Tagged: Los Angeles Dodgers

Is there a conspiracy against 19th century baseball

When Clayton Kershaw pitched a no-hitter I kept hearing it was the 22nd no-hitter in franchise history. The information is wrong. It was the 25th.

The difference of three is found in the 1880’s. The Dodgers, known as the Brooklyn Athletics in 1884, had the franchise’s first no-hitter thrown by Sam Kimber on October4th. Play was stopped after ten innings in a scoreless game. But it was a no-hitter.

The other two no-hitters were thrown by Adonis Terry, one on July 24, 1886, in a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Browns. His other no-hitter was in May of 1888, a 1-0 win over the Louisville Colonels.

Franchises are sold through time and the sale of a franchise in the 1880’s is no different than one sold in the 20th century. Nicknames may change, but the franchise is the franchise, even if it moves from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Ownership has been passed from hand to hand beginning in 1883 when George Taylor, Charles Byrne, Joseph Doyle, and Ferdinand Abel financed the first Brooklyn nine. Today the baton has been passed to Magic Johnson and a large investment consortium.

Yet for some reason there is a prevailing attitude to be dismissive of the past when it is in the 19th century. The rules may have been different, but it was still baseball. Of Cy Young’s 511 wins 257 came before 1900, but they are still counted among his 511 wins.

Years ago they changed the rules for no-hitters eliminating the no-hitters for pitchers who pitched 8 innings and lost because the pitcher was on the road team, thus no reason for playing the bottom of the 9th. But it was a complete game. They also eliminated those that were rain shortened. Even though it was a legal game, it was not a no-hitter.

Discrepancies are often found in researching or analyzing baseball statistics and when they are the 19th century gets short shift for some reason. I wonder if in the 23rd century-provided  the world is still existing-and baseball has changed its rules, will present statistics be getting the short shift. Could it be that every athlete is on some kind of performance enhancing drug and there are now two separate record books. One for pre 22nd century baseball when substances were banned, but players used them anyway and one for post 22nd century baseball when everything was legalized.

Never happen you say. I thought the same in the 1960’s regarding marijuana. But guess what?

In the end, as in the beginning, the Dodgers have 25 no-hitters. Put that in your hookah.



Chone Figgins should quit whining

Who knew Chone Figgins was a head case.

He played himself out of the starting lineup in Seattle, alienated the M’s fan base, and only Alex Rodriquez has received more boos from Mariner fans, and Figgins received his boos wearing a Mariner uniform, not a Ranger uniform.

Figgins is attempting a comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers and in an interview with the Los Angeles Times we learn what precipitated his humpty-dumpty fall from grace. When asked what went wrong in Seattle, Figgins answered, “It kind of says it all when you signed a $38 million contract (four years) and they pinch hit for you in the fourth game.” The implication is that his confidence was shattered, that he felt the M’ lost faith in him. What a devastating blow!

He hit .259 that first year (2010), his best with Seattle. He then hit .188 and .181. So Chone is blaming his three year failure on being pinch hit for in his 4th game. He couldn’t recover over three years? And what are the Dodger brass going to make out of this? I don’t know about them, but to me it says he can not accept responsibility for his failure. It was lack of confidence in himself-if indeed it was-not the Mariner’s. If you can’t accept your own failures, instead blaming others, possibly even teammates, what does that say about your character? His quote reflects a whiner, not a man who accepts responsibility, and nobody likes a whiner.

It also says he is not a competitor. If he wanted his starting job it was his to take by playing the way he did for the Angels. Instead he sat and moped and whined. Maybe, as some suggest, it was that big contract that did him in. There have been players who failed after getting big money. Whether the pressure of living up to expectations, feeling they must put up big numbers to justify the contract, or once they get the big money, they slack is the question.

But Figgins humpty-dumpty fall being blamed on the Mariners leaves Chone with egg on his face. And all the Dodgers men couldn’t put him together again. 

No whining in my baseball E-novel based on 1911 New York Giants: http://www.amazon.com/Loonies-Dugout-Terry-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00EEN7YNA/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393522218&sr=1-3

The evolution of baseball on field celebrations needs to take this next step.

