Off Base
This is L.A. Baseball, and it's Offensive

June 30, 2008, 1:50 p.m.

With one Tinsel Town area club safely in first place, and the other kinda sorta looking forward to a competitive second half, L.A. baseball isn't the Heaven's Gate-like bomb it might very well be - perhaps - but this ain't no summer mega-hit were talking about here either.

Uh, perhaps "hit" is the wrong word to employ there. Sorry.

Look, the Dodgers concluded their interleague play with a series win over the Angels, and they will absolutely take it, thank you very much. It was an exciting weekend with a playoff buzz to it, and history was in fact made, the Major League Baseball rulebook notwithstanding. More on that in a minute.

Neither the Dodgers nor the Angels hit. They just don't hit. Maple, ash, balsa or plywood, it doesn't matter. And it's absolutely excruciating watching the innings unfold the way they do, one after another, almost as if scripted. You know, "get 'em on, don't get 'em over, don't get 'em in."

If you're a regular here, you know I don't care a lick about the Angels, but I do get that they're a good club. John Lackey is an absolutely great ace, the prototype, and the notion that his team can lead the American League West with him out the first six weeks, and with deputy-ace Kelvim Escobar DL'd all year, is amazing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mike Scioscia should be the next Dodger manager. It's doable.

Again, not that I care, but with Tony Reagins in the GM's chair instead of Bill Stoneman, there's a chance the Angels will actually get that stud hitter they've been threatening to each July. Who knows; maybe two.

With the series win, and Rafael Furcal returning, possibly Friday, I'm actually kind of hopeful. Call me a glutton for my own pain…and yours. Furcal will make all the difference in the world. OK, he'll make all the difference in the National League West. Any other division, and we're not having this conversation.

I'm less optimistic about Nomar Garciaparra, and you'll notice the drop-off defensively at third base, but the man will hit the baseball. That much you can count on. Nomar will mash.

Beyond that, the Dodgers pitchers need to hit more. Only three Dodgers pitchers are hitting for a higher average than Mark Sweeney (four if you count Esteban Loaiza), and only Derek Lowe has more RBIs. C'mon guys, can we have some power please? Let's get with the program…

As for the almost no-hitter, let's recall that then-commission Fay Vincent led a group which voted to change the no-hitter rule in 1991. Vincent was the last independent commish, and deserves universal praise for his work in baseball, with the notable exception of this one thing.

Before 1991, a performance like the one turned in by Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo Saturday night was tabbed a no-hitter, and it should be now. Plain and simple. Rain-shortened no-no's which are completed, official, and in-the-record-books games should be too. Vincent and baseball went out of their way to diminish the accomplishments of men, who in some cases, had made history over a hundred years earlier.

Andy Hawkins, who'd completed and lost a road game in which he gave up zero hits, but isn't considered to have recorded a no-hitter because the home team didn't bat in the ninth, and David Palmer, who completed and won a perfect five-inning rain-ended contest, were especially screwed by the rule change.

Harvey Haddix, on the other hand, was not. Haddix surrendered hits and runs and lost the game. No no-no there, Haddix fans. Get over it.

On the plus side, in the very same Vincent-chaired meeting which produced the new no-hitter designation, a decision was made to remove the official asterisk next to Roger Maris' name. So let's give them that. One thumb up, one down…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Dodgers 81-Game MVP: Drum roll please. It's Chan Ho Park. I gotta admit, I'm eating crow on this one. Tastes like chicken. I didn't think he had a thing left in his arm or his heart, and I thought it was a dumb signing by Los Angeles, but Park has proven me wrong. Big-time. He's been absolutely brilliant, mixing mid-90s fastballs with all kinds of clever pitches, giving the Dodgers a lift almost every time out. And while it's a bit like a punter in football walking away with the trophy, the Dodgers long man really is their MVP.

Meanwhile, Brad Penny is scheduled to start in Park's spot Saturday. Let's hope for a short leash…

There's Life on Mars, and it's Al Kaline!! OK, alkaline actually, but you get the idea. The stuff of batteries. Phoenix mission scientists claim it might be possible to sustain life on Mars. Salad life, in particular, and alkalinity is the key. You gotta have alkaline to grow stuff in this galaxy. Supposedly asparagus and turnips would grow quite nicely on the red planet, but apparently strawberries are out. So much for the Jamba Juice franchise.

Anyway, when I was kid, I thought Al Kaline was responsible for the alkaline batter. Guys had to work during the off season in those days, you know, and I thought maybe making batteries was Kaline's gig…

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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