Study: Vin Scully harbors no bias.

According to a study in the Wall Street Journal, five out of 30 Major League Baseball broadcasters (or broadcasting teams) are unbiased. Vin Scully is one.

Writes Jared Diamond:

By the rules of our study, anyone with a microphone who used a pronoun like “we,” “us” or “our” to describe the home team was given a citation. Obscure pet names for players were also flagged: The Detroit Tigers announcers, for instance, referred to backup catcher Gerald Laird as “G-Money.” Additional penalties were given for things like excessive moping after miscues or unrestrained glee after big moments. (A Miami Marlins broadcaster marked the end of a lengthy scoreless drought by screaming “Hallelujah!”)

It didn’t take long for the study to confirm what many baseball observers have long expected. During the White Sox game–a 2-1 win against the Texas Rangers–Harrelson and Stone (but mostly Harrelson) made a whopping 104 biased statements.

To put that in perspective, the Cleveland Indians duo of Matt Underwood and Rick Manning ranked second with just 23 biased comments and 24 of the 30 teams had fewer than 10.

The WSJ’s full chart:
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Report: Dodgers owners interested in buying AEG.

The Guggenheim Partners investment group, whose members include Dodgers chairman Mark Walter and co-owner Todd Boehly, has joined with a larger group of investors to bid on AEG, according to Reuters.

The report states that Los Angeles-based billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong “intends to put together a broad group of local investors in a similar fashion to the one Guggenheim assembled for the $2 billion purchase of the Dodgers in May.”

The Lakers, Kings, Galaxy, Staples Center, Home Depot Center, the proposed Farmers Field football stadium and Citizens Business Bank Arena are all among AEG’s assets. If some or all of the Guggenheim group gets involved, it would leave the Clippers, Ducks, Angels and Chivas USA as the only major professional sports franchises in the region not under Guggenheim control.

The $2 billion price tag Guggenheim paid for the Dodgers was a benchmark for pro sports. For many, it might seem implausible that the same group would spend even more than that on another sports body less than a year later.

But Guggenheim has built a global network of assets in excess of $160 billion, according to Reuters. The money’s there. And Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he’s often been encouraged to “think big” and think about “what’s next” in his short time working with Guggenheim.

Maybe now, Guggenheim is thinking bigger than the Dodgers.

Scott Elbert’s season is over.

Pitcher Scott Elbert underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow at Kerlan Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles today, the Dodgers announced. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the 30-minute surgery.

The surgery went as planned with a clean out of scar tissue in the back of the elbow. Elbert will begin rehabilitation at Camelback Ranch and can start throwing in 6 to 8 weeks.

Elbert went 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 43 games (32.2 innings) out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. He only pitched in four games after July 25 because of injuries. Interestingly, he had better numbers against right-handers (.170/.259/.255) than left-handers (.271/.342/.386). Maybe next season the 27-year-old can move out of the left-handed specialist role that has defined his major-league career to this point.

Elbert’s contract expires after the season, but he isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2014.

A.J. Ellis, 0-for-16, gets a day off.

Catcher A.J. Ellis, currently in the midst of an 0-for-16 slump, was given a day off Sunday by manager Don Mattingly. Matt Treanor is batting eighth and catching.

Ellis is still the team leader in on-base percentage, which is rather amazing given the talent around him in the Dodgers lineup, and a Sunday day off is nothing new.

But after starting the Dodgers’ past 11 games, a span that includes two off-days, Ellis’ problems at the plate have caught the attention of manager Don Mattingly.

“Just a drag in his swing,” Mattingly said. “He just looks a little tired.”

Ellis, 31, has appeared in 120 games this season — 10 more than his previous career high, which he set in 2007 with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.

Expect Ellis to be back in the lineup Tuesday in Washington following Monday’s off-day.

“Hopefully (having two days off will) just give him some juice in the legs,” Mattingly said.

Billingsley improving, on track to throw Friday.

The possibility of Tommy John surgery is dimming for Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley, who was shut down for the season Sept. 5 with tearing in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right (pitching) elbow.

