My, how times have changed

That headline could refer to any number of things, but a few of them are top of mind this afternoon. The first is the Viva los Dodgers event going on in the parking lot right now, which started out 10 years ago as an event that drew about 500 people and now brings almost 10,000 out to the stadium. It’s a really enjoyable event, even if you don’t speak Spanish or listen to Spanish music. Just being at a cultural event like that is pretty cool and helps us all understand the melting pot that is our city.

Also, the changes in modern technology continue to amaze all of us, I’m sure, but in reading the L.A. Times Letters to the Editor today, I noticed that often there seems to be a distinct difference in opinion of those who use newspapers as their primary source of information (and write in to them) or those who are primarily Internet users (and post comments and thoughts here or on other forums).  While many online blogs like Dodger Thoughts seem to have a lot of people who believe in building this team through the farm system and a longer-term view, there are many who write into the editor or Bill Plaschke (as he mentioned in his last column) who think we should have traded away all the kids for talent that might have made us better this year.

I guess I just wonder whether it’s an age thing (older fans, who might somehow prefer quick fixes, are more likely to be reading the papers, though we’ve got plenty of older fans that post here) or a sabermetrics thing (more of them online than in the papers and they follow the minor leagues more closely) or maybe it’s neither. This is hardly a scientific experiment, but it’s something I seem to have noticed in tracking Dodger coverage over the last few years. One of those things that make you go hmmm…

And while I hate to point out a single letter to the editor, I found the very first one today quite odd – the belief that only Ned "made the trade" for Hendrickson and that he "wants [Grady] to keep him in the rotation." First off, the idea that these two don’t consult one another on everything is absurd, as I watch them interact all the time and share their thoughts with one another. Grady (and his entire coaching staff) was very involved in the Hendrickson trade and Ned is consulted regularly on on-field issues, too.

But going back to my technology point, a letter like that is out-of-date and looks silly when it appears in the paper the day after Eric Stults replaced Hendrickson in the rotation with a stellar start. Or when one of the letters refers to going to see a "fourth-place team" when the team moved into third place last night. These are hardly egregious issues, but with the ability to choose letters (or emails) that are more current, it strikes me as strange when that never happens. After all, every single letter that ran today was completely negative and the team has reeled off three straight wins.

Which I guess, brings me to the final way to look at the headline of today’s blog. Three days ago, there was no hope (at least according to most fans) that we would turn this around. Three days ago, people were writing off the team completely and starting to focus on football (and fantasy football). But today, with three consecutive victories, the team is within 2.5 games of the Wild Card and the playoffs are very much within reach. Remember that age-old cliche, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and just because you trip and fall at Mile 20 doesn’t mean you can’t finish the race in front. It’s just going to take a lot better effort in the final 6.2 miles.

Here are the Dodgers’ marathoners for today:

Furcal, SS

Pierre, CF

Kemp, RF

Kent, 2B

Saenz, 1B

Martin, C

Gonzo, LF

Hillenbrand, 3B

Billingsley, P



    saenz before martin? and before gonz for that matter? ****, even before hillenbrand? I know a few of u think this is silly nit-picking and whining… but i dont get how u justify that.


    Bill Plaschke has always been a Dodger hater. His opinion couldn’t mean any less to me.
    By the way, Saenz batting 5th makes my chest burn.


    I still don’t know why Ethier doesn’t get to play all the time. He’s hitting well. And why isn’t Loney at first base? At least Kemp is well enough to play, so that’s something. Did everyone watch the game last night??? It was great. I think a lot of you guys were upset about the lineup and didn’t plan on watching. I kept telling you guys that the Dodgers would turn it around. Grady has put together lineups that seem weird but somehow they have worked. And how about Stults??? And thank goodness that Derek is back to form. Let’s try to be positive now that the Dodgers are winning. Go Dodgers.


    Do not know much about this left hander Franklin Morales, but his control is an issue. I have confidence that Ace Chad will arrive tonight. Ethier will get his AB’s tonight late and with the day game tomorrow will probably start against Francis. Lets get four!

