Apparently all it took was the coldest day of the year for the Dodger offense to get hot, because they finally busted out for twelve runs – six in the third inning – on a raw, blustery day at Wrigley. Well, cold weather and a completely ineffective Casey Coleman, making his 11th career start, that is. Coleman walked four, allowed six hits, and was gone before the third inning was over.
The Dodgers were more than happy to take advantage of the generosity of Coleman and the other Cub pitchers, as every starter got a hit except for Jerry Sands, who still managed to chip in by walking with the bases loaded. That includes Chad Billingsley, who walked and had an RBI single when he wasn’t throwing 6.1 innings, allowing just one earned run. Juan Uribe is finally starting to contribute with two hits, including a homer; after starting the season oh-for-his-first-twelve-thousand, he’s on a six game hitting streak, with multiple hits in half of those. He’s always been a streaky hitter, and this year appears to be no different. Marcus Thames chipped in his second homer in 23 at-bats to add the icing on the cake in the 9th inning.
Also of note: Kenley Jansen, off to a very rough start, struck out four of the five men he faced. His ability to get back on track can’t be understated as the back of the Dodger bullpen tries to get back on track. And A.J. Ellis had a walk and two hits, pushing his OBP up to .389 (in just seven games, I know) and making me continue to wonder why he’s almost certain to lose his job when Dioner Navarro is healthy next week.
We began by taking every hitter who had made at least 1,000 major-league plate appearances since 2007—a pool of 252. Players were then eliminated for doing virtually anything that would’ve ever made them stand out, including hitting .300 in a season (sorry, Lyle Overbay), being a former pitcher (there goes Rick Ankiel) or hitting for a cycle (nice try, Fred Lewis). Catchers and middle infielders were also disqualified since those defensive-oriented positions tend to yield weaker hitters. But we weren’t looking for subpar hitters, so we set a minimum requirement of a .700 career on-base plus slugging percentage.
Blake ended up “beating” out the other finalists, Ben Francisco, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Chase Headley, for the title of “baseball’s most anonymous player”. If he’s playing in LA and he’s the most anonymous, what if he was still in Cleveland? I guess then he’d be so unknown he wouldn’t even be thought of, to be not thought of.
You’d think, with this ongoing McCourt mess, that it couldn’t possibly get worse, right? Well, you’d be wrong. One of the most confounding questions about the recent developments was why FOX would be so willing to keep floating McCourt loans, when McCourt had no obvious way to repay the debt.
The $30-million personal loan that Fox gave Dodgers owner Frank McCourt last week was not only to help him meet payroll and pay for increased security after the shocking beating of a San Francisco Giants fan, but also to stay in McCourt’s favor after learning he had approached rival Time Warner Cable for a similar loan.
McCourt told Fox representatives that Time Warner was ready and willing to assist him with his financial problems, according to two people with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly. Time Warner also was ready to offer a full sponsorship package that included naming rights for Dodger Stadium.
Time Warner Stadium? Oh, that’s lovely. Perhaps Time Warner Field at DodgerWorld, Inc.? Why stop there? McCourt Park, brought to you by Time Warner Cable?
How’s this for an ownership solution based on absolutely nothing but my own speculation? Let Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who lives in LA and has been by all accounts a superb owner for Milwaukee, buy the Dodgers. That’s hardly me coming up with a unique idea: Attanasio has long been rumored to be a good fit for the job, to the point where he publicly denied any interest this week.
Here’s how it could work, though. First of all, forget Attanasio’s public denials. Of course he has to say that, because no sale of the Dodgers is imminent, and he’s obviously not going to firebomb his own club when it’s no guarantee that he’d get the Dodgers any time soon. That’s not to say he does or doesn’t have any interest in reality, just that he can’t possibly say anything different right now either way. With the Dodgers coming off of two consecutive scuzzball owners, Selig’s top priority for the future is going to be someone he can trust – which is why you can forget about Mark Cuban – and Attanasio has proven himself to be a quality owner. Besides, Selig’s on record as preferring local ownership, and Attanasio would satisfy that requirement with the Dodgers.
What, then, of the Brewers? Neither Attanasio or Selig would be likely to go through that process and scuttle all of the goodwill that’s been built up in Wisconsin over the last few years. Here’s where the timeframe works out, though – Selig, who bought the Seattle Pilots and moved them to Milwaukee in 1970 – is expected to retire after the 2012 season. What better role for him than to stay in the game and take back control of his beloved Brewers? I can’t speak to his personal wealth, though it was enough to run the team for nearly 30 years and he certainly made a large profit off the sale of the team, but even if he can’t afford it himself he could certainly put together a team of investors. Attanasio gets the Dodgers, Selig gets the Brewers, and two teams end up under solid local ownership.
Again, this is just a fantasy, and it’s very unlikely that it comes to pass. It’s my best-case scenario, however, for those worried about an unknown future owner not being an upgrade on McCourt.