Heading to the Great Wall

We finished our first workout this morning and it’s quite a circus here, but in a good way. There’s so much going on at once, from media requests, press conferences, meet and greets with the Chinese National team (managed by former Dodger Jim Lefebvre) and the actual workouts themselves. I’m underneath the stadium in a small office posting this before we take off for the Great Wall with most of the team.

We’ve added yet another blogger, Andruw Jones, to the mix, as he’ll be sharing his thoughts throughout the trip to China. Plus, don’t forget that Tommy Lasorda is blogging from Vero Beach while he manages the team over there. And if you think the Dodgers have a lot of blogs, get this – I was reading up on the plane and at last count, they believe there are 35 million blogs in China, with some websites that translate the most popular ones. That’s some serious bloggage.

More great news, too. You all can watch the China games in Los Angeles this weekend. Our partners at KCAL and FSN have stepped up to help get this done, so Friday night at 10:05 p.m., turn on KCAL and Saturday night at the same time, tune into FSN Prime Ticket. As it currently stands, Friday will be the audio live from Rick Monday and Charley Steiner, while Saturday will be Steve Lyons and Kevin Kennedy from the studio in LA.

Kevin actually emailed me a bit ago to say that he was one of the coaches that came over here in 1984 when the Dodgers conducted the first clinics in China. He was a minor league manager of ours, so it’s come full circle for him.

I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting already…I know at one point on the flight, I was in the cockpit with the two pilots, Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp, Ramon Martinez and Brian Falkenborg. Brian actually stayed in there for the landing, which he said was pretty cool. I guess that’s a benefit to being on a charter.

And finally, ast night when we arrived, Jon SooHoo, Scott Akasaki, Kim Ng and myself went off exploring on our own and wound up in a part of town where no one spoke English. We wound up eating a dinner at 11 p.m. that was selected by pointing at pictures on a menu and it was certainly a memorable experience for us and the waiters, who got a kick out of our cluelessness. But, this trip is as much about experiencing other cultures as it is about sharing baseball with China, so we’re all very excited about the trip to the Wall.

If the Great Wall is wireless, you’ll hear from me there. Um…yeah. Chances are, you’ll see another post very late tonight in China, which will be early Friday morning in L.A.

99 Comments

josh and the guys,
enjoy your trip to china. you won’t find wireless service at The Wall, but you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view! what you will find in beijing is a surprising number of Starbucks coffee houses! amazed me to see one in the Forbidden City of all places (but it’s now closed).

hoping for a great showing from Hu and Park during the trip.

Kudos for being adventurous Josh – that’s the only way to travel. Hope y’all are not too jet-lagged.

“… though I guess that we’ll see him [Kershaw] pull a 2006 Chad Billingsley–come out to LA for the exhibition games in LA, go back to Las Vegas, and get called back sometime in June/July.

Posted by: leekfink@yahoo.com | March 13, 2008 09:45 PM

Interesting take Lee. I had thought about Kershaw possibly playing in the L.A. exhibitions. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kershaw starts the year in AAA or AA, a case could be made for either.

For Kershaw to pull a “Chad Billingsley” he needs to spend the ENTIRE year in Double-A.

That is the best thing for his development, whether people like it or not.

Momoracci you maybe right about Kershaw spending the year in the minors, but Gooden was successful as a 19/20 year old. Some guys have it and he has it. Whatever the decision is, my only hope is that he stays healthy.

I just hope this China trip does not mess up the development of the team. This trip,in my opinion, was not a good idea as far as the team goes. Financially, it will bode well and possibly in building a network for getting future prospects. Out of 3 billion people there has to be some future ballplayers.

The decision to go to China this year (of all years, what with it being the last one in Vero) has been a curious one at best. I agree that it is not in the best interests of a club in transition. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the announcement to go to China came right on the heels of MLB waiving the requirement of the minority interviewing of managerial candidates so that we could get Torre signed.

If there wasn’t a back-door agreement, it was a heck of a coincidence.

game on

1-0 cards HR Ankiel

The Dodgers most likely will carry 11 pitchers, which leaves 5 bench players, not counting the back-up catcher. So with all the Abreu, DY fuss, here are my humble projections for the season-starting bench five:
Pierre (yeah, he’s a sub for me!)