  5. Roberto

    Is Loney hurt ? That’s the only excuse I can find for him not playing. Especially since he didn’t start yesterday either! I mean, Grady is not that dumb. Right ?


    Saenz? How come he’s still with the team? He hasn’t shown he still belongs. Here we go again Either should play everyday sit Gonzo. If you’re going to keep the kids play them. Stults should be given every chance to stay in the rotation like Tomko and Hendy have. If Grady and Ned make these decisions together and we don’t make the playoffs then they should both go.


    i hope kemp’s knee is ok. i love that he is batting third. should see some good pitches to drive.

    less than 2 weeks til we get to see more kids play… definitely will welcome the addition of abreu, laroche, meloan!

    let’s go dodgers. connect four!


    Yeah where’s Loney? Two days off in a row for a guy in his twenties?? I don’t get that. Is he hurt?


    From a defensive standpoint Loney should play everyday, but he’s in a tough stretch offensively (2 for 16 with no walks), so with two lefties back to back I don’t have a problem starting Saenz one of the games. It’s not that big of a deal to me. Besides once the lefty is gone, Loney will replace him anyway.


    I’m sure Grady Gump has Saenz in because of LH pitcher starting for Colorado….. And, of course, a .180 hitter should always bat 5th (yuk, yuk)….. Any good manager would tell you so…

    Either (our best hitter) out for Gonzo makes alot of sense also… Anybody with any baseball knowledge at all should know that………


    I think fans who use the internet and interface through blogs tend to more informed about the players in both the majors and minors because of the myriad of information available through the internet. Therefore, they tend to be more involved in wanting the team to do well in both the current and future years.
    The fans that get their information only through the newspapers tend to be influenced by the opinions and bias of the newspaper “sports writers”. This tends to stifle individual creative thought concerning the team.


    People – You had better get use to the FACT that with Ned & Grady running the show the young players will never get to play on a consistent basis…….
    Martin is the one exception, and they are playing him to death….

    After the call up on Sept.1st we will have alot more young players up from the minors and I gurantee you that they will sit on the bench most of the time… Just wait and see…

    Ned & Grady just prefer old worn out vets… That is the way it is, and that is the way it will always be with them….

    For our young players to get a chance to develop & be the stars that they can be, Ned & Grady must go… Otherwise they will be in limbo for a very long time….


    What surprises me is how people can be lulled after a 3 game winning streak.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed it. However, the facts are that this team is still starting Tomko and while he had a nice performance last night, does anyone think that was really Eric Stults? Meanwhile, Hillenbrand is still starting at 3rd, Pierre is getting the 2nd most amount of PAs with an OBP below the league average while providing little to no power and they’re an IF injury away from Ramon Martinez.

    I’d love to see it happen, but this team isn’t equipped to leapfrog 2 teams in the division and 3 in the wild card. It’s not Little’s fault, it’s the poor decisions made by this front office.


    Loney hurt his knee when he slammed into a wall catching a ball. Grady said that the knee just looked ugly but no structural damage. He did bat yesterday. Maybe it’s still a little sore. I was watching the Yankees-Tigers game. Where did they get this 20 year old Cameron Maybin?? His first major league at bat was a base hit, the second was a homerun. Wow!!! They said he could get to first base in like 3.3 seconds.


    Sangabrielad..such negativity with 3 consecutive wins. So we’re lulled. We’re Dodger fans. Go Dodgers.


    oh they can spin it all they want. the fact is we are 6 1/2 games back on a team that is younger than our team.

    Our 2007 self created payroll is twice that of AZ team so obviously we don’t understand how to judge talent.

    I as glad as anyone we have one three straight after loosing 13 of 19 don’t get me wrong, but sorry for not jumping up and down at the possibility we may win a wildcard spot.


