Mar 22

Baseball viewing while self-quarantining

If you’re following your Governors’ requests and staying indoors but you’re tired of reading (or writing, in RBI’s case), MLB has a vast assortment (its words) of classic games available at its vault for free watching. Included:

  • Gibson’s homer (Oct. 15, 1988, World Series Game 1): Though he could barely make it around the bases, Kirk Gibson takes Dennis Eckersley deep for one of baseball’s most iconic big flies.
  • Kershaw twirls a no-no (June 18, 2014): Only an error prevents a perfecto, as Clayton Kershaw strikes out 15 Rockies.
  • Dodgers give Vin a walk-off send-off (Sept. 25, 2016): With legendary announcer Vin Scully behind the mic at Chavez Ravine for the final time, the boys in blue clinch a division title.
  • Kershaw saves the day (Oct. 13, 2016, NLDS Game 5): In a winner-take-all contest on the road, Kershaw comes out of the bullpen on one day of rest to finish off the win for a tiring Kenley Jansen.
  • A blowout for the pennant (Oct. 19, 2017, NLCS Game 5): The Dodgers explode early against the Cubs, with Enrique Hernández’s three homers powering them to their first World Series since 1988.

Those are just the Dodgers’ games, of course. There are plenty of other famous games to see there as well. Check out the page for links to all of them.

Mar 12

Here we (don’t) go: Season opening postponed

Remainder of spring training is canceled and the regular season has been delayed.

Following a call with the 30 clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, clubs and our millions of loyal fans.

MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4 p.m. ET today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Ariz., have been postponed indefinitely.

MLB and the clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.

Mar 10

Kershaw named Opening Day starter

For the ninth time in ten years. He started last season on the injured list. Buehler will start Game Two and Price Game Three of the first series against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

That assumes that MLB starts its season on time, of course. The coronavirus is moving quite quickly around the country; some events (SXSW!) have been canceled altogether, others (Coachella) have been postponed. Some events have turned away spectators, playing games in empty arenas.

In an abundance of caution all of the major sports leagues (MLB, NHL, MLS and NBA) have closed their locker rooms to the press. One wonders how quickly they’ll rescind that order once the virus is controlled (assuming it is).

In other Dodgers’ news, Corey Seager says he’s feeling better than he has since his Rookie of the Year season of 2016.

Feb 24

Funniest story of Spring Training so far

Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December.

From The Athletic:

One of the most famous pitchers in baseball has been competing in team-roping events under an alias for some time. Was he the Mason Saunders who competed alongside Colorado-based roper Tammy Ellerman in March of last year, two days before Bumgarner pitched for the Giants in a Cactus League game against the Athletics? “That was me, too,” Bumgarner said. Has “Saunders” won other events? “Yeah,” he said. “Maybe.”

[snip]

Bumgarner has been roping so long that “it’s just part of who you are,” he said Sunday. He learned the sport at 15 or 16 under the instruction of the man who became his father-in-law. (His brother-in-law also “rodeos full time during the summer,” the pitcher said.) He’s practiced roping on everything from a statue of a bull at Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall to Jeremy Affeldt’s patio furniture.

In other news, the Dodgers are atop the Cactus League with a 2 – 0 record.

Feb 09

Betts deal finally done

Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan:

Catching prospect Connor Wong is headed to the Boston Red Sox alongside outfielder Alex Verdugo and shortstop Jeter Downs in the trade that will send outfielder Mookie Betts, starter David Price and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources tell ESPN. Players have been notified.

Notice the Twins were left out of that deal. However, Passan also says

The trade that will send right-hander Kenta Maeda and cash to the Minnesota Twins for right-hander Brusdar Graterol and the 67th pick in the draft — which has around a $1 million slot value — has been agreed upon, source confirms to ESPN. @Ken_Rosenthal was first with the deal.

Here’s an interesting perspective:

The Dodgers turned Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Yasiel Puig into Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs

Jeter Downs just got them Mookie Betts, they kept Josiah Gray and they also brought back Alex Wood

Jan 09

Biding their time

The Dodgers, for all of the hand-wringing and complaints about their offseason inaction, are actually sitting quite pretty when it comes to leverage. They can use it now. They can use it in July. They can be opportunistic. They do not have to feed the hot stove beast simply because it has hunger pangs.

So says ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and he’s a lot smarter than Bill Plaschke, who wrote a somewhat whiny column last week taking the Dodgers and their owners to task for not doing something, anything that would give the fans (and columnists) Dodger news to talk about.

Dec 10

Wintry mix

ESPN has links and gossip here.

The Phillies signed ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius to play shortstop.

The Giants acquired veteran infielder Zack Cozart and 2019 first-round pick Will Wilson (another infielder) from the Angels for a player to be named later or cash.

The Yankees, as expected, have made an offer to Gerrit Cole which is even richer than the one Stephen Strasburg got from the Nationals earlier this week.

Then there’s this:

Andrew Friedman said the Dodgers have zeroed in on roughly 12 players they’re targeting at the moment. Almost all of them, perhaps with the exception of relievers, are elite. “I’d say it’s a much more narrow group than it has been in some other years in my career,” Friedman said.