Repko (because he’s an intense stud)

DY (he buys a little time because of LaRoche’s injury, but I’m not solid on him…hard to carry such a young brick glove even if he is out of options)

Sweeney (got to have a least one solid vet off the bench for that crucial late-inning pinch hit)

Hu (utility infielder, once Abreu’s to lose…and he has)

But it’s really all moot. This team will look far different come August for the stretch run.

For all of you fans of bunting :)

Yesterday’s game was lost on many levels, but one of them was DeJesus’ inability to bunt the squeeze.

Just Sayin’

I’d like to agree with you on the 5 bench players, but I think that management will feel compelled to keep Martinez instead of Repko. I don’t think Martinez should be with us, and I’d personally prefer DeWitt if Nomar is not quite ready to start. Frankly Repko, other than being the hard charger that he is, does not show me that he’s a major leaguer, and he apparently has some options available.

Can anybody list what our lineup is today, please.

Pierre LF
Furcal SS

Sweeney 1b

Martin C

Dewitt 3b

Young RF

Repko CF

De Jesus 2b

Loaiza P

JUAN FOR 4 LF
FURCAL SS

SWEENEY 1B

MARTIN C

DEWHITT 3B

YOUNG RF

REPKO CF

DEJESUS 2B

BLOAIZA P

Loaiza, 4 innings pitched, gave up 3 hits, struck out 3 and walked 0. 1 earned run on the solo homer to Ankiel.
Maybe he’ll go 5 today.

Not bad, jhall.

Sounds like Loaiza may be more ready than anybody at this stage.

DY’s Avg just went up 25 points.

It is just spring. And a game.

For all of you Martin fans: he just hit his first HR.

It is just spring. And a game.

Yes here is to hoping that Loaiza pitches well! Man that was tough to say…Nice to see Martin hit the long ball…he has been struggling…Maybe Tommy can get us one today. Looking at this lineup, wow imagine if we had to run that out there everyday…we would know what it was like to be the Devil Rays of years gone by.

Russell Martin with a two run blast after Sweeney walked. DeWitt walked, Young singled and Repko singled DeWitt in. 3-1 Dodgers in the fifth.

I feel bad for Dewyln he is trying to play a position that 2-3 years ago they said he could not play. It has to be tough trying to do something that you are not comfortable with. Sort of like being on a diet and walking past a buffet…He just needs to relax and do what he does best and that is hit the ball.

Good outing for Loaiza, but no Pujols or Glaus today for the Drunkin LaRussas

Loaiza set down the side with just one BB and no damage in the 5th. He has an out ratio of 9:3 (GO:FO) plus 3 Ks in 5 innings. A good day.

Brox in for the 6th.

Only run charged to Loaiza was the solo to Ankiel.

Broxton had a few control issues (walk and hit batter), but Broxton got three ground balls in his inning of work.

Flores in to face Martin, Dewitt, DY. If Flores hits Martin, it could get ugly.

Good outing for Loaiza. All he needs to do in the 5 hole is go 5 or preferrably 6 innings each outing and give up 4 or less runs. Eat innings and keep us in the game. Bombko and Hendry would go 2-4 innings and give up 5 or 6 runs. Killed our bullpen and we were way behind right out of the gate. Geez, I won’t miss that. Although it will be fun to see the box scores when they are doing it for other teams. Hendry was better than Bombko and did do well out of the pen. Just wanted to give Timber some credit. He was not nearly as bad as Bombko.

Plus Hendry didn’t make lame excuses.

Martin GO
Dewitt and DY get on base on consecutive infield fielding errors, then pull off the double steal.

Repko intentionally walked.

Bases loaded, 1 out.

DeJesus (who can’t bunt), K

Loney GO.

7th inning.
Beimel sets down the side in order, 1 GO, 2 FO.

DeJesus just filling in until Kent gets back. I imagine we won’t see Cheery Jeffy until Arizona. Need to play it safe with him.

Bot 7th
Garcia in to face the top of the D’s order.

good job Juan. Get ready for the firestorm if somehow he’s our starting LF.

Massive Substitutions for the D’s.

Braz for the 8th

Bot 7th Garcia Pitching
Pierre GO (1-4 on the day)

Furcal GO (0-4)

Sweeney single

Martin GO (1-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI)

All of the above replaced in the field

Not a big fan of Brazoban to begin with and now another crappy game from him.

Brazabon looking real good with a 14.23 ERA giving up the go ahead shot to Ankiel…oh well, I’m looking forward to seeing Kemp, Jones and Park tonight.

