July 28, 2014

Chance to Chat with Dodgers Beat Writer Tony Jackson

Just an FYI that ESPN Los Angeles’ Tony Jackson will be conducting an online chat on ESPN SportsNation on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. PT.

This is Tony’s first season with ESPN Los Angeles.  He previously covered the Dodgers for five years with the Los Angeles Daily News for more than five seasons.  While this online chat is great, I’d love to hear a podcast of Tony and Jon Weisman discussing the 2010 Dodgers and hear their in-depth thoughts on the upcoming season.  How cool would that be?

Congratulations to Jon Weisman!

Some of the big news in the Dodger blogosphere today didn’t have any anything to do with the team itself.  Instead, the big news involved one of our own: Jon Weisman, founder of the influential Dodger Thoughts, is taking his blog from the Los Angeles Times (its home for the past year) and moving over to the new ESPN Los Angeles site, starting on Monday.  Tony Jackson will continue on as the Dodger beat writer for the site.

The move has been rumored for some time, and we’re thrilled to see Jon take his column to the next level.  No news yet on who is taking over to the LA Times’ blogger slot for the Dodgers.

Arcadia Native Mark Loretta Hangs It Up

So as has been widely reported over the past day or so, former Dodger (and Arcadia Little League hero) and 15-year MLB veteran Mark Loretta has decided to retire.

Loretta hit .295 for his career and Dodger fans will not soon forget his heroics in the 2009 NLCS when he had “The Loretta Looper” – that breath-taking, game-winning walk-off single during Game 2 against the Phillies.

And if you’re interested in reading about Mark’s days playing for the Live Oaks Bike Shop in the Arcadia Little League, here are my buddy Don’s recollections of being his teammate.

Mark’s next move will be to the front office as a special assistant to the San Diego Padres’ baseball operations staff.  Loretta has always been widely admired for his baseball intellect, so this should be a fantastic move for him.  Good luck, Mark!

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Does Padilla Bring the Dodgers Closer to the World Series?

So here we are, January 21, 2010, and the Dodgers have finally signed their #4 starter, Vicente Padilla.  As Eric Stephen over at True Blue LA accurately points out, Padilla was money in the bank for the Dodgers down the stretch and for the majority of the post-season.  But the question is, in 2010 will we get the clutch Padilla that pitched so well in big games for LA, or the Padilla with the attitude issues that was released by the Rangers?

On December 23, 2009, Dodgers’ President Dennis Mannion said the following to the Times’ Bill Shaikin:

Ned has demonstrated a fantastic ability to read the talent market. We made back-to-back NLCS appearances for the first time in three decades as a result of Ned’s ability to make the right acquisitions at the right time. We want the same thing our fans want, a team that can compete for a world championship year in and year out, and we’ve been in that position for the last two seasons. We expect that to continue.

From the Dodgers’ official press release:

“Vicente did a tremendous job for us down the stretch and his continued success in the postseason proved that he can pitch when there’s a lot at stake,” said Colletti.

The 32-year-old Padilla has won 14 or more games in four of the last eight seasons, joining Andy Pettitte as the only two pitchers to accomplish that feat among a free-agent pitching market that has included John Lackey, Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, Brett Myers, Jason Marquis and Jon Garland, among others.

That’s an interesting statistic, but is losing Wolf and bringing pack Padilla to be the veteran presence among the Dodgers’ starting pitchers a step in the right direction for “a team that can compete for a world championship year in and year out?”  Call me skeptical.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that top to bottom, the Dodgers are in an excellent position to make another deep run in the 2010 post-season – no matter who the Dodgers plug in as the 5th starter.  But is this a team that has the starting pitching to truly and legitimately compete for a World Series by getting by a Phillies team that’s bolstered their starting rotation with the likes of Roy Halladay?  Time will tell, as we see Kershaw, Bills and Kuroda continue to develop into strong veteran starters.

The 32-year-old Padilla has won 14 or more games in four of the last eight seasons, joining Andy Pettitte as the only two pitchers to accomplish that feat among a free-agent pitching market that has included John Lackey, Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, Brett Myers, Jason Marquis and Jon Garland, among others.

Now I wasn’t expecting the Dodgers to really make a run at the guys looking for $8-$10 million per year, so the Padilla signing makes sense, especially after looking at the remaining starters on the market and the bargain price of $5 million that Ned was able to negotiate.  Plus he was clutch down the stretch.  I get it.  If he pitches like he did last year, Padilla would be a bargain for a solid #4 starter.

But from an emotional standpoint as a fan of this team, I’ve been hoping since October that the Dodgers would make an impact signing to put this club over the top for the coming year, rather than just filling the remaining holes with less commanding options.  In my opinion, that didn’t happen.  Call me frustrated, but that’s how I feel right now.  I’m sure I’ll come around once Spring Training arrives though!

Photo credit: AP Photo/Tom Gannam

Matt Kemp and Rihanna Watch Clippers Lose to Cavs…But Have Fun Doing It

Matt Kemp, center fielder for the LA Dodgers, and Rihanna celebrated his new two-year contract by taking in the Clippers game agains the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.   What do you think the odds are that Rihanna makes an appearance to watch The Bison at Camelback Ranch?

Photo Credit: SplashNewsOnline.com