November 29, 2014

Closing Arguments in McCourt Divorce Trial Today

Today is the day when attorneys for both Frank and Jamie will deliver closing arguments in the McCourt divorce trial.  As we all know, at stake is the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I really wanted to be in court today, but unfortunately real life got in the way.  But in the age of Twitter, I can get my courtroom fix by following Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce and Molly Knight of ESPN, The Magazine on Twitter.  Check them out for all the latest news, updates and opinions.

After today, the judge will have up to 90 days to review the arguments of each side and deliver his decision.  It will be  very, very interesting to see how all of this plays out!

News & Notes (Including Zach Lee & Matt Kemp)

Lots of good stuff from the Dodger blogosphere (even while the team is 12 games out with virtually no shot of the playoffs).  Here are some of my favorites from the past week:

The Signing of Zach Lee

I’ve got to give credit to Ned Colletti and team for this one.  A GREAT signing and a real feather in the cap of Assistant GM Logan White.  Here’s a nice recap of Lee’s potential (as well as the other draft signings) from Tony Jackson.  The Dodgers really did a nice job (and spent quite a bit of money for once) in getting this done.  A potential 2012 lineup of Billingsley, Kershaw and Lee is pretty damn exciting.

There’s also a great video on the Dodger Media Network showing that Zach Lee was Logan White’s great white whale of the draft.  It’s a well done piece, and a nice look behind the scenes.

Criticizing Kemp

Steve Dilbeck wrote an interesting column today about fans’ perceptions about the performance of Matt Kemp and how any writer who criticizes Kemp is immediately jumped on by rabid fans.  I don’t remember this happening when Chad Billingsley stumbled down the stretch last season.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010

Is Matt Kemp “an Issue in the Clubhouse” for the Dodgers?

If you trust the sources of ESPN LA’s Tony Jackon, then yes.  According to the transcript of an online chat from earlier this week, Jackson had the following exchange with a Dodger fan named Earl:

Earl (LA, CA)

Wow, if Kemp gets traded for anyone, I would be bummed.Do you feel that would be a big mistake for the Dodgers to trade Kemp for a frontline starter, despite what Colleti thinks about him?I think Colleti exaggerated the issues of Kemp, personally.

Tony Jackson (6:41 PM)

Earl, I have it on good authority (NOT from Colletti, from others) that if anything, Ned UNDERSTATED the issues with Kemp. This kid is really full of himself, to the point that it is becoming an issue in the clubhouse. I’m not saying they WILL trade him. I still think there is less than a 50-percent chance that they will. I’m just saying that if they do trade one of their core young players, he probably will be the one, not only because of these issues but also because he would have the most value.


Earl (LA, CA)

Wow, Tony, didn’t know that about Kemp. I just don’t think you can afford to let a talent like his go. Do you think its just a simple case of immaturity?I mean a lot of ball players start out cocky, but mature and settle down with age. Kemp could be no different.

Tony Jackson (6:50 PM)

well, if it’s immaturity, he has had plenty of time to outgrow it. Based on what I’m told, he hasn’t outgrown it yet. None of this is terribly surprising, just judging from the way he handles himself with the media. He is difficult to deal with, and I’m told that isn’t limited to the media.

After reading the full transcript, as well as the reflections of my blogging brethren over at Memories of Kevin Malone and Vin Scully is my Homeboy, I found myself thinking a lot about this exchange and found it really interesting for a number of reasons.

First, like many Dodger bloggers and fans, I really enjoy and respect Tony Jackson as a writer and his perspective on things related to the club.  He’s with the Dodgers day in and day out, and he knows his beat.  So if Jackson says he has sources that indicate that Kemp is “really full of himself” and “becoming an issue in the clubhouse” then I’m going to pay attention.  That said, I’ve personally covered a handful of games over the past year, and (in my very limited interactions) I’ve always found Matt Kemp to be a straightforward guy.  For example, I was at the second home game of the season when the Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks in a five hour marathon.  Kemp had a couple bone-headed fielding plays, including one that allowed the eventual winning run to score.  Yet there he was, being a man and answering the difficult questions in the clubhouse after the game.

I am, however, surprised that Tony Jackson’s comments aren’t a bigger deal.  Saying that one of the Dodgers’ biggest young stars has issues is newsworthy, but I’m guessing that as long as it doesn’t divide the clubhouse or cause problems on the field, then there’s no reason to make a mountain out of a mole hill, right?  I’m probably most surprised that this came out in a chat on ESPN LA, rather in one of Tony’s regular articles.  Jackson seems to know what he’s talking about here, and I’d be curious to know why it wouldn’t be a bigger story, either at ESPN or in the eyes of other mainstream media outlets.  Food for thought.

Live from Chavez Ravine…Tonight!

View from the Dodgers' Vin Scully Press Box

One half of the duo will be at tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks, so check back in the early evening for pre-game comments from Joe Torre and batting practice photos, as well as post-game comments.  Plus, I’ll respond to your questions and comments throughout the game.

Bring on the first night game of the year at Chavez Ravine!

62 Hours to Go…

With Opening Day just 62 hours away (and counting) I’ve been enjoying watching the anticipation across the Web build as fans of all teams get psyched for the first pitch of the season.  The more I think about it, the more I think Opening Day should be a holiday.  We are talking about the national pastime, right?  Maybe I’ll work on that for next season.

In the meantime, I wanted to call attention to Dodgers season ticket holder, and fellow blogger, Alyssa Milano’s site, Touch ‘Em All, and her ode to Opening Day, which I particularly liked:

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
 -Rainer Maria Rilke

Yes. Oh, yes. I love this time of year. The days are longer, the pollen is in the air and there are little buds of future flowers everywhere you look. For the past few years and every year at this time, we have a couple of ducks (I think they may be married but I don’t know for certain) that fly into my backyard daily and take a bath in my pool at around 4 p.m.

Spring has sprung! And with the promise of all these amazing gifts from nature, comes the reminder that Opening Day soon will be here.

Even the drama of the McCourts’ divorce can’t bring down my baseball spirits. Because even though I obviously want my team to do well, this is the one time of the year that it’s not about my team winning or losing. It’s about walking into my home stadium, after months of a cold winter, and relishing in the hope of a new season.

The buds will bloom. The gates will open.
The frogs will chirp. The bats will crack.
The birds will fly. The balls will soar.

And for this time, right now, before any loss or statistic is recorded, my team… is the best in the league.

And don’t think Alyssa doesn’t know her Dodgers.  She recently spoke to ESPN about the upcoming season and makes it to about 40 games a season:

“There is no better place to be than in the ballpark in your town,” she said. “It’s a sensory experience.”

“I haven’t been thrilled about the starting rotation for years. You have to have good pitching to win a championship,” Milano said. “I haven’t told management my thoughts. But I blog about it and pray someone in the front office will be reading!”

And, of course, Alyssa’s passion for the Dodgers bleeds over into her *Touch* clothing line, designed for the ladies who love baseball in your life.  An Easter gift, perhaps?  At the very least, I’m sure you all will enjoy the pictures (check out the link to see more)!  BTW, I’m not sure why she models so much Phillies gear on the site, but I’m willing to overlook this.

Photo Credit: Touch ‘em All