Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ode To A Man Called Lima (BLogger Bracket Challenge R1)

Intro:  The awesome "Blogger Bracket Challenge" is being brought to us by the great Nachos Grande.

Groups of bloggers were brought together and given one baseball card to write about.  Then all of you, yes YOU,  can VOTE for your favorites over at the Nachos Grande site.  So get over there and vote for me! Soon hack writers will fall by the wayside, while the masters of the keyboard will rise to the top.

Yeh, right.  Did I mention there's voting involved?  How will this not end up like every year's All-Star teams? 

Everyone in my bracket is riffing off the card below.  Here's my entry:


Once upon a time,
There was a man who declared
it was always "Lima Time".
He played for Detroit and K.C.,
He played for Houston and Korea,
And that glorious team of mine.

Lima led the Dodgers to the playoffs that year
He pitched a shutout against the evil Cardinals
and knocked them on their little redbird ears.

Jose loved to bring the heat, but he could also bring the noise
He sang the National Anthem at Chavez Ravine
Jose, can you see?
Now he's up there in Heaven,
beltin' one out for the boys.  

Did you ever see Mrs. Lima?
Now she was a sight to see.
She was one of the top baseball wives - ever,
Just between you and me.

Everywhere Jose went
It was Lima Time! Lima Time!
The man was a joy to behold.
Somewhere it's Lima Time and you're still smiling, Jose,
I miss the way you rolled. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blogger Bracket Challenge Entry!!

Intro:  In case you're wondering why I'm suddenly trying to write like a bone-fide writer (finally, right?), it's all because of the awesome "Blogger Bracket Challenge" being brought to us by the great Nachos Grande.

Brackets of bloggers are brought together and given one baseball card to write about.  The submitted posts are then voted upon, and hack writers will fall by the wayside, while the masters of the keyboard will rise to the top.  Yeh, right.  Did I mention there's voting involved?  How will this not end up like every year's All-Star teams?

Everyone in my bracket is riffing off the card below.  Here's my entry:


Do you have any idea how hard it is to make it all the way to the pinnacle of the baseball ladder?

 Tons of baseballers peak out at 17.  They rule the high school fields and the morning after the prom, nada. Unless you're the next Brian Harper, no MLB team is signing you in the senior parking lot. 

Your next stepping stone becomes the college circuit.  And that aint no picnic. Guys who just might have the right stuff to make it in the bigs are all around you, and they're all trying to strike you out. While one good point about college is that college chicks abound, a ring on the finger of a cute coed has derailed more than one guy's diamond aspirations of another kind.

But you stay focused on the game you love and on becoming stronger and faster because you've wanted to be a professional baseballer since forever.  You have the good luck of a quality baseball program and no major injuries.  You start to pile up some numbers and you get noticed by the scouts.

By hook and by crook you find yourself in the minor leagues. You're on the Farm, man!  That'll work!  The mirage that was the major leagues for so many years is solidifying and starting to look like an achievable goal.

Of course there's always the possibility your team can drop you at any time - just like back in high school! Or you can be traded on an hour's notice and now you're the new catcher for the Mudville Outs.  You can't promise a girlfriend or a wife where you'll be in two months or even two weeks.  And just for good measure, everyone else here is trying their damnedest to strike you out.

You work harder than the next guy.  You take extra BP and infield.  You learn other positions and even dabble in switch-hitting.  You avoid injuries and learn not to fear the high heat.  Your batting average rises, your girlfriend says she'll stick with you - no matter what, and you discover your power stroke.

One day, you get called into the skippers office and you get THAT news. You've been called up!  The big club needs you!  Pack your bags, kid.  You made it to The Show!

You're Big Time now.  Team jets.  Custom made bats, gloves and cleats.  Press in the locker room and lobster every day on the team buffet table.  You've got your own nickname, the girls dance to your batting theme music, and kids wear your jersey in the stands.  You're getting some love and respect from the media and you feel like life don't get much better than this.

