19 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: The Fruits of Victory and a Dip in the Pool

Big Rob's take:

My fellow Dodger fans, I am at a loss for words. After years of suffering under the heel of the heel McCourt, we have been delivered from the hands of Pharaoh.

Today, the Dodger went ahead in the third when Hanley Ramirez hit a three run homerun. In the other half of the third, the D’Backs (whose name should be the Apaches) came back with six runs off Nolasco. The beast Goldschmidt drove in two that inning. The Dodgers mounted a comeback lead by Hanley and AJ Ellis. The final was 8-7 and the West was theirs. It was a pleasure to hear the Great Vin Scully commenting on the victory after the last out was recorded.

The Dodgers went into the club house to celebrate and a short time later, they ran out onto the field and jumped into the Diamondback (Apache) pool:

Miguel Montero and Gibby were probably steamed (editor's note: "F*** 'em - serves those headhunters right."). I’m sure this will not be the last time we will hear about this antic. Rabid Dodger fan Tolete commented that the Dodgers had probably urinated in the pool. I’m sure we will get a report tomorrow regarding the pool’s PH level. 

I hope this does not bring on The Curse of the Chase Field Pool.

The Dodgers have been shaky the last ten games. They should use the remaining games to rest some of the gimpy starters. It would be nice to have the best record in the National League but it would be better to go into the playoff with everyone healthy.

(Editor's note: the team with the best record in the NL has not won the WS since the Atlanta Braves pulled it off in 1995 - 18 years ago! Big Rob is right. Rest. Rest. Rest.)

17 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: Ice Cold

Big Rob on the Dodgers' recent struggles:

Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched a complete game 2 hitter last night. What a pitching performance! Only one problem, one of the two hits was a home run to Goldschmidt after he had given up his only walk of the game. That guy Goldschmidt should be caged.

The Dodgers have now lost four straight and can’t hit in the clutch to save their lives. Last night they couldn’t hit at all. They had four hits. The usually reliable Gonzalez has looked terrible. I hope they clinch the west soon so Gonzalez can have about a week off.

The Dodgers' great play after the All-Star game and the poor teams of the National League West will make them the division champs. After that, things don’t look promising. If they were going into the playoffs tomorrow, I would bet on three and out. The Dodgers have reverted back to the team we saw in May.

It appears that Hanley Ramirez is the key to this team. Hanley is out with a bad back and hamstring. They need to get this guy back healthy before the playoffs. Matt Kemp was activated yesterday. He came in to pinch hit and struck out. I think Kemp is just going to gum up the works. He should have taken the rest of the year off.


You've got a point, Big Rob. The team is playing arctic-level ball at the moment. Now -- is this just the natural regression that undoubtedly comes after a monumental stretch of play like the one earlier or have the wheels really begun to come off?

The benefit of having pretty much wrapped up the division is that we can send out the B-squads and rest the weary. A.J. Ellis looks gassed and I'd like to see Butera and Federowicz get more time behind the plate so that A.J. is fully rested for the postseason.

The optimal playoff lineup will not include Punto, Schumaker, and Chili Buss. If the team limps in these final few weeks -- I'm okay with that, as long as the limp heals before October 1. Kemp has these two weeks to audition for the postseason. He can't be allowed to play hurt and negatively affect the rest of the club. But it's hard to argue that he wouldn't help the team as long as he proves he's healthy enough to contribute.

The silver lining here is that Ryu pitched well and that no one else got hurt. The 9th inning decision to bunt Uribe would have made me furious in June but doesn't bother me so much now that the season is wrapped up. Hopefully Donnie will learn his lesson.

Finally, the most interesting topic that no one seems to be talking about is the finite number of spots on the playoff roster versus the multitude of active ballplayers on the current roster. The Dodgers clubhouse currently hosts 36 players. Who will make the postseason bullpen? Do you let Marmol, Wilson, League, and Volquez on the roster? Do you leave off Chris Withrow? How about the bench situation? Punto, Hairston, Schumaker, Young, and Kemp can't all be on the postseason squad. And Michael Young CANNOT start ahead of Uribe under any circumstance.

