Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What a maroon!

[My response to Bill Plaschke's crapola article in today's LA Times (Hiring Torre would be all right, but way they're treating Little is all wrong.]

What small amount of credibility you have left reached its absolute nadir with your article in this mornings Times ("Hiring Torre would be all right..."). The violins couldn't play loud enough for the departure of Grady Little, a totally incompetent manager and the root cause of the Dodgers nuclear winter. The fact that his malicious treatment was the focus of your perspective, rather than the Hosannas that should be ringing out from your pen for the coming of Torre and possible salvation of a moribund franchise, shows that you are grotesquely out of touch with the city of Los Angeles, LA Times readers, and most importantly, fans of the Dodgers.

"Little is a good man who deserves better". I have no doubt that Grady Little is a good man, and he certainly does deserve better. But better than the fans of the Dodgers, who have had to endure two years of this mindless dimwit, a numskull who completely lost control of the team and made incomprehensible blunder after blunder past the 6th inning? It is they who are being asked to endure more years of team poverty. And your maligning of Juan Pierre, the one player who fulfilled all that was asked of him and far more than he should have, is comical. He was saddled with hitting in the number two hole behind a vomitous lead-off hitter in Furcal, the worst in the league. His numbers were totally consistent with what he came here to do. What planet are you living on?

Should the focus be on Colletti now? Yes, without question. He needs to address several key areas, including a franchise type hitter and ace. But to base the bulk of your breaking news story on the wrongs McCourt has done to Little as opposed to the Christmas gift he has given us is just plain hooey. (I can't believe I just wrote that line).

In the immortal words of the Firesign Theater, "I say live it or live with it".

Dodger Tony

Los Feliz

Monday, October 29, 2007

Say it's so, Joe.

Joe Hollywood
LA hopes to sign Torre
by George King
New York Post

October 29, 2007 -- If divorce proceedings between Grady Little and the Dodgers go the distance, as many expect, The Post has learned Joe Torre has been targeted as the manager to heal a fractured Los Angeles clubhouse.

According to two people with knowledge of the Dodgers' universe, the club and Little are talking about a buyout that would leave the manager's office in Chavez Ravine vacant for Torre to inherit.

Torre, who wants to manage again, is interested in talking to the Dodgers if the job becomes available.

Since none of Little's coaches is signed for next year and he is ($1 million and an undisclosed option for 2009), there has been speculation Little is out. And since the underachieving Dodgers have a dysfunctional clubhouse with veterans and youngsters feuding, Torre is the ideal person to put the room back together.

Last week it was reported the Dodgers offered Joe Girardi a job - either as bench coach to replace Dave Jauss, who is a candidate for the Pirates' managing gig, or to take over for Little. When Girardi supposedly turned the Dodgers down, many took that as a sign Girardi is in line to succeed Torre in The Bronx.

According to several people, the Dodgers inquired about Torre's interest before he rejected a one-year deal for $5 million with a chance to earn $3 million in incentives and stay with the Yankees.

If Torre replaces Little, it will be a popular move based on the reception Torre received at an Elton John concert in Las Vegas Saturday night. John introduced Billie Jean King and Torre from the stage. The crowd at The Colosseum At Caesars Palace gave Torre a standing ovation and the Dodger fans on hand serenaded Torre with “Come coach L.A."

“Knowing [Dodger owner] Frank McCourt, it could be real," a baseball executive said of the Dodgers' fascination with Torre.

While it would cost considerably more money to land Torre ($12 million for three years?) than keep Little, the Dodgers need to retake the L.A. market. The Angels are a much better team, and owner Arte Moreno has successfully marketed his club as an L.A. brand despite playing in Anaheim.

The hiring of Torre, a former Angels broadcaster with a fondness for Southern California, would go a long way in giving the Dodgers star power that is required in a star-driven town.

Should the move be made, Torre could raid the Yankees' for his coaching staff, since none is under contract past Wednesday. Texas has an interest in hitting coach Kevin Long. Field coordinator Rob Thomson has drawn interest as a bench coach or base coach.

Dodger hitting coach Bill Mueller, who replaced Eddie Murray during the season, is likely headed back to the front office.

That would open a spot for Long, who Torre believes did an outstanding job in his initial season in the The Bronx this past year.

Monday, October 22, 2007

oops...stepped in poo poo.

As a life long Dodger fan, and the recent recipient of an Indian's castoff by the name of Grady Little, I can only say that Eric Wedge nicely fits the mold of the Hargrove/Manuel/Little/Wedge quartet of managerial blunder pusses. He was completely exposed during this ménage a trios of games that solidified the Tribes place in epic loser lore.