One day you receive a baseball card autograph request in the mail.  It's a card you haven't seen before. It's kinda funky.  It's got a flame roaring through your torso - or is it behind you?  Dang artists!   It's got different numbers and symbols on it.  Where to sign?

Then you see it.  You see what card those bastards gave you.  In plain writing, for all the world to see...your card is "EASY OUT".

Sitting on your bed alone, you're transported back to that terrible day those very words became the nickname you've kept hidden, but which also motivated you, for the past 10 years. 

You pick up the phone and dial up room service. "Two double cheeseburgers and a large strawberry shake, please."

Did Damn Mattingly Just Deliver My First Christmas Present?

THIS doesn't look comfortable.                               Nick Ut / Associated Press 

So today everything got aired out.

The Dodgers said: "You'll take a one-year contract and be happy."

Damn Mattingly said: "I say screw your one-year deal, and raise it to a multi-year."

Which should bring forth an interesting week in Dodgerdom.  Now we'll see who's bluffing, who's bullying, and who's folding.  I'm glad it only took 72 hours for the knives to come out. 

Regular ATBATT readers know I'm no fan of Mattingly Baseball.  No way indeed.  To recap - the guy can't manage a batting order or a bullpen, and he sure as heck can't manage bases loaded with nobody out!  I'm not saying he'll never learn these skills, but I'll always say I don't want him learning his craft on my team.

He summed everything up himself at today's press conference.  Mattingly said something to the effect that he's been managing for three years and ownership knows what he's got by now.  What more do they need to see?

Well, the man is right.  He's managed three years and sat under Joe Torre's terrific tutalage as he ran the Dodgers for another three.  If the guy hasn't figured out N.L. baseball tactics by now, he may never.

This is ownership's big chance to drop Mattingly like his managing prowess dropped back-to-back pitching masterpieces by Kershaw and Greinke to start off the NLCS.  Heck, they can even lay it at Mattingly's plate as he essentially called them out and dared them to do SOMETHING.

Good luck, skipper.

In other news, Dodgers Trainer Sue Falsone won't be back.  This is a good move.  As much as I disagree with the sexists who say this proves a woman can't do the job, I sure don't believe this one can do the job.  She may not have caused that original avalanche of injuries, but I would have liked to see a lot more prevention of the second and third injury waves. 

Mattingly is also demanding the return of all of his coaches.  Please, oh please, what you can to make sure Cheater Mcgwire doesn't bring us yet another year of "The Dead Bat Era".  If you're gonna keep him, then hire some bad-ass Asst. Batting Coaches.

Ultimately, I won't complain if the Dodgers give Mattingly his multi-year Christmas present.  At least, not until Spring Training.  However, if we do open 2014 with a new skipper, I have one more request for Magic:

     Please DO NOT replace Damn Mattingly with The Jinx!!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Suddenly, It Feels Like Winter....

Have you ever been hit by a truck?  Head on, full steam, out of nowhere, and it knocks you upside down?  That was what it was like to watch the Dodgers' season end yesterday.

Two piping hot pizzas were in the kitchen, my buddy arrived with beer that was brewed 60 miles from the North Pole (Einstok), more friends were on their way, and our best pitcher was on the mound about to lead us to a win and Game 7 in the NLCS. Life was unfolding as it should, when suddenly - BLAMMO!

All of us in Dodger Nation were hit with a bucket of cold water.  We had the rug pulled out from under us.  We were all shown in the harshest way possible that the Dodgers were fresh out of miracles and Clayton Kershaw is indeed, human.

Sports isn't supposed to feel that sad, but sometimes it does.  It was brutal even for my friend, a transplant from Australia who finally gave in and paid attention to baseball this season.  He quickly became a true-blue Dodger fan, and felt yesterday's kick in the guts as much as me, a lifelong fan of Dodger Blue.  It wasn't just the losing, which was always a possibility, but it was the way we lost.  All of the wheels just fell off at once, and it seemed to get worse each inning.  *Sigh*

That's baseball.  As Vinny would say, "The 2013 Dodgers and their fans went from the basement to the penthouse, and back down to the basement again."   But oh, what a ride it was.

