Old friend Russell Martin pulled out of the World Baseball Classic when Team Canada decided he’d catch rather than play shortstop as he preferred.
Say what? Martin hasn’t played shortstop since 2002, his first pro season in the minors, and that was just one game.
This hasn’t endeared him to Canadian fans, nor has it done him any favors with Justin Morneau of the Twins, who’s playing for Team Canada.
But the desire to play a new position is kind of what has everybody wondering what the decision-making process was behind that. When we get there, we’ll be there with everybody who wants to be there and with somebody who’s capable of playing shortstop.”
You know, as badly as Martin’s skills have fallen off and as weird as this reasoning is, I think it’s just as well we let him go to the Yankees a couple of years ago.
Update: Another old friend, Rafael Furcal, is going to have Tommy John surgery and will be out for the season.
That’s a shame. When he was healthy Raffy was a great shortstop for the Dodgers.
Update: Tonight’s (March 8) game is available via webcast. Capuano is on the mound to start.
Update: Video of Kershaw’s two-hit one-run outing today in Scottsdale, which the Dodgers won 6 – 1. Juan Uribe (!) had a three-run home run.
“Juan Uribe had the first hit for the Dodgers, a line single, and Andre Ethier the first extra-base hit, a triple off left-hander Leyson Septimo.”
Well might you ask “what the hell is Juan Uribe doing in the lineup at all?” A question, unfortunately, that I can’t answer.
Kershaw started, gave up two runs in two innings, and came out for Belisario. He too gave up two runs in the Dodgers’ eventual 9 – 0 loss to the White Sox.
Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu make their Dodgers exhibition debut Sunday against the White Sox at noon PT on Gameday Audio.
Update: Ownership in the form of Mark Walter and Stan Kasten was present for the game, and had some thoughts for Barry Bloom of MLB.com:
Expectations are high now for the Dodgers, and criticism could follow if they don’t win.
“I suppose people will say we were foolish or something and maybe they’ll even be right, if that’s the case,” Walter said. “I know Stan is going to do everything possible for the long term. We know that you can’t be a perennial strong team, strong franchise, without a farm system and player development. Stan is going to build that.
“I feel that especially in L.A., where there’s been a down period we’ll say, we needed to do something to tell the fans we cared and wanted to be back. Whether that results in a World Series ring right away or not, there’s really no guarantee of that. But it does tell people we care a lot.”
“I’m thinking, ‘Why me?’ This is awesome,” said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. “I get to catch two of the elite pitchers in all of baseball. Two former Cy Young winners. Guys who are probably going to win more Cy Youngs in their future. I’m more than excited.”
Steve Dilbeck at the LAT has dug up the incriminating KTLA interview Vin did with Mike Piazza before he was traded to Florida which Piazza has claimed permanently damaged Piazza’s reputation with the LA fans. I dunno, but I don’t hear Vin saying anything which Piazza objected to at the time, and certainly nothing which would have sent the fans into fits of outrage.
PRIME TICKET will televise games Feb. 25 against the Cubs, Feb. 28 against the Angels, March 7 against Texas and March 18 against Arizona. Scully will be at the microphone for all four games. The Dodgers previously announced that Scully would handle KCAL 9 games on March 17 against Milwaukee and March 26 against Colorado.
If there’s a more magical phrase than that to a baseball fan, it can only be “Game Seven.”
Anyway, the Dodgers’ Spring Training Camp in Arizona opens today for those two groups of players. The rest of the team arrives on Saturday. Here’s the official schedule.
Chad Moriyama has several wonderful pictures at his place, including ones of the Dodgers’ spring training caps (!). Gotta maximize revenue opportunities, I guess, but specific caps for training camp?
I’m preoccupied with a new dog, but I’ll start up the blog in earnest as the whole squad gets to Camelback Ranch, honest.
Bonus Training Coverage: The Vatican (!) just released video of John Paul II taking batting practice from 1987 while on an American tour. This took place in California.
