Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sox Finally Win On Road

It took thirteen innings, but the Sox finally got some good news on this road trip. Thanks in large part to some bad miscues from the Orioles' defense in extra innings, the Red Sox finally got a win on the road, making the record on the current trip a woeful 2-5. They can bring that up to a merely mediocre 3-5 with a win in Baltimore on Saturday. Then it's back home to the Fens, where the Sox have only lost five games on the season.

It was Manny's birthday on Friday, and he was sitting on 499 home runs, so the poet in all of us was hoping that would be the night he finally hit that magic number. But it was not to be, and Manny continues to slump in the home run department. Maybe he's just waiting to get back home. I'm sure the Fenway Faithful would love to see him hit #500 over the Green Monster.

The Sox got the scoring started early, getting two off of Daniel Cabrera in the first, and it looked like things would go well for the offense. But those two would be all Boston would get until the thirteenth inning. Luckily for them, Beckett pitched a great game, despite giving up two runs (one in the second, and one on a solo shot from Aubrey Huff in the fourth) after being handed an early lead. Beckett struck out ten in his six innings of work, gave up four hits, and walked three. All three of those walks came in his only real trouble inning, the sixth. He struck out Markakis and Huff to start the inning, then walked Millar, Scott and Hernandez before striking out Adam Jones.

The real heroes of the night might be the guys in the Boston bullpen. Okajima, Delcarmen, Lopez, Hansen, Timlin and Papelbon pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking four and striking out seven. Timlin, as his is m.o. this season, ran into some trouble in his one inning of work, but he managed to shut down the Orioles, which gave the Sox the chance to take the lead in the thirteenth. Papelbon pitched a perfect bottom of the inning, striking out two, for his fifteenth save on the season.

The runs in the top of the thirteenth were pretty much gift-wrapped for the Sox by the Orioles' defense. With one out, Ramirez hit a ground ball that Melvin Mora threw away, allowing Manny to advance to second. Lowell came up and singled to left, and the Sox led 3-2. Youkilis reached on an infield single, and after another reliever was brought in for the Orioles, Lowell and Youkilis executed a double steal (strange but true). Varitek struck out, but Crisp got to first on another error from the Orioles, this time from the shortstop, Freddy Bynum. Lowell and Youkilis both scored. 5-3, Sox.

Excellent job overall from the pitching staff, and a timely single from Lowell to push in the winning run. Let's hope the offense can actually get things going on Saturday night. Lester is on the mound, and I'd sure like to see him log some innings, since the bullpen was used quite a bit on Friday. Let's go for at least seven, okay Lester?

Player of the Game: the bullpen. 7 IP, 4 H, 4 BB (three intentional), 7 Ks, 0 ER

Record: 33-24 (one game behind TB, who the Sox will face when they return home to Fenway)

Friday, May 30, 2008

The End

Well, it's a sad day for me, as Cobra Brigade is officially shutting down. Jack Cobra was the first to give me publicity, way back when he was writing a segment that featured female bloggers, and he and Bruce Paine have been frequent commenters for basically the entire time I've been writing here.

Cobra wrote his goodbye today, and Paine and the other guys wrote theirs earlier in the week. Paine's is especially good. It's long, but it's worth the read. What's more, he spends some time writing way too much nice stuff about me. I haven't mentioned it until now because I just didn't know what to say, but my lack of response shouldn't be taken as apathy. I definitely appreciate everything Cobra and Paine have done for me or said about me in the last year. They were my first fans. And they wrote a good blog, too. I was a daily reader, and now it will probably take me a while to break the habit of going to Cobra Brigade every morning. Thanks for everything, guys.

Okay, more pictures. You know what I forgot to mention? My girlfriend and I went on an abbreviated tour of Wrigley on Sunday. $10 each, and we got to sit in the dugout and stand on the field. Not on the grass, but still, pretty cool. So, first a few shots from that day, and then some other beauty shots of Wrigley Field, in honor of Jack Cobra.

Me, just hanging in the Cubs' dugout.

Standing at the entrance to the clubhouse.

View of the field from the dugout.

Another view from the dugout.

These are just some random shots of Wrigley during the games. I know they're kind of all the same picture, but I love the different light in each of them.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Was There

Not a lot of good things have been happening in my sports world in the last week. The Spurs face elimination tonight against the Lakers, the Red Sox have been losing like crazy on the road (1-5 on this current road trip), and the Dodgers were swept by the Cubs at Wrigley. What's more, I was in attendance to witness every one of the Dodgers/Cubs games, though I will say that the fun of Wrigley Field softened the blow. But only a little.

You don't want to read detailed recaps about the game, right? Good. Because here's all you really need to know: the Dodgers can't hit. Even though they seem to have at least a few guys capable of providing power and timely hits, no one on the team is doing either of those things. As a result, I got to see the Dodgers score all of three runs in the series, one in each game. The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out at least three times in the first two games, and never had a thing to show for it. In the third game, they got a walk in that situation, but that was it. It was, in a word, pathetic.

So, let's just look at some pictures, okay? I'll try to keep them in the order in which I took them, but no promises. And, I took about 200 photos during the three days, so I clearly will not be putting all of them in this one post. Maybe I'll include a few in future posts. Some of these look better when they're bigger, but this site can only handle files that are so big.

James Loney takes batting practice.

My first Don Mattingly sighting.

Andre Ethier lets a fan know he will indeed sign some autographs.

My girlfriend raced down and got Ethier to sign her glove.

Fergie Jenkins waves to the crowd before throwing out the first pitch.

A bald eagle named Challenger flies in from center field after the national anthem.

Russell Martin bats early in the game.

Me, Shelli, Trevor and Irec sweating it out at the game. Note Shelli wearing a Cubs hat, but flashing a "west side" gang sign.

Loney does what a lot of Dodgers did in this series: strikes out in a key situation. If you look closely, you can see the ball about to go into the catcher's glove.

Chin-Lung Hu strikes out to end Monday's game.

There are too many photos here already, and this is just day one. More to come shortly in another post or two.


DATE: 05/29/2008 11:34:04 PM

Great shots, Erin! But it just looks wrong to see Donnie Baseball in Dodger Blue.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/30/2008 12:03:55 AM

Two things:
1. Mattingly looks like he is a little league coach getting ready to help his pitcher loosen up. I love the untucked shirt.

2. your seats were FUCKING AWESOME. Sorry about the language. Can't help it when I see the pictures.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 05/30/2008 12:15:29 AM

You and Fergie Jenkins seem to be in the same place an awful lot.

DATE: 05/30/2008 12:17:54 AM

I was also thinking that you and Fergie frequented the same hangouts

DATE: 05/30/2008 04:50:41 PM

Maybe this will stop those vicious rumors that I am Fergie Jenkins.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Continued Absence

Living in a hotel has made me lazy. That, and I had a very busy Memorial Day weekend. Those are my excuses for not posting. And this isn't even a real post. I'm on my way out to the Dodgers/Cubs game. I took 144 pictures at yesterday's game, so expect to see some of those shots soon. But for now, Go Dodgers!

Oh, and GO SPURS GO!

Friday, May 23, 2008

U.S. Cellular Field

Well, I took the train to this game (we took a cab to Wrigley because we were in a major hurry). Two dollars each way. I left my hotel room at 6:00, and I was in my seat at 6:45 for a 7:11 game. I bought a pretzel and a Pepsi, and including the transportation, I still spent $3.25 less than I would have on just parking at Dodger Stadium. Not too shabby, huh?