I can't be angry at the boys or start pointing fingers.  They gave us everything they had, and they gave us a season for the ages.  We went from the absolute bottom of the baseball standings, to chainsawing every team in our path in an historic winning run that we won't see again for another 50 years.  The Dodgers brought themselves and all of the Dodger Nation closer to the World Series than we've been in a generation!  It was just too bad we couldn't make it all the way this time.

After the game, a shell-shocked Clayton Kershaw said, "If you don't win, what's the point?"  I know that was the emotion speaking.  But Kid K's sentiment reminded me of a line from one of my favorite movies "Hard Times", starring Charles Bronson and James Coburn.

After Charles Bronson wins a brutal, bare knuckle fight, Coburn, his manager, collects their winnings and remarks to the losing side, "Like mama always said, the only thing that comes close to playing and winning, is playing and losing".

Thanks for the ride boys.  No matter what they say, it was one helluva season.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Who Pitches For The Blue Tonight? My Pick...

Who gets the ball from the skipper tonight?

The great mystery this morning is "Who will pitch tonight for the Dodgers?"

Will it be Ricky Nolasco - who hasn't pitched in  nearly a month??!!!

Will it be Zack Greinke on short rest - who's never done that before in his career?

Will it be a cute chick?????

I gotta call for Ricky Nolasco.  No hesitation.  Why?  Four reasons for Game Four:

1. The momentum is on our side and Nolasco has shown he can pitch well at home.

2. Nolasco's gotta pitch sometime.  If he doesn't pitch in this series, by the time his turn in the rotation for the World Series rolls around, his beard will be longer than Brian Wilson's.

3. We got here as a team, we play it out as a team.  Especially if the guy in question isn't choking and he might even be getting rusty.  If he gets into trouble, we can always go to plan Volquez.  He's also proven he can pitch well at Dodger Stadium.  When these guys are on, they are on.

4. If we pitch Greinke, it smells a bit of desperation, and I aint about feeling that right now.  

First pitch 5:07 p.m. LA time.

Go Nolasco, Go Dodgers, and of course, Go Cute Chicks!!

UPDATE:  12:57 p.m. Nolasco officially announced by Dodgers as the starter. 


Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Well, THAT was exactly what the doctor ordered:

A packed house at Dodger Stadium.  Not bad for everyone trying to get to Chavez Ravine at the height of LA rush hour.  C'mon, about a 6 or 6:30 p.m. start?

A calmed down and most excellent outing from our third ace, Hyun-Jin Ryu. He pitched a masterpiece that I'm sure everyone back in Seoul enjoyed.

Richard Mackson - USA Today

Adrian Gonzalez getting his batting groove back. Cardinal Adam Wainright was irritated by El Jaguar's hand explosions after he knocked in Mark Ellis with a double.  Haha!

Hanley Ramirez back in the line up and doing what he does best.  Manley busted two hits and knocked in a big run, all with a fractured rib. 

Puig chilling out the plate and bashing the ball again.  He missed a home run by a foot or two.  He might have snatched an inside-the-park home run if he had been off and running on contact - instead of vogueing at the plate.

The Beard and bad-ass Kenley Jansen punching out the Cards in the final two innings.  Boo-yah and Good Night little birds.  Sweet.

Finally, a note to the TBS execs who chose the boring announcing crew for the TV broadcast - It should tell you something about your choice for announcers when your own post-game show uses Vin Scully's voice for the highlights of the game. Doncha think?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Have You Ever Been In A Dogfight?

I mean, have you ever been in a knock down, drag out, fight to the finish?  That was Game One of the National League Championship Series tonight between the Dodgers and the Dang Cardinals.  

When you have two teams evenly matched, in a game that is evenly matched, the manager will make the difference.  Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Damn Mattingly is the resident skipper.

This was anyone's game.  It lasted 4 hours plus, and the teams were tied at 2-2 for almost every agonizing minute.  Sure, the Dodgers had their chances.  They were 0 for I-can't -believe-how-many with RISP, and that included not hitting with bases loaded - yet again. 