The final weeks of the season will be fascinating to watch in some ways and an absolute bore in others. September always has this saddening effect on me with football overtaking everyone's attention and the race for the postseason taking a back seat. Teams like the Mariners, Angels, Padres, Mets, and Twins play out the rest of their purgatorial schedules with no real hope of anything (except a higher draft pick.) Hopefully we get a few nice races for the Wild Cards and some neat moments like the Longoria walk-off two seasons ago or the Pirates clinching the division for the first time since my 20 year-old brother was in diapers. Either way, the Boys of Summer have come and gone and the Ghosts of early Autumn are here to stay until the postseason begins.

10 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: Uribe Smokes the D'Backs

My dad, Big Rob, is on the Uribe beat...


After the 2010 season Juan Uribe signed a three year $21 million dollar contract with the Dodgers. Uribe played like a first class bum for two years. Now, in the final year of his contract Uribe is playing very well, especially in the field, and he is hitting .279.

Last night, Uribe had four hits including three home runs. He drove in four runs. Ramirez, Gonzalez and Ethier also hit home runs. The Dodgers crushed the D’Backs 8-1. Ricky Nolasco pitched 6.1 strong innings and allowed only one unearned run.

Uribe’s 2010 signing was destined to go on the heap of uber bad deals dreamed up by good ole Ned Colletti. (Jason Schmidt three years, $47 million, Juan Pierre five year, $44 million, and Andruw Jones two year, $36 million). How Colletti survived these debacles is beyond me. The worst in my opinion was Schmidt. A blind man could have seen there was something wrong with him.

If the Dodgers win the World Series, the Uribe signing will be forgiven. I just hope Ned does not lose his brain and offer Uribe another three-year contract.

Notes: I really dislike the name Diamondbacks. I think the team ownership realizes that it’s a dumb name for a ball club. Evidence of this is how they have cut the name down to D’Backs. The team should have been named either the Phoenix Firebirds which was the name of the triple A club or Arizona Apaches with the head of a screaming Geronimo as the mascot. I prefer Apaches, political correctness be damned.


Thanks, Big Rob. Note that the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the management... I actually like that they're the D'Backs if only for this low-hanging fruit:

09 September 2013

Big Rob's Take: Red Broom Sweeps Dodgers

Big Rob's here to lament Los Angeles' recent string of losses.

The Dodgers went to Cincy on Friday to play their final three games against foes outside the Western Division. The Dodger bullpen lost all three games, each game by one run.

The wild card teams in the National League will most certainly come out of the Central Division. This means the Dodgers will play one of three teams: St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or Cincy. They better hope it’s the Pirates.

The Dodgers are struggling with the bats again. They had one game in Denver that they hit the ball hard but since then they have gone flat. They managed only 7 runs in the three games with the Reds. They are still committing little league running blunders of which none can be blamed on The Cuban Rocket.

Kershaw pitched yesterday and though it is not obvious in the box score, he struggled. He hit three batters and gave up two solo homers. The thing about Kershaw is that when he does not have his best stuff, he is still better than most pitchers. He only gave up two runs and really battled. He gave his team a chance to win.

The bullpen is struggling. All of a sudden, Paco Rodriguez can’t get anyone out and Belisario, who lost two of the games, looks like the Ronald from the first half.

The Dodgers are fortunate to be in the weakest division in baseball. Though they lost four games in a row, they have managed to shave two games off the magic number thanks to the D’Backs’ poor play.

Dodgers Notes: Matt Kemp was sent to Rancho Cucamonga of the California League for a rehab assignment. He went 0-18. He was then sent to the Arizona Instructional League where he reinjured his hamstring. Kemp should be placed in a plastic bubble for the rest of the year.

A few weeks ago we learned that Dodgers fans would be spared from having to listen to Steiner, Monday, Psycho, and Collins full-time in 2014 when the Great Vin Scully announced he would return for the 2014 season. The Great Vin Scully has also been selected to be the Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade. I may have to get up early New Year’s Day to hear his opening remarks.


Thanks, Big Rob!

28 August 2013

Big Rob's Take: Philadelphia Trip. Also, Dodger Train Beginning to Slow?

Big Rob's take on recent Dodgerly events, as well as our trip to Philadelphia:


August 28, 2013

I was away from my typewriter and could not write for the Curse of the Pizza last week. I traveled to DC to confer with the editor and chief.

