2017 and the Dodgers’ Race to the World Series

While there may or may not be a super team playing in Chicago that can steamroll through the National League, local pundits say no matter, the Dodgers will reach the 2017 World Series. Maybe they can do it, but as the Dodgers’ 2017 season starts tomorrow, while improvement along with much needed experience is evident in many areas, it’s still the pitching that will matter most, and that, for LA 2017, is still full of major question marks.

Let’s start behind the plate with a position that has not improved over last season. I’ve always been a critic of Yasmani Grandal, and despite his fine power showing of 2016, I still say he is way overrated in all aspects of the game. What was real last season for the lifetime .238 hitter was his below average .228 BA, not his career high 27 home runs,

which I doubt will be duplicated, let alone exceeded, this season. Backing up Grandal, the team no longer has A.J. Ellis, a great defensive catcher, clutch hitter, and pitchers’ favorite, who spent several seasons as the teams regular before the infamous trade of Matt Kemp for Grandal two years ago. Veteran Bobby Wilson had a fine spring, but failed to make the opening day roster, Continue reading

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NBA Jerks Exploit Fans and Disgrace the Game By Sitting Out

A mere five years ago it was virtually unheard of for a millionaire professional basketball star to sit out a league game because the poor little guy was just too tired to pull on his shorts, endorse his latest pay check, and go out on the court at actually play. Today that is the norm, when on virtually a daily basis multi-millionaire BALL PLAYERS – super-rich young adults wealthy beyond their wildest dreams for playing a kid’s game in front of mesmerized fans – stay home or sit on the bench drinking coffee and rubbing their faces while their less-talented, lessor paid teammates insult their adoring fans who paid outlandish sums of money for even the worst seats in the palaces of billionaires, as broadcast money pours through owners’ coffers.

Hey, LeBron, Stephen, Blake, tell the waitress on her feet for ten-hour shifts dependent on tips to buy shoes for her kids, tell the farmworker bending over picking strawberries or

lettuce hour after hour to keep a roof over his family’s heads, tell the inner city cop on the beat who puts his life on the line every hour of every day of every week, just how tiring it is to fly from San Antonio to Philadelphia in a luxury jet and then have to run up and down the court for two hours, for only $100,000 an hour. Go ahead, tell them, I dare you! Continue reading

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Looking Deeper Into the Boogie Cousins Trade

Consensus opinion among the “experts” was that the Sacramento Kings got the very short end of the deal that sent the team’s one star player, DeMarcus Cousins, to the New Orleans Pelicans for draft choices and a trio of underachieving shooting guards. Look a little deeper and look at the first games played by the players in their new surroundings, and maybe one should not be so fast to judge.

There had been speculation for a couple of years that the Lakers had serious interest in Boogie and that when he was the subject of real trade talk or when he became a free agent,

they were the team that would be out there making the best offers. As to that actual trade talk this past week, the Lakers, now with Magic Johnson in charge and with Mitch Kupchak gone, not so much. Reports were that Sacramento wanted Brandon Ingram and others, and that the Lakers refused to discuss any deal that included him. For the wrong reasons, this may well have been the right decision. I’m no fan of Ingram’s and I do not think that he will be the player some in the Lakers’ organization (apparently in the Kings’ organization as well) think that he can become, but not making such a deal was the correct move because Continue reading

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End of Jered Weaver Era Leaves Behind a Pitching Disaster

In the aftermath of 2016’s injury devastation of the Los Angeles Angels’ starting pitching staff, little optimism can be found among the team’s fans upon looking at the likely composition of the 2017 staff. Last season, the team lost four of its top six starters to career-threatening, long term injuries, and with three of the four not expected to see any action in 2017, and with the non-signing of long time ace Jered Weaver, there is little to choose from in selecting arms to man the rotation that will begin pitching in earnest in six weeks.

The new anointed ace of the staff, Garrett Richards, made only six starts before going down to a torn elbow ligament. Disdaining Tommy John surgery, he appears to have recovered through rehab and stem cell therapy, but whether his elbow will hold up to the


rigors of the coming season is a total unknown. Fellow starters Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano also succumbed to the same injury last season, and each underwent the knife and will miss all of 2017 Continue reading

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SURPRISE! Neither Hair Ban Nor Bonds Get Second Year in Miami

After the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly was hired to take over the Miami Marlins for the 2016 season, he did two things that defied not just logic, but sanity:

  • He told his cadre of millionaire ball players, from the youngest rookies to the ten-plus year grizzled veterans, that they were prohibited from making their own personal grooming decisions. Rather, he, the dictator of southern Florida, would make those decisions for them, and that included above all else, his royal edict that no Marlins’ player DARE show up to work sporting any version whatsoever of facial hair – yes, in the second decade of the 21st century, Common Era, the non-manager would be imposing his will on his players, outlawing beards, mustaches and too long sideburns.
  • He rescued major league baseball’s all-time greatest ….. cheater, one Barry Bonds, from the scrap-heap of unemployable former players, and handed him the keys to the Marlins offense, making his their batting coach.