Once again it came down to the battle of the managers and ours lost it for us. From what I've read in the first postgame posts, Mattingly critics out there are pointing to his removal of Adrian Gonzalez after his single in the eight inning for pinch runner Dee Gordan.  It wasn't a genius move by far, but the move wasn't without potential merits.

At the time the game was tied 2-2, it was the eighth inning, we had a runner on, and Mattingly was playing for the win. Not a terrible move to replace the slow running Gonzalez with Gordon the rabbit.  If it pans out and Gordon scores, we go up 3-2.  Kenley dominates the bottom of the ninth and Mattingly looks like a genius.  The plan didn't work out, but that aint my gripe.

Mattingly blew the game when he couldn't recognize - which he has never been able to recognize, even on his own team - the hot player with the red hot bat.   Damn Mattingly is blind to the hot bat. Which is astounding to me because he spent most of his career being that guy - the guy who will win the game for you, or conversely, the guy who will beat you.

Tonight that guy was the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran.  Beltran knocked in all three Cardinal runs, and he threw out Mark Ellis in a play at the plate in what turned out to be the final chance for the Dodgers to score. 

When we got to the bottom of the 13th ( still tied 2-2), Beltran came up with the winning run on base.  Up to that point he had already knocked in both of St. Louis' runs, and he had that great throw out at the plate.  He came up with the chance to win the game and Mattinlgy chose to pitch to him.  Mattinlgy has a long, regrettable history of pitching to guys that can beat you, and then being being beat by them.  He just doesn't learn this one.

Know what the Cardinals' manager did all night when our guy who could beat you - Hanley Ramirez - came up to bat?  He didn't pitch to Hanley. He took the bat right out of Hanley's hands and therefore he couldn't win the game for us. 

Mattingly refused to take a pass on Beltran in the 13th.  In the previous series he walked weak-hitting Reed Johnson for the bases loaded percentage scenario, but tonight he refused to walk game-dominator Beltran and the Dodger Nation payed for it.  Beltran, the guy who had been beating us all night, capped his evening off with a game winning hit and Zack Greinke's masterful eight innings were wasted.

From here on in it's painfully clear that the Dodger bats are going to have to step it up and overcompensate for Mattingly Baseball, because if this series becomes a chess match between managers, our guy will be the one who keeps asking, "How does the horse move?"

 Can't wait for game two.   

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NEVER, EVER Ask The Mighty Casey To Bunt!

Once again the Dodgers win in spite of Damn Mattingly's complete misunderstanding of when and how to use bunts.

In the 8th inning tonight, down 2-1, rookie sensation Yasiel Puig bashed a lead off double and stood triumphant on second base with both arms raised high, energizing his teammates in the Dodgers dugout and the entire Dodger Nation.

Mattingly tried to take all of the air out of the Dodgers rally by asking one of the Dodgers' hungriest and clutch home run batters to....bunt.

Juan Uribe is not a bunter, and he never will be.  He fouled off his first two bunt attempts and quickly found himself in an 0 and 2 count.  Third base coach Tim Wallach called Uribe over and whispered something in his ear.  I like to think Wallach said, "Later for that bunt crap.  Slam the shite out of it."

And that's exactly what Uribe did!  BLAMMO!!!!    A massive shot into the Dodgers bullpen and the Boys went up 4-2.  Dodger Stadium (and my living room) went absolutely bonkers!!!!

Kenley Jasnsen came in to strike out the side in the 9th, and the Dodgers will now move on to the next round of the playoffs.

What a game, what a series, WHAT A TEAM!!!!

See you all in the next round! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two Bloggers Walk Into A Card Show...

WOW! The Dodgers absolutely clobbered dem tomahawk choppin' Braves tonight. At one point, the Dodger Stadium crowd even began a mocking version of the chop chant. LOL.

After a rough, and I mean ROUGH start by Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodger bats stepped up and said, "We got this."  And they proceeded to thump and thump and thump.  Nice.  I'll sleep well tonight.