The Chief and I traveled to Philadelphia on August 18, 2013, to see the boys in blue. Due to all the toll booths, I thought we might run out of money before reaching the stadium.

Citizen Bank Park is a beautiful stadium. It is the best stadium I have ever been in. An hour and a half before the game, the concourses and restaurant areas in the ballpark fill with people. The smoke and smells of items being grilled travel through the insides of the stadium, tempting you to get a cheese steak, BBQ or frank.

The chief and I were excited at the prospect of extra baseball. The game was tied in the ninth. Prior to the game we took on ballast in the form of a Pat’s cheese steak. We were ready to go 18.

But Hanley made two errors in the ninth and dashed our hopes for extra innings. Ever since that loss the boys have not been quite as dominant. Don’t get me wrong, they are playing well, but the express has slowed. Our trip to Philly was not a total loss; we comforted ourselves with a very good pizza after the game.

Last night was Rick Monday bobble head at the stadium. The figure has Mo in a Cub’s uniform saving the American flag from two hippies who had run onto the field with the intent of burning it. This incident happened during the 1976 season, the bicentennial year. I was a young kid in 76. I remember seeing the photo of Mo saving the flag in one of the local papers. In those days, the only home games that were televised were playoff games. Fortunately someone was filming the incident and there is a video record.

A recording of the Great Vin Scully calling the play also exists. Vin can be heard saying “I think that guy was going to burn the American flag, can you believe that?” Rick Monday a former Marine made the greatest play of his career that day.

Last night Kershaw was on the mound. He managed to lower his ERA but still lost the game. Same old story, they did not hit for him.

As I type the boys in blue are beating the Cubbies 4-0.


And they ended up winning the game thanks to a solid pitching performance by Ricky Nolasco and home runs from Messrs.  Ethier and Ramirez

The trek to Philadelphia was my second trip to that city and, likewise, my second foray into Citizen's Bank Park. Big Rob is quite correct -- the place is a fantastic venue and a great place to watch a ballgame. As much as I love the charm of Dodger Stadium, I hope that our new owners take it upon themselves to renovate the place in a way similar to the "Next 50" plan proposed during the McCourt years. The typical ballpark experience in stadiums around the country has vastly improved over the past twenty-five years. It's time for the Ravine to catch up.

14 August 2013

Big Rob's Take: Dodgers Slay All Before Them

My dad, Big Rob, back with more thoughts on the indestructible Dodgers:


Last night the Dodgers faced off against a very good pitcher, Matt Harvey of the Mets. Harvey has the second best ERA in the National League. The Dodger lineup, sans Ethier and Ramirez, eventually wore him down and the team won 4-2. Hyun-Jin Ryu is now 12-3 with an ERA under 3.

The Great Vin Scully use to say, “hitting gets the headlines and pitching gets the job done.” In baseball, truer words have never been spoken. The other Los Angeles team who plays in Anaheim should take note. Much has been said about the hitting of the Cuban Rocket, Hanley, and Gonzalez but the reason for the Dodgers' success lies in the pitching staff. They are untouchable right now. We have to hold our breath tonight though because Capuano is pitching.

I was watching one of games this past weekend and they showed a panoramic view of the stadium from the upper deck behind home plate. The stadium was full. A year ago they would show the stands and it looked like a Marlins game. Last night they sold 46,000 tickets. I thought the damage done by the Beantown Carpetbagger and the thugs beating poor fans into comas was irreversible. A great deal of praise and thanks is owed to the new Dodger management.

Do you remember when, during the McCourt era, our best off-season signing was Jamey Carroll? McCourt is very, very bad man who should be turned into a jack-in-the-box.

12 August 2013

Big Rob's Take: Dodgers Steamroll Rays

Big Rob's take:

A very good Tampa Rays team came to the ravine this weekend. The Dodgers made short work of them.

On Friday, due to some bad defense and Chris Capuano, the Dodgers were down early 6-0. I was dead tired and thinking it was a lost cause, went to bed. I tried listening to the game while in bed but Steiner put me to sleep like the sandman. Next morning, I got up early for a walk and soon learned that they had scored four in the ninth and won. It appears that these Dodgers can do nothing wrong.

The Dodgers are now 17 games above .500 with a 7.5 game league over Arizona and they are beginning to run away in the west. Someone should check the toilet in Donny Baseball’s office to see if his stools are golden too. It seems that only the shaky defense can stop the Dodgers.

