A Parting Gift For the Weekend (Updated)

Update: so it seems that “The Loose Cannons” on Fox Sports Radio found my McCourt post and spent nearly ten minutes going down the list. I’ve embedded the audio below. I can now cross “Pat O’Brien calling me a goof” off my bucket list.

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First and foremost: thanks to everyone for the positive response to yesterday’s McCourt sin list. It’s already become the most-read post in the blog’s history, and coming as it did on the final day of the month, helped to push June 2011 into the lead as the highest traffic month we’ve seen here. I’ve added a link to it in the sidebar, and I’ll continue to update it as needed; there have been some revisions already.

Second: I’m off on a holiday odyssey through three midwestern states through Tuesday, so you’ll have to make do without me until then. Unless, of course, something major happens while I’m away – which it nearly always does -  thus forcing me to try and do a quick-and-dirty post from my phone. I’ll probably still find some time to sneak away from the girlfriend’s family to dick around on Twitter, of course.

Finally: Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts and I gave video chatting a try last night, and you can see the results below, complete with my headphone cord dangling around my ear like the chains holding your grandmother’s glasses to her head. For the first time either of us had done this, I think the results were pretty good – and great fun.

Enjoy the long weekend, folks.


Today’s Treat: My Face on Video

This morning, SNY was kind enough to invite me to walk across the street and speak with Ted Berg on The Baseball Show, previewing the Dodgers / Mets series starting tonight. As usual, I spoke entirely too fast, and my name wasn’t pronounced quite correctly, but on the whole I think it went pretty well, and I hope to do it again. Good times.

(Having trouble embedding the actual video here, so this will link you over to the MetsBlog.com version of it).

Of course, the real news today is that Jonathan Broxton was indeed placed on the disabled list due to his elbow concerns, causing both Kenley Jansen to be recalled and my comment in the video that Broxton might be available this weekend to be immediately invalidated. Broxton to the DL was expected, but uncertain, after his MRI reportedly found no structural damage. Still, it didn’t come back 100% clean either – elbow bruise and bone spurs – but after a lifetime of throwing 90 MPH heat, you could find something in even the heathiest pitcher’s arm. So we’ll wait to see what’s really going on there, but at the very least, this gives him a chance to get out of the spotlight and recuperate. In the short term, it’s hard to argue that Jansen isn’t an upgrade over Broxton, even if Jansen’s one minor league appearance (three earned runs in one inning) didn’t go that smoothly.

I’m headed off to the game shortly. You’ll recognize me as the only person in the stadium who cares enough to yell at Aaron Miles.

Introducing the 2010 Maple Street Press Dodgers Annual

Big news! I’ve been dying to talk about this for a while, and now I can: the 2010 Maple Street Press Dodgers Annual is headed to press. We’re talking 128 ad-free pages of nothing but Dodgers, including two articles and several player capsules written by yours truly.

But just having me in a book isn’t enough to sell it; just check out this murderer’s row of Dodger bloggers and authors, all edited and pulled together by Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts.

The annual, which will also be available on local newsstands at the start of March, offers 128 ad-free pages devoted to the Dodgers, including a review of the 2009 season, a thorough series of player profiles and articles previewing the coming year, a 25-page section on the farm system and another 25 pages of historical features.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Amid Turmoil, Hope (2010 season preview), by Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone
  • So Close, Again (2009 season in review), by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Manny Be Good? (What to expect from Ramirez in 2010), by Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus
  • Disorder In McCourt (an analysis of the impact of the McCourts’ divorce) by Joshua Fisher of Dodger Divorce
  • State Of The Stadium, by Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • One Out Away (Jonathan Broxton looks to recover from another disappointing finish), by Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness
  • Critical Campaigns (James Loney and Russell Martin), by Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness
  • The Collected Colletti (a Q&A), by Josh Suchon of KABC AM 790
  • Aces Are Wild Cards (The last word on No. 1 starters), by Eric Enders, baseball historian
  • Prospect Park (Top 20 prospects in the Dodger farm system), by Dodger prospect expert Richard Bostan
  • Individually Packaged (how the Dodgers develop young arms), by Josh Suchon of KABC AM 790
  • No Minor Hopes (life in AAA), by Albuquerque Isotopes play-by-play announcer Robert Portnoy
  • One In A Trillion (a Vin Scully retrospective), by Dodger team historian Mark Langill
  • Unsung Heroes (key contributions from unexpected sources), by Bob Timmermann of The Griddle and One Through Forty-Two or Forty-Three
  • Sweep And Low (the end of the 1980 season), by Dodger Thoughts commenter BHSportsGuy
  • The Great Dividers (the 20 most controversial Dodgers of the 2000s), by Jon Weisman

Petriello also wrote the bulk of the player profiles, along with BHSportsGuy and another Dodger Thoughts commenter, CraigUnderdog.