    Josh is a very good PR man and good at what he does but PR people are skilled in words not Maths. He poses the point that we’ve turned things around and I hope to God he’s right but even down here in Australia I can see that not only do we have to keep winning (and that to my way of thinking is putting your best team on the field) but our opponents have to start losing. We’ve won 3 in a row and have hardly moved. I want us to make the playoffs as much as anyone but I want Dodger Management to play their part as well.


    From the LA Times’ letters, there was one that took aim at the Dodger youth movement. At one point, he claims the Dodgers have “no proven arms coming up.”

    Great logic. If they were “proven,” what would they be doing in the minor leagues? As you point out Josh, Eric Stults, a minor leaguer, just pitched a great game against a division rival. Meloan and Kershaw are two highly touted prospects we’ll see on the Dodgers soon. None of them are “proven,” but sometimes “proven” equates to damaged goods like Schmidt and Wolf.


    Josh – I started following the Dodgers in 1952. The outfield at that time was Furillo, Snider and Pafko. I have had the pleasure as a Dodger fan to have lived through all of our world series championships and many other wonderful evetnts – Koufax, Wills, Fernando, Hershiser, etc. Perhaps that clouds my perspective and I have had what young fans want. I have miantained for years that the only way, with very few exceptions, is to build from within and add a few pieces as needed. The core we need is a core of born and bred Dodgers, as our system is now producing. It takes time but is fun to follow and will make us competitive for years. Buying high priced, long term contact players has been a risky business for most teams.

    I commend Ned for hanging on the kids and I do believe they will play. The pressure to trade kids for Dotel or others must have been enormous and hard to resist. Sometimes the best moves made are those that are not made.My take is that the veterans brought on board were to protect the kids and allow them to mature without having to shoulder the pressure of the big league team. Unfortunately, some of the guys have broken down physically or their skills have diminished a bit so they cannot carry the load expected.

    The older fans with whom I keep in touch all feel the same way, as do the younger ones. Protect the kids. Build a team around them. I also commend former GM Dan Evans for his input in re-establishing the Dodger farm system and Logan White and his staff for superb drafting. I know some folks are upset that during the past two years we could not sign Hochevar and Blair. The whole draft thing is a gamble. You win some, you lose some. Logan’s team has won many more than they have lost. But, going with the kids is far less of a gamble than bringing in the high priced, long term contract, aging players. eg. A-Rod.

    GO DODGERS!! Let’s keep this rolling. The best is yet to come. This year and down the road with the kids.


    Today’s Oldtimer: Mark Belanger

    Mark Belanger must have been one heck of a fielder. Despite being one of the worst hitters in baseball history (.228 career BA, 20 career HR) Belanger spent significant portions of 15 years in the major leagues. Along the way “The Blade” collected eight Gold Gloves at shortstop, fewer than only Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, and Luis Aparicio. Surely, Belanger along with Brooks Robinson and Bobby Grich deserve much of the credit for the superb Baltimore pitching of the 1970s, with the trio combining for 28 career Gold Gloves. Belanger spent the final year of his career with the 1982 Dodgers.

    Don’t look for another Mark Belanger; you’ll never see the likes of him again. For better or worse, a player like Belanger will never again make it out of “A” ball.


    Someone asked where the Tigers got Cameron Maybin. Answer: He was the 10th pick in the 2005 draft.

    Also, today was not his ML debut; he went 0-4 yesterday.


    Saenx should be batting 4th………………………………in Vegas.

    Posted by: | August 18, 2007 05:37 PM

    And take away valuable ABs from Andy LaRoche? I dont think so. He should be batting 4th for a beer league softball team.


    sweet thanks, im putting in a ring tone for the new phone. couldnt remember the song.

    I hope we can knock this rookie pitcher around tonight.


    Baseball America has compared tonights starter for the rockies, Franklin Morales, to our very own Scott Elbert.

    Their fastball/curveball combo’s are very similar. He has what they call “swing and miss” type stuff.