Note: There’s some speculation as to whether that’s really Pope John Paul II, based on the English fluency of the hitter and the lack of interest the spectators are taking in his swings. Who knows? It’s a fun video.
Update: Jon found this article at Fox Sports about our new #2 guy Greinke. Apparently he’s a pretty decent judge of baseball talent; so says his previous manager with the Brewers, and Ned Colletti agrees. Greinke met with Stan Kasten, Colletti and Mattingly before signing and they talked baseball:
“The conversation went three hours and could easily have gone longer,” Colletti said. “We talked about our draft — he knew Seager. We asked him to go through our lineup, and he went through all of our hitters’ strengths and weaknesses.
“I looked at Donnie, he looked at me. Zack was dead on.”
The Dodgers on Thursday announced the launch of a comprehensive engagement program that will reward fans for supporting the club online, via social media and at Dodger Stadium. The free Dodgers Rewards program is the first of its kind in Major League Baseball and offers fans the chance to win prizes by supporting the team through an array of digital activities, including merchandise purchases online, checking into games through MLB.com’s At the Ballpark mobile app and interacting online at dodgers.com and on the Dodgers’ official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“We are creating an interactive rewards portal for all things Dodgers,” said Lon Rosen, the Dodgers’ executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Being a sports fan is about passion and competition, and we believe through this platform we are entering the next phase of fan loyalty with the ultimate goal of rewarding our fans for their support.”
The first prizes include game tickets to the April 1 game with the Giants and an autographed baseball from Sandy Koufax.
Update: One of the commenters at MSTI sent along a super picture of the Dodger Stadium rehab project as it looks this week.
Update: Chad Moriyama has thoughts on the 2013 projection of results by Dan Szymborski‘s ZiPS system, which I confess I’ve never heard of. Moriyama thinks the system has some surprises on the low side but is overall pretty good at guesstimating how the Dodgers’ 2013 roster will perform.
It’s with Time-Warner, and terms won’t be announced till Thursday.
The Dodgers have agreed with Time Warner Cable on a new television contract that will provide the team with a channel of its own, according to two people familiar with the deal but not authorized to discuss it.
Time Warner Cable now has secured the television rights to the two most popular teams in Los Angeles — the Dodgers and the Lakers — within two years.
The Dodgers’ deal is expected to be finalized and announced Thursday. The team has not yet submitted the deal to Major League Baseball for approval, but the control of the channel is expected to rest with the Dodgers’ owners rather than with Time Warner.
Presumably it pays the team enough to cover its payroll.
In other equally welcome news, Sandy Koufax will return to Spring Training to work with the Dodgers’ pitchers.
Update: The TV deal has now been confirmed. There may be some differences with MLB as to how much of the money the Dodgers receive is subject to revenue sharing:
The new ownership group, which bought the team out of bankruptcy court in April 2012 for a record $2.1 billion, said it has created a company called American Media Productions that will start broadcasting Dodgers games in 2014 on a channel called SportsNet LA. Time Warner Cable, the largest carrier in the area, will be the network’s first distributor.
Although terms were not disclosed, the SportsBusiness Journal calls it a 25-year deal worth $7 billion.
“We concluded last year that the best way to give our fans what they want — more content and more Dodger baseball — was to launch our own network,” Dodgers chairman Mark Walter said in a statement. “The creation of AMP will provide substantial financial resources over the coming years for the Dodgers to build on their storied legacy and bring a world championship home to Los Angeles.”
The deal is subject to approval by Major League Baseball, and one baseball source privy to the negotiations told ESPN.com the team and the league could very well butt heads regarding exactly how much of the deal will be shared with other teams.
The other question yet to be answered is “how big a carriage fee will Time Warner pay to AMP for the rights to show the Dodgers’ games and other content and how much will Time Warner turn around and charge its mostly-captive subscribers?”