Bill Plaschke Lies to You and Hates Dodger Stadium

There’s so much good ridiculous Plaschke “material” today that I would almost feel remiss in ignoring it, as I considering calling out the unqualified idiocy of this stain upon journalism a fun responsibility of mine. But even better, other, funnier blogs have already beaten me to it! So let’s go with them…

Point: In today’s “article”, Plaschke whines that Manny didn’t recognize the fans in his first game back, saying that Manny “blew off Mannywood” and that he “acted as if none of it existed.”

Counterpoint: Deadspin, take it away…

Interesting. Or …

Maybe I’m crazy, but doesn’t it kind of look like he’s acknowledging them there?

Point: Plaschke complains that Manny didn’t throw a warmup ball to the fans in Mannywood (which, really, WHO CARES!?), saying that Manny “threw it in the left-field stands instead.”

Counterpoint: Deadspin again…

Again, I’m not a expert, but isn’t Mannywood in the left-field stands? Isn’t the gesture the same no what which set of seats the ball happens to land in?

Point: Plashke tweets “Longtime fans hate reading it, but I have to say it — Dodger Stadium needs to be gutted and redone. Same beautiful spot, better new stadium” (via Sons of Steve Garvey)

Counterpoint: Well, there is no counterpoint. How can you argue with a man fueled by hate? So come on, Bill, what is it you don’t like? I’m not saying Dodger Stadium is perfect, but it’s certainly a crown jewel of MLB parks - and you’d be hard-pressed to find many fans who advocate tearing it down.

No doubt that if they ever did, though, Bill would be the first to put out a poorly-written one-sentence-paragraph opus of how the McCourts are grabbing for money at the expense of history.

I have such mixed feelings towards Bill Plaschke. On one hand, I think he’s one of the worst writers in America, poisoning the public with his off-base opinions, out of touch rantings, and occasional outright lies. Yet, on the other hand, he’s so much fun to make fun of. What is a blogger to do?

Off to Chicago It Is…

“Why,” you might be asking, “did you use a picture of the famous Wrigley Field facade where the idiot who was taking the picture snapped it in mid-sentence rather than waiting for the change to complete?” That’s because I am that idiot, and I took this picture myself in July while on tour, although I’m sad to say that this is as far as I was able to get. I was worried about how much money I could afford to spend on a scalped ticket – well forget that, I couldn’t even find anyone looking to sell, and this was on a Friday afternoon. Never underestimate the fervor of the Cubs fan.

Now we’ve got two off-days in which to discuss the upcoming NLDS in more detail before Derek Lowe (career 3.25 ERA against the Cubs in 8 starts) faces off against Ryan Dempster (career 3.01 ERA against LA in 19 appearances/9 starts) on Wednesday. I don’t think, however, any stat is going to amaze you more than this one:

The Dodgers (1884) and Cubs (1876) have been around for 256 combined years… and have never once faced each other in the playoffs. How unbelievable is that? Sure, that nearly forty year break from the postseason the Cubs took between 1945-1984 is a large part of that, but still, these two teams have somehow never battled in October.

So here’s what we know while waiting for the playoff roster to come out:

*Hong-Chih Kuo, Jason Repko, Ramon Troncoso, Chin-Lung Hu, and Eric Stults are officially not going to make the playoff roster, and will head south to play in the Arizona Instructional League (except Stults, who is going to Mexico) to keep in shape if they’re needed later. No surprises here.

*In fact, I don’t think there’s really all that much drama left over the postseason roster now that Penny and Kuo are both out and Kent and Furcal are both almost certainly on. Seems like Maddux and Kershaw are each going to make it, and the only question really is whether the last man off the bench is going to be Mark Sweeney, Delwyn Young, or Pablo Ozuna.

* Nomar Garciaparra greatly overvalues speed. Just kidding, sort of. But in his one-day role as manager, he did let Juan Pierre lead off. Haven’t we learned how much that can kill an offense by now? On the other hand, he did let A.J. Ellis get his first career start and at-bat, which was nice.

*Very quietly, Hiroki Kuroda has been incredibly valuable. After he allowed just two hits over five scoreless innings today, that makes eleven straight starts in which he hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs. Over those eleven starts his ERA is just 2.58, and he’s LA’s third starter at best. How many teams would kill for a first starter with those numbers?

* Bill Plaschke hates sunshine and kittens. I’ve made a concious effort to not discuss offseason issues like Lowe’s free agency or going after CC Sabathia (who is an absolute beast, by the way) while this team is still in the hunt, and I intend to stick to that. There’s just something unseemly about coming out with negative articles about the future on the day a playoff team ends its regular season, isn’t it? But that’s Plaschke for you. In this article, he goes off about how the Dodgers shouldn’t invest a boatload of money into bringing Manny back, and while I may or may not agree with him, why is he coming out this with this kind of crap right now? Is he physically incapable of praising a team that’s just made the playoffs? Even though I could expend 2000 words on it, I’m not going to go through this entire thing, because I don’t want to sink to his level. That said, there’s one “point” he makes I simply cannot ignore.