    I get my news from the LA Times AND the internet. Yep that’s right, I’m 22 years old and I actually read the newspaper, what a concept? In fact, I’ve read the LA Times sports section every single day for about seven years. I actually read the other sections too….I know you probably just fainted.

    Morales is a tough pitcher. This is not going to be an easy win tonight. In the futures game he was throwing 95-97 mph and his curve made my jaw drop….it’s a HUGE curve ball, more side to side break than Zito’s, but equally as impressive.


    The Dbacks are spanking the Braves..HARD! I’m hoping they cool off sometime soon so the Dodgers can gain some ground in the standings. Wild card chances still look good though at this time.


    Game thread comments on blogs can be so knee jerk that some commenters can’t see the forest for the trees. So you get reactions that turn into comments regarding an error, strikeout in a clutch situation, or a groundout on the first pitch during a single game expressing that the team is hopelessly doomed to failure.

    It’s not a bad thing, you just have to see it and take it in for what it is, knee jerk reactions from fans that want their team to win every single night. Impossible and unrealistic, but also the mark of a fan true and true.

    Just FYI for everyone the dodgers record last year on this day was

    2006 Aug 18 64-58

    2007 Aug 17 63-59

    …and we did all right last year.

    “…the Dodgers are in the middle of a pretty bad losing streak I see not much difference between the ’06 and ’07 dodgers as far as their ability to make the playoffs. I see a three win differential. The dodgers will start winning again, the big question is will it be too late when they do.” 8/15/07 from


    Morales is no ordinary rookie pitcher – he’s got a dominant 94-95 MPH fastball from the left side and a nasty curve.


    From Rotoworld:
    Rather than start Brett Tomko, the Dodgers will use Brad Penny on three days’ rest Sunday against the Rockies.

    A risky strategy, especially given Penny’s tendency to wear down as the season goes on. The Dodgers have Monday off, so Tomko might not start again until next weekend.


    Sorry guys. I’m usually sleeping this time of day. My info was faulty. Maybin was pretty awesome today considering it was his second appearance. Are we splitting hairs here?


    Chad has been ridiculously lucky tonight, quite the catch from Kemp which definitely hit the glove not the wall


    This rookie is making mincemeat out of this lineup so far, other than the mistake to Kemp earlier. C’mon bats wake up! Score some runs. Don’t want to go 7 plus back.


    Just got back from Keyspan “crazy” Park with all it’s shenanigans, Brooklyn lost to the S.I. Yankees 12-3 Looks like we’re having trouble here, SO LET’S GO DODGERS


    Wow, Saenz just missed that.

    God he is pathetic. That was an awful pitch to swing at.

    Well this one is over. Later!


    Fat, slow, and worthless – that’s why Saenz should never start, pinch hit, or be on this team.


    Josh, It’s nice to talk about three victories in a row and it’s a marathon, not a sprint, but that doesn’t address the real problem with the Dodgers. That is, they are badly mismanaged! Grady might be an acceptable manager for a team of veterans, but he is the wrong person for a team whose talent is in the younger players. That, along with Ned’s roster moves and trades that blocked the younger players, is why the team is where it is today. The sooner both of them get over their fascination with less talented veterans, the sooner this team will produce. In the meantime, let’s lay the responsibility for the team’s standing where is rightfully belongs – at the feet of management.


    I wonder why our offense struggle’s? Would this game be different if Loney was hitting fifth? Why is the fatty tomato batting fifth?


    .181 batting average for Saenz. Worthless. Mindless and reckless of grady to bat him in front of Martin. As soon as LaRoche gets healthy, I fully expect Saenz to be shipped out, and The Roach to be brought in.


    since the all star break.

    .130/.214/.130/.345 tomato

    .259/.302/.379/.681 loney

    .240/.265/.313/.577 gonzo

    .330/.390/.534/.924 ethier

    enough is enough. We are heading towards 7 1/2 back in our division and were at least in a wild card race and these bozo’s roll out these two guys over guys who are at the very least better baserunners and better defensive players and of course better hitters.

    why should we care anymore?


