the ship, and then everything fell apart in the ninth inning.

The Pirates were in town, and they took an early 2-0 lead off Hiroki Kuroda in the second inning, after Bautista hit a home run pretty deep into the left field bleachers. In the bottom of the inning, Russell Martin singled, advanced to second on a balk, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on an Andruw Jones groundout. In the fifth, Jones tripled to center. I know. It's crazy. He missed a home run by not much, and there's a pretty good chance one of the outfielders should have caught the ball, but still. It was a triple. DeWitt grounded out, and then Kuroda came up and hit a bouncing ball just over the third base bag. It ended up a double, and Jones scored from third to tie the game.

But the seesaw would continue, as Kuroda gave up another run in the sixth, and the Dodgers answered back with two in the bottom of the inning to give them a 4-3 lead. Proctor faced one batter in the seventh, got a groundout, then handed the ball to Beimel, who got two more outs. Broxton took the ball for the eighth and got the Pirates in order. With a one-run lead, the Dodgers brought out Saito to finish it off, and I doubt there was a Dodgers' fan alive who didn't think we were about to win this game.

It started off okay, with Mientkiewicz flying out to center. But then Bautista got a single. Okay, but then Saito struck out Rivas, and there were two outs. Adam LaRoche came in to pinch hit, and hit a single to center. Then McClouth, who had a twelve-game hitting streak coming into the game, but who had gone 0-4 thus far, came up and took a ball before planting the 1-0 pitch into the right field bleachers. 6-4, Pirates. Utter devastation at Dodger Stadium (among those who were still there, anyway--people can leave a one-run game rather easily in Los Angeles.) and in my bedroom, where I was just waiting for that last out before I fell asleep.

Kuroda wasn't terrible, but he wasn't great, and the bullpen up until Saito was rock solid. I'm really hoping this was that big blown save that Saito was bound to have this year, and that it just won't happen again. I don't know if can handle another one like that.

Player of the Game: James Loney (1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, extending his hitting streak to 13 games)

Record: 5-8 (good for dead last in the NL West)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sox Take First Series From the Yanks

This was a good series, and not just because the Sox were able to take two of three. No, it was good because of my attitude during the weekend. Maybe it's because it's early, or maybe it's because the Sox looked pretty good in two of these games, but I just wasn't feeling my normal apprehension when it comes to a series with the Yankees. I think it's because I've decided to make an effort to not sweat the small stuff. I mean, I still hate the Yankees. In fact, if someone were to pay me to just professionally hate the Yankees, and if my pay scale were based on the level of said hatred, I would be a bajillionaire. But this weekend, I just watched some good baseball games, and I enjoyed them. Now, come see me in July or August, and see how I feel then. But for now, I'm proud of my evolution.

Anyway, the game. This one took freakin' forever to finish, and there wasn't even a two hour rain delay in the middle of it. No, this was an old-fashioned four hour baseball game (three hours, 56 minutes, to be precise). And it ended up being a lot closer than it should have been.

The Sox looked like they were going to wrap this one up pretty early, after knocking out Phil Hughes before he could even record an out in the bottom of the third. Hughes had already given up five runs, and left two men on base, both of which scored when Ross Ohlendorf through a two-out wild pitch, walked a guy, and then gave up a single. At the end of three, it was 7-1, Boston.

But Dice-K just didn't have the control that we saw in the first two games he pitched this season. He walked six batters, gave up five hits, and really struggled to get through five innings so that he could factor in the decision. He gave up a run in the third and three in the fifth, and left with a 7-4 lead. David Aardsma came in and pitched two scoreless innings (he walked two), which was very nice. What wasn't very nice was Mike Timlin. In his second appearance in the series, and second since coming off the DL, he gave up another home run to Jason Giambi, along with two other hits, before finally being pulled for Javier Lopez. Timlin's ERA is now 81.00, and I'm a little worried that he's just getting too old for this.

Lopez inherited two runners with nobody out after Timlin left, and he did well. He got Damon to ground into a double play, then got Cano to ground out to end the inning. That would really be the last threat the Yankees would have. In the bottom of the eighth, the Sox added an insurance run with an Ellsbury sac fly (Crisp had singled then stolen second because Posada was in and couldn't throw the ball). Lopez came back out to get Abreu to ground out, and then Delcarmen struck out A-Rod and retired Matsui to finish off the game. No save for Delcarmen because of weird baseball rules, but still nice to see two strong appearances from him after those disastrous Toronto games.