All that, for just $12.99! You can order online here, or pick it up at bookstores throughout Southern California. I interviewed the very gracious Jay Jaffe for the Broxton piece, during which I found out he was involved as well, but as MOKM said, I had no idea of the depth and quality of the crew that Jon pulled together until I saw this list just now.

Maple Street has had annuals like these for other teams in previous years, and it’s exceedingly cool that the Dodgers have one now as well. Let’s hope it does well enough to make it a recurring project!

Today the Globe… Tomorrow the World

After a weekend out of town at a wedding (and by the way, Indianapolis, I respect that you love the Colts and all, but when every hotel desk clerk and airline ticket attendant are wearing Colts jerseys, and even the attractive women are wearing jerseys of the center, Jeff Saturday, it starts to creep me out just a little bit), I’m back and not really planning on recapping anything that happened this weekend.

So yes, I saw that Manny picked up his option (of course), Jon Garland’s option was declined (the right move), several Jamie McCourt hires in the front office were let go (sad, partially since one of them is someone I actually knew years ago in college), and that Joe Torre may want to stay past 2010 (indifferent until I actually see it). That’s all been covered just fine by the other excellent blogs, so until we get back to the 2009 season reviews tomorrow, two things worth noting:

1) MSTI in the Boston Globe! As if my appearance on KABC’s DodgerTalk in May wasn’t enough, the MSTI media takeover continues. You can only imagine how much Red Sox fans are breathing sighs of relief that the McCourts weren’t allowed to purchase the Sox before coming to LA, and this whole mess only makes their two World Series trophies glow even brighter in retrospect. Anyway, I was contacted by a Globe writer and gave a phone interview, which culminated in this quote from this story in today’s paper:

“It’s not good when you’re getting your baseball news from TMZ,’’ says Mike Petriello, who runs the popular Dodgers blog MikeSciosciasTragicIllness.com and referred to a leading gossip site. “Everyone here is kind of horrified with Frank and Jamie McCourt.’’

Hey! I’m popular! To be honest, I don’t know if I said “here” so much as “there”, seeing as how I’m not actually in Los Angeles. I suppose we can go with “here” as meaning “Dodger fans,” though. Close enough. Either way, the Boston Globe! Now if only I still lived there and could buy thirty copies…

2) Chad Billingsley’s available, eh? So says Baseball Prospectus in their hot stove kickoff…

Starting pitching is always at a premium, and while Halladay will be hotly pursued again, a number of younger starters are also available, including the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley, the Brewers’ Dave Bush, the Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie, the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick, and the Twins’ Glen Perkins. Billingsley is the most intriguing of the group, as he is just 25 and pitched in the All-Star Game this season. However, he struggled so badly down the stretch that he was taken out of the rotation and left the Dodgers wondering if he might need a new start in another organization.

That’s the first we’ve actually seen that in writing, isn’t it? As I’ve argued several times, his struggles were never as bad as they seemed. To move him now, when the team is already short on starting pitching, would seem to be a monumental mistake.

MSTI on KABC’s Dodger Talk

So, as I mentioned a few times, Ken Levine & Josh Suchon from KABC’s DodgerTalk invited me to be a guest on their show tonight as part of their weekly “Better Know a Blogger” series. Despite my starting every other question with “well, you know, it’s a funny story”, I think it went pretty well – and it was fun, either way. Many thanks to Ken & Josh not only for asking me, but for the idea of having bloggers on at all – it’s very cool, and it makes all the time I spend on this blog from deep within the confines of my mom’s basement worth it.

If you’re interested, below is the transcript of our chat. If I’d known how much of a pain it was going to be to write out, I may have skipped it, but there it is. I was also able to grab an audio recording through some gray market means, thanks to KABC.com blocking the listen live function because it thought the Dodgers game was still on.


Ken: Welcome back to the Sunday Sports Final, live from Dodger Stadium. Ken Levine and Josh Suchon, still basking in the afterglow of the Dodgers’ 7-3 victory over the Padres. The Dodgers have now won the first 10 home games of the year, which is the greatest home start for the Dodgers in 126 years, when Julio Franco was only 9. Anyway, if you’re on the line, stay on the line, because we are going to get to you, but now we want to take a couple of moments and talk to somebody in the blogging community; as you know, one of the many great features that you have come to love and expect here on the Sunday Sports Final is a look at the different Dodger blogs that are out there. If you’re a Dodgers fan, you really should be introduced to some of these guys, because they spend an awful lot of time, do a great job, and have interesting voices, and have interesting takes on Dodger baseball. And today we are talking with Mike, who is the blogmeister of Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness dot com, one of the great names for a blog.