The horror for any team that has the epigram "fear" as its mascot and leader. Looking into that dugout the last three games and watching Wedge disintegrate, I was reminded of what I have had to watch day after day from Little and his co-horts in LA. Particularly Rich "Skinner" Donnelly, who would either send player after player to his untimely demise, or freeze like a deer in the headlights, shooting up his paws to stop the terrible possibility of being wrong. Fear is indeed the enemy, and it is us.

I have great sympathy for the mistake by the lake. At least you were there, the candle clearly in your grasp. We in Little land had to endure the nightmarish ness of a season of this blue-print, obviously straight outta' Cleveland.

Recipe for disaster: Add Lofton and shake well. Five times now a game seven bad luck charm after leading 3 games to never.

And my dear friend Evan has still not recovered from Edgar Renteria. Someone help him, please!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's a Juan Pierre?

I am rather flummoxed by the negative perception of Juan Pierre and his debut as a Dodger in '07. His numbers were status quo, which is above average for other players in the league. Had he not been relegated to the number two slot in the hitting order, I suspect his overall numbers would have been even better. Beyond that, I feel that had he and Furcal swapped hitting order, the Dodgers would have fared considerably better as a team. Pierre is among the very best leadoff hitters in the game and the "Castillo/Pierre" model that Little was hoping for from Furcal/Pierre did not pan out. If anyone should be the subject of discontent as far as the Pierre signing is concerned, that onus should be on Colletti, not on Pierre.

Rafael Furcal, on the other hand, was an unmitigated disaster. His injury notwithstanding, he was statistically the worst shortstop defensively in baseball and his offense putrid. I have doubts about his rebound in '08 and would like to see him traded post haste.

The perception which gives Furcal a free pass is that he appears to be playing harder than Pierre, who somehow is perceived as a malingerer. This could not be farther from the truth. I am disturbed at the considerable degradation Pierre receives from fans of the team. It is not supportable to me and wreaks of something far more foul, which we know that Dodgers and their fans have been guilty of over the decades. Where have you gone Jackie Robinson?

Monday, October 15, 2007


Here are some stats that boggle the mind regarding the Colorado Rockies over their ridiculous 20 of 21 game win streak.

In those 21 games, they have had 12 different players with the go ahead RBI. 11 of their wins have been by 2 runs or less. 10 different pitchers have been credited with wins. 8 times the winning run was hit in the 8Th inning or later. They have 3 extra inning wins. They have allowed the Diamondbacks to score only 4 runs in the NLCS, and that comes on the heels of allowing the mighty and vaunted Phillie's lineup 3 runs, only one of them earned, in their three game sweep in the LDS. As a team the Rockies are hitting only around .230 in the NLCS, which is even more scary as they are winning in the traditional manner of great pitching, astonishing team defense and timely hitting with RISP.

As far as their defense, well they look like the Harlem Globetrotters out there. They finished the regular season with the highest team defense in the history of the game!!. Combine that with the best team hitting average in the National League this year and you can see that this is one of the biggest sports stories ever.

If the Rockies win tonight and move onto the World Series, they will have 9 days off. If you recall,last year the Detroit Tigers had 8 days off before they played the super hot St. Louis Cardinals and lost in 5 games. We will see if this super red hot run of the Rockies loses momentum. I for one do not think it will matter. That's because I actually don't think the Rockies are hot at all. I think they are great.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Starr is born.

I happened by accident (is there ever an accident?) to have the Soundscapes channel on my digital cable and one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in years played. The song was called "Common Places" by an artist named Starr Parodi from the CD of the same name. I was instantly moved beyond words. In the past few months I have heard three musical statements that have touched my soul deeply: Mychael Danna's soundtrack to the film "Water", Maneesh De Moor's CD "Sadhana" with the incredibly haunting piano piece "Pure Essence", and as of tonight Starr Parodi's "Common Places". The emotion in Starr's playing reminds me of the depth of my late mother Barbara's piano playing. Memories of those I have loved and lost pour into me and I am touched by that longing (en Espanol "Anello")that reminds us of our eternality. Shades of George Winston, Bruce Hornsby, and Keith Jarrett.
What beauty! Thank you.
Om Sai Ram, Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Don't F... with me!

Ten assertive rights of an individual

Assertive Right #1: I have the right to judge my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequence. The behavior of others may have an impact upon me, but I determine how I choose to react and/or deal with each situation. I alone have the power to judge and modify my thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Others may influence my decision, but the final choice is mine.

Assertive Right #2: I have the right to offer neither reason nor excuse to justify my behavior. I need not rely upon others to judge whether my actions are proper or correct. Others may state disagreement or disapproval, but I have the option to disregard their preferences or to work out a compromise. I may choose to respect their preferences and consequently modify my behavior. What is important is that it is my choice. Others may try to manipulate my behavior and feelings by demanding to know my reasons and by trying to persuade me that I am wrong, but I know that I am the ultimate judge.