Now for Part Two of my report from the Culver City Card Show.  Yesterday's post featured the Dodgers cardboard I picked up, tonight will be a look at my loot from the other teams.  But first, a shot of Patrick, our favorite dealer at the card show.

Patrick is very friendly, loves to talk cards, has a good variety of stuff with fair prices (he even has actor cards, actors from the 20's!), and he shares his doritos.  Here's to a great guy!

Leading off is 1958 Topps and some love for the other guys in the playoffs.  Sure, it's creased, but it doesn't really detract from the card.  It is a bit off-center, but it's not trimmed, that was my scan job.  How about that baby faced Kaline.

Ana Lu - here comes some dust from the original Pudge.  This is a great action shot of the original Pudge playing the game the only way he knew how.

 I love me some Killebrew cardboard.   Action shot, a home run, triple photo, and a sweet caption.  This one is awesome.

 Did I mention I love them cards from the Killer?  How about this one, psychadelic Topps, featuring Killabrew's weapon of choice.  And a lurking number 8.

Here's a great 1952 Bowman.  Horizontal, sweet imagery, that 1950's TV advert, and the man with the name that noone dares say.

1959 Topps.  I've wanted this one for a long time.  Two Yankee legends on one great card.  The man who tossed a perfect game in the World Series, and the man who showed him how, the ol' perfessor.

How about more Yankees.  Yeah, I know, lots of Dodger fans hate the Yankees.  I don't really have that in me, and I can respect that legacy.  Speaking of legacy, every collector with his (or her) mettle has gotta have a Mantle.   Yes, it's chewy, yes, it's wobbly, yes, the Mick has a bat jammed into a sensitive area, but I finally land my first Mickey Mantle card from his playing days!!

Speaking of cards that capture players in their heydays, this is a very nice shot of the Hit King strolling up to the plate, with that shite eating grin that says, "Base hit, coming up!"

I can take or leave Frank Robinson.  I hadda have this card because of Roberto Clemente.

Finally, we close with a card that somebody apparently folded into quarters.  Was that to fit neatly into a kid-sized wallet?   This is what people mean when they talk about vintage with character.  I've always enjoyed collecting Colavito just because of his name, but I know Tribe fans dig him for much more than that.

That's almost all of my card show haul.  Greg had a goodie bag waiting for me full of Dodgers.  We'll see those next time.

Although my next one may very well be a YAHOO, DODGERS WIN! post.  

Go Dodgers!!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

No Dodger Game? No Problem. Let's Go To The Card Show!

Hey everybody,

Dodgers and Braves fans had the day off from our nailbiting playoff series today, which was great timing, because that allowed me to run out to the second Culver City Card Show.

Check out the kids at the show! Good for the hobby.  :)

I call it the Culver City show, but here's the official name...

The first show, back in May, was a blast.  I picked up a lot of great cardboard, but the real highlight for me was the grand meeting up of four Dodger bloggers - Spiegel from Nomo's Sushi Platter, Greg from Plashke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle, Ernest from Dodgers Blue Heaven, and little ol' me. You can see photos from that show here.

This time we didn't quite have another Mount Olympus of Bloggers meetup, but it was my pleasure to see Greg there and hang out with him, browsing binders and piles of cool cardboard for a few hours. Here we are in all of our card collecting geekdom glory...

Ernest and Spiegel, we missed ya!

This pic was taken by our new friend (and new reader) lucky Andy, who made one of the great scores of the show. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic, but he had a box full of binder pages FULL of vintage that he picked up for just $35.

That wasn't all he got lucky on.  His son, also named Andy, pulled a sweet and shiny Topps Yasiel Puig card, which he promptly gifted to his dad.  That Puig card is a real beauty.  Here's Andy...

I'm sure you want to see the cards I picked up today, so let's get to it!  I picked up enough cardboard for two posts, which I'll split into Dodgers and everyone else.  Here come the Dodger cards, in no particular order...

