A great opening day. O Hudson hits for the cycle. Ethier hits two home runs. Billingsley pitched well. If we could get 85 or 90 more games like that this season we ought to do pretty well. The fact that they did it with little help from Manny (not a bad thing) will serve them well. Manny will get hot. He’ll be carrying the team at times. But the fact that Ethier, Kemp and Hudson look so good so early is encouraging. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires tonight. I’m eager to see what Kershaw does tonight. He has promise and I think he potentially surpass Billingsley for the de fact ace of the squad. He seems to carry a bit more swagger…could be ignorance but that could be helpful.
The sight of Vin Scully throwing out the first pitch on Monday just reinforced the fact that he’s probably the most beloved man in Los Angeles. He’s one of the last of his breed. With the passing of Harry Kalas on Monday, Scully’s pre-eminence is re-enforced. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the Harry Caray’s of the world and when Vin retires he will be sorely missed. Let’s all take at least a moment this season while we’re sitting on the porch or working in the yard and listening to a game savor his smooth voice as he calls the game. We must realize that won’t be able to forever.
Now that the dust has settled and the World Baseball Classic is done for the next 4 years, let’s recap.
I was, overall, pleased with the tournament. The competition was riveting, i.e the Netherlands, it was a fun time for all…especially the Asian fans!
A couple of things I would do to perfect it though would be as follows. (I didn’t come up with all these but felt they should be restated. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where I heard them so if you find the source, let me know.)
The first thing they should do change the way the pool rounds are structured. The first round was fine. One site in Asia, one in Latin America, one in North America and maybe one in Europe or Africa. After that though, they should take the pool winners and move them all to one site or region like Southern California. Here you could have Petco Park, Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium and either some of the local minor league parks (They had a lot of empty seats at some of those games) or you could go as far north as ATT Park in San Francisco. (Being geographically ignorant, I’m fairly sure that Japan and Korea could do something similar.) With those eight pool “winners” you could have festival tournament. With that you could have some doubleheaders and generate lots more interest from many different groups. There could be parades, fesitivals etc. Like the Super Bowl or All-Star Game. This would help create the feeling of a happening. An event. What we had was scattered games around the world but you didn’t get the feeling it was very cohesive.
While the event itself tries to be round-robin tournament, the really need to set it up as a playoff in the later rounds. When they get down to the final four teams the should do a best of three series. One hanging curveball or slumping .350 hitting performance should not determine a winner. In a game determined by thirds, this would be a better alternative. As Tommy Lasorda says, “You’re going to win a third of your games and lose a third of your games but it’s that middle third that determines whether you’ll be remembered. (paraphrased)
Obviously, it can’t go on forever but due to the nature of baseball one game should not be the determining factor. This isn’t football or basketball.
The fact that the biggest thing to be posted on the Official Dodger website is the addition of Guillermo Mota speaks volumes to what is going on at Chavez Ravine. I’m hoping this means that Colletti and McCourt are gearing up to see who will be available for trades after the arbitration deadline but I’m not holding my breath. Get off the schnide guys! Make people want to get excited. Christ, make us think you’re not a bunch of do-nothing idiots.
I don’t know what Colletti’s plan is. Must be top secret ’cause he’s doing a great job keeping everyone guessing. What does he know that the rest of us don’t? How do you not make a play for Lowe? He eats up innings! How do you not make Saito an offer…don’t give me the dog ate your homework answer, “he said he wouldn’t sign without telling us” And what are they doing about Manny? So far we got 3 starters and no real closer, no fear in the lineup and other than Furcal and Martin, an average infield. If his plan is to play to his opponents in the West, he’s executing it with precision. They should call Petite and Pedro. Petite for up to two years and Pedro for one. PR-wise it would be great! These are all off the cuff but they seem lost down there at the Ravine. It appears they’re just waiting for players to get desperate and they’ll swoop in and scrape up what left on the bottom for even cheaper prices. If anyone out there can point out to me what or where the plan is. Heck, maybe Alyssa Milano is sitting in on the meetings. She probably was at the McCourt’s house warming party in Malibu.
News out today has the Dodgers taking a hard look at Trevor Hoffman. The Dodgers do need a closer but I think they are getting desperate. While Trevor was once one of the best around, his change-up has become less effective. During the 90’s his change-up was devasting. Today the difference between it and his fastball is minimal. One only needs to look at the stretch run of ’07 to see that he’s not what he once was. I know he still has that icy make-up of a closer but the fastball has fallen off so much that it’s barely in the mid-80s any more. He used to have a 12 to 15 mph difference between his fastball and change but now the hitters are only seeing about half that.
Assuming Saito has healed from last years injury to his elbow, I would take the chance on him. He’s a better “pitcher” where Trevor has been more of a thrower…who can’t fool too many anymore. While it’s just anectdotal, Trevor has just blown too many important games for the Padres the last couple of years. If Colletti can get Saito for two years, I think that would be a good deal for both sides. At 38 and with his history, Saito should be happy with that.
There’s a lot of confusion to why Manny is not a Dodger. I’ll be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know if Coletti/McCourt are gun-shy after the Andruw Jones fiasco or if there’s some secret plan that is being carefully crafted in a backroom somewhere. Either way, if he end’s up, heavan forbid, an Angel or somewhere else the Dodger’s will have pulled a Bush and squandered all the goodwill built up over the last two and a half months of the 2008 season. They’ve got a good young core group of players but so do the A’s and the Marlins. We don’t have a CC or big time pitcher and we’re not in Fenway chipping it over the Green Monster. The Dodger’s were relevant in this town for the first time since the Piazza/Nomo days and if they don’t sign Manny they will go back to being a nice, average team that, in the NL West, should win 80-some games and compete for the flag and be swept in the first round. It doesn’t seem like a good way to run a team. If McCourt has enough money to put a Nordstrom and a Hyatt in the back of the parking lot, he should be able to sign a guy to hit .300 and hit 30 homers.