Mike, thanks for spending some time with us, and first of all, you even said so on your blog that this was going to be the first question, how does a guy in Boston write a blog about the Dodgers and keep up with the Dodgers every day?

MSTI: First of all guys, thanks for having me. You know it’s funny, I’m not actually in Boston, it’s my phone number that’s from Boston, I went to college there. I’m actually speaking to you right now from New York City, about 10 minutes from Times Square.

Ken: Oh, that’s so much different.

Yeah, I know – it’s much better. I’ve been asked this question a lot, I’m actually from New Jersey, and it’s kind of a silly story, I’ll keep it short. When I was growing up, you play T-ball, first year I played T-ball I happened to be issued a blue shirt that said “Dodgers” on it, which could have easily said “Cubs” or “Mets” or whatever, second year I also got the same shirt, just so happened I was 7 years old and a stupid kid who didn’t know any better, and 7 years old was 1988, they win the World Series, I get hooked, and it just kind of goes on from there.

Josh: That’s fantastic, that’s actually a pretty cool story – I like that. So, do you find there’s many other Dodger fans from where you’ve gone, do you always feel like you’re the only man on an island out on the East Coast rooting for the Dodgers.

MSTI: You know, it’s amazing, I went to Vero Beach a couple years ago for the first time, and I saw thousands of people with Dodger hats on, and it just blew me away – I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by Red Sox fans, Yankee fans, and it’s like, “wow, there’s actually other Dodger fans out here, how about that?”

Ken: Have you ever come out to Dodger Stadium?

MSTI: You know, I have, it’s been somewhat of an embarrassingly long time, but I’m planning on doing so again this year, for the first time in quite a number of years, at the end of the summer.

Ken: If we gave you two tickets for Thursday night’s game, would you – we can’t pay for the airfare – but would you fly out here? I mean, we’ll give you a couple of tickets for Thursday night’s game.

MSTI: Oh, that is so unfair. If you want to say, maybe the Cubs series at the end of August, I’d take you up that.

Josh: We’ll work on that Mike, we’ll see how the rest of this interview goes. I do want to ask, I mean, we love the name Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness, how did you come up with it, give us the history of the name of your blog.

MSTI: Sure, I mean it’s kind of a silly name, obviously my name is also Mike so that fits, and you know, Mike Scioscia, great Dodger, but as Ken, as you probably know, it’s a reference to probably the best Simpsons episode of all time – no offense to “Dancin’ Homer” – the softball episode, they do a parody of the “Centerfield” song, not “Centerfield”, whatever song that was, [post-mortem note: god, I suck. It was "Talkin' Baseball". Ugh.] One of the lines is “Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness”, in the episode, Mike Scioscia works at the power plant, so I thought that was a pretty catchy name – Simpsons reference, baseball reference, Dodgers reference.

Ken: We’re talking with Mike, who has a great Dodgers blog, “Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness“. How much time do you spend a day on this, because you have charts, you have pictures, you have diagrams, you have all kinds of stuff up there.

MSTI: I try to keep it to no more than half an hour or so a day, I spend a couple hours a night watching the game, so I try to multitask, think about what I’m going to write about, and it’s nice to also have a job where I can kind of goof off on the internet.

Josh: That’s always helpful. We’ve been talking about this a lot on the show, because one of our favorite beat writers – well, we’re running out of beat writers to pick favorites – Tony Jackson was laid off this week by the Daily News, and we’re seeing fewer and fewer reporters who cover the Dodgers, so Mike, I’m wondering, your thoughts as a blogger, the importance of bloggers as fewer and fewer reporters exist, but also how much more difficult it might be to do your job because you basically rely on the reporters to get you the news so then you can then analyze it, and sort of make fun of it.

MSTI: Yeah, I think it’s awful, with Tony, and Diamond Leung a couple of months ago, those guys were reporters, but they had blogs of their own, especially Tony, he would always be the first one that would come out with breaking news, with roster updates, with the lineups, with pretty much everything. I mean, we’re down to just two beat writers, and Ken Gurnick’s good, but he’s pretty much employed by the team, and there’s Dylan Hernandez. Bloggers like myself, we don’t have access, and a lot of us wouldn’t want it if it we were even offered it, so we’re not going to be the ones breaking the news, we like to comment on the news, to second-guess the manager, so we need the actual media on the inside of the locker room to break the actual stories.

Ken: And do you read other Dodger blogs? Do you compare stories, do you compare snarkiness, are you looking to scoop guys, are you looking to have takes before the other guys do.