Some members of the Dodgers, however, aren’t so sure.

They look at their record since acquiring Ramirez, 29-23, an average slate that proves one thing:

The guy is great, but the guy can’t pitch.

I’m not even sure I follow this point. Manny was acquired because the Dodgers had a lousy offense that wasn’t supporting their excellent pitching staff. Even when they went on that eight game losing streak, it wasn’t because the staff was falling apart - it was because the offense died. Remember back in June and July when all the Sabathia rumors were flying around and I was strongly against them because the Dodgers didn’t need more pitching, they needed an offensive force? That’s because the Dodgers have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.

So why are you painting it as a bad thing that Manny’s a hitter and not a pitcher? Because let me tell you this in no uncertain terms: if the Dodgers had acquired Sabathia and not Manny, they’d have had one of the best pitching staffs ever – and they’d have missed the playoffs thanks to all the 1-0 and 2-1 games they’d have lost.

And again, the deal worked out great for this season. No one argues that, and I don’t neccessarily disagree that giving a huge amount of cash to late-30s Manny is a questionable decision. But on the verge of the playoffs, there’s plenty of time for that conversation another day.

Knock it off, Bill. I look forward to the Dodgers winning the World Series and your inevitably unreadable column full of one-paragraph-sentences saying, “yeah, but if they had done what I’d wanted, they’d have swept the series rather than won in six.”

* Fun Picture Update! At Joe Sports Fan via The Big Lead,  have this fantastic picture from the celebration the other night that I hadn’t seen before. No, don’t look at Manny – check out the scoreboard in the distance behind him. Oops!

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Random Stupid People And Stupid Quotes: Kevin Baxter

From today’s L.A. Times regarding Ethier vs. Pierre:

But Ethier, 25, has more power, a better arm and will drive in more runs, tools that would make him more valuable off the bench.

Your new additions to the Dodgers’ 2008 bench who also fit this criteria:

Russell Martin, Jeff Kent, Matt Kemp, Andruw Jones, and James Loney.

It’s kind of like saying in the early 1960′s: “Koufax: strikes out a ton of hitters, has thrown no-hitters, wins 20+ games a year… tools that would make him more valuable in mop-up duty.”

Very boneheady, Kevin.

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

 

Tracy Ringolsby Has Never Watched The Game of Baseball

Friends, lets talk about the newspapers for a moment, if we can. Now, it may be true that we here at MSTI are just lowly bloggers, baseball fans without a journalism degree amongst us. We are held to no rules of integrity; if I wanted to post that James Loney and Joe Beimel held up a liquor store in Tijuana, shot the clerk, and sold his kidneys on the black market in order to finance their illegal gun-running operations, well goddamn it, I could do that. And what would happen to me? Probably nothing, except that people would stop reading this blog because it would stop being about baseball, and start being about stupidity. Okay, more about stupidity. That’s the main complaint the ‘legitimate media’ has about bloggers – that we have no training and no repercussions.

Which sort of makes me wonder how someone like Tracy Ringolsby of FOXsports.com and the Rocky Mountain News can write something as unbelievably insane – and let’s face it, lazy – as this piece of crap that showed up today, and have no repercussions. It’s one thing to have an opinion I don’t agree with – and it’s quite another to be so wrong and/or uninformed that its actually offensive.

Let’s get on with it:

What’s changed: After shelling out a five-year, $44 million contract for CF Juan Pierre a year ago, the Dodgers major move this off-season was to give out a two-year, $36.2 million contract to CF Andruw Jones. Plan is to move Pierre to left, replacing Luis Gonzalez, who left as a free agent.

Okay. Nothing too bad here – you might think that giving $35 million to Hiroki Kuroda would warrant a mention too, but, fine.

Battle front: Stuck with Nomar Garciaparra for another year after the inexplicable decision to re-sign him last season for two years, the Dodgers had to move him from first base to make room last year for James Loney. Now Garciaparra will battle with prospect Andy LaRoche for the third base job.

Still nothing that wonky. The fact that his first two points are relatively accurate should give you an idea of just how bad this is going to have to get to pull this whole article down to the level of “uninformed crap.”

Story line: A team that has taken the approach that wasting more money will cover up the money already wasted now has decided to bring in manager Joe Torre and hope that the calming influence he provided in New York can overcome the fractured clubhouse with the Dodgers. There’s one problem. In New York there was a strong home-grown foundation built around SS Derek Jeter. In Los Angeles, there’s no basis to build on.