Yesterday I tuned in the watch Kershaw and hoped they would hit for him. Turns out Kershaw would only need the two runs he drove in to win. Kershaw breezed through the game with the exception of the 5th inning when he allowed a run on two hits. Dee Gordon tried his best to help the Rays by committing three errors but try as he might, Kershaw would shut down Gordon the rally starter.

Puig Dolt Notes: In the first game Puig made back to back wild throws from the outfield to home plate, twice missing the cutoff man and allowed the runner to advance. Later in the dugout, Adrian Gonzalez could be seen giving Puig a tongue lashing. In last night’s game, Puig missed the squeeze sign. He also must have missed Tim Wallach, the 3rd base coach, whispering in his ear that the squeeze was on.


Thanks, Big Rob!

05 August 2013

Big Rob on the Dodgers' Sweep of the Cubbies

Big Rob's back...

Dodgers Sweep Cubbies / Game Four Pyrrhic Victory

The Dodgers take a four game series in Chitown. It was all about pitching. I am worried about the hitting again. They only had two hits in yesterday’s game. Hanley Ramirez was taken out of the game in the 7th when he hurt his shoulder catching a foul ball. Ramirez went head first into the stands.

Does it sometimes seem that ball players are made of glass? (Ed. Note: Nope, just bones, muscles, and cartilage -- which, last time I checked, were not indestructible substances.) I was checking the reports this morning and all they say about Ramirez is that he has a jammed shoulder. An MRI will be performed today. Let us hope it is only a minor injury and not the beginning of a return to the first two months of the season.

I think it was the second game when the Cuban Rocket received a walk while Punto was already on third. The Cuban Rocket took off from first then stopped half way to the bag. It appeared that he was intentionally trying to get in a rundown so Punto could score a play that works well in the Majors... the Little League Majors. Poor Puig, if you cut his head off you couldn’t make him any dumber. Things didn’t work out and Punto was thrown out trying to score. I was communicating with a baseball authority a few days ago and he brought up a good point. A year ago the Cuban Rocket was living in the workers’ paradise (Cuba) and playing baseball for food money. I’m sure he experienced great difficulties in his quest for freedom and the American dream. A year later he is a millionaire living in America. He is only 22 years old. If you tame a wild horse, he will lose much of his spirit. Let’s not tame him. I noticed after he dove for a ball in the outfield that he was wearing a medallion the size of a manhole cover. I have also heard that he bought himself a Rolls Royce and he is living in a 5 star hotel downtown.

I can see him being broke a few years after his playing days are over.

Andre Ethier played in three of the four games. He went 3 for 9 in the games in which he played and drove in no runs. He left 5 runners on base.

(Ed. Note: Big Rob must have forgotten to mention that Ethier walked 4 times and was hit by a pitch, meaning that his on-base percentage for the series was over .500. Curse of the Piazza recommends that Ethier bat higher up in the order so his on-base skills can be optimally utilized. On days where Crawford and Puig get days off, we've seen a lot of Schumaker and Mark Ellis at the top of the lineup. They should just stick Ethier at number 2 on those days and keep the Scrappy Doos at the bottom of the order.)

01 August 2013

Big Rob's Take on Yanks/Dodgers Game 2

Big Rob's back:


August 1, 2013

Kuroda Shuts Down Dodger Machine

Yesterday I forgot to mention how much I dislike when ball players wear their hats with a flat bill. Where this style comes from I will never know and that is all I am going to say about ball player fads and
styles, less I upset the editor-in-chief and lose this high-paying gig.

Dodgers lost in the ninth when Belesario and Paco gave up runs and then they failed to score in their half of the inning.

As usual, Kershaw was brilliant, tossing eight scoreless innings. I wonder how a pro like Kershaw feels when he goes out every five days, pitches his heart out and the team does not score for him.

Hiroki Kuroda also pitched a great game. Hiroki is an innings eater. I thought he pitched very well in 2011. His ERA was 3 that year. The Dodgers didn’t give him any run support.  He was 36 years old after the 2011 season. A pitcher, once he reaches 36 is usually on his way down. It seemed like a smart move to let him go but I suspect it was less about smarts and more about McCourt not wanting to pay him.

