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.

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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:

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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.

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Thanks, Big Rob!

05 August 2013

Big Rob on the Dodgers' Sweep of the Cubbies


Big Rob's back...
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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:

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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.

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Thanks Big Rob! Check's in the mail.