I watched Tampa Bay’s Jose Laboton hit his walk-off home run to beat Boston. As usual with all walk-off home runs there is a tunnel of players at home plate to pound him on the back as he runs the gauntlet to touch home. Then the players gather into a 25 man group hug, jumping up and down together like soccer fans on meth.

I thought how odd it was. In the old days, the player who hit the game winning homer was met at home with handshakes, but not the whole team, more than likely the hand shake came from the on deck batter and whoever else straggled out. The team usually waited near the dugout. Not much hugging though.

Wil Nieves Walk Off Home Run

Wil Nieves Walk Off Home Run (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

The same activity, though a bit more chaotic, happens when a team like the Dodgers, later in the night, wins the division series and advances to the championship series. They also like to pound each others backs, give hugs, and jump up and down like those meth head soccer nuts. I remember when the Dodgers won the 1965 World Series against the Twins  (I was a mere child). Comparing the Dodgers win over the Braves in the NLDS and the 65 Dodgers, you would never know the 65 team just won the World Series. The smiles were all the same, but the body language has certainly changed.

I forget which player from days earlier than the 60’s said, you have to have a lot of boy in you to play baseball. (I think it was Don Newcombe). Certainly true of todays players who act like little boys when a home run ends the game or their team wins the World Series or league championship. It is not meant as derogatory. I find it ironic because today’s players make more money then players in olden times. It means millionaires celebrating like today’s players do, is an indication that money has not jaded them. They act like the little boys in themselves, as if the are back in little league.

Teams used to celebrate in their clubhouse, now they do it on the field. Nothing wrong with any of it, but, to be honest, it is getting redundant. Some team needs to bring into existence the next evolutionary act of celebrating. Maybe winning players jumping into the stands and hugging fans, kissing babies, and posing for twitter pics. I like it.

Nick Franklin or Brad Miller, you decide

I noticed something while watching Seattle Mariner games. For the first time since my youth I feel inclined, through no willful decision on my part, but through an unsought for feeling, that nonetheless is working its way to the surface, to either chose Nick Franklin or Brad Miller as my favorite player. Although in a sense your favorite player chooses you. Let me explain.

One day watching the Chicago White Sox on television when I was kid, I began rooting for Nellie Fox, the all-star second baseman of Chicago. His first name Nelson, was my last name, he was a little guy-at least for baseball players-just like me. I liked the way he choked up on his bat, and batting second in the order year after year, he would either bunt Luis Aparicio into scoring position, or as left handed batter slap a single to right on hit and run. He had great bat control and discipline, striking out maybe 13 or 15 times in over 600 at bats. He became my favorite position player.

English: Chicago White Sox second baseman . Le...

English: Chicago White Sox second baseman . Levels and saturation adjusted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My other favorite player was Sandy Koufax from my favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over four years he dominated as no pitcher has since he retired following the 1966 season because of elbow problems. He retired after a season that saw him go 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA. Over his last four years he was 97-27 with ERA’s of 1.88, 1.74, 2.01, and 1.73, one years striking out 382 batters.

One thing I can’t figure out is that Koufax was a lefty, Fox batted from the left, and I am right handed.

Anyway, as I grew older, though I enjoyed and admired many players, none became a favorite player, which in a sense, is like a hero. I did not need heroes as an adult, except, of course, James Bond. He got all the beautiful girls, had fast, cool cars, had sardonic wit, and was smart enough to extricate  himself from all kinds of trouble. Guys of my generation wanted to be Bond, no doubt because of Sean Connery.

Now I find myself drawn to Brad Miller-another lefty-because I am fascinated by his jersey which billows, in a way other players jerseys don’t, when he runs. And when he fields, or runs, perhaps because of his size, or because of some enigmatic connection locked within my baseball memory, he reminds me of long ago Oriole shortstop Mark Belanger. Miller hits better, and why I have this association is a mystery .

And Nick Franklin, a switch hitter, has that slightly oversized batting helmet, a double flapped one, no less. I like his intensity, hustle, desire, and passion.

Felix is my favorite pitcher, though not with the same love of Koufax, far from it. But who do I choose between Miller and Franklin. There can be only one. If you had to choose between them, who would you choose. Just vote in the comments section. You might be able to settle things for me.