75 Topps Highlights.  This card is great because of all the extra Dodger lurkery.  In addition to workhorse Mike Marshall, we get the HOF long time skipper Walter Alston, catcher Steve Yeager, and not so great, short lived Dodger manager Bill Russell. 

Iconic Dodger card, and yet, I never owned one until now.  I've always loved that blurry, shaky background of humanity contrasted against the quiet hero, like a baseball superman. 

I really have to thank Greg for this pick up.  I had this 1933 Goudey in my hands earlier and put it back into the box. I was telling myself I didnt want to pay $6 for such a beat up card, but Greg hipped me to what a nice card and good price it actually is.  He was right, I love this card.

ASIDE: I know some of you on the other side of the country list prices that you see at shows like dimes and quarters, stacks of vintage for $8 and so on, but unfortunately, I never see those types of deals out here in L.A.  We pay the Hollywood markup prices out here.

BTW, I didn't know anything about Bud Clancy, so I looked him up.  His claim to fame came in 1934, when in typical Dodger fashion, he became the first first baseman to not record a put out in a 9 inning game.

Harris' claim to fame is having Sandy Koufax come in to relieve him

Can't go wrong with 60's Dodger clubbers.  I'm slowly but surely getting enough of these 1960 Dodgers to seriously chase the team set.

As soon as I spotted this baby, I hadda have it!  What's not to like?  Three Dodger pitching legends on one beautiful slice of cardboard...SOLD !!!  I just can't have too many Koufax's or Podres'.

Here's a great oddball that's in great condition.  I love that Osteen is on the double-play card, and not laser-shot-single-up-the-middle. 

 Another card that I didn't think about for 2 seconds.  I'm chasing this subset, so I'm now one step closer to completion. What an awesome card for a Dodgers fan. Anybody out there know who the lurkers are?  Norm Larker and Dan Demeter batted on either side of Furillo. 

Finally, 1959 Topps brings us another great trio of Dodger pitchers.  I love Podres' smile. He always seemed like a regular Joe to me.  He smiles like he's having a great time being a baseball player.

That's it for part one of my card show haul!

Next post: Cards from everybody else.  Check back for some very nice vintage.

Friday, October 4, 2013

"How To Lose In The Playoffs" By Damn Mattingly

If I only had a sawbuck for every time Damn Mattingly made a dopey baseball decision.

Today was a gritty game for the Dodgers. The teams and the game were evenly matched, and that's the circumstance where a manager can make a difference and steal or lose a game.  The guy managing the Braves isn't exactly the second coming of Connie Mack, but today he was smarter than Mattingly. 

Dodger Ace Number 2, Zack Greinke pitched well enough.  He left after six, losing, but only behind 2-1.  This was still anyone's ballgame.  Enter the Decisions of Don.

The game was close and tense for both sides, but Mattingly suddenly made himself a huge factor in the game.  He brought in Chris Withrow to replace Zack Greinke.  Withrow, in his first postseason appearance, withered, immediately giving up a single and a walk.  Not on Don.  The kid just didn't get the job done.

In comes Paco Rodriguez and the madness that is Mattingly baseball took full effect.  He had Paco intentionally walk Reed Johnson.  Yup, Don took out one pitcher, and brought in another pitcher and asked him to throw four wide ones to his first batter.  In order to load the bases for Jason Heyward.  

It's one thing to ask a pitcher midgame to walk a guy, but it's absolutely ridiculous to bring in a pitcher, straight from warm ups, and head psyching himself into game mode, to immediately chill out and toss an easy four balls.  And then, to immediately return to game face for the next guy.  

After Reed was walked, Jason Heyward stepped in.  Paco did his best, but of course his first two pitches to Heyward missed the strike zone. (High and wide. Hmmm...)   Paco, in his first-ever playoff appearance, must have felt compelled to force a pitch into the strike zone.  He sure didn't want to go 3-0 to the batter, with two Braves standing on bases behind him.   Heyward was sitting on that hitter's count and nailed a two-run single right up the middle.