Weird week for the Sox coming up, as they travel to Cleveland for two games, then New York for two games, before coming home to face the Rangers for three over the weekend.

Player of the Game: Manny Ramirez (2-3, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 2 R)

Record: 7-6

A Quick Rant: For all the people already sick of the Yanks/Sox stuff, I'm with you. Hence the reason I've avoided writing anything about this ridiculously absurd story. ESPN and the sports media have an east coast bias (not just a Boston bias), which we all know, so they show a lot more stuff involving the Red Sox and Yankees than, say, the Cincinnati Reds, and it must be frustrating for fans of other teams, especially if it's frustrating even for the fans of the two teams in question. But, at least this year it makes a little sense. The Red Sox are the defending world champions, and they've won two of the last four World Series. They're going to get some coverage for that. I seem to recall a hell of a lot of Yankees' coverage in the late '90s when they were winning their championships. I doubt there was complaining from the New York camp then. Anyway, regardless of what ESPN or Fox or whatever chooses to broadcast, my main issue is when people take it out on the fans. Should I stop cheering for my team just because they're oversaturated in the media? What kind of fan would I be then? Blame ESPN, blame the journalists, but give the fans a break, okay? You worry about your team, I'll worry about mine, and our worlds will collide whenever the two teams meet. But there is no need to be a douchebag.** I'm trying to have a positive attitude over here, remember?

**This is not directed at anyone in particular, for the record. Just sort of a comment on the situation.


DATE: 04/15/2008 12:32:31 PM

I agree with your rant at the end, Erin. The rivalry should be fun, but it's getting overdone and dumb.

See you when our worlds collide!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dodgers Win One, Lose Series

Someone is going to have to tell me (and other Dodgers' fans) just exactly what it is that Matt Kemp is going to have to do to start a baseball game for this team. On Saturday night, Pierre started in left with Ethier in right, and the same thing happened on Sunday. It's bordering on the absurd at this point.

Kemp started a game on April 4, then went three games without a start (in two plate appearance in those games, he was 1-2), and then started again on April 8 and simply went 3-5 with a triple and a run scored. He started April 9 and went 1-4, and then hasn't started the last two. Last night, he came in to replace Juan Pierre in the fifth, and in Kemp's second at-bat as a replacement, he hit a home run. I'll let you guess how many home runs Pierre has this season.

The story on Saturday night was offense, with the Dodgers scoring eleven runs against the Padres, who could only manage one. It looked bad in the first inning when Lowe gave up that run, but he settled down and went eight innings, pitching just a stellar game. Not only that, but he was also on base three times (once due to an error), with two hits and three RBI. That's a performance from your pitcher if ever I've seen one.

Furcal led off the bottom of the first with a home run, and the Dodgers never looked back. Eleven runs on thirteen hits, including three hits each from Loney and Ethier, and suddenly this team looked like I thought it would offensively. It was a hell of a game to attend, which I did, because there's nothing as exciting as a team showing its potential. I suppose I should have known it would be short-lived.

The crazy thing is, on Sunday, one run would be all the Padres would need to win the game. That's what makes baseball so weird. Billingsley pitched incredibly well through five innings, but, as is often the case with him, he just threw too many dang pitches. 90 through five innings, to be precise, and he left as the losing pitcher. Eight strikeouts, four hits and two walks. I would take that any day from any one of our pitchers, but it wasn't enough on Sunday, because one of those walks came back to score in the fourth inning.

The Dodgers had only a few chances, but for me it comes back to Matt Kemp. In the eighth inning, DeWitt led off with a flare single. Sweeney pinch-hit in the pitcher's spot, and they elected to not have him bunt, which seems odd. I know Sweeney is a good hitter and all, but he's not known for power in particular, and I don't see a problem with getting a runner in scoring position, particularly with the top of the order coming up. But Torre didn't see things that way. So, Sweeney hit a line drive right at the second baseman for the first out. Then Furcal came up and flied out to left.

Here is where Pierre's spot in the lineup came up. There were two outs. The Dodgers were down by a run. What exactly were we expecting of Pierre in this situation? He's not going to hit a home run. We'd be lucky to get a single, but I think we all knew the most likely situation is exactly what happened: Pierre grounded to second and DeWitt was out on the fielder's choice. Am I the only one who thinks it might have been a good idea to put Kemp in there? What would have been the harm? He's far more likely to get an extra base hit, and possibly even a home run, and there would have been power behind him if, say, he had hit a double to get DeWitt over to third. There were options. Putting Pierre in there is exactly like not pinch-hitting for your pitcher in the same situation.