    My gosh… I think Olmedo Saenz let out a belch from the dugout to wind that ball passed Tulo’s glove… atta boy tubby tomato, way to do your part!


    Shea has come up huge this game. Anyone for dfa Saenz and recalling Laroche letting Shea be our righty ph


    If you tell me how snide comments followed by five question marks help in any situation, I’ll try to help you with Grady.
    If I had told you before the season started that Schmidt would make 6 starts and be 1-4, that wolf would make no starts after July 4th,that kuo would make 6 starts and be 1-4,and that the Dodgers would neither make a trade for pitching or bring any significant additional pitching up from the minors what would you have guessed our record would be in mid-August.


    I’m glad you’re a Grady fan .. but even from down here I can see his limitations … it’s a shame you can’t .. and btw I never make snide comments… it’s just the way you read it.


    So what does that have to do with all the dirt line ups he throws out there. We have injuries but what team hasn’t? What about the Dbacks the lost Johnson, D.Davis barely came back from injury. Point is every team has to deal with injuries that’s why we went into spring training with 7 starters and it still wasn’t enough. What do hurt pitchers have to do with benching Loney two staright days, batting sweeney third, tomato fifth. grittle hurt the team more than he helps it.


    Not to come to anyone’s defense, but the question referred to Grady’s assets. Grady is a nice man, very patient, two qualities that may or may not make for a great major league manager. He also likes to run a little bit, which I applaud. Other than that, I don’t like the way he handles pitchers, and I certainly don’t like his pitching coach, though I don’t know if he actually picked Honeycutt. And I REALLY don’t like his line-up cards.


    Why rag on Honeycutt? He’s doing all he can with what he has to work with. He doesn’t make out the lineup cards.


    Even Vinny some times rags on Honeycutt…ala, “…whatever Honeycutt just told him, don’t tell him that again..” after some monster hit.


    What is this, the Rick Honeycutt fan club. What has he DONE to put him in your top echelon of pitching coaches?


    Last time I looked, I saw a fantastic young pitcher named Chad Billingsly and this guy just can’t turn the corner. Too many wasted pitches leading to high npitch counts…problems with mechanics. Eddie Murray committed far less sins and he’s goneeeeeeeeeee. Honeycutt? Give me a break.


    if we didn’t give a run away already we would have won the game. let alone what is going on right now. defense is huge in all sports but gets no respect.


    thats the one thing i have noticed about loney his throws always seem to be a bit off. i don’t know if he gets excited or what.


    OMG That Was FREAKIN HUGE!!!!!!!!!Great job there keeping it together and working outta That Jam!!!!


    hmm…shea is…lol..j/k. he basically replaces wilson -a little more contact a little less power..about the same defense and running the bases that play withstanding. nice battle james. lets fo furcal, it’s getting late…


    When you put 5 question marks on a question you have made up your mind about I think that an indication of a snide point of view. If you say it’s me projecting I think your playing games.
    The question I asked you seems like a good one to me.The problem as I’m sure you know I believe is with Colletti and injuries. I don’t study any other teams on a day-to-day basis to comment on how they were able to overcome injuries better than we have.


    we need great pitching from everyone now Penny-Tomko we are too far out to waste any games now. Great Job by Rudy!


    Great job Rudy! Hope we score here. Rudy can’t go another inning, and all that’s left is Blowberto, and Saito.


    to bad for him cause grady was actually gonna let him play tomorrow if he got a hit…oh well i guess he’ll have to wait for the next 12 inning game.


    Pushed to the very end only to come up short…throughly exhausting game in every possible way…our pen gave us 5 innings to win the game with a walk-off and our offense didn’t get it done. We have the bottom of this inning to catch what the Rockies did, so I’ll hold out hope till it’s over. Great effort from the pitching staff tonight, the offense while it battled to get us back in the game could not push over that final run.