And here we go! First of all, when Torre joined the Yankees in 1996, Jeter was 21 years old and had all of 12 major league hits under his belt. Even when the Yankees were winning it all in 1996 and going back to the playoffs in 1997, Jeter was merely a league-average hitter (101 and 103 OPS+ in those years). Point being, while Jeter obviously blossomed into a Hall of Famer, Torre hardly landed in the Derek Jeter Leadership Show. Joe Torre as manager of the Yankees predated “a home-grown foundation built around SS Derek Jeter.”

Second, this isn’t about the Yankees. “In Los Angeles, there’s no basis to build on.” You’re really going to say this in the very next sentence after bringing up a strong home-grown foundation? Really? So no love for 24-year-old Gold Glove winner/Silver Slugger winner/All Star starter/arguable best catcher in baseball/home-grown Dodger Russell Martin? Have we forgotten 22-year-old, .894 OPSing, home-grown Dodger Matt Kemp? Not interested in 22-year-old, already better than average and occasionally dominating, home-grown Dodger Chad Billingsley? I was going to come up with fun quips for Jonathan Broxton, and James Loney, all ending with “home-grown Dodger” – but you don’t need me to outline their achievements; if you’re reading this site, you know who they are.

The point is, there’s a pretty damned good home-grown foundation to build on. Which makes Tracy Ringolsby either wrong, ignorant, or both.

Strength: RH Takashi Saito has become a dominant closer and had particular success within the NL West last year. He was 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA and 16 saves in 18 opportunities within the division.

Alright. I might have gone with Martin here, but picking Saito as a strength is hardly a sin. Moving on:

Weakness: Besides SS Rafael Furcal and CF Andruw Jones there isn’t an average defensive player on the field, and that takes a toll on a team’s pitching staff.

Oh boy: here we go. Urge to kill… rising… rising… Come on! This is just ridiculous. Remember two paragraphs ago when I pointed out Russell Martin won a Gold Glove? Yet he doesn’t count as an “average” defensive player? By one metric from Baseball Prospectus, Andre Ethier was the 8th best defensive RF of 24 ranked in baseball last year. That would put him in the top 1/3 – yet Ringolsby asserts that he’s not even “average”? And James Loney? Already one of the smoothest first basement around. I’ll give you that Pierre is horrible, Kemp is inexperienced defensively thus far, and Kent has no range. So if by “not an average defensive player other than Jones or Furcal”, you really meant to say “Jones, Furcal, a Gold Glove catcher, and two other excellent fielders in Ethier and Loney”, that would make sense.

Unfortunately, I’m thinking what you, Mr. Ringolsby, really meant to say was, “oh, Andruw Jones and Rafael Furcal – those are names I’ve heard of. They must be good, and everyone else sucks.” I’m getting a little embarassed for you.

But it gets better!

Sleeper: LHP Clayton Kershaw is the top prospect in the system. If the Dodgers ever decide to truly give home-grown players a chance, the lefty will take charge.

GAHHH! I’m starting to bleed out of my forehead. Has this “journalist” ever watched a Dodger game? Or even a baseball game? Have we not already been through the fact that Martin/Ethier/Kemp/Billingsley/Broxton/Loney are enormous parts of this team, and have all already proven themselves at the big league level? Who hasn’t gotten a “chance” yet? LaRoche? He had a bad back most of 2007, and is likely to get every shot to beat out Nomar in 2008. Why does this myth persist? We are likely to have five under-27 home-grown starters this year, and six on days Billingsley goes. But, hey, we’re not “giving home-grown players a chance.” This is worse than just laziness – this is criminal.

Off-season dealings: Major free agent additions were CF Andruw Jones and backup C Gary Bennett. Major free agent losses were LHPs Randy Wolf, Mark Hendrickson and David Wells, RHP Roberto Hernandez, Olmedo Saenz and Rudy Sanchez, Cs Chad Moeller and Mike Liberthal, and OF Luis Gonzalez.

Gary Bennett. Barring injury, backup catcher for the Dodgers is about as strenous of a job as backup QB for the Packers. Yet he and his one-year deal to sit on the bench is a “major free agent addition”, while Hiroki Kuroda and his $35 million don’t even get a mention. Absolutely phenomenal work, here.

Oh, and Tracy? If you want to pretend to be a baseball journalist, could you at least, you know, spell the players names correctly? I don’t know who “Rudy Sanchez” and “Mike Liberthal” are, but somewhere Rudy Seanez and Mike Lieberthal are embarrassed for you.

As am I. Simply atrocious.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Random Stupid Quotes And Stupid People: Adrian Garcia

For all the crap that James Loney (along with Matt Kemp) has been getting lately about being unprofessional, blah, blah, blah, all that was laid to rest a couple of nights ago.

Folks, meet Adrian Garcia.

