April 30, 2007
Yeah, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but that kind of fun is for after a championship season, not during. So for now San Diego will have to do.
Nice series win for Los Angeles. With the exception of solving Greg Maddux, the Dodgers accomplished a ton. Two absolutely gut-wrenching victories over their division rival-of-the moment Padres, another vanquishing of Trevor Hoffman, and a rousing performance by Chad Billingsley to close out the weekend. Mission accomplished.
Quite a contrast to Lance Carter and Danys Baez blowing a five-run ninth inning lead in almost the exact same scenario a year ago, isn’t it? No such happy place for those two dudes.
Meanwhile, how about that Mark Hendrickson? Talk about your happy place. There’s a man with a happy place. With the help of a sports psychologist, the lanky lefty is contributing, and looking like an actual pitcher out there. High fives for the Ph.D. Perhaps a series share even.
Shrinks have a way sometimes. Not always, of course. I was raised by two of them, so you know the system can’t be fool proof. It was like growing up in a Hitchcock movie, actually. But remember John Smoltz and the guy with the red sweater? Dr. Jack Llewellyn was his name. Smoltz was 2-11 when the doc started doing his voodoo on the Braves hurler in 1991. He’d sit in the stands wearing a red sweater, and from time to time, Smoltz would peek over for comfort, or a scent of cheese. Something. All I know is Smoltz finished 12-2 and hasn’t looked back.
Then of course, there was Wade Boggs, who had a mistress wearing red underwear to the ballpark, or not, depending on the couple’s pre-game preparation that particular day. But we’ll save that for another column.
Smoltz has his happy place, Hendrickson has his for the moment, and the Dodgers have theirs, which they can call, “first.” First place…
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…
You know things are going your way when opposing clubs make a habit of handing you solid baseball players in exchange for total dreck. Last year, Oakland’s supposed genius Billy Beane donated Andre Ethier to the Dodgers cause, taking Milton Bradley and a box of gauze. And yet again Bradley’s happy place is the disabled list.
This spring, the Milwaukee Brewers dug down deep, and handed L.A. Brady Clark on a silver platter, with nothing asked in return except for Elmer Dessens. Elmer Dessens, mind you. And Clark is a baseball player. He’s just a real player, the kind of player teams requre to reach championship caliber, and a freebie at that. Then you have the Colorado Rockies, in their infinite wisdom, releasing reliever Chin-hui Tsao for no apparent reason, allowing the Dodgers to pick him up for squat. Thank you very much, Dan O’Dowd.
Wilson Betemit was pretty much of gift as well, courtesy of the Atlanta Braves, and that one still might work out. Look for a mysterious injury to pop up any minute now, allowing the Dodgers to place the out-of-options third baseman on the DL, with the very convenient rehab used to get the batting stroke nicely fixed up for later use...
Bronx Predictions: Joe Torre has the month of May at the outside, and that’s it. Good for him. Within weeks, look for Alex Rodriguez to request a trade to a contender…
Angels? Don’t care…
Media Savvy: The occasional Google News search for the term “dodgers” brings up some fun stuff. Case in point, this: “JAMMY dodgers were biscuit baron Eggert Magnusson's currency when he was prince of dunkness in his native Iceland - or Bejams, as it used to be known.” Soccer story, I think.
From Rotoworld: “Odalis Perez was again unimpressive, but earned his first win of the season Friday thanks to major run support from the usually moribund Royal attack. In five innings, Perez gave up seven hits, four runs and a walk, striking out two. Disturbingly, this was actually his second best start of the year, so it's no surprise that his ERA is still an ungodly 8.64.” Any sports usage of the word "moribund" immediately gets my attention.
And an interesting note from Steve Henson’s fine article on Takashi Saito last week: “A sample of the preseason opinion, this from Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC blog: ‘The buzz on the Dodger bullpen is pretty well-heard. Saito's trick delivery has gotten old and the hitters will solve him, thus causing Grady Little to switch to Jonathan Broxton.’”
KO is a bright man. He went to Cornell, after all. You know because he keeps mentioning it. But follow his baseball teachings with blind faith at your own peril. Burn me once, you know. Olbermann’s 1991 fantasy baseball advice contained these exact words. These exact words: “Get Pat Combs.” Get Pat Combs. I got Pat Combs, and watched him go 2-6 and toss 64 innings for my fake club. One year and a win later he was out of baseball forever, toast at the age of 25...
Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…
Remember, glove conquers all….
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