April 2008

Today's lineup

Furcal, SS

Ethier, LF

Kemp, RF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Nomar, 3B

Jones, CF

Bennett, C

Billingsley, P

Beimel and Penny to be immortalized in ceramic

We will be sending out a press release shortly announcing that July 25 will be Brad Penny Bobblehead while the Fans Vote Bobblehead on Aug. 12 will be Joe Beimel.

I wanted to break the news here, as I know that there are many who believe that somehow we didn’t want Joe to get this bobblehead. For what it’s worth, I’m happy to say that from the very beginning when we saw how the voting process was going, I have been of the belief that we should be making a Beimel bobblehead. It was only due to a a joking comment in the clubhouse and an off-the-cuff text message that Joe sent to his buddy that this entire thing took a turn for the dramatic. As I’ve said all along, there are no conspiracies here and I’m sure that everyone in the soon-to-be sellout crowd that night will come to love their Beimel bobblehead as much as every other we’ve given away over the years.

With that, here’s the lineup in Atlanta:

Furcal, SS

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Jones, CF

Nomar, 3B

Lowe, P

Tonight's game

Nomar has been activated and is in the lineup. Joe Torre has yet to announce the corresponding move, but expects to announce it after batting practice.

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Kemp, RF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Jones, CF

Nomar, 3B

Pierre, LF

Penny, P

We’ve certainly had our share of tough games so far this season, but last night definitely takes the cake. Saito has been nearly automatic for two years, so it’s hard to be upset when he shows that he’s human. Still, everyone knows that we’ve got to start winning now and hopefully tonight’s the night.

Also, thanks for those of you who have shared their thoughts on the Fans Vote Bobblehead. I know that we’re getting closer to announcing results of that vote, as well as who will be depicted in the third bobblehead on July 25, so stay tuned on that front. I definitely have to give a shout out to the people at dodgerblues.com, who have taken their humor to an entirely new level (not to mention their love of yours truly). Rest assured, Blues Brothers, there are no conspiracy theorists around Dodger Stadium.

Far more important than any of that, though, is our celebration tonight of Jackie Robinson. Sixty-one years ago today, he broke the color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the game and world haven’t been the same since. We remember him, we honor him, and we thank him for everything with some great pregame ceremonies planned. If you can still come down and grab a ticket, you definitely should…

Here’s tonight’s lineup…

Furcal, SS

Kemp, RF

Ethier, LF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Jones, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Kuo, P

Tonight's lineup

Time to get the offense going…no doubt about that. Here’s the crew that will try to make tonight’s game more like Saturday’s than Sunday’s…

Furcal, SS

Ethier, LF

Kemp, RF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Jones, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Kuroda, P

And of course, a very happy anniversary to Tommy Lasorda and his wife Jo!

Another night away…

Sorry for failing to post the lineup yesterday…was actually away from the stadium for a day, attending a close friend’s wedding. Now back at it again Sunday morning…

I also didn’t get the chance to post about Friday night’s suite event in which we hosted seveal of the Dodger fans who have their own blogs about the Dodgers. As many of you probably know, there are a handful of fans who put quite a bit of time into hosting these sites and they’ve become a great forum for fans to cheer, chat, gripe and get to know one another.

Back during the winter, we reached out to the 15 or so sites that are the most established and began sending them our media releases. After all, if they’re going to be writing about the Dodgers every day, they might as well have the most up to date information, right? On Friday, with short notice, five of the sites’ administrators were able to make it out and hear from the people who make many decisions around here, including Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti and Tommy Lasorda.

I think that most of the people in the suite got a better understanding of what goes into a lot of the decisions made here, both on and off the field, and for that, the entire event was well worth it. As the world continues to change and fans get their information from a number of different areas, this is certainly one that only seems to be getting bigger.

In any event, here’s the lineup for the series finale this afternoon…

Furcal, SS

Pierre, LF

Ethier, RF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

Jones, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Billingsley, P

 

 

 

Tonight's game and an update on batting practice/autograph policies…

Many of you have had questions and or posted comments about our autograph policy during batting practice and I want to thank you all for your patience in getting a response. I didn’t want to post anything until we had all the correct information and I’m happy to say that thanks to the feedback of you and other fans, we have decided to essentially return to our previous pregame autograph policy.