Dodgers had a chance in the 7th but Gonzalez was overcome by Puig disease and was thrown out from you to me while trying to stretch a single into a double. I’m thinking of calling him the Tijuana Tortoise.

The Dodgers flew to Chicago after the game. They will play four with the Cubs.  The Cubs are a bad team and hopefully they can take four from them.

Word has it that Good Ole Matt Kemp’s ankle is still swollen and he is still limping. I think they should lock him in a padded incubator for the rest of the year.


Thanks Big Rob! Check's in the mail.

31 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers/Yanks Game 1

Dodgers Squeak by Yanks

Another well pitched game last night, by both sides. The Dodgers prevailed in the 9th on an M. Ellis base-hit. The Great Vin Scully was telling old time Yankee/ Dodger stories all night. It was heaven. What will become of us when the Great One retires?

Before the game, I heard that the Dodgers had signed Brian Wilson. I was hoping it was the Beach Boy but soon learned it was the former Giant weirdo closer. Don’t we have enough with Puig? This brings me to one of my pet peeves about many ball players. Most business professionals go to work well dressed and groomed.  Ball players, on the other hand, wear ropes and plastic necklaces around their necks. They are often unshaven. They wear their jerseys unbuttoned and many look like cons on parole.

(Ed. note: I think players with personalty are a fun novelty and make the game more interesting.)

Several years ago they began wearing long pants, the sox and stirrups no longer visible, the hems of the pants resting on the shoes, the gangster/criminal style of wearing pants. Of course this is a result of the criminal element of the country joining the mainstream in the form of music video and the tradition of the youth emulating celebrities.

Maybe if the players on the field didn’t look like riff raff, there would be less riff raff and the stands.

(Ed. note: I respectfully disagree with this assertion. Long pants are nothing new and are not indicative nor reflective of criminal undertones.)

29 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers/Reds

Big Rob is back with his thoughts...

Dodgers Take Three of Four from Reds

The Dodgers won in dramatic fashion yesterday. The Cuban Rocket hit a walk off home run in the 11th. I did not get a chance to watch the game but I imagine the Great Vin Scully must have been thrilled with the pitching duel. The Red’s Cingrani gave up only one hit in seven innings. Copuano and the pen were great.

There has been a lot of talk on social media about the Cuban Rocket and his antics. I will just say this, Puig is a jackass but he is our jackass.

This series with the Reds was a big test for the re-born Dodgers. Washington and Toronto were two teams that were struggling but the Reds came into town with a full head of steam. The Dodgers faced
excellent pitching and prevailed.

Today is a day off for the Blue. Dodgers face the Yanks on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Yanks are a
shadow of their former selves.

Ethier’s poor clutch hitting.

Puig   188 AB 23 RBI

Uribe  214  30

AJ Ellis 250  32

M.Ellis  268 33

Ethier   351 AB 36 RBI

Ethier will be the odd man out next year.

(Ed. Note: We at Curse of the Piazza do not endorse using RBIs as a meaningful statistic - but Ethier may very well be the odd man out, though with the injury history of both Crawford and Kemp he might prove to be a valuable piece to keep in the fold. The emergence of OF prospect Joc Pederson could throw more chaos into the mix but the problem of "which above-average OF should I play out of the 5 on the team?" is a great problem to have. -RMM)

Thanks, Big Rob!

25 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers' Sweep of Jays

Dodgers Steamroll Jays

Dodgers played their last game of a three game series in Toronto yesterday. Early on in the game they were back to their old ways again. Jays' starting pitcher, Esmil Rogers repeatedly allowed two runners to get on base with no outs but the Dodgers could not push them over. Hanley Ramirez, who had been en fuego, was not hitting. The Dodgers tied the game in the 9th and blue (not sp) up in the 10th, scoring 5 runs on homeruns by M. Ellis and the Cuban Rocket. Ethier also drove in two runs in the inning.

Ever since I began picking on Ethier, he has been driving in runs. I wonder who I should pick on next.

Ricky Nolasco pitched good enough to win. It is clear that Capuano is the weak link of the rotation. He is either very good or very bad with no middle ground.

Word has it the Dodgers arrived home a couple of hours ago. It’s 730am pacific as I write. No rest for the weary.