A 2-1 score was now 4-1 and the game shifted permanently in Atlanta's favor. The Dodgers didn't go quietly, however.  Hanley Ramirez was money all day, and he hit a 2-run home run in the 8th to get us to within one.  The Dodgers even got a couple of runners on in the ninth - albeit, not both at the same time - but all of that wasn't enough to overcome Mattingly baseball.  Not tonight. 

One Down, Two To Go!

RIIIIIIIP goes the little foam tomahawk.

Game One was great.  Simply fantastic. I loved it.

For a minute there, I was a bit worried, as many Dodger fans were, about how the Dodgers were going to perform in this first round of the playoffs.

Although they played like gangbusters in the second half of the season and crushed all opponents like a steamroller running over play-doh animals, they finished September looking very much like that non-hitting, injury-prone team from the first half .

And darn it if they didn't start out like the latter, with the first Dodger batters opening the game with three quick and sickly looking strike outs.  I'm sure the Atlanta fans were going crazy with their annoying tomahawk chop chant, but I had the TV sound turned down so I could listen to Vin Scully on the radio.  Maybe the chant was audible on the radio, but who can hear that static when Vinny's voice is up front?

Things didn't start out too well for the Boys in Blue (and visiting greys).  But then came the one.  Our ace.  Kid K. Clayton Kershaw was having none of that and he proceeded to stop the chop with two strike outs of his own, and it was on!  Actually, I should say, it was OVER!

Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports

Yasiel Puig.  Congratulations to Puig for knocking out the first Dodger hit of the 2013 postseason.
Double kudos for scoring the first Dodger run as well.

El Jaguar. Congratulations to Adrian Gonzalez for blasting the first Dodger home run of the playoffs!

A.J. Ellis. Two doubles.  Ellis found his batting groove right as the season was ending and it's carrying forward.  Sweet!

Of course, Kershaw.  He once again entered the Koufax zone by gritting out 12 strike outs - the most in a Dodger postseason since Koufax struck out 15 in 1963.  At one point Kersh struck out six in a row!  Awesomeness personified.

I can't really wrap my head around the fact Kershaw pitched 7 innings, struck out 12, allowed only one run, and yet we're viewing it as an outing where he "struggled" at times.  As one of the talking heads on one of the highlight shows I later watched said, those are the kind of struggles and troubles he would take any day back when he was pitching.

Vin Scully.  As Dodger fans know, Vinny doesn't travel west of the Rockies, so we never get to hear him call games from faraway stadiums any more.  Furthermore, as Dodger fans know, one of the best things about the Dodgers playing in October is having our beloved broadcaster in the room with us, calling the game.  This time Vinny went to Atlanta and I got to enjoy that golden voice just as Dodger baseball in October should be.  Now that's home cookin'. 


Andre Ethier.  He pinch hit tonight and grounded out, but the positive note is, (apparently) nothing happened to cause him to re-aggravate his ankle injury.  WHEW!


Those silly Atlanta fans.  Two reasons.  The first is that inane "chop chant".  The marketing folks at Turner Field gave everyone foam tomahawks so the fans can use them with their chanting.  It was wonderful to see the Dodgers make them all sit down and put away their tomahawks for another day.

Those tomahawks bring me to my second reason.  Marketing must be stuck with thousands of leftover foam toys because Atlanta fans don't even support their team enough to sell out their stadium for a playoff game.  I guess they figured Kershaw was pitching, so why waste money on a ticket for a losing game?  I wonder if they know who's pitching for the Dodgers in Game Two?

The people who can't (or won't?) synch up the radio broadcast with TV.  I love listening to Vinny, but it was slightly annoying that for innings 1-3 the radio was 5 seconds ahead of the TV.  Hence, I knew balls, strikes and outs before the pitcher on TV even began his wind up.  However, it was kind of sweet to know A-Gon's home run was a home run ahead of time.  Just for laughs, innings 7-9 switched it up and had the radio lag behind TV for five seconds.  That was slightly less annoying.