U.S. Cellular Field is not Wrigley Field, that's for sure. It's nice, in a new, kind of sterile sort of way. I wasn't there rooting for any team in particular (I hate the White Sox, and I don't care about the Indians), so that was an interesting way to experience a game. Just watching, taking it all in.

Turns out it was Carlton Fisk Night, which, for the Red Sox fan in me, was a welcome surprise. They had a whole ceremony before the game, which included Bo Jackson, Ron Kittle and Carlton Fisk each entering the stadium on motorcycles through the center field gate. It was weird, but cool to see Fisk, especially since the park was rather empty still, so I got all the way up behind the visitors dugout to watch the festivities.

More photos?

Carlton Fisk enters the stadium.

Kittle, Jackson and Fisk, all wearing Fisk jerseys.

Fisk addresses the crowd.

Fisk shakes hands with Harold Baines after throwing out the first pitch (my picture of the actual throw is out of focus).

The view from my seat.

I took this to illustrate my confusion. Are those large circles fifteen feet from the batter supposed to be the on deck circles? There are no other dedicated circles to serve that purpose, but I have no idea why the White Sox would choose to have that be the on deck area. Anyone have thoughts on this?

When I complain about the hat shuffle or the Chevy truck race at Dodger Stadium, I'm going to remember this. Something about a large group of people rooting for incredibly unhealthy foods to win a foot race just seems paradoxical to me, and even more annoyingly corporate than anything I've seen elsewhere.

Bobby Jenks gets the final out to secure the White Sox victory.

I sure do enjoy fireworks.


DATE: 05/23/2008 06:30:29 PM

Watching two teams you don't particularly care for—a sign of a true baseball fan. Will you wear Dodgers gear to next week's games? Hope the Cubs faithful treat you well.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/24/2008 03:48:33 AM

Thank baby jesus you're back. I was really worried. Isn't Wrigley just the berries?

Sicily 1942 (no,no,no, enough Golden Girls references) Bloomington, 1998. It was the middle of September and a buddy calls me up. "Sosa hit 60 today and they have Milwaukee coming up. We are driving up tomorrow to get Standing Room Onlies." he said to me. Off we went. We took our place in line at 6 am, which got us itno the game but with SROs. We nosed around and found two empty seats behind the visitor's dugout about halfway through BP. We sat down and were miraculously undisturbed. In the fifth Sosa tied Maris with a two run shot and in the 9th he blasted one onto Waveland. The ovation lasted for 30 minutes with two curtain calls. It sparked a comeback that tied the game. In the bottom of the 10th Mark Grace just barely gets one out in right to close out the game. It was the best $10 I ever spent on baseball.

AUTHOR: Rickhouse
DATE: 05/24/2008 12:07:28 PM

Great post, glad you got to see a good game.

So about that ride on the red line.....were you harassed by multiple bums? Did you ever feel like the CTA was just going to crash and burn in the middle of the trip?

These are problems people in Chicago usually have.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 05/27/2008 12:11:15 AM

Good catch on the on-deck circles. i never noticed that before....then again, I don't watch many White Sox games.

I think that's like the 10th Carlton Fisk Day they've had there...

The Return

Well, I'm back. That is to say, I'm in Chicago now, and will hopefully be getting my posts up on a more regular basis.

In my absence, the Dodgers took two of three from Milwaukee, lost two of three in Anaheim, and then swept the Reds in Los Angeles. The Red Sox lost two on the road in Baltimore, then went home and swept Milwaukee, then swept a four-game set against the Royals. Perhaps you heard about the first game in that series, in which Jon Lester threw a no-hitter. That was sweet, and I missed every bit of it, since I was busy playing the role of Chicago tourist and catching a show at Second City.

Oh well. I'm not recapping every game I missed. I'm living for the here and now, so we'll deal with this weekend's series, which feature the Dodgers playing host to the Cardinals and the Red Sox on the road in Oakland. Rafael Furcal is expected back for the Dodgers, thankfully, so we'll see if that has any impact on the team's success. Mostly, though, I just hope the Dodgers stay out of Albert Pujols' way.

I got to Chicago on Sunday, and two hours later I was sitting in a lovely seat at freezing Wrigley Field. I had not dressed properly for the event, and eventually ended up dropping $49 on a Cubs blanket so that I could stay marginally warm. That part wasn't fun.

But, it was my first time at Wrigley, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. That place is just amazing. You really can feel the history as soon as you see that place. I just plain loved it, and I wish I could write more about the history and how I felt being there, but to tell you the truth, it was all a little overwhelming.

The Cubs played the Pirates, and the Cubs won, which was fine with me. I'm going to all three games against the Dodgers next week (Monday-Wednesday), though, so I won't be a Cubs' fan then, as much as I would love to hear "Go Cubs Go" again. When I go to those games, I'm going to soak it all in a little bit more, and then maybe have more to say about Wrigley.

How about some photos, huh?

The view from our seats.

You say Wrigley field has a live band that features a clarinet, French horn and a banjo? Count me in!

Seventh inning stretch.

Wood strikes out Bixler to end the game.

Cubs win!

More pictures from Wrigley after the games against the Dodgers. There might even be some of me, since I didn't like the one I took on Sunday.

In the next post, my trip to U.S. Cellular Field.


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 05/27/2008 12:09:03 AM

It looks like you had some excellent seats! Those are some great photos. The weather is supposed to warm up this week for the final two Dodgers games.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Recycling Update, Other News and Notes

I'm leaving for Chicago in two days. I am driving, making it a road trip with my friend Cate, and that means I will likely be out of commission on the blog for that time. I will have my computer, and I will be listening to the games, but don't expect much until possibly next Monday or Tuesday, after I've settled into my hotel room in the Windy City.

So, several things to address. First, Josh Rawitch from the Dodgers got back to me regarding recycling issues at Dodger Stadium. He told me that the trash company the Dodgers use to haul trash actually does separate the recycling, which is why the stadium hired that company in the first place. He also said there are recycling bins at the stadium, which look like Coke bottles. Now, this season, in the ten games I have attended, I have sat in left field pavilion, all over field level, and all over the loge. I haven't sat in the reserve section or top deck, but I have yet to see a Coke bottle recycling bin anywhere at the stadium. I don't think Josh is lying to me; I just think these bins must be few and far between.

Last Friday, I went to see a game with my friend Nick (and actually hung out with Steve Sax and Alex Cora from Sons of Steve Garvey). While I was leaving my loge level seats, I passed two blue recycling bins that were near a bar that was added during the off-season renovations.

Those were the only recycling bins I've seen at Dodger Stadium, and believe me, they weren't exactly prominent. I walked right past them, and only noticed because Nick needed to throw something away, and realized he was looking at a recycling bin and not a trashcan. Also, the bin itself doesn't do a very good job of indicating what should go inside of it. Cans and bottles, in theory, but what about plastic beer cups? Or the paper cups that hold frozen lemonade? These things are technically recyclable, too, right?

I have so much more to say about all this, particularly with regard to the comments Bruce Paine and Malea wrote in the last post, but there's not enough time. Let's just say that I think a company like the Dodgers should get the fans involved in recycling, since a cultural mindset change is what we're after in this country with regard to the environment. That means, no more using a trash company that separates recyclables. Instead, first we concentrate on getting the fans/consumers involved in recycling their own goods. People know about recycling, obviously, but if we really try to focus them on the issue at hand, the next step will be a hell of a lot easier. And that next step is: we have to next work on finding alternatives to the products consumed at the stadium, as suggested by Paine and Malea. The problem for the Dodgers is that this probably means a greater cost, but can we get people, including the Dodgers' ownership, to start to believe the extra cost is worth it?