The surly Bonds, never a friend of the third estate nor to the fans, who outside of San

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Francisco were not so in awe as to fail to see his true persona, was a legion of problems waiting to happen, and while no international incidents Continue reading

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Dodgers’ Biggest Question Mark is Now Again the Bullpen

With second base now a settled issue with new regular Logan Forsyth in tow, plus the returning Chase Utley as his back-up, It takes little expertise to realize that once again it is now the bullpen that is the Dodgers’ and manager Dave Roberts’ area of biggest concern, despite the off season re-signing of lights-out closer Kenley Jansen and the addition this month of veteran Sergio Romo.

Gone from last year are veteran lefty J.P. Howell and righties Joe Blanton, Jesse Chavez, Louis Coleman and Casey Fien. Howell was the Dodgers’ number one situational lefty for three-plus seasons until he slipped badly during 2016 and was replaced first by Adam Liberatore and then by Grant Dayton, who likely will be in that role entering 2017. The 33-year-old Howell was a free agent for most of the off season after his poor performance last

year and with zero interest from the Dodgers, but he did recently sign with Toronto. The Dodgers could have three or more lefties in the pen with Luis Avilan (and others – see below) having a chance to join Dayton and Liberatore, who is said to be fully recovered from October elbow surgery.

The Dodgers do appear to be solid from the left side and with Jansen the returning closer, but as far as righty long men and set up men, the jury is again out, and the prospects are at best, scary. Continue reading

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Will Spring Training Invitee Cody Bellinger Have a Spot in 2017?

The two best prospects as position players that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system produced over the past several seasons, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson, were brought along slowly. Pederson, who will turn 25 three weeks into the 2017 season which will be his third full year in the majors, played full seasons in A+ Ball, AA Ball and Triple-A before his 2014 late season call-up. Corey Seager, the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year and whose birthday is the same week as Pederson’s, turning 23, spent almost two full years playing Rookie league and low-A ball before the equivalent of a full season at A+, then parts of two season in AA, and just about a full year in Triple-A before his 2015 late

season call up. This is a pattern that has worked well for these two, and for the Dodgers. But will they break the pattern, and soon?

The next position player in line for regular duty in the majors, and potential stardom, is 21-year-old first baseman Cody Bellinger. While Bellinger has spent some time in the Rookie league and has had full seasons since in A+ and Double-A, his Triple-A experience consists of three games and 12 late season 2016 at bats. Continue reading

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Was Logan Forsyth Trade the Right Move For Dodgers?

While there is not too much for which 2016 Manager of the Year Dave Roberts can be criticized, one area regarding which he was frequently second-guessed last season was over his personnel moves at second base. The Dodgers re-signed Howie Kendrick just before the start of the season, and it figured to most fans and observers that the then 32-year-old, nine-year veteran, coming off a great first season with the Dodgers in which he hit .295, would be the everyday automatic write-in at second. Alas, injuries and other problems in the outfield arose, and lo-and-behold, Howie played in only 32 games at second, as he became pretty much the regular starter in left field. Overall he appeared in

146 games, but the late start to spring training and the frequent moving around between not just second base and left field, but also to first and third base, took its toll, as his average fell to a career low .255, almost 40 points under his lifetime average.

The starter most of the time at second was Chase Utley, who at 37, did a fine job for most of the season, but he had been a longshot to return in 2016, and seemingly a no shot for 2017. Playing some at second against lefties, as well as in numerous other spots around the infield and outfield, was a Roberts’ favorite, the no-hitting Kike Hernandez Continue reading

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Same Old Pete Carroll

The most disgusting, immoral, crooked, vile and deceitful person in sports, Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll, known to us who endured his years running a criminal enterprise in Los Angeles as “Uncle Petey”, has struck again, and again the powers that be, this time the NFL, let him off with a slap on his reddened though unbroken wrist.

Uncle Petey, following the team’s elimination from this year’s postseason, announced one has to assume unwittingly in trying to defend the below avenge performance of star

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cornerback Richard Sherman, that Sherman had played the second half of the season with what he described as a “significant” MCL injury to a knee.

In direct violation of NFL rules, this was never disclosed in injury reports regularly released throughout the season. In fact, injury reports blatantly lied about Sherman’s status, Continue reading

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