Viva Vin! Scully to return to Dodgers in 2015!


Vin LASEC 2014-07-2819-14-16D4S_1732By Jon Weisman

It’s true, it’s true. Vin Scully will be back to broadcast Dodger games in 2015 for his 66th season.

The Dodgers announced the news tonight in the middle of the second inning of tonight’s game against Atlanta, with a message first to fans from Hyun-Jin Ryu in Korean, Yasiel Puig in Spanish and then Justin Turner in English.

The roar from the crowd was deafening.

Scully also offered this insight into the year’s most anticipated decision.

“It is very difficult to say goodbye,” said Scully. “God willing, I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen, as well as those at home who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time.”

The greatest at his profession of all time, Scully will continue to call all nine innings of the Dodgers’ television broadcasts on Time Warner SportsNet LA, with the first three innings of each of his games also simulcast on the radio.

“I’m obviously not alone in saying that I’m overjoyed Vin will be coming back to the booth in 2015,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “Our fans deserve the very best and Vin’s voice, knowledge, experience and passion for broadcasting Dodger baseball are second to none.”

To put Scully’s Dodger career in perspective, more than half of it has taken place since he earned National Baseball Hall of Fame status by receiving the Ford C. Frick Award in 1982. And he just keeps going, remarkably. We’re so happy to have him back.

The Dodgers’ starting rotation: Weird, wacky and wonderful wins

LOS ANGELES DODGERS AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Braves at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Matt Kemp, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Josh Beckett, P

By Jon Weisman

Asked to explain the key factor in the Dodgers’ sweep of San Francisco this past weekend, Clayton Kershaw replied with a laugh.

“It’s just Donnie finally putting the right lineup out there,” Kershaw said Monday at the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Dodgers All-Access event at Dodger Stadium. “It’s about time he got it right.”

Though there’s no doubt some are inclined to take him seriously, Kershaw was clearly joking. While it’d be nice to think that there is a magic lineup that would make the Dodgers unstoppable, a bigger reason for the sweep was probably a different decision that Mattingly & Co. made, setting up the Dodgers’ top three starting pitchers to face … not the Giants’ top three starting pitchers.

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Clayton Kershaw plays William Tell, throws at Jimmy Kimmel’s head


No more introduction really needed …

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers support binding arbitration to solve distribution of SportsNet LA

TWCSLA_Logo_loRESBy Jon Weisman

On behalf of the Dodgers, team president and CEO Stan Kasten spoke tonight in favor of a proposal from a group of six California-based members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Brad Sherman, calling for binding arbitration between Time Warner Cable and potential carriers that would enable immediate distribution of 24-hour Dodger channel SportsNet LA to all available homes in Southern California.

Time Warner Cable also said it would submit to binding arbitration with potential distributors of SportsNet LA (including DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Verizon Fios), effectively taking the negotiations out of Time Warner Cable’s hands.

“This, if it were agreed upon, would end this blackout right away, today, and we would be on the air literally tomorrow night in the entire area, ” Kasten said at a Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission event at Dodger Stadium this evening. “I want to thank Congressman Sherman and his colleagues for their diligent work and their concern for Dodger fans everywhere. I think it’s a very useful and productive step that he made.”

“We’ve heard a lot of things on both sides of this equation,” Kasten added. “This is a way to cut through all that. We’ll let an arbitrator decide who’s right and who’s wrong, and we can move on. And we don’t need to wait for the outcome of the arbitration. Once both sides agree to submit, we can turn the games on right away and they can figure out the price later.”

Kasten’s words followed an affirmative response from Time Warner Cable earlier in the evening to the proposal from the Sherman group.

“We are willing to enter into binding arbitration with DirecTV, and we appreciate the Congressman’s concern for Dodger fans,” Time Warner Cable’s statement read. “We prefer to reach agreements through private business negotiations, but given the current circumstance, we are willing to agree to binding arbitration and to allow DirecTV customers to watch the Dodgers games while the arbitration is concluded.”

Earlier this evening, a letter sent to the chairman/CEOs of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable by U.S. representatives Sherman, Janice Hahn, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Alan Lowenthal, Grace Napolitano and Karen Bass was released, outlining the proposal. It followed a recent letter from eight members of Congress, led by Tony Cardenas, that asked the FCC to mediate the gap between TWC and potential distributors.

“While such mediation would be helpful, it would not be binding or certain to resolve the dispute,” Sherman’s group wrote. “Now, on behalf of Dodgers fans throughout Southern California, we urge that Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and all other TV providers enter into binding arbitration, so that a neutral third party can determine the right price and terms for the Dodgers network. This will be a fair and fast way to return programming to consumers.

“Additionally, as you enter into the arbitration process, fans should no longer be left in the dark. We are requesting that SportsNet LA be made available immediately to all fans, beginning with tomorrow night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The arbitration would determine the amount payable for games aired both before and after the arbitration is complete.”

MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, among the speakers at the LASEC event, said that he spoke about tonight’s news with MLB commissioner Bud Selig and said “we’re in complete agreement that this is a very positive development.”

In case you missed it: Some scoop on Perez, Van Slyke, Guerrero and more

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS AT LOS ANGELES DODGERSBy Jon Weisman

Catching up on some news and notes from recent days …

  • Chris Perez discussed his mechanics issues with Pedro Moura of the Register. It’s worth it to read the whole piece to better understand Perez’s journey.
  • Scott Van Slyke’s performance this season gets an in-depth analysis from Stuart Wallace at Gammons Daily.
  • Alex Guerrero spoke in Albuquerque last week with Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. about how he’s doing and what he’s thinking.
  • Erisbel Arruebarrena is now with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga after a tumultuous weekend. On a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque, Arruebarrena was a central figure in a 10-ejection brawl Saturday between the Isotopes and Reno, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com notes. Arruebarrena was officially activated from the disabled list and optioned to Rancho the next day.
  • MLB.com has updated its overall Top 100 Prospects list and its top 20 for the Dodgers. Recent draftees Grant Holmes and Alex Verdugo debuted at No. 4 and No. 10 with the Dodgers.
  • Here’s an updated review of Dodger Stadium from Stadium Journeys. Food and beverage gets an improved score, and overall, writes Andrei Ojeda, “I really cannot say enough great things about the changes that have taken place the last couple of seasons, from the ownership to the amenities, all the way to the overall staff.”
  • Clayton Kershaw joined Sandy Koufax as a winner of the Hickock Belt. For the backstory on what this is and what it means, go to Ernest Reyes at Blue Heaven.
  • Kershaw will also be a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” tonight. Here’s a clip from his appearance there a year ago.
  • Former Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. has been released by the Phillies.

Dodgers acquire infielder Darwin Barney from Cubs


By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have picked up defensive specialist Darwin Barney and cash considerations from the Cubs, in exchange for a player to be named later or (not to be redundant) cash considerations.

Barney had a .265 on-base percentage and .328 slugging percentage in 217 plate appearances for the Cubs this season and has a career OBP of .290. A second baseman with brief experience at short and third, the 28-year-old Barney won a Gold Glove in 2012 and shares the MLB record with 141 consecutive errorless games at second.

According to Fangraphs, Barney has been the No. 1 defensive second baseman in the National League this year with a UZR/150 of 15.5.

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Keeping his cool paid off for shivering Scully

DSCN7586By Mark Langill

If Tuesday’s Vin Scully 65th anniversary replica talking microphone promotion reflected his big break into show business, the giveaway box would also include a 50-yard extension cord.

Fresh out of Fordham University in 1949, Scully was a radio reporter for CBS and assigned to cover the Maryland-Boston University college football game at Boston’s Fenway Park. Scully arrived at the press box expecting to sit in a booth. Instead, he was shown the roof, where an engineer sat at a little card table. There was also a microphone with a long cord.

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Since June 1, the Dodgers have won 29 games while hitting 21 home runs

LOS ANGELES DODGERS AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

For more Jon SooHoo highlights from Sunday’s game, visit the LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers swept the Giants this weekend — scoring 17 runs in three games with five doubles and five triples — but without hitting a single home run, and they remain stuck on eight homers in 21 games in July. Which leaves us with the following oddity:

March/April: 27 homers, 15 wins
May: 30 homers, 15 wins
June: 13 homers, 18 wins
July: eight homers, 11 wins

Not only have the Dodgers hit only 21 homers while going 29-20 in June-July, they’ve allowed 38. Nevertheless, Los Angeles has outscored opponents, 195-157.

How odd is that June-July run? I can’t say the last time it happened over a two-month stretch, but for a full season, the Dodgers haven’t had more wins than home runs since 1976, when they won 92 games on 91 home runs.

For all of 2014, the Dodgers have 59 wins on 78 home runs.

Dodger home runs in July: Scott Van Slyke (3), Adrian Gonzalez (2), Yasiel Puig, Miguel Rojas, Juan Uribe.

Kenley Jansen, ladies and gentlemen

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 8.39.28 PM

Click to enlarge.

– Jon Weisman

Another chapter in Dee Gordon’s feats of feet

LOS ANGELES DODGERS AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTSBy Jon Weisman

In the top of the fifth inning tonight at San Francisco, Dee Gordon …

… struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch without a throw.

… ran on a 3-2 pitch and cruised into second base on a Yasiel Puig walk.

… sped to third base on a Jake Peavy wild pitch.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS AT SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS… beat the throw home from first base after Adrian Gonzalez was thrown out at first on a strike three in the dirt.

Four bases, one base at a time, no hits, one walk.

Lots of other stuff happened, in a game the Dodgers led 4-3 going into the eighth inning, but in a year of mindblowing Dee Gordon moments, this deserves to be called out.

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