I think most would agree that this country needs to slow down its consumption of basically everything, or at the very least find more environmentally friendly ways to consume. The Dodgers are a corporation, and part of an even bigger corporation in MLB. Why not start a trend? Be proactive, and show the country, and MLB, that 50,000+ fans don't have to be a detriment to the environment 81 times a year at every stadium in the country.

I'm going to work on some ideas for all of this, but feel free to leave more of your own in the comments while I'm on my little break.

Okay, onto the teams. Here are the bullet points.

  • The Red Sox just lost three of four to the Twins. Offense wasn't really a problem, except maybe on Monday. The Sox scored 22 runs over the four games, and lost by one run in two of them. Starting pitching was the real issue, highlighted by Tim Wakefield's performance on Sunday, in which he gave up seven runs (six earned) in just 2.2 innings. The Sox look to get back on track with two in Baltimore against the Orioles (is it just me, or are there are lot more two-game series than normal this season?). After that, they'll head home to play an interleague series against the Brewers.

  • The Dodgers got swept by the Astros (including a spectacular loss in a game that saw Kuroda throw a no-hitter for 6.2 innings) and looked really pathetic overall. They have now lost four in a row, and the spark plug of their offense, Rafael Furcal, is on the DL with a bad back. That means Pierre will lead off most of the games, and since Jones will continue to play in center, Ethier won't get much playing time. It's hugely frustrating to me to think of Ethier just sitting on the bench, especially considering his level of production when he does get the chance to play. The kid needs to be playing everyday. Period.

  • The Dodgers are heading out on the road now, facing Milwaukee (weird--both my teams are playing the Brewers this week; I hope the Brewers lose six in a row) and then heading down to Anaheim to play the Angels. This is a tough stretch for the Dodgers. I'm not really expecting much, so maybe they'll surprise me.

Dodgers' Record: 19-18 (3.5 games back of the Diamondbacks for first in the N.L. West)

Red Sox Record: 24-17 (one-half game ahead of the Rays for first in the A.L. East)


AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/14/2008 09:37:49 PM

I have spent a tidbit of time thinking about the issue in NFL stadiums and came to a conclusion. For the idea part to spread it has to happen in high profile stadiums. Teams like the Dodgers, Yanks, and Boston have to be on the forefront or the idea won't get press. A news company like ESPN would never mention if it wasn't happening with one of their banner teams. In the NFL, it has to be the Pats, Cowboys, Eagles, or Chargers. It has to be one of those big market teams or you won't hear about it. That is no reason for smaller market teams like the Colts or Chiefs or Rams to not do it, though.

AUTHOR: Karina
DATE: 05/17/2008 03:59:00 PM

Congratulations Erin, you have at least bring some awareness from the Dodger office about this very important issue.

There must a way to convince the front office about the importance of recycling, which also involves better strategies than a couple of recycling bins scattered over a huge place which is very crowded.

p.s: have a nice road trip!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sox Win, Take Series in Detroit

Okay, so this would have been a four-game sweep were it not for Lugo's Glove of Futility (trademark pending) on Wednesday, but three out of four ain't bad. In fact, five out of seven overall this season against Detroit is pretty darn good. I know the Tigers have been struggling all season, but holding that offense to 27 runs over seven games (about 3.86 runs a game) seems pretty good, especially when you consider that ten of the Tigers' runs came in Wednesday night's battle. Three times in the seven games, the Red Sox pitchers shut out the Tigers' offense, and two other times the Tigers were held to three runs or fewer. Not bad. And, we're done seeing them this season, so if they heat up later, it won't be a problem for Boston.

Josh Beckett did his thing on Thursday, and recorded his 1,000th strikeout along the way. He gave up six hits over his seven innings of work, every one of them singles. Delcarmen gave up a single in the ninth, which meant the Tigers had zero extra-base hits in this game. In fact, if my count is correct, Detroit only managed three extra-base hits in the entire four-game series. That's a stat that could explain their inability to win ball games.

Boston's offense rolled again on Thursday, thanks in large part to Kevin Youkilis, who hit yet another home run at Comerica Park. That makes four in the series, and that makes me very happy. The Sox scored three runs off Verlander in the second inning like this: single, single, wild pitch advances runners, single (two runs score), bunt single, HBP, sac fly (run scores). Nice. Verlander settled down for a while after that, and Beckett just continued to cruise until the fourth, when he gave up three consecutive singles after recording two outs. One run scored, and then Granderson struck out to end the inning. That was all Beckett was giving the Tigers, as he retired the next nine in a row before handing the ball to Craig Hansen, followed by Manny Delcarmen.

Youkilis hit his home run in the fifth, after Ellsbury singled and Pedroia and Ortiz flied out, and the Sox took a 5-1 lead, which was all they needed. Good series, and now they head to Minnesota, where Lester will take the mound. Remember, Lester was once part of a package the Sox were considering sending to the Twins for Johan Santana. I was always against that, and Lester has been pitching well enough to make it look like it's just fine that the trade didn't happen. Let's see how he does in the dome tonight.

Player of the Game: Josh Beckett (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks)

Record: 23-14 (second-best in MLB, one game behind Arizona)

Oh, and regarding my posts on recyling, I heard back from Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers' VP of Broadcasting and Public Relations. He's looking into the situation, and he'll be getting back to me. I will, of course, pass along any info I get from him as soon as it comes in.


AUTHOR: Christine
DATE: 05/09/2008 04:15:52 PM

Recycling is too important a subject for the Dodgers to pass up. Companies like this need a constant reminder that the regular folks out there care and are taking notice of their practices. I can think of no one better to be the voice nagging the Dodgers for change.

DATE: 05/09/2008 09:04:11 PM

Well, if anyone would know how good I am at nagging, it would be you.

Ladies and gentleman, this is a rare treat indeed--an appearance from my girlfriend!

DATE: 05/09/2008 10:27:51 PM

That's very cool of Josh.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/11/2008 04:45:06 AM

I always think how wasteful games are. When I would go to the Colts games I was always a little pissed at the drunks who come to the game to get drunk and use ten or twelve plastic cups. I took it upon myself to bring a reuseable cup in the form of a flask but they frisked people at the Colts games so I had to wear my sliding shorts and stick it in the built in jock. That meant warm hooch. I hated that.

In more serious terms, what is your grand scheme. If you want to reduce, re use, and recycle at the ballpark, what has to happen. This environment is made to feel vacationy, I even bet the bleachers in sunny so-cal has the slight scent of sun-block wafting from all the pretty ladies. Sunblock smells like vacation, people don't recycle on vacation. so the mentality is set. How do you change it? in function, how do you reduce the waste at the ballpark and how do you reuse their brand of waste since I would wager it is primarily plastic and cooked biomass? (not great compost) I am not trying to bust anybody's balls here, I am just asking since you brought it up. It would be easier for you to get a response if you had strategies to offer up yourself.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/11/2008 05:22:35 AM

I understand you are working on it, I am just playing devil's advocate. Is there a chance that Dodger stadium is selling its trash to a recycling company? Some stadiums and construction companies contract their trash removal to larg scale recycling firms who do the work off site at their own facility. Do you really think the problem at the stadium is in the dugout? Most of those guys are probably using paper cups, which are far easier to recycle than the plastic they give you suds in. As far as spitting water out is concerned, I think you are going overboard. These guys are wasting maybe a few gallons of water, outside, during the summer months. We aren't talking chemical runoff or anything. They probably use thousands of gallons every time they water the outfield grass and tamp the clay. While I admit that dugouts are nasty affairs, it appears the problem is in the stands. If they stuck the recycling bins in the concourses, would people use them?