Billingsley said he’s been doing daily forearm exercises without pain as part of his weightlifting routine for the last week. He will travel with the Dodgers on their upcoming road trip to Washington and Cincinnati starting Monday and, if he stays healthy, will start playing light catch in Cincinnati on Friday –four weeks from the time of his UCL injury.

“I’ll do that for a week or so,” Billingsley said. “If everything goes well with that, it’ll be a throwing program. If that goes well, I’ll be throwing to live hitters by mid-October.”

Billingsley said it’s to soon to know where he’ll face live hitters.

“It depends on where we are,” he said.

Matt Kemp’s shoulder is improving, and more about that throw last night.

Matt Kemp is batting third today and his shoulder is OK. That’s good news less than 24 hours after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was considering giving the center fielder a day off today against the Cardinals.

About last night …

Mattingly doesn’t usually let his emotions show while talking to the media (talking to umpires is a different animal). Last night offered an exception. See for yourself, at the 2:00 mark, where the manager says, “that play tonight, is just to me, it really chokes me up.”


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The view from St. Louis.

The Dodgers know a thing or two about heartbreaking losses in must-win situations that turn on a single play. So you can imagine how the St. Louis Cardinals reacted to last night’s 4-3, walkoff win by the Dodgers that left the two teams tied at 76-60 for the final wild-card berth.

One play in particular left a bad taste, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Several players questioned umpire Doug Eddings’ safe call at second base when Gordon stole his way into scoring position after replacing Andre Ethier at first base.

“He missed the call. I know he missed it,” said catcher Yadier Molina, who also thought he stopped Shane Victorino’s first-inning steal attempt before Victorino scored the Dodgers’ first run. “I know those guys (umpires) have a tough job to do. But those calls cost us the game. Gordon was out. The ball was there. The tag was there.”

Another player who saw the replay asserted the same thing as he left the clubhouse. Regardless, the Cardinals were left reeling from a piece of inspiration turned bad.

The loss left manager Mike Matheny draped over the dugout rail for a long minute as his players cleared. The clubhouse remained closed for 15 minutes afterward with manager still inconsolable when the doors opened.

Eddings is the first-base umpire today.

Luis Cruz: The man, the myth, the merch.

You can put a price tag on a feel-good story.

The Dodgers announced today that Luis Cruz replica jerseys ($110) will be on sale in the Left Field Tent at Dodger Stadium, and that Cruz t-shirts ($28) will be arriving by mid-week for sale as well.

The significance of this bit of news, of course, is that these perks usually aren’t extended to players who began the season as spring-training invitees on minor-league contracts.

Just to recap Cruz’s recent journey to the merchandise racks:

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Report: Colletti to sign multi-year contract extension.

The Dodgers and general manager Ned Colletti have agreed on a multi-year extension, according to CBSsports.com.

The report comes one day after Colletti said that manager Don Mattingly would return in 2013.

Writes Jon Heyman:

Colletti’s old contract called for mutual options after this season, but a new deal was being discussed for more than a week. …The new deal will be a multiyear arrangement. One person said it could wind up being for three years, though previous reports suggested two.

The Dodgers have yet to announce a new contract for Colletti. But since both Colletti and Mattingly have expiring contracts in 2013, it makes sense if the new ownership group would want both to begin the new season with a more certain future.

Clayton Kershaw is still battling a sore hip.

Clayton Kershaw is the Dodgers’ scheduled starter Sunday. That hasn’t changed –yet — though the left-hander is not 100 percent healthy seven days after receiving a cortisone shot in his right hip.

“He’s kind of in that same mode we were in last week with his start” on Sunday in San Francisco, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He was two days away, he wasn’t great, then the next thing you know it was time to pitch and he was ready. That’s kind of where we’re at with him right now. We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.”

For now, Kershaw is not expected to get another cortisone shot, Mattingly said.

The manager declined to speculate who would take Kershaw’s spot if he can’t pitch, but Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year John Ely would be the favorite on paper.