Anyone want Ankiel in CF?

2nd HR, this one on Braz with 2 on.

Mitchell commits an error at first. This plus a BB in front of Ankiel gives the Cards the lead, 4-3.

I have to wonder if Mitchell’s error would’ve led to a double play

Brazabelly to AAA.

DeWitt walks, Young singles, Repko singles in DeWitt, same as from earlier in the game 4-4 tie

Correction, Repko hit a sac fly to score DeWitt

Throw Ankiel back into the pond.
Dewitt BB.

Throwing error allows Dewitt to 3B on a single by DY.

Repko SF, DeWitt scores.

Brazabelly should go to the fat farm instead of AAA. Do the Dodgers not have any kind of conditioning program to prevent these fat guys from showing up on the club? There ought to be a condition in the contract for maintaining some weight limits. A guy like Brazoban who’s looking to make the club is just ridiculous trying to play with that kind of a weight problem. The club just ought to keep him off the field until he’s able to meet some reasonable standard – and I mean without pay PERIOD. Tired of these overweight worthless BA$****$ getting away with **** like that.

Chill.

It’s spring. He won’t make the team anyway.

Don’t you remember Lolich of the Tigers?

He was the middle-age fans’ hero. 30 wins. There is a fan demographic that comes out to see these guys (if they are successful). Braz won’t be around, so it doesn’t matter.

Well the one inning I saw Brazebelly (I like that) he was lights out and now he cannot get anyone out….AAA here he comes, he needs the work to build up arm strenght and to be able to hit his spots…

Dewitt, I like what I see he is making a difference. I hope he continues to develop and is ready in 2009/2010.

You would think that a player that knows he is going to have to compete in the spring for a job or to make a roster would be working out and getting in great shape to give it their best shot. Says alot about the individual. To a lesser degree, Andruw hasn’t exactly showed up svelte. If I was AJones, i would have been working my tail off so I could come in and prove that last year was an aberration.

I’m back from Vero and wow was it great!! I could go on & on but I don’t want to post to long.

When I just saw Brazabon was coming on I was going to post that when I saw him in Vero I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t post because I didn’t want to jinx him. So much for that.

I’m going to do a 2×2.

Two things I saw that I wasn’t excited about was:

#1: Brazabon

#2: Beimel

Neither looked very sharp and were hit hard.

2 Things I saw that I was excited about was:

#1: Kershaw

#2: DeWitt

Kershaw is an obvious choice. I was at the Red Sox game and he just dominated. He was also very nice when I saw him signing autographs for people. He was very gracious. He had a good head on his shoulders.

The ball just jumped off of DeWitt’s bat. The day I got there was the 3rd base elimation game. I got to Dodgertown after the game so I missed the injuries. But the silver lining was to see DeWitt play. He looks good for the future.

He needs to work on his fielding as he missed a few plays that weren’t errors but makeable plays.

DeWitt was also very gracious to the fans and also seemed like he has a good attitude.

One last thing that I didn’t like that seems to continue is the lack of advancing RISP. It drives me batty!!!

McClain was the 30 game winner.

Welcome back DCollins. Dodgertown is awesome, glad you got to experience it.

Lolich however was a crowd pleaser as you say.

Myers loads the bases on BB, 2 FO.
G Jones allows a WP for a run, BB, then gets Ankiel on a FO. I wonder how deep?

We’ll call Myers “The Walking Man”. When he comes in they can play James Taylor.

Should be walking over to the minor league camp about now.

Well, at least Brox and Biemel had nice outings.

You’re right JHall.

Lolich only went 25-14 in ’71 and 22-14 in ’72.

I liked my story better, but he was a fan favorite, just by being fat.

And succesful.

Lolich threw 376 innings in 1971. 29 CG and 4 ShO.

Imagine that today. Can’t happen.

DY went 2-4 and improved his Avg by 40 points.

The only error was on Mitchell for the difference.

DeJesus again costs us by not having the option to bunt, another difference.

Martin starts looking like the Martin of last year.

Loaiza looks dependable, for a 5th. The season will tell us much more.

dcollins it is great that you got to see the hallowed grounds of Dodgertown. It is surreal that they are moving to Arizona. The intimacy and the history, its like you can feel the players of yesteryear roaming the grounds. The players for the most part are very accessible and gracious.