Did you know that the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island is visible from space and is sometimes regarded as the largest manmade structure on earth (usually the great wall of china)? It is the largest landfill in the US and became such a political issue that they decided to remediate the site into a park. How are they getting rid of the trash? They are loading it into overseas containers and railroading to to South Carolina where it is being put in a landfill that will be the largest in the nation in four years is it grows at its current rate. The plan to make Fresh kills a park was begun in 2003, work has not yet begun.

What do you believe the average gas mileage is for the vehicles the players drive to the ballpark? And while we are on the topic of sustainability, how long do you think it takes for the crowd to exit Dodger Stadium? The Colosseum in Rome sat 60,000 and some historians claim a full house could exit the stadium in under 10 minutes. How well ventilated is the concourse area? "In every big series there comes a time when it becomes difficult to breathe, difficult to swallow. This is that moment." I always feel that way when I am at Wrigley on the right field side. The wind doesn't get in there very well. Things like that may have an even greater impact on the overall carbon footprint of the facility.

Clearly you have a start. You have indicated that the practices must become fashionable for the locals and financially viable for the management. If you could select a plan for each problem to get the ball rolling what would those plans be? Who do you have to talk to to get it to happen. If they don't listen, who do you talk to to raise the stink and make others smell it?

DATE: 05/11/2008 12:12:48 PM

One idea that is starting to gain momentum esp. in regards to disposable tableware is compostable tableware. With a really quick search, here is one link,, and another, But I know there are many many more out there. The downside is you need to have access to an industrial composting facility, but these are also becoming more visible. (side note, homeowners can use these too with their own composting bin, it just takes longer to break down into compost than a commercial facility would.

The great thing with this, is plastic bags can be made from starch as well, making one more thing that can be composted vs. tossed. So this makes all food, utensils, paper products, and most plastic going to the compost bin. Take the metal beer bottles and recycle them, and I don't think you have much more waste. . . plus you have this great bi-product! Compost from a commercial facility can be used for fertilizing anything!

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/12/2008 03:10:10 AM

Ladies and gentleman, this is a rare treat indeed--an appearance from my girlfriend! sigh

I don't know about yours, Erin, but mine never shuts up. I keep telling her to get back in the kitchen, she isn't allowed on the internet, but she doesn't listen.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Free Ideas for Dodger Executives

If you'll recall, the Dodgers intend to "Think Blue and Act Green" with regard to the stadium in the future, and according to them, that means using recycled products in the renovations, as well as installing more efficient lightbulbs and things of that nature. The press release about this indicates the Dodgers will "promote recycling," but there's no indication that the promotion of recycling involves actually providing a location for the fans (and employees, which I'll get to in a minute) to recycle the various containers they use for food and beverage items at the stadium.

While at the game on Monday night, discussing this whole situation, my friend Peg went down to throw away our garbage. Of course, most of it was recyclable, but we obviously didn't have another option. When she came back, Peg told me about a big plastic relish jar that she saw in the trash. I went down to take a picture, because we can talk a lot about the products that fans use that could be recycled, but I hadn't thought of all the stuff that Dodger Stadium uses just to provide us with those products. How many of these relish jars (not to mention jars of onions, mustard, and god knows what else) do you think the stadium goes through every game?

There are obviously not even recycling options behind the scenes if these items are ending up in the trash, so that only furthers this problem and gets me more riled up about the situation. Something has to be done about this. I don't care about all the other things the Dodgers are claiming to do to help the environment; this is a big deal, and it's not acceptable to think that the stadium will continue to offer no solutions to the problem.

So, here we go. For the moment, let's operate under the assumption that the idea of providing recycling bins and getting them picked up is too cost prohibitive for the Dodgers. The city probably wouldn't do it for free, because a 56,000-seat stadium is quite different from my sixteen-unit apartment building. Okay, but after reading this article (hat tip to Dodger Thoughtsfor pointing me there) about the Dodgers exploring naming rights for the new renovations to the stadium, it's hard to believe they wouldn't be able to find a company interested in sponsoring a recycling program. Find a company that wants the public to believe it's working on its environmental image, have them pay for the costs of getting the recycling picked up, and it's a win-win for all involved. It would be fitting to get a company that has its roots in Los Angeles, so here are some ideas:

  • DirecTV. They already have ties with MLB, and apparently have a deal to start an "MLB Channel." They're based in El Segundo, so they are part of the community, but they're national and big enough to be able to afford a sponsorship like this.
  • Hilton Hotels. God knows Paris Hilton's parents owe us all a little something for subjecting us to their daughter's antics over the years. So, what better way to make it up to us than by helping to save the environment?
  • American Apparel. They already fancy themselves to be good members of the community, since their claim to fame is employing workers here in this country, and paying them a fair wage. They have been growing like crazy in the last few years, and the "American" just makes them sound wholesome, despite their slightly pornographic advertisements.
  • Mattel. They're also based in El Segundo. Maybe they could deck out the trucks that pick up the recycling (I'd like to think these trucks run on biodiesel) so they look like Matchbox cars. Possible slogan: "The Dodgers don't toy with the environment." I don't know, people. I'm not an advertising executive. My creativity only goes so far.
  • California Pizza Kitchen. They already sell their products at Dodger Stadium, so this one isn't a big stretch. They're based right in Los Angeles, and the boxes their pizza comes in are recyclable, but they end up in the trash at every game. We can get those boxes into a recycling bin, and wouldn't it be even better if that bin had a big CPK logo on it?
  • L.A. Metro. This one was Peg's suggestion. L.A.'s transit system is currently running adsall over regarding the future of mass transit in this city, and a lot of the ad campaign is focused on a healthier environment. If they could team up with Dodger Stadium to sponsor the recycling program, then perhaps we could also get a bus line to Dodger Stadium. That solves a couple environmental problems in one fell swoop. Sounds good to me.
  • Movie studios. Having worked in the entertainment industry for a while now, I can safely say that the movie studios waste like crazy. They waste paper, they waste gas (transportation guys leave vans running constantly, and there are a lot of generators used to run the trailers), and they waste electricity. It would be hard to offset that carbon footprint, but sponsoring a recycling program would at least be a start in the right direction. We are not lacking for studios in this city, so start reaching out to Universal (which already advertises at the stadium, so this is probably the best bet), Fox, Disney, Paramount, Sony, etc. See where it gets you.

Those are just a few ideas. A search on Google for "Los Angeles based companies" leads to a Wikipedia page that features a whole bunch of companies matching that description. There are probably even better ideas out there, but the point is that the Dodgers are not without options in the matter.

Of course, there are other possibilities. I mentioned in my last post on the subject that Fenway Park has been using college students and other volunteers to collect recycling from patrons during the game. There are also bins around the park to allow fans to recycle their products without the help of the "Green Teams." The money the team collects from all this recycling will go toward buying solar panels that will heat 37% of the hot water at Fenway, according to this article. That's big-time, people. And hey, Fenway Park's program is called the "Poland Spring Green Team." Poland Spring is a bottled water on the east coast, so it looks like the Red Sox found themselves a sponsor to get this stuff done. Fancy that.