Since the beginning of this season, he has been the Dodgers new field reporter for FSN Prime Ticket. To be uncharacteristically succinct, he is a blithering idiot: I mean, really STUPID. Like Jessica Simpson stupid, but at least what she lacks in intelligence she makes up for in hotness. Or Grady Little stupid, which makes for real fun during the postgame interviews. I mean, he’s just… weird. Besides his God awful questions which make you scream “no shit, stupid!”, he’s an ass who completely overpronounces Latin names (although I swear he once tried to roll the R’s on Pierre), does bilingual interviews with players who actually DO speak English, and then sometimes mixes English AND Spanish at the same time when he talks. Then there was the ridiculous “Spanish Word Of The Day” thing. To top it off, he also has a fetish for the words “obviously” and “basically.”

It’s like: “And now we send it out to Adrian Garcia!”

“O.K., thanks guys, let’s talk about Rrrrrrr… (five minutes later)… afael Fuca, who obviously went 2-3 con un RBI and is hitting well… obviously.”

O.K., the point? After the Dodgers completely got bitch slapped yet again Thursday by the Rockies, 10-4, with two more RBI’s by Loney, James was brave enough to have another interview with Garcia. I say “another interview” after the gem from a couple of weeks ago when Garcia asked if Loney’s contacts gave him X-Ray Vision, which you could tell Loney was thinking like “What the hell?” Then Garcia asked if he could call him “Big Game James,” to which Loney said “call me whatever you want” and smartly took off.

So, just for the hell of it, I will first answer Garcia’s questions LIKE Adrian Garcia, and then put Loney’s real answer afterwards in bold.

Adrian Garcia: Alright guys, well, James Loney, tonight, 31 RBI’s, that’s where you’re at right now. How important is it for you to finish strong like this?

James Loney As Adrian Garcia: Well, you know, Adrian, I mean, with the way I’ve obviously been hitting the ball this past month, everyone’s been like, “ah, ta loco!” But basically, pretty much, no, it means nothing and I hope to finish off the year weak, pretty much, basically.

James Loney Como Adrian García: Bien, sabes, Adrian, yo significas, con la manera que he estado golpeando obviamente la bola este último mes, cada uno estado como, ” ¡ah, loco de TA! ” Pero básicamente, bonito mucho, no, significa que nada y yo espero acabar apagado el año débil, bonito mucho, básicamente.

James Loney: I want to finish strong, you know, like everybody else and, you know, and stay focused and try to win games.

AG: Now the Rockies have won 7 straight against you guys, are they that good?

JLAAG: No, I mean, they, you know, obviously like squashed our palotes in and out for the past two weeks and eliminated us and are obviously precisely within reach of the postseason still, obviously, but… no, they’re not all that good and neither is their manager, Clint Hurrrrrrrrr… (five minutes later)… dle obviously.

JLCAG: Besame, besame mucho, como si fuera esta noche la última vez. Besame, besame mucho, que tengo miedo a perderte, perderte despues. Quiero sentirte muy cerca mirarme en tus ojos verte junto a mí. Piensa que tal vez mañana yo ya estare lejos, muy lejos de ti.

JL: They got a great team over there, you know, they got some great hitters and, uh, you know, all around, actually, they’re pretty good. They’re playing for a spot in the playoffs so they’re playing hard.

AG: Now they have a big series over the weekend with the Diamondbacks, which of those two teams in your estimation has the edge there?

JLAAG: I would say basically precisely that it’s obvious that the team who pretty much scores more runs will basically have the advantage obviously.

JLCAG: La cucaracha, la cucaracha, ya no puede caminar. Porque no tiene, porque le falta marijuana que fumar. Ya murio la cucaracha, ya la llevan a enterrar. Entre cuatro zopilotes, y un raton de sacristan.

JL: I don’t know, they’re both great teams. I mean, I guess obviously the D-Backs have the edge, I think cause they’re a few games or so, but I don’t know, it should be a great series.

AG: Now for you guys, over the weekend, you got the Giants, is it important to finish at least at .500?

JLAAG: No, we’re obviously hoping those pendejos can beat the mierda out of us and we can finish below .500, so they can sweep us, obviously.

JLCAG: No, estamos esperando obviamente que esos pendejos pueden batir el mierda fuera de nosotros y podemos acabar debajo de .500, así que pueden barrernos, obviamente.

JL: Yeah, I would hope so, you know, hopefully you can win all those games and go end the season on a positive note. And, hopefully time passes quickly, so we can come back next year and do it big.

AG: Thanks, James, take care.

JLAAG: (jumps up and begins to strangle him)

Anyone who can put up with his interviews without strangling him IS a professional. And to think, Garcia replaced her…

 

Come back, Lindsay!

Thank you to Dictionary.com’s translator for letting me make mostly non-sensical and awful translations.

Vin vinscully-face.jpg