Instead, Torre let Pierre swing away, and the Dodgers didn't score. Then, in the ninth inning when Loney hit a two-out double, Torre put Kemp in as a pinch runner. Okay. Kemp has some speed, I suppose, but his value is at the plate, right? And if the Dodgers had tied it but not taken the lead, what then? Kemp is in right, Sweeney is at first, I guess. So you move Ethier to left and Pierre is out of the game. But then Kemp's spot in the batting order is still seven or eight batters away, so he probably never gets a chance to do some damage offensively. Anyway you look at it, Pierre was out of the game. Why not take him out when it could have actually been advantageous to the team?

Loney's double in the bottom of the ninth amounted to nothing, as Martin flied out to right to end the game, and the Dodgers lost by a measly run. So, so painful. The Pirates come to town on Monday. This is absolutely a series the Dodgers should sweep, but the performance on Sunday makes it hard to believe the Dodgers can even win the series.

Oh, and if I see one more goofy grin from Andruw Jones after he strikes out (which he has done fourteen times in 40 at-bats, by the way, which would be fine if he hit anything in those other 26 ABs, but...he didn't. Four hits on the season. Four.), I'm gonna punch a wall. The Dodgers would do well to put out some stories about Jones taking extra time in the cage, or really working hard with hitting coach Mike Easler, because right now it looks like he's saying, "I don't care what happens at the plate, since y'all are still paying me $18 million no matter what." And there might be nothing a fan hates more than that sort of attitude. At least try to make us believe he's as concerned as we all are.

Saturday's Player of the Game:
Derek Lowe (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks)

Sunday's Player of the Game:
Chad Billingsley (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks)

Record: 5-7

I only took two pictures on Saturday night, but here they are:

Jackie Chan throws the ceremonial first pitch to Andruw Jones.

It might be boring to you, but I love pictures taken during the seventh inning stretch.


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/14/2008 09:18:52 AM

I'm not sure that the problem here is necessarily that Pierre is playing over Kemp but the fact that Andruw is playing over Kemp.

DATE: 04/14/2008 11:47:52 AM

Agreed. While I don't want Pierre in the lineup, the fact that both he and Jones are starting instead of Kemp is just mind-boggling. The only thing I can say is that Jones, if he ever snaps out of it, has more to offer than Pierre does. With Pierre we know that, even at his best, we're just getting a mediocre player. Jones provides better defense in center, and if he could learn to hit the ball again, he's a legitimate threat at the plate. The same can definitely not be said for Pierre.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/14/2008 01:06:04 PM

Something else to think about is the fact that as a new manager, Joe Torre probably wants to find out what kinds of players he has for himself. Sure, he can read all about Juan Pierre being horrible and Andruw Jones being overweight but until he has them out there doing it for him....he might not realize it. Remember when the Yanks were good with Torre they had a couple of reclamation projects in Brosius and Paul O'Neill and while steroids are supposedly outlawed today, Torre may think he can do the same in L.A.

Last year was Piniella's first year with the Cubs and his lineups were all over the place for the first few months (we had Cesar Izturis starting at SS), so it's not uncommon for it to happen.

Sox Wait Out Rain, Beat Yankees

This was just a good game, even if it did take forever to complete. Normally, Sox/Yankees games take quite a while anyway, but when you throw in a two hour rain delay, it gets extreme. But, the Red Sox came out on top, so that's what matters.

Josh Beckett was amazing through five innings. I think his pitch count was around 40 for those five innings, so he was obviously doing something right. In the sixth, things got a little hairy. I don't think Beckett was laboring, since he'd thrown so few pitches, but something didn't work for him when he took to the mound to face the bottom of the Yankees' lineup. He gave up two singles followed by two sacrifices, which scored a run, and then threw a wild pitch to allow another run. He struck out Abreu to end the inning, and ended up working two outs into the seventh before being pulled for Delcarmen.

Mussina was pitching for the Yankees, and he's just one of those guys who seems like he should be shelled every game. Watching him is like watching Curt Schilling for the last two years--he can barely reach 90 on his fastball, but somehow the smoke and mirrors he throws out there can fool hitters. At least for a while, anyway. The Sox had a chance to break it open early in the first, when Ellsbury led off with a single, stole first, and then Pedroia reached on an infield single. But then Ortiz, who is just breaking my heart this year, had a lame checked swing on a 3-1 pitch, and hit a weak grounder back to Mussina, which started a double play. Ramirez popped up, and the Sox had nothing to show for the inning.