The Red Sox are a team that is being proactive and doing something to help the environment. I don't think the Dodgers can say the same right now. I know McCourt probably shudders at the idea of copying something Fenway is doing, but it's a good system. Consider a "Green Team" scenario at Dodger Stadium, where volunteers would collect recyclables and the Dodgers would collect the money.

I read an article recently about attendance at Dodger Stadium, and mixed in is a story about fans who search for recycling in the stands and in the parking lot after games. These fans are making a profit on their own by picking up what the Dodgers want to just send to a landfill. So, if the Dodgers aren't willing to put out bins and work on getting the recyclables collected with volunteers or whatever, then what about letting the fans do it on their own? Invite fans to come by after the game and go through the stands looking for cans and bottles, or even go through the trash to find those items. The problem with that, Dodger executives, is that if you allow fans to do this on their own,other peoplewould be making money due to your unwillingness to take care of your own mess. I can't imagine you would want that to happen. Right?

I suppose the Dodgers could say that the "Next 50" plan includes ideas for recycling, but all I've seen thus far is talk of how the new additions to the stadium will be built in environmentally friendly ways. There's nothing out there talking about the simple problem of all the plastic and cardboard that gets sent to landfills 81 times a year. That problem is happening now, and it continues to happen every home game, so I'd like to see less talk about "the future," and a little more action in the present.

I've got some ideas, and this is not just a pipe dream, people. This stuff is doable, and I'm hoping to hear soon that the Dodgers are working toward enacting some of these initiatives. I (with some help from Peg) came up with these ideas in just a few short days of considering the situation, so imagine what people who are paid to figure this stuff out can accomplish. Frankly, if the Dodgers want someone passionate and dedicated to the cause, they should consider putting me in charge. At the very least, I'm going to keep talking about it until something changes, even during my extended leave from the Los Angeles area. I've got people. I'm keeping my eye on you, Dodgers.

For the record, today I'm sending the links to these two posts on this subject to Josh Rawitch, Dodgers'VP of Broadcasting and Public Relations. In the interest of journalistic integrity, it's only fair to allow the Dodgers to respond. And if it turns out they're already well on their way to starting these programs, I will gladly admit that I've been wrong.


AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 05/08/2008 12:32:23 PM

Is there a way they can recycle Andruw Jones' contract in the hopes that it will turn out better the next time around?

DATE: 05/08/2008 04:29:39 PM

This sounds like a full-time job. The Dodgers should create the position of Environmental Resources Producer and hire you, Erin.

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/09/2008 06:16:15 AM

This is such a great blog. Look at the scope, and the proximity of the writer to the subject. I was a telling a guy the other day that this wasn't a blog, it was too active. Blogs happen at a desk chair. I called it gonzo journalism. I hope Plimpton is proud.

DATE: 05/09/2008 11:19:49 AM

Orel, agreed. If the Dodgers want to set up that position, I'd be all over it.

Bruce, I hope you do keep reading this blog once Cobra Brigade shuts down. I don't know how else I'd get my ego boosted on a regular basis. Thank you very much.

Not A Good Wednesday

The Red Sox 5-0 won on Tuesdaythanks to a solid eight-inning performance from Mr. Tim Wakefield, who didn't allow a run, didn't walk anybody, held the Tigers to only two hits, and struck out six batters along the way. That was a good game.

Wednesday's game was a good game also, but with a different outcome. I really don't want to talk about it, but I will anyway. The Sox fell behind 4-0 early, but fought their way back. Then, after Tavarez really sucked, Boston found themselves down 8-5, but a Mike Lowell home run tied the game, and then a Dustin Pedroia pinch-hit single in the eighth gave us a 9-8 lead.

In the ninth, Papelbon was on the hill. He gave up a fluke hit, one of those check swings that ends up in a dribbler down the line that no one can play, but then he got a double play ball, hit right at Lugo. At the very least, it should have been one out. But Lugo was so focused on getting the runner at second (I think the runner had been going on the pitch) that he bobbled the ball and got no one. Instead of two outs with nobody on, or even one out with a runner at first, it was two on, nobody out. Papelbon retired Rodriguez on a sac bunt, then got a groundout from Granderson that should have been the third out of the inning. Instead, it tied the game. A bloop single from Polanco that fell just over Lugo's (of course) glove gave the Tigers the win, 10-9.

It is painful to watch Julio Lugo play the field. I hold my breath on every single ball that comes his way. I shouldn't be feeling that way about my shortstop. When will be be benched in favor of Jed Lowrie?

Sox will try to get the series win on Thursday. It'll be Beckett versus Verlander. If momentum is today's starting pitcher, I guess Sox fans should be feeling pretty good.

As for the Dodgers, there's nothing to say. Brad Penny, who hasn't really been dominating in any of his starts, but still came into the game with a 5-2 record and a 3.19 ERA, got knocked around badly by the Mets. How badly? His ERA now stands at 4.79, and his WHIP is an ugly 1.47. He got through 4.2 innings and gave up ten of the twelve runs the Mets scored. It was just a beatdown, and the Dodgers lost 12-1. They get a day off on Thursday, then welcome in the Astros for a weekend series. I'll be there Friday night, and if the Dodgers play the way they have been lately (excluding Wednesday), this should be a sweep. Let's get it started right on Friday.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dodgers Win Behind Blake DeWitt

If Blake DeWitt keeps playing like this, it's going to be very hard to justify sending him back down to Triple-A when either Garciaparra or LaRoche (or both) get healthy again. Just one night after hitting his first career home run, DeWitt hit his second career home run, this time in a slightly more unconventional way, with the ball staying in the park.

First, though, early on in this game I was convinced that the Dodgers didn't have a chance to win. Hiroki Kuroda was just plain not good, but even though the Mets scored four runs over the first three innings, they actually had a chance to do a lot more damage. Ryan Church hit a home run in the first to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. After David Wright robbed James Loney of a run-scoring double in the bottom of the inning, Kuroda came back out and struggled some more, allowing three consecutive hits to score another run, before getting a grounder that came right to him. He threw to third, and would have had the runner in plenty of time, but his throw was wide, and everyone was safe. Reyes came up and singled, scoring another run and leaving the bases loaded, but Kuroda got a break when Church grounded into a 1-2-4 double play, and David Wright struck out swinging.

Nelson Figueroa, the Mets' pitcher, wasn't much better than Kuroda, but the Dodgers were having a tough time capitalizing on their opportunities. In the second, DeWitt led off with a single, Hu struck out, and Kuroda sacrificed DeWitt to second. Pierre hit a single to right to score the Dodgers' first run.

But, DeWitt committed an error on an Alou grounder to lead off the first. Delgado singled, Pagan grounded into a fielder's choice, and when he tried to steal second, Martin's throw was too late, and Alou took the opportunity to score home and give the Mets a 4-1 lead. Things were not looking good for the Dodgers.

But you also never really felt like the Mets had a command on this game, despite the three-run lead. It just seemed like if the Dodgers could finally figure it out, they could do some damage. In the bottom of the third (this game seemed to go on forever), Jones flied out, Kemp walked, Kent grounded into a fielder's choice that erased Kemp, but then Loney singled and Martin walked to load the bases. Blake DeWitt hit a single that went under Delgado's glove at first, and Kent and Loney both scored to make it 4-3, Mets.