Assertive Right #3: I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to others' problems. I am ultimately responsible for my own psychological well-being and happiness. I may feel concern and compassion and good will for others, but I am neither responsible for nor do I have the ability to create mental stability and happiness for others. My actions may have caused others' problems indirectly; however, it is still their responsibility to come to terms with the problems and to learn to cope on their own. If I fail to recognize this assertive right, others may choose to manipulate my thoughts and feelings by placing the blame for their problems on me.

Assertive Right #4: I have the right to change my mind. As a human being, nothing in my life is necessarily constant or rigid. My interests and needs may well change with the passage of time. The possibility of changing my mind is normal, healthy, and conducive to self growth. Others may try to manipulate my choice by asking that I admit error or by stating that I am irresponsible; it is nevertheless unnecessary for me to justify my decision.

Assertive Right #5: I have the right to say, ``I don't know.''

Assertive Right #6: I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. To make a mistake is part of the human condition. Others may try to manipulate me, having me believe that my errors are unforgivable, that I must make amends for my wrongdoing by engaging in proper behavior. If I allow this, my future behavior will be influenced by my past mistakes, and my decisions will be controlled by the opinions of others.

Assertive Right #7: I have the right to be independent of the good will of others before coping with them. It would be unrealistic for me to expect others to approve of all my actions, regardless of their merit. If I were to assume that I required others' goodwill before being able to cope with them effectively, I would leave myself open to manipulation. It is unlikely that I require the goodwill and/or cooperation of others in order to survive. A relationship does not require 100% agreement. It is inevitable that others will be hurt or offended by my behavior at times. I am responsible only to myself, and I can deal with periodic disapproval from others.

Assertive Right #8: I have the right to be illogical in making decisions. I sometimes employ logic as a reasoning process to assist me in making judgments. However, logic cannot predict what will happen in every situation. Logic is not much help in dealing with wants, motivations, and feelings. Logic generally deals with ``black or white,'' ``all or none,'' and ``yes or no'' issues. Logic and reasoning don't always work well when dealing with the gray areas of the human condition.

Assertive Right #9: I have the right to say, ``I don't understand.''

Assertive Right #10: I have the right to say, ``I don't care.''

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One for the ages!

Rockies 9, Padres 8 (13 innings).

by Mark T.R. Donahue

(I wrote this last night but my network was down; more coherent analysis later.)

It's 3:00 A.M., I'm dizzy/tired from standing and screaming for five hours, and still I feel like I'll regret it later if I don't write about the game tonight. Right now, even with with exhaustion and elation juggling in my consciousness for primacy, I can still sort of decipher the hieroglyphics on my scorecard. I knew from about the sixth inning that this game was going to be one for the history books, and I became ever more determined to get every lineup change and double switch down correctly. I didn't get much help from the Rockies' useless P.A. guy, who didn't even remember to announce Trevor Hoffman coming into the game. He sure ought to have given Hoffman a shot for some polite future-Hall-of-Famer respect applause -- between his choke in Milwaukee and this game tonight, the Rockies should vote Mr. Hell's Bells a playoff share.

But this scorecard -- ah, the hell with it. I'm just going to scan the scorecard in, because no words can do it justice:

(Scorecards above)

The first thing you will notice is that the Rockies' list of pitchers goes all the way down into the margin and then over into a second row and the Padres' doesn't. Let's make no mistake: Clint Hurdle was outmanaged in this game. He was outwitted, outfoxed, out-thought, and pretty much all the other kinds of outing you can do. He pinch-ran Jamey Carroll for Garrett Atkins way too early and missed Atkins for numerous RBI opportunities. He let Josh Fogg stay in for another run after Adrian Gonzalez's four-run home run, then let Fogg hit in the bottom of the fourth when he ended up having to take him out after one batter in the fifth anyway. Then he burned up a whole string of relievers fully capable of pitching multiple innings -- Buchholz, Affeldt, Speier all could have bridged the gap from Fogg to the late-inning guys quite nicely beginning in the dispiriting third rather than the fifth. It's amazing that Hurdle made all the wrong moves (save pinch-hitting Seth Smith over several more experienced available candidates in the sixth; Smith tripled) and the Rockies survived despite him. But a lot of things about this game were amazing.
Big moment #1: Todd Helton hits a solo homer, only his seventeenth shot of the season, in the bottom of the third to stabilize the club and re-engage the crowd after the Padres' blitzkrieg of a five-run top half. Hurdle appeared to buy too much into the Rockies' quickly concocted "Fogg the Dragonslayer" myth, assuming erroneously that a) his starter could right himself after having five of seven guys completely crank the ball and the one of the two others walk and b) Bud Black would panic and pull Peavy in the 5th or 6th. This led to the embarrassing disparity, entering extra time, of San Diego having used two pitchers to cover nine innings and the Rockies seven.

