April 2006

Lineup change

With the weather back to rainy, Lofton is out. Cruz bats second, Loney fifth and Repko back in center batting seventh.

Tonight's lineup

Furcal, SS

Lofton, CF

Drew, RF

Kent, 2B

Cruz, LF

Mueller, 3B

Loney, 1B

Navarro, C

Penny, P

Originally Kenny Lofton wasn’t going to start because of the wet grounds, but it seems like the field is in great shape, so he’s in the starting lineup.

Unfortunately, he’s been activated because Yhency Brazoban has to undergo Tommy John surgery. He apparently felt something in his right elbow in his last appearance while facing Jeromy Burnitz and today they found a partial tear. He’ll have the surgery next Tuesday and we’ll all be hoping for a speedy recovery, though Stan Johnston, our trainer, has pointed out that with any pitcher, the recovery on Tommy John is at least a year.

Deep thoughts at 30,000 feet – Josh Rawitch

To date, this blog has been used mainly to post lineups, interesting notes, historical facts or inside perspectives on the front office. And while it’s starting to get more comments and hopefully a larger following, like many blogs, one of its goals is to provoke thought.

Fortunately, I’m not a big fan of Constantine or The Island, which was what was being shown on the plane back from Pittsburgh. So, once my laptop died and my iPod battery died, I went back to reading a book I started on the last road trip called The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. In a nutshell, the book covers how technology, outsourcing, and the last 10 years of innovations have brought the entire world together like never before. Seems like an obvious theme, but his explanations and research are fascinating.

It got me thinking about whether or not baseball would eventually be affected by this so-called "flattening of the world" and it was then that I realized that we were actually way ahead of the rest of the world in that regard. Campo Las Palmas, the Dodgers’ Dominican Academy that opened 20 years ago, was just one example of baseball "outsourcing." That is, we found that it was less expensive and more efficient to search for talent in the Dominican Republic and Mexico and Venezuela and Puerto Rico — even Japan — than it was at home, so we began searching there and soon after, every team followed suit. This was not much unlike GE’s forays into India in the early 90s that Friedman explains have resulted in the outsourcing we see today in the business world.

But what’s funny is that baseball is always charged with being run by an old boys network that doesn’t want to change their ways. Many new baseball theorists have found it hard to break baseball of old traditions and yet, it seems to me that baseball is always at the forefront of new technologies. Take MLB.com for example. While every other league was trying to figure out how to streamline its web efforts, MLB was creating what we see today – an incredible resource of information, statistics, multimedia and even blogging for that matter. And long before web sites were commonplace, when "Internet" was still a word most people couldn’t fathom, the Dodgers had a web site that was winning awards left and right.

Or how about Kim Ng, our assistant general manager? There are plenty of other sports that have yet to figure out that women are just as capable of running a team as men are.

Yet somehow, there’s this belief that baseball is stuck in the past. So, on the eve of the single biggest thing baseball ever did for America, I deem those charges laughable. Fifty-nine years ago tomorrow (Saturday), the Dodgers put an African-American player on the field and the country changed forever. It was not the old boys network that was behind on the times…it was America that was following the lead of Branch Rickey.

On Saturday, we’ll honor the memory of Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium and hopefully we’ll have more than 50,000 fans on site to truly take a moment and reflect on what baseball has meant for America. Friedman could be right: the world may be flat, but a baseball is still round and the thoughts it can provoke are truly never-ending.

A little clarification – Josh Rawitch

Given the way a few of the reports came out in the media today, I wanted to make sure that I clarified what took place last night after our loss to the Pirates. When the media went to talk to Brett Tomko after the loss, he explained that he and Sandy Alomar got away from their game plan and that he should have made sure that he executed his plan correctly. When asked who called the pitches, he answered that it was Sandy Alomar Jr., but that it was his responsibility to shake him off and throw the pitches he felt were the right ones to throw to those hitters. Some people took that to believe that Brett was pointing fingers at Sandy and in turn, got some comments from Sandy, who said that he believed it was pitch location, not selection that was the problem.

Nonetheless, Brett was shocked that anyone could have interpreted his intention to take responsibility for the loss for finger-pointing. He and Sandy were laughing about it this morning, so I’m certain there’s no concern between them in the clubhouse and I know that Brett even discussed it with reporters, too. But I felt like this was one instance that fans might like to hear Brett’s side directly from him.

In other news, Cody Ross just hit a grand slam, his second career homer and both have been grand slams. If the Dodgers can hold this four-run lead, we’ll head home with a 4-3 road trip, which is certainly a good thing.

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS

Repko, CF

Cruz, LF

Kent, 2B

Saenz, 1B

Mueller, 3B

C. Ross, RF

Navarro, C

Lowe, P

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS

Cruz, LF

Drew, RF

Kent, 2B

Saenz, 1B

Mueller, 3B

Alomar Jr., C

Repko, CF

Tomko, P

The Rat Pack is Back – Josh Rawitch

How about those undefeated Las Vegas 51s?  The “Jacksonville Five,” a group of prospects that helped the Double-A Suns to the Southern League championship last year, are mostly now in Las Vegas and are wowing the crowds in their first stint at Triple-A.

Even though James Loney is in the Majors and Andy LaRoche is in Double-A, Chad Billingsley (1-0), Jonathan Broxton (1-0), Joel Guzman (.440, HR, 7 RBI), Russell Martin (.333), Andre Ethier (.389) and Willy Aybar (.333, 2 HR, 12 RBI) are among the Dodger prospects that have helped Las Vegas win their first six games of the 2006 season.

Wilson Valdez, who was recently acquired in a minor league trade, has been playing shortstop for the Dodgers in Vegas and has had a great start, too.

We are all hoping it won’t be long before these guys will be in Los Angeles with us. Well, we won’t be in Los Angeles for another couple of days, but we’ll hopefully head back from Pittsburgh with two more wins than we’ve got right now.

Late scratch works out

Jose Cruz was scratched from tonight’s lineup with the flu and what do you know? Ricky Ledee just homered in his first at-bat.

Lineup is now Furcal, Repko, Drew, Kent, Ledee, Mueller, Loney, Navarro, Seo

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS; Cruz, LF; Drew, RF; Kent, 2B; Loney, 1B; Mueller, 3B; Repko, CF, Navarro, C; Seo P

A Pittsburgh staple – Josh Rawitch

We’re at the ballpark early today and it’s safe to say that of all the new ballparks around the league, PNC is probably the best, if not second-best in my opinion. The view from the press box and stands is unreal, with the Allegheny River right behind the outfield and all of the city’s skyline just beyond the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

A few of us took a side trip to West Virginia last night to a horse racing track where one of Rich Donnelly’s sons works. It was an interesting road trip to the middle of nowhere, but with a night game following a day game, we had some time to kill.

Today, we went to Primanti Brothers for lunch, which is the Pittsburgh staple I referred to in the headline. Angelenos probably wouldn’t go for a sandwich that has eggs, cole slaw, french fries, turkey and all sorts of other random things thrown between two slices of bread, but the people here love this stuff.

Otherwise, it’s just another day at the yard. Will post the lineup shortly.

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