The Dodgers play a very good Reds team tonight at the Ravine. Can’t wait to hear The Great Vin Scully’s take on the Dodger Juggernaut.

Notes: Yesterday during the pre-game show, Steiner announced that Kemp had been placed on the DL AGAIN with a bad ankle, God's punishment for not hustling...

Thanks, Big Rob!

24 July 2013

Big Rob's Take on Dodgers/Jays

Guest Blogger Big Rob is back for more...


Two days ago, through the magic of DVR, I was able to watch almost the entire Dodgers / Jays game after work. I had to be careful not to listen to any news report on the car radio.

The game reminded me of an Albuquerque Isotopes game.  Almost every ball hit seemed to have afterburners on. I finally had to go to sleep in the bottom of the eighth.  They were up by ten and I figured it was Brandon League time.

I was furious at the beginning of the game. Psycho and Collins were talking about the injury to Kemp. If there is one thing that burns me up is a player who does not respect the game enough to play it correctly. He did not hustle and because of this, he got hurt.

The extra man in the game two days ago was Shumaker, not exactly a terror with the bat. Yes, I know, he hit one out. But that’s beside the point.

I made an observation yesterday. Ethier has some type of mental block which makes him incapable of driving in runs. He came up twice with no one on and doubled each time. The only way you can score a run with Ethier hitting is if he hits into a double play which he did. Donny Baseball should put him in the leadoff spot.

On a side note, Psycho and Collins are terrible. I know we have been spoiled by the Great Vin Scully but they are bad. I didn’t think Ross Porter was so bad and though Big D was not a sportscaster by trade, I liked the insider’s view he brought to broadcast. Monday was OK but just barely. Monday has now fallen in with the bad habits and bad broadcasting of Steiner. It not just that Vin is so great -- just listen to some of the other broadcasters. I don’t want to see anyone lose their jobs but they are terrible. Maybe they can both be given jobs on the pre and post-game shows instead...


Donny Baseball? I don’t know.

Yesterday, the Dodgers had their most impressive come-from-behind victory this year.

They were down 8-3 to the Blue Jays late in the game. Their bats overwhelmed a very good Blue Jays bullpen and won the game 10-9. Jenson tried to give the game back in the 9th but he just couldn’t do it.

You guys are probably saying, “That guy was just badmouthing Ethier and saying he does not drive in runs." Well, if I have room in this column, I will badmouth him some more.

Maybe it just me and perhaps success will prove me wrong but I am not convinced with Donny Baseball as a manager. In the first half, the team couldn’t score to save its life. Donny was not very proactive. I saw several opportunities to squeeze runs over. Many times in the first half I saw runners at third and a weak hitter at the plate (ie. Punto and the rest of the team with the exception of Gonzalez) and never once did Donny squeeze.

The night before last, A.J. Ellis had the best game of his life driving in 5 runs. What does Donny do? He sits him. Ellis had a day off in D.C. he did not need the rest and if you must rest him, DH him.

Donny seems to be in love with Punto. Punto tries hard and always hustles but he is a lifetime .247 hitter. He is hitting .242 this year. Uribe is finally hitting. He is a very good fielder on a poor fielding team. Good ole Donny rests Uribe every other day. Why? He has been resting for two years. The bench had to play a lot the first half due to injuries. They have played too much. Let the bench sit now Donny.

The only one Donny does not sit is Gonzalez. Maybe because they are both first basemen and realistically he can’t afford to sit him but he could DH for one or two games. I am not going to blame the Marmol debacle on Donny Baseball. Marmol was probably forced on him by Colletti. Why, when we already have League?

Colletti should have been fired after signing Jason Schmidt.

One final observation, a missile is a guided weapon. It carries an on-board guidance system. A brain if you will. The term Cuban Missile is much too generous to describe Puig. I think he should be called the Cuban Rocket. A rocket is an unguided weapon with no guidance system. No brain if you will.  (Ed. note: Ouch.)


Thanks, Big Rob!

23 July 2013

Big Rob's Take: From 'wait till next year' to 'who would have thunk it?'

Today, COTP's guest columnist Big Rob (my dad), shares his own Dodgerly bewilderment and glee:

Greeting long suffering Dodger fans,

It’s been some time since my last guest column. You remember: the one in which I was excited about the new baseball season and the Yankees west.