In the fourth, though, Manny Ramirez hit a two-out solo home run to give the Sox a slim lead. With the way Beckett was pitching, it seemed like that might be all he needed to secure a win. But then came that sixth inning, and the Yanks went on top 2-1.

But, as they've done a few times in recent games, the Sox were able to come back in the bottom of the inning and answer with a few runs of their own. With one out, Ellsbury singled, Pedroia doubled, and then Mussina got Ortiz to strike out swinging. With two outs and Ramirez coming to the plate, Girardi came to visit Mussina on the mound. I guess Girardi left the decision up to Mussina, and Mussina decided to pitch to Ramirez, even with first base open. Mistake. Ramirez took the first pitch he saw and ripped it for a double to deep center, which scored two runs and gave the Sox a lead. Bruney came in for relief and gave up a single to Youkilis, which scored Ramirez. 4-2, Sox.

Before leaving the game, Beckett allowed two hits with two outs, which made the lead a little tighter at 4-3. But Delcarmen came in to strike out Molina, and then Okajima got two outs (but allowed two baserunners) in the eighth. Papelbon had been warming, and came out of the pen, but when Fox came back from commercial, we were in a rain delay. After about an hour, the tarp started to come off the field, Papelbon warmed up again, and players were about to take the field, but then it started raining again and the tarp went back on. After another hour, Papelbon warmed up again (the third time) and came into the game with two on, two outs, and Alex Rodriguez at the plate. I was worried about Papelbon because of the delay, but it turns out I didn't need to be. He struck out A-Rod on three pitches to end the threat, then came back out in the ninth and got Giambi, Posada and Cano in order to finish off the game and record the save.

What to do about Ortiz? He's in a serious slump right now, and he just looks miserable every time he bats. A big hit will go a long way to making him feel better, but of course he's got to get that hit first. The Sox go on the road for a bit after tonight's game, so let's hope he can get a hit at Fenway and then go on a tear on the road trip. He has to snap out of it sometime, right?

Player of the Game: Manny Ramirez (2-4, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI)

Record: 6-6

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bloggers Leave Mom's Basement, Get Free Dodger Dogs

I'm a little bit confused as to how to write about Friday evening's Blogger Night at Dodger Stadium. I could write this like the giddy fan who had the time of her life, or I could write it like the cynic who wonders whether the Dodgers really care that much about reaching out to
the blogging community, or if they just wanted to give us a little bit of the high life to try to make sure we always write nice things about the team.

I guess it was probably a little bit of both on Friday night, but thanks to the shrewd maneuvering of Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers' VP of public relations and broadcasting, I'm leaning more to the positive this morning as I look back on the evening.

Where to begin? Let me just start by saying I know I won't be able to fully convey what it was like, but I'll do my best. And I might forget some details, so just assume that there will be updates and/or another post about the night.

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the stadium, after picking up my friend Peggy (yes, I got someone to go with me, which was a very good thing). I had been told to go to the
guard shack at the entrance, and my name would be on the list. Sure enough, it was, and the best part of the night might be that I got to park for free. After taking a roundabout way to get to the lot where I parked, I walked down to the suite level, picked up my tickets at will call, got a cute little helmet radio (the giveaway for the night, and it came with batteries, which amazed me) and headed to the suite.

If you haven't ever been in a luxury suite before, I highly recommend it. This place was awesome, but I strangely did not take a single picture of the room itself. Weird. But, trust me when I say it was quite nice. It was an enclosed room with a wall of glass looking out onto the field, with a door that opened to two rows of seats from which to watch the game. Pretty sweet.

The view from the suite, at sunset.

I have to say, though, for about the first seven innings, it was very hard to watch the game. We would look up at the televisions and take note when something happened (even when someone was right in the middle of talking to us), but I don't think I actually walked out and watched
the action until around the seventh or eighth inning. But I had good reasons. There was a lot of stuff happening in that suite that night.

