Mar 16

NCAA Tournament group

I didn’t get very many takers last year as I recall, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a group again.

Here’s the link.

Group Name: Elysian Fields
Group Password: hershiser59

Update: From the official rules:

Lock-time. All picks will lock at the scheduled tip off time of the Tournament currently scheduled for Thursday, March 20, 2014. Your picks for the matchups must be submitted, received and recorded by Sponsor’s computer by the scheduled locktime.

Mar 06

Dr. Frank Jobe died today

SAN DIEGO PADRES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

“A 2013 study found that 124 active pitchers, about one-third of those in the majors, had undergone Tommy John surgery at some point in their careers.” The man who invented that surgical procedure died today at the age of 88. Here’s the NYT obituary.

Here’s a wonderful story on the occasion of his Baseball Hall of Fame commendation ceremony in July of 2013, and here’s a photo essay of the doctor by Jon Soo Hoo.

Mar 06

Puig dives, recovers, hits cutoff man, gets assist

Two of the most exciting players in baseball combined for one heckuva play this afternoon when Mike Trout hit a ball to Yasiel Puig in center field. Puig dove inadvisedly, but then retrieved the ball from the wall and threw a strike to Hanley Ramirez who relayed the ball on one hop to A.J. Ellis, who stayed off to one side and tagged Trout as he attempted to score on an inside-the-park home run.

Thank heaven for video. I’ve have been very sorry to miss this play.

Update: Two video highlights in one day! Scott van Slyke hit the Dodgers’ second grand slam in two days after Guerrero did it yesterday:

Update II: The MLB Network did a “30 Clubs in 30 Days” tour during this year’s Spring Training, and here’s the Dodgers’ episode at Camelback Ranch. Click the Wilson video if only to see his hair (not beard, hair).

Feb 22

Short-timers!

Jeepers. This Australia trip has done severe damage to the Spring Training schedule. The halt, the lame and the blind may get put on a short-term DL, those who don’t measure up may be cut early, and even the healthy may not be ready to pitch. According to the team website (via Jon W), they’re not even sure Kershaw will be ready to pitch on Opening Day in Australia.

The Dodgers will have only 19 days of Spring Training games to make nearly all of their decisions. Last spring, they played 36 games before Opening Day.

“It’s not a perfect situation,” said manager Don Mattingly, “but it’s good for the game.”

Even though the 25-man roster officially doesn’t need to be submitted until March 21 at 1 p.m. PT, the Dodgers and D-backs will break camp on March 16 and take a maximum of 30 players to Australia from which to draw their 25-man Opening Day rosters.

Yikes. The only consolation for this is that the team which might be their strongest rival within the division is having to do precisely the same thing, since the D-Backs are the opponents in Oz.

Feb 08

Bits and pieces

When the team hasn’t announced a deal but the player has a locker at the Spring Training clubhouse in Arizona, does he have a deal? That’s what we know about Paul Maholm, who’ll be in his tenth year and has a lousy W-L record to show for it. On the other hand, if you’d pitched for the Pirates for seven years between 2005 and 2011, you’d have been hard-pressed to do much better.

Billingsley thinks his Tommy John surgery has given him an entirely new arm. He’s throwing 80mph off a mound and won’t try curveballs till the end of February.

Mattingly says Kemp probably won’t play in Australia; he hasn’t yet run outside.

Dee Gordon has been practicing at second base and in the outfield.

Update: From Camelback Ranch today:


Jan 27

Who reads on smartphones?

At the moment Elysian Fields doesn’t have a separate design for mobile phone users. Would that be of interest to anyone? The two most popular have not yet been tested for this latest version of WordPress, but once they are I can add one of those for the site. As I understand it the software recognizes when it’s being read on a smartphone and automatically switches, although I could be wrong. I’ll find that out before I do it, if I do it at all.

What say you?

Update: Okay, I did it. If you’ve got a smartphone, when you call up Elysian Fields in its browser you should see a list of the most recent posts. Tap the one you want to read and its text will come up on screen along with all the comments.

Jan 25

Food for argument

Matt Snyder at CBS Sports’s Eye on Baseball blog has picked his all-time lineup of Dodgers based on the best single-season performance he could find at each position. Here’s his lineup:

1. 1949 Jackie Robinson, 2B
2. 2011 Matt Kemp, CF
3. 2004 Adrian Beltre, 3B
4. 1997 Mike Piazza, C
5. 1985 Pedro Guerrero, LF
6. 1930 Babe Herman, RF
7. 1941 Dolph Camilli, 1B
8. 1949 Pee Wee Reese, SS

With Starting Pitchers:
1966 Sandy Koufax,
1928 Dazzy Vance,
1964 Don Drysdale,
1988 Orel Hershisher,
2013 Clayton Kershaw

Before the Koufax purists freak out, the rules of the game say only the best season the player had can be included, otherwise you might have Sandy starting every game of the hypothetical season.

Relievers:
2003 Eric Gagne,
1974 Mike Marshall,
2013 Kenley Jansen

He backs up his choices with his reasoning at the link.

Jan 22

Spurned!

Now that Tanaka-san decided to try his luck with the Yankees, what do the Dodgers do? Do they really need another starter?

Yes, yes: “You can never have too much pitching.” And it’s true that after Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu the Dodgers have questions. Will Haren return to his earlier form, or is he now a .500 pitcher? Will Beckett and Billingsley recover fully from their respective injuries? Who knows?

Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo, among others, remain unsigned. Santana and Jimenez received qualifying offers, which means that landing them would cost the Dodgers a draft pick. That seems unlikely, given the team’s imperative to rebuild the farm system gutted by Frank McCourt. Neither Garza nor Arroyo received qualifying offers, which could put them in play.

I dunno. I think they need to get Hanley Ramirez’s contract extended before offering more money to any of those guys.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN both Tweet that the Dodgers have signed ex-Angel Chone Figgins to a minor league contract and invited him to camp as a non-roster guy. If he’s got anything at all left (he sat out last year and is 36 years old) he could be one of the utility guys the Dodgers desperately need.

Jan 15

He makes the big bucks

Sources tell ESPN.com that Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have agreed to a seven-year deal for 215 million bucks.

He has an option-out clause after five years, the story says.

It is the richest deal in Major League Baseball history for a pitcher, eclipsing the seven-year, $180 million deal Detroit gave Justin Verlander last winter.

Five years is a good long time to lock up the best pitcher in baseball. All we have to do now is hope he doesn’t injure himself.