Damn Mattingly.  Speaking of inane. The Dodgers were up 4-0 in the 5th inning and had Atlanta reeling.  We had two men on, and Juan Uribe at the plate.  Uribe could have broken that game wide open if allowed to swing, but Mattingly had him bunt!!!  Stop already with these ridiculous bunts in ridiculous situations.  Sheesh!  Other than that, Mattingly was a genius.

I can't wait for Game Two. 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I See Former Dodgers All Around Me!!!

Dear readers and trade partners, you know what kind of baseball fan and card collector I am.

 If you play for the Dodgers, I love ya. You don't get a free pass to be a bum - but when all is said and done, you're my bum.  And I love ya. 

If you don't play for the Dodgers, and you aren't popular in the cardboard world - sorry, but I never heard a ya.

With the 2013 postseason now underway, I'm watching every minute of the games that I can.  I love good baseball, and I'm sure we'll get plenty of that all the way through the World Series, as we always do.

I said I'm watching as much of the playoffs as I can, but that doesn't necessarily equal a lot of watching on my part.  My schedule is allowing a few innings here and there, and then catching highlights on the sports shows.

That said, DANG, but I'm seeing a whole lotta ex-Dodgers in the small sample that I've watched, and they're not exactly riding the pine or bumbling balls in deep outfield corners. Far from that, they're playing pivotal roles in the dramatics that are the playoffs.

 It's been pretty exciting to watch these ex-Boys in Blue contributing.  Let's lead off with the guy I dread to see in the postseason, but who is there year after year - Adrian Beltre.

Why dread?  It's always the anguish of loss.  I see Beltre and I wish he was still doing all of that for the Dodgers.  Instead, he's far away in the AL, kicking A for the Texas Rangers.

I caught parts of Game 163, the one-game showdown between the Rangers and the Rays.
I watched one at bat of Beltre, his first.   He quickly bashed a double to the outfield and legged it out with a noticeable limp from me to you.  Beltre did his job at the plate and toughed it out on the base paths - like a man. He cranked out 199 hits this past season.  Atta boy, Adrian.

Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
 On the other side of the field in that game was much maligned as a malingerer in L.A., James Loney.

Plenty of Dodger fans were happy to see him go as part of that megadeal with Boston.  Poor ol' Loney was probably sad to leave L.A. at the time, but I'll bet he's plenty glad for that trade now.  He bounced from Boston to the Tampa Bay Rays and now the playoffs.

I watched Loney play some pretty good defense at first base in that showdown game.  He even made a small news splash on a hard-nosed pick-off play at first.  A small war of words broke out over whether or not it was kosher for Loney  to block base runner Elvis Andrus from diving back to first (see above photo).  He blocked the base perfectly and tagged the runner out.  Was it an unwritten rule violation?  Apparently the Dodgers' penchant for being involved in non-controversies has stuck on Loney.

In the National League matchup that saw the Reds battle the Pirates, another couple of ex-Dodgers received plenty of camera time - and both experienced the game from opposite ends of the emotional ladder.

First up is jinxed manager Dusty Baker.  Dusty has jinxed San Francisco (I loved it!!!) and Chicago in the past.  He's now brought his world class jinxery to the Reds.

 I gotta hand it to the man.  He handled his team being pummeled by the Pirates better than I would have.  He sucked it up in quiet dignity as his team's chances just burned and burned and the Pirates kept piling on more firewood.  Sorry to say it, Cincy, but as long as you have Dusty in the dugout, you'll never win the Fall Classic.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Finally, the ex-Dodger catcher whom I didn't really want to see leave L.A., but has found some extremely lucky bounces since he did - Russel Martin.  If I were a ballplayer and Scott Boras wouldn't answer my calls, I just might look up Martin's agent.

Good ol' Russ blasted two homers off of Dusty's pitchers yesterday. He hit one early to help lead the Pirates scoring, and one later, which was just more fuel on top of that Reds funeral pyre.  Then he circled the bases with both arms raised as high as Pittsburgh's hopes for a World Series berth. 

Not bad for a bunch of ex-Dodgers.