As you probably know by now, renovations to the Field Level prompted us to limit traffic to only those with tickets to that concourse.  Members of our organization were concerned that our revamped areas, if open to all 56,000 fans, would cause long lines at the new concession stands, even though shorter lines were the goal.  

So here’s the new (or old, actually), policy: Fans who enter the Left Field Pavilion or the left field Field Level entrance for batting practice can do so starting two hours before the game until 90 minutes before the game (same as recent years). Such fans may stay on the Field Level until batting practice ends, which is 50 minutes before the scheduled first pitch. At that time, fans return to their seats.

On days when teams do not take batting practice, fans may still remain on the Field Level until 50 minutes before the scheduled start of the game.

The popularity of the new concessions still prompts us to limit traffic on the Field Level to fans holding Field Level tickets once Batting Practice ends.  We will continue to evaluate the length of the lines as the season continues.

In addition, the center field area, on the warning track, is also available to fans on a first-come, first-served basis to shag home run balls during Batting Practice. 

Plus, beyond the center field wall is “Autograph Alley,” where at least one former Dodger will sign autographs before every game from approximately two hours prior to game time until 15 minutes before first pitch. Dodgers expected this weekend include Ron Cey and Rudy Law (tonight), Wes Parker (Saturday), and Tommy Davis (Sunday). For the series Monday through Wednesday, the “probables” are “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Ken Landreaux, and Ken McMullen.

Again, thank you for your candid feedback and for your patience.

Now, back to what you’re really waiting for…tonight’s lineup.

Furcal, SS
Pierre, LF
Ethier, RF
Kent, 2B
Loney, 1B
Martin, C
Jones, CF
DeWitt, 3B
Penny, P

 

 

 

Ned Colletti's responses to your questions…

With all the issues we had posting, it has taken us longer than we had hoped to answer some of the questions you posed but hopefully it should be a little more regular going forward. Here are Ned’s responses:

Question for Ned, How do minor leaguers get paid? Is it based on the round they were drafted, or a certain pay for the level they play at.?

Posted by: frankjhalstead@hotmail.com |

All minor league players, regardless of when they get drafted, start at the minor league minimum of $1,100 / month.  After their first year, we increase their pay depending on which level they are playing at, i.e., a first time Triple-A player would get $2,150 / month.  For second and third times at a particular level, the monthly salary goes up minimally.

Both Nomar and LaRoche were playing well in the spring before they both went down with injuries a few minutes apart. Once they both return, are they going to be battling it out all season or is one of them more likely to be given the every day starter’s job at some point?

By scott@whittiermailing.com

With the early play of Blake DeWitt, it is becoming even more interesting for us.  If everyone

returns healthy, Joe will have a few options.  From my perspective, if someone steps out as the every day starter that would be the best case scenario.  If not, the competition for playing time is part of the game and the more competition a team has with good players, the better the team can be.


Ned, how worried are you about Saito’s recent struggles this Spring, and what are the plans if

these continue into the regular season? How concerned are you that this could be his age catching up with him?

Chris

One of the many questions that cannot be answered in Spring Training is evaluating the play of veteran players.  Each player prepares at their own pace and while the results may not look promising, many times the spring results turn out to mean nothing.  Certainly, that is not always the case.  In the event something happens to Saito, we feel Jonathon Broxton would be a strong candidate.  

Ned, I don’t always agree with your decisions but I have to say you and the Dodgers are class acts for answering the fans questions. My question is , It seems to us fans that whenever a trade rumor pops up involving the Dodgers, it seems like other teams want so much more from the Dodgers for their player than they ask for and sometimes get from other teams. Is this a true statement, and if it is why do you think it’s like that?

By fliegel@ptd.net on March 25, 2008 2:37 PM

Trade rumors certainly fuel conversations about the game and about teams, but the vast majority are not close to being accurate.  With the internet and the constant chatter among fans, most rumors are just that.   That said, it is true that we are asked about our top players whenever we discuss a trade.  One of the major differences between us and other clubs is that our top prospects – for the most part – are in the Major Leagues or have Major League experience that isn’t just of the September call-up variety.  Some of the major trades made in the last year or so, involved prospects whose time in the Major Leagues was limited or non existent.  Our young Major League players are keys to our foundation and some have a chance to be star players.  We find it diffiucult to part with three or four young major league players who have shown star potential for one star player.