The first two months of the season, the Dodgers tore my heart out and stabbed it with a dagger.  I was beginning to sing, "Wait Till Next Year."

When they brought up Puig (aka The Cuban Missile [ed. note: they need to rename the RF Field section the Bay of Puigs]) my thoughts were, "the guy is exciting like a wild horse but they are still losing."

He was a distraction like a cruise missile fired at an empty tent.  It took a few games but the energy this wild guy brought became contagious (not to mention Ramirez coming back from the DL breathing fire).

The Dodgers were in first place for about three hours two days ago (ed. note: they're now alone in first place) Not bad for a team that was in last place just a month ago. I have to be honest and point out that every team in the west stinks.

I had the pleasure of watching the Dodgers sweep the Nats this weekend. Kemp came back from the DL and went 3-4 with a homerun but late in the game he reverted to his base running bonehead ways. He did not hustle while running from third to home. When he realized he had to hustle he twisted his ankle while stepping on the plate and the catcher’s shoe.

What’s a matter Matty, they aint paying you enough? Is Puig’s base running bone headedness contagious?

I am cautiously optimistic and hoping this will be the year we lift the curse. Even the curse of the Bambino was lifted.   If the Dodgers can manage a playoff spot, there is no telling how far the starting pitching can take them.


Thanks, Big Rob!

22 July 2013

Most Consecutive Seasons Having Only One All-Star

Did this research tonight after wondering if the current Astros have a chance to break the record for most consecutive seasons sending the bare minimum amount of players to the All-Star game. Apparently not -- or at least, not any time soon:

Longest Consecutive Streak of Having Only One All-Star 
(per team, minimum 5 years)

Brewers: 10 (89-98)
Mariners: 10 (77-86)*
Twins: 10 (78-87)
Senators/Rangers: 10 (61-68)* +
Padres: 9 (68-77)*
Tigers: 9 (95-03)
Royals: 9 (04-12)
Expos: 9 (69-77)*
Devil Rays: 8 (00-07)
Blue Jays: 7 (77-83)*
Mets: 7 (62-67)* +
Pirates: 7 (49-55)**
Orioles: 6 (06-11)
Phillies: 6 (68-73)
White Sox: 5 (76-80)
Athletics: 5 (05-09)
Reds: 5 (05-09)

+There were two All-Star games in 1961/62 and the Senators sent one player to each in both years. The Mets were formed a year later in 1962 and sent one man (Richie Ashburn) to each game in that year.

*Streak begins in expansion year
**Particularly amazing considering there were only like 8 teams in the National League at the time

Some things to take away... 

First, expansion teams have tended to struggle in catching up to the rest of the pack, though none of the four most recent additions -- the (Devil) Rays, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Marlins -- sport long streaks from their outset. This is because the D'Backs stumbled onto Randy Johnson in 1999, the Devil Rays managed to snag Jose Canseco the same year, the Rockies sported the mid-90s Blake Street Bombers, and the Marlins managed two all-stars (Bobby Bonilla, Brian Harvey) in their first season. Expansion was probably an easier racket in 1993 than it was in 1961.

Second, it's much harder to sport a ton of All-Stars these days than it was in, say, 1940. This is because there are 15 teams in each league today as opposed to 8 back then. As I mentioned above, this makes the Pirates' 1949-55 stretch of All-Star singularity quite impressive (or depressive -- whatever). The National League only featured eight teams during that seven year period but the Pirates were so bad (or unpopular -- probably both) that they only sent one man to the Midsummer Classic in each of those seasons. 

I should make a note that All-Star squads in 1949 sported only 25 roster spots per league. In 2013, the American League named 41 All-Stars, though six of those were injury replacements. 
Thirty-five All-Stars for a 15-team league equals 2.33 All-Stars per team. 
Twenty-five all-stars for an 8-team league equals 3.12 All-Stars per team. 
Even 41 All-Stars, if we count the injured parties, comes out to 2.73 All-Stars per team. 

Basically, the 1949-1955 Pirates, who (surprise, surprise, Pirates fans) never put up a winning season, really sucked.

One final housekeeping note: there are plenty of teams like the Nats/Expos and Twins that had multiple 5-year stretches of only one all-star. I didn't want to clutter up my list though so I just took each franchise's longest.

Big Rob will have a post tomorrow.