MSTI: Sometimes I try not to read the blogs before I write, just because a lot of times we’ll end up with the same opinion and I don’t want to say the same thing they did, but I definitely read Sons of Steve Garvey, FireNedCollettiNow, Dodger Thoughts, those are probably the big couple I read. They all, everyone’s a little different, for example, Dodger Thoughts, maybe not as humorous as the others, but Jon is an actual writer, so he probably comes off a little more polished than the rest of us. But I think everybody brings something unique to the table and I definitely read them all.

And you bring a good humor, a good snarkiness – and that’s one of my favorite words – and I love the post you had a few days ago about ”well, that’s one way to hit the DL” talking about Hong-Chih Kuo, and you have like a map of Dodger Stadium and there’s his face from where he’s warming up, and then an X mark for where the ball ended up. That was a great idea, give us how long you put that one together.

MSTI: Well, in terms of putting it together it only took about 30 seconds, but I remember watching the game and Vin Scully mentioned a couple of times that they had to stop the game because of a ball and he didn’t know at first where it had come from. And later they said that Hong-Chih Kuo was launching them out of the bullpen, and I wake up the next morning to find out he’s on the DL. I think they said he’d had 15 warm-up tosses and the bullpen catcher could only catch maybe 4 of them, so instead of tossing it about 60 feet away, he tossed it about 300 feet away, so you knew nothing good was going to come of that.

Ken: How many hits a day do you get on your blog?

MSTI: You know, it varies, I don’t know about per day, but I would say, over the course of a month, it’s about 15,000, I believe. [post-mortem note: oops, undershot this by a decent amount. oh well.]

Ken: That’s pretty sizable.

Josh: That’s very impressive. Alright, let’s talk a little Dodger baseball, get your opinion on some of the stuff going on with the team, Mike. If it was up to you, if you were Ned Colletti or Joe Torre’s brain, what would your five-man rotation be right now for the Dodgers?

MSTI: I’d probably go find Sandy Koufax because he’s probably as good as anyone else they’ve got going for the fifth spot right now. Obviously Billingsley, Kershaw, Wolf aren’t going anywhere as the top three, it looks like they’ve settled on Jeff Weaver for number four, and you know, Eric Stults looked pretty awful the other day, but when your best alternatives are Shawn Estes and Eric Milton down in Albuquerque, you’ve got to give Stults at least another shot or two. I mean, I don’t want to act like the division title is wrapped up, because it’s certainly not, but the competition doesn’t seem so tight that you couldn’t give him another shot or two just to see what he’s got left.

Ken: Yeah, and of course with this lineup, Eric Stults could give up 6 runs and the Dodgers could score 9, so, we’re not like the Mariners where they keep coming back time and time again, but the Dodger offense is pretty potent. So, do you get a chance to see the boys when they’re in New York, playing the Mets, or when they go to Philadelphia.

MSTI: You know, it’s funny, I’ve only been out to Dodger Stadium once or twice but I’ve seen them in, I believe, nine other major league and spring training sites, so I always make it out to New York and Philly when they come, but I’ve seen them at a bunch of other places around the country as well.

Josh: Excellent, excellent. I’m going to throw another pitching question at you: in case the Dodgers were to go outside the organization to try and get some help, would you be interested in A) Mark Mulder, B) Pedro Martinez, C) Paul Byrd, or D) none of the above?

MSTI: I don’t know that any of the options are appealing, but if I had to choose one I would probably go with Mark Mulder. I don’t know if he’s got anything left, but I’m assuming he’s not going to be as expensive as Pedro Martinez is, and I’m pretty positive Pedro Martinez has nothing left. I don’t know that Paul Byrd ever had anything in the first place, so I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing – for the right price, of course – if Mark Mulder can recapture some of that magic he used to have, seeing if it was really just the injuries that took that away.

Ken: Okay, if you’re coming out here at the end of August, you let us know, and we’ll set you up with some tickets, Mike.

MSTI: Thanks, I appreciate that, guys.

Ken: As long as I don’t log onto your blog and there’s like fifteen people just ripping us and you don’t defend us, okay?

MSTI: No, I think that just happens on the other blogs [post-mortem note: does this even happen on other blogs? I kind of have no idea why I even said that.] I try to keep that off of mine.

Ken: Thanks very much.

Josh: Well, if he’s on the East Coast, he can’t even hear us anyways, unless he’s listening online.

MSTI: I am listening online, actually, I had to come up with a little workaround, KABC still thinks the Dodger game is on, so it’s blacked out, so I had to come up with a little bit of a “semi-legal” workaround to listen.

Josh: Okay. Thanks for your time, Mike, keep up the great work.

MSTI: I appreciate it guys, thanks a lot.

Ken: The blog is Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness dot com. When we come back, we’ll take more of your phone calls.

Thanks again, guys – made my night.