Hi, Mr. Colletti. Thanks for taking the time to look through these. Quickly, I’m wondering if the opinion of the fans play into your decision making process. I understand that you have access to a wealth of resources and information that may not be available to the average Dodger fan and that you always try to act in the best interests of the team, but when a majority of knowledgeable Dodger fans come to a concensus about a particular situation, does that have any bearing on how you move forward?

By joshiegreer@hotmail.com

Josh, I have great respect for the fans and have found that the Dodgers fans are very knowledgeable and follow the club very closely. While there are many times when it seems as if there is a fan consensus, that might not always be the case.  And it is important to really sort through a multitude of different situations that sometimes force certain moves and roster changes. With the varying contract values, contract lengths, injury histories, no-trade clauses, player make-up queries, it’s complicated and many times what seems obvious to a group of fans isn’t entirely practical.  And even if it is practical, most of the time there needs to be a second party (another team for a trade, a free agent player who wants to sign with a club, an agent’s agenda in which they want to place a certain player with a particular club, etc.)  that also sees the practicality of a situation in order to make a deal.

Ned,

I understand that young players need to to mature and all that, but when you have a talent like Clayton Kershaw how can you hold him back? Two questions: (1) Do you think he’ll make the team out of Spring Training (possibly as a reliever to keep his innings down until later in the saeson); and (2) If he dosen’t make the team, when do you anticipate calling him up?

I think you have done an excellent job – Keep it up!

By mark@ladodgertalk.com

The Clayton Kershaw situation is one that we spent a lot of time considering this spring.  Without question, he pitched very well the second half of Spring Training.  In his case, we took a look at how many professional innings he had pitched.  We researched other pitchers who were high school drafts like Clayton and how many innings they pitched professionally before they made their Major League debut.  In the case of everyone we looked at, they had pitched anywhere between 75 and 200 more professional innings before they pitched in the big leagues.  That was one consideration.  Another consideration is that he pitched 122 innings last season and the normal progression would be for him to throw 155-165 innings this year.  We didn’t want to put him in a position where he came to the big leagues early in the season and began accumulating innings at a pace that would find him at 150-160 Major League innings in mid-August (the stress of 150-160 Major League innings far exceeds the stress of 150-160 innings in the minor leagues).

So by starting him in the minor leagues we can continue to refine him (while he is on his way to be a very accomplished pitcher, he still has a couple things to iron out) and also monitor his innings. It is easier to monitor innings and shorten a start or two in the mnor leagues than it is in the Major Leagues. If he continues to progress, it won’t be long before he is with the big league club.   


For Ned,

How many of the 25- and 40-man roster decisions are yours and how many are decided by Joe Torre?

If yours, how much do you depend on Joe’s advice?

By shepherd96@yahoo.com

We take input from the Major League coaching staff and our baseball operations staff members. 

Joe and I always discuss the roster and usually come to a consensus on the makeup of the club.

Question for Ned Colletti:

A notable trend in MLB front offices today is to have at least one full-time statistical analyst (typically a person with a math degree) on staff. The World Champion Red Sox hired Bill James* as a special assistant in 2003; they’ve given him two World Series rings since. The Padres, who seem to contend for ofter than their talent might indicate, employ Chris Long as “Senior Quantitative Analyst”. Do the Dodgers have or have plans for a statistical analyst on staff?

By old_fogey_la@yahoo.com
 
A couple of our baseball operations staff members spend time doing statistical analysis.  We believe that statistical analysis plays a role in decisions on players, but like reviewing their  character, work habits, leadership abilities, injury history, it is part of the equation and not always the entire answer.

Hi Ned

Thank you so much for talking to us fans. I have some different questions i think, not so much related to the roster..

What would you say do the dodgers organization use most technology wise?  What advancement have been made in technology do u find fascinating and useful. Like do guys take home video of their swings on their labtops to review or pitchers throwing against them the following day etc?

What type of new tools are used beyond non traditional baseball methods in the training room, practice facility or computers/video and management side?

How advanced are the dodgers, maybe versus other teams, in advanced stats and computer usage in evaluation or are the dodgers more of a traditional team that uses scouts primarily?

