mendoza makes espn’s baseball broadcast watchable.
  • images
  • July 29, 2017

Doug Glanville on Jessica Mendoza in today’s NYTimes:

I root for Mendoza’s suc­cess because her jour­ney inspires me, and many oth­ers, to think opti­misti­cally about what we can over­come despite the stereo­types attrib­uted to our demo­graphic boxes.

As a viewer, I value some­one smart, insight­ful, and ana­lyt­i­cal above some dude who played for awhile. Obviously, they’re not mutu­ally exclu­sive, and in the purest form of the two- or three-person broad­cast team, there’s enough of both insight/analysis and expe­ri­ence that they com­ple­ment each other. But too often that bal­ance is off, and too few base­ball talk­ing heads are smart enough to inform any­one but the most casual fan.

Mendoza has raised the level of ESPN’s broad­cast so as to (a) make it watch­able (since she ups the qual­ity of the ban­ter, gen­er­ally); and (b) fre­quently add nuance to my under­stand­ing of the game.

That lat­ter part isn’t because she has Glanville’s expe­ri­ence with Wrigley’s out­field — because she doesn’t — but because she shows up better-prepared than any­one. In that way, it seems her expe­ri­ence as a jour­nal­ist is far more impor­tant than her time win­ning medals for USA Softball. She’s able to tell us what scouts are say­ing about a pitcher, or how a player’s been try­ing to work counts bet­ter, or how a man­ager and GM came to make ros­ter deci­sions. She respects her audi­ence enough to have taken the time to do her home­work, so she has some­thing of value to share with us. (To Glanville’s point, she’s very Scully-like in this way.)

I don’t think that, as a barrier-breaking woman, she’s try­ing to be smarter or better-informed than her col­leagues in the booth. Rather, I think she just is those things because that’s who she is, and I’m glad to read that at least one of those col­leagues doesn’t feel threat­ened or inse­cure about it.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams’ cast will have a Father’s Day reunion for film’s 25th anniver­sary:

Details were announced Monday for a Father’s Day week­end (June 13–15) cast reunion and cel­e­bra­tion of the film that will include star Kevin Costner and other cast mem­bers, as well as base­ball play­ers Bret Saberhagen, Glendon Rusch and Ryan Dempster. Bob Costas will emcee and Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” show, who will lead a Q & A with the film’s cast. This will, of course, take place in Dyersville, Iowa, where “Field of Dreams” was filmed.

Read the rest

  • images
  • April 16, 2014

Vin Scully & Jon Miller introduce Dodgers, Giants lineups on Jackie Robinson Day:

Before the Dodgers game with the Giants, as part of the Jackie Robinson Day ceremonies at AT&T Park, both teams' lineups were introduced on the field.

But what made it special was that Vin Scully and Jon Miller did the announcing, and much like the NCAA Final Four used to do their introductions, each announcer alternated teams each player.

Watch

  • images
  • April 12, 2013

 

  • images
  • February 18, 2013

This is the only orga­ni­za­tion I’ve ever played in or been in. I came here with Jackie [Robinson] and Gil [Hodges] and Duke [Snider] … and played with great peo­ple like Don [Newcombe or Drysdale?] and Tommy [Davis], Willie [Davis] and Maury [Wills].

Sandy Koufax (via BLS)

No one can deny the pop­u­lar­ity of the Farmer John pork-laden Dodger Dog, or its all-beef, but still non-kosher, alter­na­tive. A report from the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, a project of the American Meat Institute, which pro­vides data, research and recipes to food man­u­fac­tur­ers and reporters, states that the Dodger Dog was the No. 1 best-selling Major League Baseball ball­park hot dog in 2011, and it is expected to be the fourth-highest-selling this year.

(Taken with Instagram at Dodger Stadium.)

  • images
  • September 28, 2011

In gen­eral, I think it’s stu­pid when pitch­ers throw at oppos­ing hit­ters to “send a mes­sage” about some­thing that hap­pened ear­lier in the game or in a pre­vi­ous game. If a guy shows you up by admir­ing his home run, you should be more embar­rassed by the fact that you served up the pitch than you should be by the way the guy watches it leave the park. (I think it’s worse when umpires and announc­ers make a big deal about it. If no one says any­thing, then it’s just a bit of pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tion between ballplay­ers. Why make a big deal, cause a brawl, and force MLB to issue fines and sus­pen­sions?)

But this in excep­tion.

Ted Lily is pitch­ing for the Dodgers tonight in a mean­ing­less game against the Diamondbacks, the divi­sion champs who are play­ing for play­off seed­ing. And tonight, I hope Lily sends a mes­sage to Ryan Roberts.

