Yasiel Puig had baseball’s third-most popular jersey in the second half.

Yasiel Puig fans

Sales of Yasiel Puig’s jersey ranked third among all MLB players since the All-Star break. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig had baseball’s three most popular jerseys since the All-Star break.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw‘s jersey ranked sixth, and teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu’s jersey ranked 17th, according to the list of sales of Majestic jerseys from MLB.com/Shop, the official online shop of MLB.

Only the Dodgers and the Yankees (Rivera, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano) had as many as three players on the list:
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Bud Selig formally announces his retirement. What’s next?

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig formally announced today that he will retire upon the completion of his current term, which runs through January 24, 2015.

Selig, baseball’s interim commissioner from 1992-98 before assuming his current title, had made similar statements in the past. Today’s announcement, though it comes as little surprise, is the most formal he’s made. It carries important implications for the future of the game.

Under Selig, Major League Baseball witnessed unprecedented financial growth while surviving a number of scandals — a players’ strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series, rampant performance-enhancing drug use that many believe tainted baseball’s record books, and a wave of PED-related suspensions just this year for a dozen players who never failed a drug test.

“No Commissioner has faced greater challenges in defending and growing the game, not even Judge Landis,” MLB historian John Thorn said, referring to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball’s first commissioner from 1920-44.

Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre is an unlikely choice to succeed Selig, writes Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, though there is no clear-cut choice for baseball’s next commissioner. There’s a broad list of candidates that includes everyone from a former president (George W. Bush) to a former Dodgers public relations director (Derrick Hall, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ President).

The process of choosing the next commissioner has 15 months to play out.

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Two suspects arrested in stabbing death of Dodgers fan in San Francisco. Update.

Colleagues Mark Gomez and Joshua Melvin of the Bay Area News Group are in San Francisco today. Click here to read their developing story.

Jonathan Denver

Jonathan Denver was the son of a Dodger Stadium Security guard. (Photo via NBCBayArea.com)

Two suspects are in the custody of San Francisco police following the stabbing death of 24-year-old Jonathan Denver on Thursday.

Denver was fatally stabbed around midnight last night near AT&T Park, after the Giants beat the Dodgers 6-4. An apprentice plumber who worked for North Coast Plumbing and Heating in Fort Bragg, Denver was wearing Dodgers gear at the time of the attack. One of the suspects was reported to be wearing a Giants hat.

The suspects’ names have not been released.

Update (2:45 p.m.): According to the Dodgers, Denver is the son of a Dodger Stadium security guard.

The team released the following statement:

“The Dodgers are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Jonathan Denver, who is the son of one of our security guards.

“There is no rational explanation for this senseless act which resulted in Jonathan’s death. The pain that this has caused his family and friends is unimaginable. Words are not enough to describe our sadness. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this extremely difficult time.”

Update (3:05 p.m.): NBC Bay Area reported that one of the two suspects in custody will be charged with Denver’s murder.

Update (4:55 p.m.): The Dodgers will observe a moment of silence for Denver prior to tomorrow’s home game against the Colorado Rockies.

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Daily Distractions: Don Mattingly’s job seems safe.

Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly’s contract expires at the end of the season. He and the Dodgers have not discussed extending it to 2014. (Associated Press photo)

Apparently it’s time to talk about Don Mattingly‘s job security again.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney told Steve Mason and John Ireland on 710-AM yesterday that “If they [the Dodgers] lose to the Braves in the first round or lose to the Cardinals in the first round, I don’t think he’s going to survive. … I think they would make a change.”

Olney’s prediction was based on how the industry regards Mattingly’s in-game managerial skill. In that area, there’s room for criticism (or improvement, depending on how you choose to look at it). But room enough to not renew Mattingly’s contract?

FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi wrote that Matt Kemp is “sure” that Mattingly will be back next year no matter what.

Our Tom Hoffarth caught up with team president Stan Kasten recently, and Kasten offered nothing less than a ringing endorsement. “I’m glad we had him at the start, glad we had him in the middle and glad we have him now,” Kasten said of Mattingly.

If there is any uncertainty about Mattingly’s future with the Dodgers, Kasten and general manager Ned Colletti are doing a tremendous job hiding it from players and the media. While that might be the case, it seems unlikely that Mattingly’s job depends on the Dodgers’ playoff performance.

There are skills that go into the manager’s job that can’t be taught. As Morosi points out, Mattingly’s background as a player and his demeanor as a person fit almost perfectly with the Dodgers’ roster as currently constructed. That will count for a lot. In-game strategy? That can be learned in time, and it’s reasonable to guess the Dodgers will give Mattingly more time.

Some bullet points for a New Zealand Dominion Day:
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San Francisco Giants 6, Dodgers 4

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco has allowed 17 earned runs in his last 12 innings, spanning three starts. (Associated Press photo)

If you looked beyond the final score, beyond Ricky Nolasco‘s struggles, you might have noticed the difference between the playoff team and the non-playoff team Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

San Francisco starter Barry Zito was removed from the game, likely his last as a Giant, after pitching five solid innings with the Dodgers trailing 5-2. Zito did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and he did not react well to being removed in the fifth.

A KCAL camera followed the left-hander as he stomped from one end of the dugout to another. Zito appeared to swipe at a water cooler and hastily discard a paper cup, nothing too crazy and nothing that was too difficult to comprehend. After signing a 7-year contract worth $126 million back in 2007, Zito mostly underperformed (ERA-plus of 86) while his teammates won the World Series twice. Wednesday night might have been his last chance to do something right in a Giants uniform; after 77 pitches, he was done.

Nolasco was Zito’s opposite. He labored through a 24-pitch second inning in which the Giants scored three runs, all on a bases-loaded triple by former Dodger Tony Abreu that might have been a grand slam elsewhere.

A two-run home run by Pablo Sandoval in the fourth inning, and an RBI double by Abreu in the sixth, stuck Nolasco with six runs (all earned) in 5 ⅔ innings. He was allowed to throw 95 pitches and pitch into the sixth inning, and it didn’t raise an eyebrow.

For Zito, there was nothing to be gained by his excellence beyond the moment, while giving Nolasco a chance to pitch out of his struggles meant something to the Dodgers, even if they ultimately lost.
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