Meanwhile, after Kuroda recorded one out in the fourth, and then allowed two baserunners, Torre brought in Kuo to stop the bleeding. And Kuo did just that. He struck out Delgado and Pagan to end the inning, then, sandwiched around a HBP and a walk, he struck out the side in the fifth. In the bottom of the inning, Martin hit a two-out single, and Blake DeWitt followed with ball to deep right. Church made a leap, and the ball seemed to go right off the top of the right field wall before bouncing back into right field. Church was sort of dazed for a second, and then got up to retrieve the ball, but DeWitt was already rounding third and heading home for the inside-the-park home run at Dodger Stadium in five years and, obviously, the first of DeWitt's career. It gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead, and that's all the pitching staff needed.

Kuo pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh, getting three more strikeouts, and then Broxton came in to pitch a scoreless eighth. Saito gave up two singles in the ninth, but struck out Castillo on a nasty pitch for the third out. Saito got his fifth save, and the Dodgers got their tenth win in the last eleven games.

It's a day game at Dodger Stadium today, and I considered going, but I just have too much to do around the house. I'll be there on Friday when the Dodgers play the Astros, in what will definitely be my last game at Dodger Stadium for a while. The Dodgers are 8-1 this season (including two preseason games) in games I attend, so my presence seems to be a good luck charm. The only loss came on this night, so perhaps it was my punishment for my high-falutin' ways.

Penny vs. Maine on Wednesday, with a 12:10 Pacific time start, as the Dodgers go for the sweep and their 20th win on the season.

Player of the Game: Blake DeWitt, duh. 3-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R. Honorable mention to Hong-Chih Kuo (3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 HP, 8 Ks)

Record: 19-14


DATE: 05/31/2008 03:32:49 AM

DeWitt's IOP Homer wasn't the first at Dodger Stadium in 5 years, it was the first by a Dodger in 5 years. Gary Matthews Jr. hit an IOP Homer at Dodger Stadium on Father's Day last year when James Loney, making a very rare appearance in Right, ran smack into the scoreboard and was knocked out. By the time Juan Pierre got over there and threw the ball in, Matthews had scored.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dodgers Win, Gain Ground In West

In each of his previous three starts coming into Monday, Chad Billingsley had faltered in the fifth inning. In the last start in Florida, he only gave up one run in that inning, but had to throw a lot of pitches. Before that, against Arizona, he gave up two runs in the fifth and needed 26 pitches to escape the inning. In Atlanta, he went five innings and gave up four runs, all of which came in the fifth inning. It's been like some sort of curse for the guy.

So, I was in attendance on Monday night at Dodger Stadium, and I was willing Billingsley through the fifth inning, thinking that he just needed to get one of them under his belt to prove he could. It had all seemed psychological to this point anyway, so I thought one good fifth inning could make all the difference.

Well, Billingsley did it. He needed 16 pitches to get through the inning, which isn't great, but also not terrible. He got two quick outs, but then Ryan Church worked a full count and ended up walking, before David Wright grounded out to end the inning. In the sixth, Billingsley also used 16 pitches to work around a Beltran leadoff triple (a ball terribly misplayed by Kemp) and an Alou single that scored the runner. Billingsley then got a double play (nicely turned by Furcal) and a grounder from Schneider to end the inning. Billingsley walked the first hitter in the seventh, and Torre brought in Beimel. So Billingsley went six innings, and threw 95 pitches. Still a pretty high pitch count, but he looked good out there, and his last two starts should be making him feel pretty confident right about now.

Let's talk Dodger offense, okay? Furcal led off the game with a home run for (I think) the third time this season. I've been there for two of them, and I think the third came in Atlanta. Juan Pierre followed with a single, and stole second with one out. Kent lined out to Perez, who knocked down the ball with his gut and was still able to throw out Kemp. Martin singled to center, and the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Blake DeWitt led off the fifth inning with his first major league home run (I was also present for his first base hit, a single, and his first triple, but I missed his first double, so I didn't quite get the career-first cycle). The guys in the dugout gave him the silent treatment for a few seconds, then mobbed him and made him go out for his curtain call. The crowd (including me) was going crazy. It was a great moment.

Billingsley struck out after that, then Furcal popped up and Pierre worked a walk. Kemp, your N.L. Player of the Week, followed and showed some nice opposite field power by hitting a homer into the right field seats.

The Dodger bullpen (Beimel, Broxton and Saito) once again came up big, pitching three scoreless innings, and the Dodgers got their ninth win in the last ten games. What's more, the Phillies beat up on Arizona, so the Dodgers are now only three games behind Arizona for the N.L. West lead.

In case you're wondering, Andruw Jones went 0-3 and is now batting .158. His OBP is .267. You know what the worst part about that is? He's only been benched for two games this season. Andre Ethier is hitting .303 with a .388 OBP and a .853 OPS (Andruw's is .515), and I think I count eight times so far this season that he hasn't started. It's terrible to have to say this, but right now the best outfield for these Dodgers is Kemp, Ethier and Pierre. Sit Jones down for a while. He's not helping at all when he's in the game. His good defense doesn't make up for all the strikeouts and double plays with men in scoring position. Right now, this team is winning in spite of him. That won't always be the case.

This is what stealing $18 million looks like.

Nighttime at beautiful Dodger Stadium.

Player of the Game: Matt Kemp (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R). Honorable mention to Blake DeWitt for the first home run of his career.

Record: 18-14


AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 05/07/2008 03:14:58 AM

Just so you know... Many blogs really suck. They add a lot of flotsam to the stream. Blue Thoughts and Beantown West have never been that. Many blogs "comment" but they don't "recap" or "analyze". I would really hate it if CB dropping out hurt your readership, but you have one reader who isn't going anywhere.

AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 05/07/2008 12:16:22 PM

Buster Olney must read your blog

Juan Pierre has always been an old-school free-swinger, someone who hacks first and asks questions later. But in the first five weeks of his season, there has been a dramatic change in Pierre.

"He's picking through pitches," said one talent evaluator. "I think with the competition going on" -- with four Dodgers outfielders competing for three spots -- "he had to re-think a little bit the way he was playing. In the time I've seen him, you can really see him trying to get on base, in a way that's different from in the past. There's a deliberate thought process going on there. His at-bats look different."

That's because they are different, so far. Entering Wednesday's game, Pierre is averaging 3.67 pitches per plate appearances, more than a quarter of a pitch better than the 3.40 pitches per plate appearance he averaged last year, and he is hitting .316, with a .388 on-base percentage. He's never had an on-base percentage of greater than .378.

And he's putting himself in better ball-strike counts. Courtesy of Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau, here is the percentage of plate appearance in which Pierre has put himself into hitters' counts of 2-0 or 3-1:

2000 219 31 14.2
2001 683 104 15.2
2002 640 90 14.1
2003 747 137 18.3
2004 748 117 15.6
2005 719 124 17.2
2006 750 110 14.7
2007 729 103 14.1
2008 87 19 21.8
## = plate appearances with either a 2-0 or 3-1 count at any point

There are still 129 games to play, and what Pierre has done so far is one slice of one season. But he does seem to be improving. And if he continues to play the way he has in the first five weeks of this season and Andruw Jones continues to struggle, Dodgers manager Joe Torre may have a very difficult but clear decision at some point this year to play an outfield of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Pierre -- and bench Jones, who is hitting .162 with one homer.

DATE: 05/07/2008 01:09:37 PM

Yeah, there's no question Pierre has been playing better in the last few weeks. The problem is, Torre has already said that he's not going to bench Andruw Jones, because the only way to get him out of the slump is to keep putting him in the lineup. Maybe. But it's hard to see him batting second, since he's basically an automatic out.

