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.

Jan 07

Principled stand or an idiotic one?

The Hall of Fame election results will be announced tomorrow. The Dodgers’ MLB.com beat writer, Ken Gurnick, has a ballot. Here’s how he voted and why:

Morris

Morris has flaws — a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.

Personally, I think that’s blackballing, tarring with a broad brush, and being sanctimonious as hell. There has never been any suggestion that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas or Craig Biggio used PEDs that I’m aware of, and there have only been unsubstantiated rumors about Jeff Bagwell.

Gurnick can leave Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire and the other confirmed steroid users off his ballot and get no argument from me, but his “none of the above” stance is too sweeping as far as I’m concerned.

Update: Cliff Corcoran has even stronger words for Gurnick in his column at SI.com.

Update: ESPN has released the votes of all 17 of its employees who have them.

Jan 05

First flight

Promoted from the comments to the last post: Dodgers’ Aviation! As in so many other things, the Dodgers and Walter O’Malley were the first to travel via airplane on road trips.

This is a wonderfully well-researched story with beautiful pictures, so go read it!

Update: Some very sad news today from San Diego: Jerry Coleman passed away at the age of 89. Coleman was a Yankee second baseman, a US Marine in both World War II and Korea, and a broadcaster for the Yankees and then the Padres. In 1980 he even managed the Padres for a season. He received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2005.

One hopes that he greeted St. Peter at the Pearly Gates with his pet phrase “Oh Doctor!” and that Peter in turn said “You can hang a star on that one, baby!”

Dec 31

Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

I hope everyone enjoys their evening and wakes up tomorrow with a minimal hangover.

For 2014 let’s hope the Dodgers solidify their infield and win the West again this year, and then go further and get to the World Series for the first time in 26 years. If you’d told me in 1988 that the team wouldn’t get into a Series again until at least 2014 I’d never have believed you.

Dec 18

Puig! Puig! Puig!

Okay, that’s overdone. Nonetheless, here’s some video of the young man performing his offseason workout.

Update: Puig has been arrested in Florida for reckless driving, going 110 mph on I-75 on the West-East section of the road known as Alligator Alley.

That can’t make the Dodgers very happy. Reckless driving endangers more than just the driver, it endangers others on the road. They need to get this kid’s driving habits under control before he hurts himself or someone else. He was charged with a similar infraction back in April of this year but the charges were dismissed.

Dec 17

‘Tis a high price to pay

News item: The Yankees and the Dodgers are the only teams which have to pay a luxury tax on their payroll for 2013. The threshold for this season is $178 million, the Dodgers’ payroll was $243 million, and they pay at a 17.5 percent rate and owe $11,415,959.

Checks are due in the Commissioner’s Office by January 21.

But what does all that money get used for? From Article XXIII of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

(1) The first $2,375,400 of proceeds collected for each Contract Year shall be used to fund benefits to Players, as provided in the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements.

(2) 50% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year, with accrued interest, shall be used to fund benefits to Players, as provided in the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements.

(3) 25% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year shall be contributed to the Industry Growth Fund and, with accrued interest, used for the purposes set out in Article XXV.

(4) 25% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year, with accrued interest, shall be used to defray the Clubs’ funding obligations arising from the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements.

Okay, but what’s the “Industry Growth Fund?”

The objective of IGF is to promote the growth of baseball in the United States and Canada, as well as throughout the world. To this end, IGF will be operated jointly by Players and Clubs in furtherance of the following purposes:

(1)to enhance fan interest in the game;
(2)to increase baseball’s popularity; and
(3)to ensure industry growth into the 21st Century

(See Article XXV of the CBA, linked above.)

So now we’re smarter than we were several hours ago. Isn’t that a good thing, class?

Dec 12

A retirement and other notes

In case you missed it:


If the Dodgers and Uribear can’t compromise (last I saw he wants a two-year deal, the Dodgers want to give him only one), maybe Mr. Hairston Jr. could be persuaded to come back and play third. That’s if they don’t want Hanley Ramirez to play there, with newcomer Alexander Guerrero playing what we’re told is his natural position of shortstop. Mark Ellis is still looking for a job, too. And then there’s the rather more intriguing idea of Kevin Youkilis, whose agent expressed a belief that he’d like to play on the West Coast.

How does one acquire a “natural” position, anyway? Doesn’t that really just mean “he’s played more games there than anywhere else?”