Last night, Roberts hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a dis­as­trous (for the Dodgers) bottom-of-the-tenth. With two outs, pitcher Blake Hawksworth for­got to cover the bag on a rou­tine ground ball that should have ended the game. That led to the homer, which was painful but was hardly the worst thing that’s hap­pened in a sea­son that’s been over for weeks now.

Here’s the prob­lem: Roberts didn’t just trot around the bases, and he didn’t even joy­ously skip around them. He did Gibby’s trot.

I don’t care if Gibson is his man­ager, or that the man him­self approved. That trot is holy, and that moment belongs to the Dodgers. With an owner who’s doing every­thing he can to flush decades of tra­di­tion down the toi­let, we can­not abide some uppity, overly-tattooed mid­dle infielder claim­ing such a sacred moment for his own after win­ning a mostly mean­ing­less game on a lucky swing against an over­worked rookie only clos­ing games because every­one else is injured.

I should also note: In con­trast to some of our other NL West com­pe­ti­tion, I don’t par­tic­u­larly hate the DBacks. Their fans are too fair-weather to be obnox­ious, they beat up on the Giants this year, and this year they’re actu­ally a group of scrappy, like­able play­ers man­aged by a base­ball hero. So I don’t begrudge Ryan the right to cel­e­brate, and I wouldn’t care if he’d sim­ply “shown up” the Dodgers… they cer­tainly deserved a bit of sham­ing after that. But this was over the line. This aggres­sion will not stand.

Stand up for your team, Ted Lily. Teach Ryan Roberts a les­son he won’t for­get.

Arash Markazi sums up how a lot of us feel:

I know the ter­ri­ble thing that hap­pened to Brian Stow on open­ing day, I know what’s hap­pen­ing on the field, I know what’s not hap­pen­ing in the stands. And I know what’s hap­pen­ing in the court­room. I know all this but I still go to the games because real­ity has always found a way of sus­pend­ing itself when I’m at the sta­dium. I still have the same feel­ing enter­ing the park­ing lot off Sunset Boulevard I did when I was a child with my father…

…Feelings such as that are deep-rooted. I’ve loved the Dodgers for as long as I can remem­ber. It’s a fan­dom that was passed on to me by my father, and I’m not about to throw it away now over a time period I hope to tell my kids about when I take them to Dodger Stadium some day. That’s why I can’t allow McCourt to change my feel­ings about the Dodgers and why I refuse to let him chase me away from a place that has given me so much joy over the years.

There is noth­ing com­pli­cated or con­flicted about my feel­ings for McCourt. I don’t like him, what he’s done. It doesn’t take me very long to come to this con­clu­sion and move on with my life. The truth is I don’t even think about him when I’m at Dodger Stadium. Even when I’m sit­ting in an almost-empty sec­tion of the sta­dium. He is the fur­thest thing from my mind as I watch the game with a Dodger Dog in my hands and Vin Scully in my ears. Maybe I’m cling­ing to mem­o­ries that will never be recap­tured and set­ting myself up for more heart­break but I can’t help it.

The Dodgers and Dodger Stadium still rep­re­sent some­thing spe­cial to me, some­thing more impor­tant than court cases, divorce set­tle­ments and los­ing streaks. Judging from the empty seats around me, this puts me in the minor­ity. But I can live with that. I’ve lived with this team all my life.

Amen.

  • images
  • February 28, 2011

With no outs in the top of the 6th inning of Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, Duke Snider — who’d hit four home runs in the pre­vi­ous six games — laid down a sac bunt to move PeeWee Reese to sec­ond. After Snider reached on an error, the next bat­ter, Roy Campanella, laid down another bunt to move Reese to third.

So the record books say that Gil Hodges had both the Dodgers’ RBI in that game. But maybe they should also note that the Dodgers’ sec­ond run came as a result of the MVP (Campy) and the runner-up in MVP vot­ing (the Duke) bunting over a run­ner who Hodges drove in with a sac fly. Can you imag­ine such a thing in today’s game?

Let me put a fine point on it. For his career, Duke Snider had 11 HR, 26 RBI, and 21 runs in 36 World Series games. (He’s the fourth best in WS his­tory.) This was the final game of a sea­son in which he had 42 HR, 136 RBI, 126 runs, and an OPS of 1.046. And this is the guy you want bunting with no outs in the sixth?

Darn straight. RIP, Duke.

(By the way: There are seven mem­bers of that team in the Hall of Fame. Or eight if you’re like me and you count the radio announcer.)