I hope the West coast fans get a place that can come close to Dodgertown. I hate that they are moving but can accept it.

They snuck in an extra run in the ninth, when I wasn’t looking. So, about the differences…..

Nevermind!

Looks like GJones came in and walked in another run. Again, he can’t put out the fire. Start walking with Myers over to minor league camp.

Good to see Marty go deep.

I guess we will be up late tonight. Game from China starts a 1:00am for me here in Ohio. An all nighter of baseball. How cool. I’m psyched.

The recap says that 2 runs scored on one WP. G Jones must have really uncorked one. After that, the BB did no damage. Finally, he got the last FO.

ok so the game is on kcal tongiht @ 10? I checked the tv guide and it shows 10oclock news and other ****. i have work @430 so yeah. maybe its not showing up yet but i just recorded kcal till 130 am

So I’m sitting in McDonalds this morning and came to a couple of realizations (not any epiphanies mind you, for how many epiphanies can one have in McDonalds, but I digress…)

One was that I was sitting in McDonalds and wondering what events in my life had to take place that brought me to a point that I WAS at a McDonalds to HAVE realizations. I have no answers for that…

The other two were these:

#1. I can see DY having a career much like Lee Lacy – always the bridesmaid and never the bride.

#2 As long as JP is on the Dodgers he HAS to start because as a 4th outfielder, he’s totally worthless. 4th OFers need to be able to come in on double switches and late in the game and play solid defense. 4th outfielders need to be able to pinch hit and drive in key runs. This of course is not going to happen.

Now don’t jump on me for beating a dead horse because I’m not per se, though I’m still firmly entrenched in Ethier’s camp. I’m just wondering if Joe and Ned came to this same conclusion because off the bench, the only thing JP is really capable of is PR. In otherwords, if he doesn’t start, he’s dead weight, whereas Ethier is capable of late inning defense and PHing…

BTW, Myers stinks.

I see where Tommy is trying the same psychology on Billz as he used on Orel. Named him the Pitbull. Hope it works like it did 20 some years ago. Can’t hurt.

Yep Enchanted, their hands are kind of tied as Pierre is truly a one trick pony.

I just wish it was a better trick.

Houdini he ain’t. LOL Of course, the trick he pulled on Ned was a classic.

I hope Loaiza continues to pitch well. If he does, they are going to have to use Kuo in the bullpen. Got to figure out a way for him to stay warm down there.

So, what would you guys think about having a leadoff hitter who batted .249/.293/.292 (Avg/OBP/SLG) in 650 AB (36 BB) with 28 SB and 11 CS, 74 runs scored and 25 RBI in 159 games?

How about a leadoff .260/.301/.321 in 689 AB (41 BB) with 39 SB and 10 CS, 77 runs and 42 RBI in 162 games?

In 1971, the first was Larry Bowa (PHI) and the second was Sandy Alomar (CAL). Times have changed.

That year, the top four pitchers had ERA below 3 (2 of them below 2) with 105 CG between them and IP of 376, 334, 325, and 312. 167 games started among the 4 of them, plus Wilbur Wood pitched 2x in relief. The four were Lolich, Wood, Jenkins, and Blue. 95 wins and 48 losses among them. So, what was acceptable for hitters in an era dominated by starting pitchers that completed their games, is unthinkable now for a leadoff hitter. Old Fogies like me need to adjust our thinking to the post-steroid era. Perhaps HRs will go back to normal, but avg may stay high.

It’s the corrupting influence of the AL’s DH rule, I tell ya. Now, the Umps call the zone too tight in order to increase the offense and bring the (ignorant) fans to the park. I had more fun when 18,000 came to Dodger Stadium and CG shutouts made the crowd buzz. Now it’s just the Whipper Snappers!

Anyway, something to think about when we consider the opinions of Larry Bowa. If Torre and he don’t understand the changes in the game, our blog will sure be interesting this season! ‘Cause we know!

Just trying to stir the pot.

I seem to recall one year that the batting champ in one league batted something like .301. Could have been 1968 when pitchers were so dominate they lowered the mound. Games only lasted around 2 hours in those days. So we do get to watch more now.

jhall – maybe now Billz and JP can put on a dog and pony show :)

Oooooooooooh!! Good one Enchanted One.

It was 1968 and Yaz won the AL batting title with a .301 average. Pete Rose won the NL with a .335 avg. and had a league leading .394 OBP. That is amazing for that time period.