I met a lot of guys whose blogs you may or may now know, and I'm going to tell you right now that I will not remember all their names. But, here's who was there: Sons of Steve Garvey Steve Sax even bought me a beer), Chris from (who is the one who came up with this idea and emailed Josh about it), Ernest from Blue Heaven, Robert from Dodger Dugout (and his very nice wife, whose name I'm pretty sure is Lisa), and Robert from Trolley Dodger, plus various guests of the bloggers. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, so if you were there and you know who I've missed, let me know. It was great to meet and speak with these guys who, until now, had been completely anonymous fans. They're passionate about the game and about the team, and while that's always nice to read, it's extra fun to actually see it in person.

Josh introduced me more than once as the blogger who covers both the Red Sox and Dodgers, and the first time he mentioned it, he said the site was 50/50 for each. I had to clarify that, really, it's 100% for each team, adding up to 200%. Please don't question my math.

Josh had promised us a few guests for the evening, but I don't think any of us really expected what we got. About 30 minutes before the game started, Josh came walking in, followed by Ned Colletti, who you'll know as the general manager of the Dodgers. Ned sat down and talked with us until right about the time of the first pitch, and I was ready to go with my notepad and pen until he said, "You mind if we make this off the record?" So, I dropped my pen and just
listened. I guess I can't technically tell you anything he said, but I will say that there was nothing particularly earth-shattering about the conversation. No big news that I'm just dying to tell you. But it was nice of him to take time out to come talk to a bunch of bloggers,
especially considering someone must have told him that many of us aren't too kind to him on our sites. Note how intently I'm listening, though. Hand on or under chin always means that you're listening. Remember that, kids. Oh, and the two photos with me in them are courtesy of my friend Peggy. Thanks, Peg!

I lost track of time, but sometime later, another guest arrived to speak with us. This time it was Frank McCourt, the owner of the team. He's from the Boston area, as you may know, so Josh again mentioned my blogging affiliations. McCourt didn't really care, though, as he wants to only be known as an L.A. guy now. He was glad to see me in blue. I was glad that I hadn't accidentally put on the wrong hat before I left the house.

McCourt talked to us for a while, and I'm still trying not to blame him for the Padres' four-run fourth inning, since it occurred while he was in there with us. A lot of what McCourt said was exactly what you'd expect from a guy who's been trained to talk to the public. The Dodgers are committed to the community, and they want the ballpark to be a nicer place, especially considering that, after Wrigley Field, it's the oldest National League park still operating. We discussed the public transportation issue, and he pointed out that, using a free shuttle service, the Dodgers were able to bus in 35,000 of the 115,000 fans who attended the Coliseum exhibition game, which showed the Dodgers are at least capable of thinking about public transportation options. I don't think we should expect a bus line or subway stop anytime soon, but McCourt definitely didn't make it sound like the Dodgers are against anything involving
public transportation at the stadium. I don't know how proactive they're being, but I guess I appreciate that McCourt didn't seem to rule it out entirely.

McCourt does seem to think he's fixed the parking situation, and according to Josh, there are statistics that indicate the new rules have shortened the time it takes for fans to get out of the ballpark (58 minutes prior to 2007, and now 36 minutes). That's great, but I think we all know there are still some major problems there, not the least of which is that it still costs freakin'
$15 to park in the first place. And as I was leaving last night, it was complete chaos, which is lame considering that maybe only 20,000 were left in the stadium by that time. The people navigating were guiding us in different directions, there were no set lane markers, and one guy almost got hit in a crosswalk because none of the employees stopped him from walking. I got out quickly, which is nice, but it might not be worth it if they're sacrificing safety for speed. To be fair, some of this has to be blamed on the drivers, because people trying to get out of that stadium are just crazy. But, perhaps a little more communication and order would have solved the problems. But, I digress.

Overall, McCourt was a nice guy who, again, took time out of his schedule to come talk to us. I think we all realized we were pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to sit down and chat with him, since I'm not sure how many bloggers from other teams would have had that chance. So, good for the Dodgers. Both McCourt and Colletti were pretty honest in their responses to our questions, and if they hold any disdain for bloggers as a whole, it wasn't readily apparent, so that's always a bonus.

And then, just when we thought that was it for our special guests, it turns out Josh had saved the biggest ones for last. We were all standing around chatting, and in walked possibly the most
recognizable face in Dodger history, and maybe even baseball, Tommy Lasorda. When I saw him walk in, I really thought I was going to throw up, but I held it together. I know I've only been a Dodger fan for a few years, but I've been a baseball fan forever, and I can appreciate history. And I know Lasorda is a big deal. The man regaled us with stories and quips for about fifteen minutes, and I wouldn't be able to do any of them justice, so I won't even try (though if you want to read one of them, he told us this story pretty much verbatim). But he talked about a few of his former players, he told a story about Yogi Berra, and he left us with words of advice that would sound corny if they had come out of anyone else's mouth. But this was Tommy Lasorda, so when he told me to be grateful for what I have, I listened. And he also told us to keep blogging. I think I will, Tommy. You, too.