    We lost this game about 10 times and lo and behold we got another half inning to watch and see if we can come back.


    Hernandez made over 50 pitches, there was nothing to be done, we had 5 innings to win the game before Hernandez’s second inning. I would say this wrecked our bullpen, but we have Penny going tomorrow and a day off Monday. I’m about ready to put the West to bed, Wild Card is very much in play though and anything can happen in October when you get there. And I’ll be at Dodger Stadium in 12 hours, good night.


    Game effort by Roberto Hernandez, and he shouldn’t be blamed for losing this game. Billingsley again could only give us 5 IP, and our 1-4 hitters went a collective 3 for 24.

    That said, there’s no reason for Hernandez to be on this team. Why is Meloan still down while we run Hernandez out there in crucial games?

    Colletti is asleep at the wheel in this case.


    By the time Hernandez came out for his second inning for just the first time he’s gone more than 1 in more than 2 months, I had to wonder, “Where’s Sammy?” Research provided the answer. Only twice this year has Saito pitched on more than 2 consecutive days, and one of those two occasions was the three days before this game.

    In looking at Broxton, the same is true of him so I am led to believe that this is a Grady policy. It may even be a good policy, but there is a time to violate the policy and the 14th inning of a crucial game is that time.


    Games like these is what frustrates me with Little. Saenz batting fifth coming up in key situations all night and couldn’t get it done. How do you keep a guy hitting .180 more than halfway done with August.Grittle bad incosistent line ups are going to kill us. At least play the kids and give them some experience in a pennat race.


    Several mistakes were made last night.

    1. What the **** was Hildenbrand thinking, he killed any moementum we had after getting out of the jam in the top half of the inning.

    2. Relief pitching, need I say more. Beimel, 10 pitches, Proctor 1 pitch!! I know hind sight is always 20/20, but come on, we burned 2 innings of relief pitching and were forced to use blowberto in the latest innings.

    3. Defensive substitutions. First of all, how many starts does Olmedo need to get “hot” again. He needs to go. Using Ethier for one at bat when he could have had at least two more could have provided the offensive edge we needed. Gonzo better not be in the lineup if Martin is resting today, as well he should after catching 14 innings.

    Its **** like this that forces me to have so little faith in Grady. Last nights game was full of managerial mishaps and **** poor decisions. IF we make the playoffs, dont expect too much from Grady to get us through the first round.

    Release Roberto!! Call up Meloan!!! Hendrickson is next on my list.

    I realize that Bad Chad showed up again last night, but the kid is young and he’s got some learning to do. But we’ve seen what he’s capable of with that complete game, 8 2/3 innings shutout against houston a few weeks back. A little early run support and maybe not starting against the Rockies would do him some good, they seem to have his number.

    DFA Grady while youre at it.


    Yeah and Roberto just gave up six more runs, dont know how our offense is going to keep up with this. I think we’re going to start using an 8 man squad on the field and have Pierre pitch, the throw isnt as far that way.


    Right now the Rockies are a better team then us because of their offense. If it wasn’t for numerous late inning melt downs by their bullpen they could be leading the wild card right now. As much as it pains me to say it we are the fourth best team in our division right now because of our weak offense.


    I wouldnt say we’re the fourth best team, we’re just playing like it. The problem is that we have a manager who is about the 10-12th best in the league, and some people on here may say that that is giving him too much credit.


    I’ll take our pitching staff Penny,Lowe,Bills and Beimel,Brox,Saito over Dbacks and Rocks staff. I’ll take our offense with the right line up over the padres. That does not make the them fourth best team in the division what we do have is the worst manager in the division.


    Give me Boche over Little. And the thought of Boche makes my stomach turn, and one of the biggest reasons for that is because he is a Gnat.


    Having Saenz over Loney didn’t cost us a win yesterday. There is no excuse for playing the fatty tomato over Loney and batting him fifth ahead of Martin. Not to mention Ethier on the bench. So frustrating how can you not be mad at grittle!

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