Big moment #2: Right after Matt Holliday Willy Taveras'd a hard-earned Brian Fuentes popout into a game-tying Brian Giles double, Troy Tulowitzki made a tough play to retire Scott Hairston at first and keep the game tied. Whew.

Big moment #3: After recklessly using every other relief pitcher he had, Hurdle goes to Jorge Julio, who doesn't retire a single batter, puts the Rockies two runs behind in extra innings to a team with one of the greatest closers of all time... and wins the game for Colorado. Really. The Rockies tightened up like you wouldn't believe beginning with the Holliday gaffe in the eighth. Everyone from Brad Hawpe to Kaz Matsui was swinging for the fences for the bottom of the eighth, the ninth, and on into extra innings. Hoffman looked tired (on the radio, they wondered if getting him up and sitting him back down so many times might have worn him out) and the Rockies suddenly were playing once again as if they were relaxed, playing with house money, letting the game come to them and so forth. For a team still down two runs in what could have been the last game of the season, the crowd at Coors Field was loose and festive after Matsui's double to lead off the bottom of the thirteenth. Having seen Heath Bell and Joe Thatcher do it, we knew what to expect from a dominant reliever: first-pitch strikes, everything on the edge, and if you manage to get your bat on the slider, good luck if it doesn't just splinter while the ball rolls harmlessly back to the mound. Hoffman looked like the opposite of that: Everything middle-in or else nowhere near the strike zone, no deception whatsoever. No one was fooled, least of Holliday, who must have been standing in the on-deck circle relieved to death after Troy Tulowitzki's laser double that his outfield brain fart wasn't going to be the final word on his season.

So how about those Rockies fans? They might be either brand new or very long dormant, but they knew how to behave when they did come. There wasn't any ambiguity about which team the crowd was there to see. I was a little disappointed by the number of people who showed up late -- Coors didn't really fill in until the fourth or so -- but I was ecstatic about the number that stayed until the end. Hardly anyone went home early, and those who did took serious abuse from their neighbors in the section.

At least in my section. Rowdier crowd than is usual for Coors, which I suppose is to be expected. Anrgy drunk baseball dude types in Colorado must have a lot of pent-up aggression to work out. In any event Gonzalez's granny landed slightly in front of Team Altitude and despite the vigorous ministrations of a warmed-up crowd of shouters the fellow who caught it could not be convinced to throw it back. Don't know what I would have done, but I've always felt like that was kind of a Wrigley Field thing. But hey, Rockies fans: Remember, there could be kids sitting in your section who are going to a game for the first time. Be loud, be supportive, but be civil, and obscenities and vileness towards women are right out.

I think I need to sleep now. But, um... Wow. No one believed in them, especially not me. And they have just as good a chance to advance to the World Series as anybody in the National League. What an extraordinary season. 15 games ago the Rockies had the same number of wins they had last season: 76. They didn't have much work to do to make an improvement, but how much of an improvement they would make no one would have imagined: they won 14 of those games, and they finished with an incredible 90 wins, a number that shimmers with playoff legitimacy.

I didn't know if I could make it through this game, but sometime around the third I noticed: They had right-field and left-field foul line umpires. That is all I ever really asked for -- for the Rockies to play a game of special significance, one that required the largely ceremonial and honestly kind of silly bonus pair of umps. Once I saw those guys out there (and where were they on the blown Atkins homer call, fat lot of good they did) I felt like even if the Rockies lost I would be disappointed but satisfied in the season as a whole.

But I'm glad they won.

Monday, October 01, 2007

McCourt's vomit.

"And if you believe that, I have some land..."

The entire collective response to the Dodgers season in today's LA Times is one of the most reprehensible and cynical pinwheels I've ever seen. His unequivocal support of General Manager Ned Colletti and Manager Grady Little shows that the jig is up. As I have always suspected, Frank McCourt has virtually no interest in building a winning franchise. His comments are an affront to the great fans of this city and should be taken for what they are worth. He is a liar and a thief. His approval as owner of the Dodgers has ruined this once great organization. He did not even have the decency to apologize to Angelenos for this teams pathetic performance in '07. Eventually he will package the entire "Dodgerland" experience and sell it to the highest bidder. Of course the Chicago owned LA Times shrieks of complicity in its lack of scrutiny and analysis of McCourt's end run. The Dodgers are doomed, as are the true fans of the team.