After Lasorda left, and Alyssa Milano dropped by (sorry, the Milano is an elusive creature, and notoriously camera shy, so there is no photographic evidence of her presence. It's also possible that part was a dream), Josh said that was it for the special guests, so I finally went out to the seats to watch the game. I'm not going to recap it here, though. The Dodgers lost, 7-5. Jeff Kent struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to end the game, extending the Dodgers' losing streak to four games. I think they have a good shot in the next two games of the series, but we'll see. I'm going to tonight's game, but I only have a regular old loge seat. Will I ever be able to enjoy a game again without the comforts of a suite? Well, probably. But I'll tell you what, I sure won't say no if I get invited back.

Big thanks to Josh Rawitch for getting this evening together, and to Ned Colletti, Frank McCourt and Tommy Lasorda, for coming in to talk to all of us. I think I can speak for everyone and say it was a night that none of us are likely to forget anytime soon.

Read the blogs I linked to above, just to get some different perspectives on the evening.

There were originally pictures mixed in with the writing, but now they're all below.

Colletti addresses the group.

Me and Frank McCourt

Tommy Lasorda, cracking everybody up.

Peggy was fascinated by the size of the croutons, and insisted I take a picture.

A nighttime view of the field.

View of the scoreboard from our suite.


AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 04/12/2008 06:55:03 PM

This is awe inspiring. I am going to contact the PR guy for the Colts and see if I can get a Blogger day at the new Lucas Oil Stadium. You are my West Coast Hero. You have come a long way from bum poop.

AUTHOR: Rickhouse
DATE: 04/13/2008 02:23:26 AM

Thats totally rad. Hopefully more pro franchises can do stuff like this. Great work by Dodgers for agreeing to this (as i'm sure they've been hardily ripped by everyone who was there). Nice write up.

DATE: 04/13/2008 11:16:35 AM

Good stuff! And, yes, those croutons are huge!

DATE: 04/13/2008 03:02:36 PM

Do you think one of those croutons is bigger than Juan Pierre's head?

DATE: 04/13/2008 05:33:50 PM

Dodger stadium the oldest national league ballpark? Wrigley Field?

DATE: 04/13/2008 05:35:21 PM

Sorry, meant to put after Wrigley Field. It's changed.

AUTHOR: angie
DATE: 04/13/2008 11:10:22 PM

so I never have read your blog but I know you do it so I thought I would take a look at it tonight. I am really excited for you that you got to do this and meet all these amazing people that is just AWESOME!!!! So when you met Alyssa Milano did she give free samples of her new clothing line? I heard she designed a woman's line of clothes for baseball fans and i am just in love with you keep up the great work.

love your new fan

DATE: 04/14/2008 11:44:21 AM

Thanks for stopping by, Angie. We didn't really meet Alyssa Milano, though. You're not the first to be misled by my humor. Apparently no one gets it when I'm being funny.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 04/14/2008 01:39:25 PM

Question...out of all the bloggers there were you the only one who wore Dodgers gear? I'm looking at the pics and I'm seeing striped shirt, hawaiian shirt, douchebag shirt...

DATE: 04/14/2008 02:14:44 PM

No, a few of the guys not pictured were wearing Dodger gear. I just happened to get the same guys in two different pictures. I'm not actually sure the ones you can see are bloggers, actually. I think they're just guests of bloggers.

The guy with his back to the camera in the picture with Ned Colletti is Steve Sax from Sons of Steve Garvey, and he's wearing both a Dodger jacket and a Dodger t-shirt.

DATE: 04/15/2008 01:27:20 PM

What a neat idea!

I've never sat in a luxury suite for a baseball game; did you feel like you were too far away for the action? Or did the meet and greets make up for it? Sounds like an amazing time:)

AUTHOR: stopmikelupica
DATE: 04/16/2008 11:30:16 AM

I'm a little late to this post (Tax Day has finally passed, so I'm back to normal tomorrow), but wow... that is a great story, Erin. Congrats on the outing. Way to inspire us bloggers to strive for more!

Great post and pictures, too.