How far are we pushing the envelope on non traditional baseball stuff (or do we care to even?)  and what are examples? I hear some teams employ advanced stats and computer guys to develop models and algorthims and things like that. Using super computers ans well as number crunchers and programmers/developers, not so much a “baseball” people within talent evaluation and management?

Jason

By jungar@wsgcorp.com on March 24, 2008 11:42 AM

Jason, we do use technology in helping us in scouting and player development.  We have a video system that can help players review their game, both when they are going good and when they are struggling.  A hitter has the chance to look back at video versus a specific pitcher and review how that pitcher has pitched him in the past.  The same goes for pitchers versus hitters.  We also use a lot of video for helping the team prepare for the next opponent.  We spend a lot of time reviewing previous games and opponents.  We are in the process of developing a system in the minor leagues as well which we plan to have in place when we open the Glendale site.  A portion of the Glendale site will be devoted to player development where managers, coaches and instructors will have video access to every player in the system both for in-season use and for off-season instruction. 
 
It’s difficult to determine where the Dodger organization fits in comparison to other clubs because it is rarely discussed.  Any facet of the game that organizations feel provides an  advantage are usually not openly discussed or practices shared.
 
One other consideration with video is an over abundance of information.  Some times a player can be beseiged with information and voices that complicate the situation and create more overload than problem solving.  Since there are games played nearly every day it is important for the video coordinators to sort through the pertinent information and keep it as crisp and uncluttered as possible. 

Question for Ned-

Manny Acta has recently come out and questioned the risk/reward of basestealing and has cut the Nationals sb attempts in half. Do the Dodgers have a minimum SB success rate to make sure you’re achieving a net gain on the basepaths?

Thanks- Brian

By bigcpa@gmail.com
 
There is always risk/reward in every strategic facet of the game.  The stolen base provides great value to a team’s success.  An unsuccessful attempt can also kill off a rally. We do not have a specific percentage that we adere to, although the manager will usually use the steal in the situations where success is more likely than failure and the game situation calls for it.  Speed is an important component in every sport and base stealing when executed correctly can be a key to winning a game.  Again, though it comes down to a lot of different in-game factors.
 

Today's game in Arizona

My apologies for not posting yesterday. We actually had a very productive series of meetings all afternoon and evening yesterday with the Marketing and Public Relations Departments and for what it’s worth, I can’t even begin to tell you how often the theme of “taking care of the fans” came up over the course of about five hours. Over and over, those of us involved in these areas talked about ways that we can improve the fan experience and ways to take the fans’ opinions into account when creating a memorable day or night at Dodger Stadium.

To that point, I’m hoping to get some clarity today for all of you regarding the new autograph policy and center field BP experience that we’ve started, so please bear with me while I do. In the meantime, here’s today’s lineup:

Furcal, SS

Kemp, CF

Ethier, LF

Kent, 2B

Loney, 1B

Martin, C

DeWitt, 3B

Pierre, LF

Kuroda, P

 

Scott Akasaki's next post

Now that we’re back in the United States and more importantly, into the regular season, making the team’s travel arrangements is a lot less taxing.  For the most part, once the regular season begins, MLB’s 30 traveling secretaries rely on a well-established network of trusted hotels, tested bus and equipment truck companies, and reliable charter providers. 

We use professional companies that are loyal to us (i.e. they provide us with the best service) and we remain loyal to them. This is not to say however that we do not welcome the new hotel, the new bus company or the new private charter company to attract our attention.
Word travels quickly amongst our group — for the most part through e-mail — as we exchange thoughts and ideas on such topics as, the hot hotel or the bus company’s latest blunder. 

When charged with making the arrangements for a professional baseball team, one must rely on the most top-notch companies to get the job done every time as there is no margin
for error.

Here’s today’s lineup (this came from Joe, not Scott)

Furcal, SS

Martin, C

Loney, 1B

Kent, 2B

Ethier, RF

Jones, CF

DeWitt, 3B

Pierre, LF

Loaiza, P

Also, in response to the question about the broadcast from Friday, Vin Scully was feeling a little under the weather, so we did not simulcast those three innings as usual. If he’s doing TV and radio, he obviously has to talk a lot more because the listeners can’t see a screen. So, Rick and Charley did all nine innings on radio on Friday and then again on Saturday, when FOX did the game. By yesterday, all was back to normal and should be again today.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.