I don't think Jones is going to break from this slump while in the lineup, and I also don't think he's motivated enough to give a crap if he were to lose his starting position, but I'd sure like to see Torre take a chance on that latter scenario.

Right now, Jones has a VORP of -7.0. Andre Ethier, who has been the odd man out, has a VORP of 7.8. I'm sure Torre doesn't look at a statistic like that, but it doesn't take a genius to see that Jones is a liability.

Pierre in left, Kemp in center and Ethier in right. That's the ideal right there, which I never thought I'd say. Kemp has a much stronger throwing arm, so we'd want him in the middle. If things continue with Jones the way they have thus far, I don't see how Torre can have a choice. The center fielder cannot be hitting .162 with a .273 OBP. He just can't.

Sox Win Despite Matsuzaka's Wildness

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five innings. He needed 109 pitches to get through those innings. I'm surprised the number was that low. Why? Because in those five inning, Matsuzaka walked eight Detroit batters. Eight. Every starter, with the exception of Polanco and Renteria, was walked. Sheffield walked three times. This was a crazy game. But guess what? The Red Sox won it anyway.

Somehow, despite having runners on base in every one of his innings, Matsuzaka only gave up one run. That's probably because, though he walked a lot of guys, he never gave up any big hits with those runners on base. In fact, he only gave up two hits on the evening, one of which was a two-out single that accounted for his only earned run. The rest of the time, he got timely pop-ups or even deep fly ball outs, but nothing that scored any runs. Eight walks and only one strikeout with only one earned run adds up to maybe the craziest win a pitcher can get.

The offense helped him out, though. Ramirez led off the second with a double, and then Mike Lowell hit his first home run (and got his first RBI of the season) to left field to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, Lowell doubled, and Youkilis hit his third home run of the season to almost the same spot in left that Lowell had hit his. Granderson singled in a Tigers' run in the bottom of the inning.

In the seventh, with a reliever on the mound, Pedroia doubled and Ortiz singled him home. Craig Hansen, who was called up from Triple-A because Brandon Moss had an appendectomy, had pitched a perfect sixth, but then had some trouble in the seventh. He gave up two singles before getting a double play, but then walked two guys. Okajima came in to help, and as has been his m.o. of late, he allowed the inherited runners to score on a Marcus Thames hit, making it 5-3, Boston. Luckily for Okajima, the Sox had a big enough lead to withstand that hit. But that tendency to not be dominating right away when he comes in is a little worrisome.

Ortiz got back one of the runs in the top of the ninth, when he he hit his sixth home run of the season into the right field seats. On April 18, Ortiz had a batting average of .134, an OBP of .239, a slugging percentage of .172, and an OPS of .471. He had hit two home runs at that point, and had four RBI. In the eighteen games since then (three of which he didn't even play in), he has raised those numbers to .225, .326, .408, and .734, respectively. He now has six home runs and 26 RBI. He might just be coming out of that slump.

Wakefield goes up against Robertson on Tuesday night, with the Sox hoping to get their fifth win in a row, and the Tigers trying to avoid a fifth consecutive loss.

In other news, Curt Schilling will
begin a throwing program today.

Player of the Game: Mike Lowell (3-5, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R)

Record: 21-13

Monday, May 05, 2008

Acting Green?

I tend to be a little bit of an environmentalist, because I fancy being able to breathe on this planet in about thirty years. I can't go too crazy, though, since riding a bike in Los Angeles would probably get me killed in less than a week. But I drive a car that gets about 40 miles to the gallon in the city, and around 50 on the highway. I recycle a bunch, I try not to waste water, and I have my own bags to use at the grocery store. And these do not feel like sacrifices, by any means.

Something about Major League Baseball has been bothering me for a while now. It's something you've probably seen a hundred times while watching a game, but never really thought twice about, because it's so common. When a guy comes off the field after scoring from second or hitting a home run, or just playing the field, often the first thing he does is grab a paper cup, pour some water from a nearby cooler, and drink. How many times have you seen a guy take a swig, dump the rest of the water he didn't want, and then drop the cup on the ground? How many times do you think this happens during a game? Watch for shots of your team's dugout toward the end of the game, and try to estimate how many of these cups litter the ground, and just how much water was wasted every time a guy threw it on the ground.

It may seem innocuous, but these cups are adding up rapidly. I don't think it's asking too much for a baseball team to consider the ramifications its actions are having on the environment. There are teams that are taking steps toward making their stadiums more environmentally friendly, so why not have MLB enact some sort of policy regarding the use of paper cups in the dugout? Is it so silly to think about having guys use their own personalized water bottles (preferably stainless steel, due to the rumors of chemicals coming out of plastic bottles) in the dugout? What would be the harm there? Put your name on the bottle, and drink from it when you need to. No paper refuse, no water dumped on the ground for no reason. I'm sure there are clubhouse attendants everywhere who would clamor for the chance to fill the bottle, so the players wouldn't even have to go to that trouble themselves. MLB is a corporation, and since many corporations are starting to take responsibility for their carbon footprints, this seems like it would be a step in the right direction toward that goal.

And, on the subject of the environment, I have another bone to pick, this one specifically with Dodger Stadium. Frank McCourt wants us to believe that Dodger Stadium will "Think Blue and Act Green," and that, according to the press release about the future of Dodger Stadium, it "will become as environmentally responsible a baseball stadium as there is in America." Remember when the bloggers got to talk to McCourt during a game? One of the things McCourt was most passionate about was the environmental impact of the stadium, particularly with regard to the amount of water the new urinals on field level would save every season. So maybe McCourt could spearhead a campaign to get individual water bottles in the dugouts, right?

But there is something else McCourt could work on right in his own stadium. Right now, any number of things you can purchase at Dodger Stadium are recyclable. Plastic water bottles, plastic water cups, aluminum beer bottles. Heck, even the trays used to carry all the goodies are recyclable paper. So why don't we see any recycling bins around Dodger Stadium?

I think the containers for virtually everything I eat or drink at Dodger Stadium can be recycled in this county, so what's the holdup? In my building, the county provides the bins for free. Something tells me some sort of deal can be worked out to get them cheap at Dodger Stadium, too. And even if I'm supposed to believe that the trash is sorted later for recyclables (I don't believe that, but I'll entertain the notion), wouldn't Dodger Stadium look more progressive and in tune with the current environmental standards if they allowed people to place their recyclable items in something other than a trash receptacle?

Or, if you want to think of your bottom line, Mr. McCourt, do you not realize what color the recycling bins are in Los Angeles County? Think of the cross-promotional ideas! What better way to "Think Blue and Act Green" than to provide people with a physical manifestation of that slogan? Look, I just took a picture of my own bin and did all the work for you. No thanks necessary (well, this could make you look really good, so if you wanted to thank me for that with 2009 season tickets, I wouldn't be opposed. I'd take first few rows of the left field pavilion. I'm not picky). It's not the world's greatest Photoshop work, but I'm sure your people can make it look good.

Picture missing, thanks to Douche.

For the record, I'm not getting on my other team, the Red Sox, for this issue because, for one thing, I don't live in Boston and I can't see their efforts in person. But, Fenway Park also just earned an EPA "Environmental Merit Award" for "a program that is already showing significant results in putting environmental considerations at the forefront of logistical decisions about how the organization presents events at the ballpark."