Say what you will, but between the lines, Pete was truly great. Too bad he couldn’t maintain it after his playing career.

By the way, that same year (1971), lOU Brock had the ridiculous stats of .313, .385, .425 in 640 AB with 76 BB (107 K), 126 runs and 61 RBI and 64 SB with 19 CS (worse than JP last year). Brock got 200 hits (7 HR) in 157 games.

Garr for ATL had .343/.372/.441 in 639 AB with 30 BB (68 K), 101 runs and 44 RBI and 30 SB with 14 CS, 219 hits (9 HR) in 154 games.

Torre for STL had .363/.421/.555 in 634 AB with 63 BB (70 K), 97 runs and 137 RBI and 4 SB with 1 CS, 230 hits (24 HR) in 161 games, mostly as a 3B. I think we should get Joe out there to hit for us!

A blast from the past: 137 RBI and avg of .363, slg of .555 and you didn’t even think about steroids. Of course, back then it was fun to accuse the pitcher of throwing spitballs.

shep – Bowa’s going to be highly entertaining this year. Think he was a little too quick to jump on DY, but then a little *** kick’in is maybe what this team needs – I see DY had a couple hits and a stolen base today…

Definately needed someone last year to put a boot up some a$$es.

Talking about 2 hour games– When Fergie Jenkins would face Claude Osteen in Dodger stadium, the games might last 1 hour 40 minutes. The score would be 3-2 or 2-1 and both would throw a CG. Unfortunately, Jenkins usually won. Many games went 0-0 into the 7th inning.

Waaay back in the day, I think there was a 9 inning game that was less than an hour. I think Christy Mathewson was one of the pitchers.

In 1971, Lou Brock had only 7 assists and 14 errors on defense. By 1977, he had slowed down and had only 2 assists and 9 errors (35 SB and 24 CS).

Brock’s best year for steals, 1974, he had 8 assists and 10 errors (118 SB and 33 CS).

Of course, Brock had a lifetime OBP of .343 with 6 years in a row at .359 OBP or above– his highest was that .385 OBP in 1971.

EricM,
Sept 28, 1919, New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 in 51 minutes. Shortest game in major league history. Could have been Mathewson but I am not sure if he pitched after WWI because of his lung injury during that war.

I’m sure Mathewson did pitch some games that lasted less than 1 hour as they appear to have happened alot in the dead ball era.

I just looked it up in the Baseball Almanac. The Gentleman Mathewson couldn’t have pitched in that game. His last season was 1916.

In 1908, Matthewson went 37-11 with a 1.43 ERA and 34 CG in 44 starts (11 ShO) in 390.2 innings pitched.

He was a piker compared to the leader that year, Ed Walsh, who went 40-15 with a 1.42 ERA and 42 CG in 49 starts (11 ShO) in 464 innings pitched. Not only that, but Walsh relieved in 17 games, getting 6 saves. Walsh allowed 2 HR all season. I wonder what his curve looked like? I bet they were quaking in their spikes. However, he only hit 9 batters and he struck out 269. I think you might consider that the dead ball era.

Addie Joss had an ERA of 1.16 that year and went 24-11 in 35 starts, with 29 CG. Joss pitched 325 innings. I can’t say I remember it, but I loved playing the old SI All-Star baseball and picking each of these guys.

Amazing!!!

Update from China with starting lineup at the top.

Mathewson’s ERA was only 2.13. His CAREER ERA! For 17 years.

Matthewson refused to pitch on Sundays. Reminds me of Shawn Greene (and Snady Koufax) on Yom Kippur.

Big Ed Walsh was noted for his spitter. I think those guys would laugh themselves sick if they saw the modern pitchers removed after 100 pitches.

Probably played for $10 a game, too. That era was when they would “pass the hat” among the spectators.

I’m new to posting, but I must say that it’s been a lot of fun reading you guys. I grew up in the LA area but now live in Temecula, about halfway between LA and San Diego. I’m surrounded by Padre and Angel fans. I’ve had my Dodger flag ripped off my house. So it’s great to read feelings and ideas from so many passionate Dodger fans from around the country.

Good talkin’ to ya. See you on the next blog. (Check the top of the page). I gotta go home now, so I’m outta here. Hope we cross paths soon.

P.S. Put some itching powder on the next flag! That’ll teach ‘em!

Welcome aboard EricM!!

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