In fact, "the Red Sox have enlisted local university students to make up 'Green Teams' who will be present at every game at Fenway to roam the stands and to facilitate fans' 'recycling on the go' of their plastic cups and bottles."

If McCourt truly wants to "Act Green," it would seem that he needs to look no further than his native city, and what it is doing in its ballpark.


DATE: 05/07/2008 01:54:11 AM

Well put, Erin. It seems the key here is changing the culture of the dugout—no small feat. And if there's anything that should spur Frank McCourt to action, it's the Red Sox doing it first.

P.S.: Nice Photoshop!

Youk Powers Sox to Sweep of Rays

The Red Sox completed the sweep of the Rays on Sunday, showing Tampa Bay that perhaps last weekend's sweep was just a fluke. Scott Kazmir, making his first start of the season, was shaky at best, and allowed four runs on six hits and three walks. He did strike out five, but he only lasted four innings, and he got the loss in this one.

Jon Lester had another good start in this one, though his high pitch count does worry me. He was very efficient in his last start, but he needed 112 pitches to get through six innings in this one. He gave up one run on four hits and three walks, striking out five, but it sure took a lot of pitches to get that done. Still, though, the final line looks good, and I can only hope he'll continue to work on improving his efficiency.

The offense continued to roll today, with seven of the nine guys (Lugo and Lowell were left out) recording at least one hit. Ellsbury and Pedroia both reached base to lead off the game, then executed the double steal. Youkilis drove in Ellsbury with a sac fly, but Kazmir got out of the inning without any further damage. In the third, Pedroia singled (he has been red-hot lately), Youkilis doubled, then Pedroia scored on a wild pitch and Youkilis scored when Manny hit a double off the wall. Another run scored in the fourth when Pedroia grounded out and Crisp scored from third.

Carlos Pena hit a solo shot in the sixth off Lester, which was the only run Lester would allow. Delcarmen came in for the seventh, and continued his struggles by allowing a single and then a triple. Okajima came in and gave up a seeing-eye single to Crawford, which cut the Sox lead to 4-3. But Okajima struck out both Upton and Pena to end the inning, and Youkilis led off the seventh with a solo shot, to give the Sox a two-run cushion.

Okajima started the eighth and got the first two outs, but Hinske hit a little dribbler that literally stopped right on the line, for an infield hit. Francona opted to go with Papelbon to get the last four outs. Papelbon got the final out of the eighth, then watched as Youkilis doubled in two more runs. Papelbon then recorded his ninth save of the season by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

The Sox now face a much tougher test. They head to Detroit for a four-game series. You'll recall that the last time the Sox faced the Tigers, it ended in a sweep for Boston. Detroit is still sporting a below-.500 record, but I don't think they're the same team they were last month. We have to hope our offense continues to roll, and hope the starting pitching can continue their streak. The pitching staff overall has given up only 24 runs in the last eight games, which, if you know your math, means an average of three runs per game. That will help you win ball games, so let's see if we can keep it going.

Matsuzaka vs. Bonderman tonight.

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

Record: 20-13

Dodgers' Winning Streak Comes to An End

Well, the Dodgers weren't going to win every game, and an eight-game winning streak is nothing to sneeze at, so I'll take it. They had to face Aaron Cook on Sunday, who, unlike his opponent Derek Lowe, actually threw his sinkerball so that it sunk. He was therefore the more effective of the two men.

In fact, "ineffective" is perhaps the nicest word you can use to describe Derek Lowe's performance on Sunday. His first inning was just miserable. So miserable, in fact, that for the highlights in last night's Sportscenter, they actually had a graphic indicating how many pitches Lowe had to throw before recording his first out. The answer: 37. At that point, two runs had scored and the bases were loaded. That first out was a pop-up on the infield, then he got a sac fly that scored another run, and then he finally got out of the inning after throwing 51 pitches and putting his team in a 3-0 hole.

That was really all Aaron Cook needed. The Dodgers had a few chances, but couldn't capitalize, even against the Rockies' terrible bullpen once Cook was pulled with one out in the eighth. Andre Ethier hit a solo home run in the fifth, and the Dodgers would add another run in the eighth, but that was it. The Rockies scored seven runs, five of them charged to Lowe, and they finally won this season against the Dodgers.

It's time to start a new winning streak, this time at home, as the Mets come to town tonight, followed by the Astros. The Dodgers will not have to face Johan Santana, which is very nice. Against Oliver Perez, Nelson Figueroa and John Maine, I think the Dodgers can do a little damage. I'll be there tonight, sitting in left field, so I expect to see a Dodger home run or two heading my way.

Player of the Game: Andre Ethier? He started the scoring with his home run in the fifth, his only hit of the game.

Record: 17-14

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dodgers Beat Rockies, Win Eighth Straight

This team is playing so well right now that they aren't even bothered when their pitcher blows a six-run lead. They just pick up the bats and go back to work. With a 12-7 victory on Saturday night, the Dodgers have now won eight in a row, five of those wins coming over the Rockies. After today, I'm sure the Rockies will be glad to know that they won't have to see this team for almost another month. The Dodgers meanwhile, are wishing they could play Colorado everyday.

Maybe it wouldn't even matter who the Dodgers faced, though, when the bats are working like they are. They got things going early, scoring four runs in the first inning, thanks to four hits and a walk. They added two more in the second to give them a 6-0 lead, and things were looking good. But, as they say, no lead is safe at Coors Field, and Esteban Loaiza, the Dodgers' starter, seemed intent on proving that. In the bottom of the second, Loaiza did this: double, walk, single, double, HBP, sac fly. Three runs scored before he could get the last two outs, and just like that the Dodgers' lead was cut in half.

It didn't get better for Loaiza from there. Holliday led off the fourth with a home run, then Helton flied out, but Atkins doubled. Loaiza was pulled for Kuo, but Atkins took the first Kuo pitch he saw and launched it into the right field seats. Tie game. Kuo settled down admirably from there, and got out of the inning, then pitched a scoreless fourth, fifth and sixth, striking out five.

Kuo eventually ended up the winning pitcher, since the Dodgers came back in the fifth inning and finally forced Clint Hurdle to pull his starting pitcher. Kent reached when he hit a ball deep to the hole at short. The Rockies' shortstop fielded it, but couldn't make the throw in time. Kent moved to second on a wild pitch, then Russell Martin walked. James Loney, who two years ago had nine RBI in a single game at Coors Field, came up having already hit a three-run double in the game. This time, he opted for the slow jog, and knocked a ball out of the park, scoring three and giving the Dodgers a 9-6 lead.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth, and the Rockies brought in their third pitcher of the night, Ryan Speier. Speier gave up a Kent sac fly, then Kemp and Pierre executed the double steal (Torre apparently loves using it, and I say keep doing it all season). Martin grounded out, and they took the play home, where Pierre was out, but then Kemp scored on a Speier wild pitch. 11-6, Dodgers.

Each team would add a run in the later innings, and Helton had a shot at a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but Pierre made a nice catch at the wall. It's hard to say if the ball would have been out, but it certainly looked like it would have gone off the yellow line. Either way, Pierre saved some runs and stopped what could have been a big rally from the Rockies. Saito got out of the inning unscathed, and the Dodgers won, 12-7.

Aaron Cook, who has been the only solid part of the Rockies' starting rotation, goes against Derek Lowe on Sunday. That sinker ball needs to be sinking in Coors Field, or we could have some problems.

Player of the Game: James Loney (2-5, 1 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBI, 1 R)

Record: 17-13