On paper, the Giants have the edge over the Dodgers in 9 of 16 categories (including “chemistry“) heading into the 2013 season. The Dodgers are a “purely store-bought team” whose image suggests the opposite of world championships, fundamentally sound baseball and “owners reluctant to give anyone a $100,000 contract.”
On a back field, far from the Dodgers and Vin Scully (who was in Glendale to broadcast his first game of spring training), Mike Piazza and Team Italy were preparing for the World Baseball Classic at Camelback Ranch.
Piazza took a break from his duties as hitting coach to tell reporters that he had no regrets over what he wrote about Scully in his book “Longshot.” The former Dodgers catcher took plenty of heat for insinuating that Scully fueled the perception that, by setting a deadline to sign a contract extension in 1998, Piazza was being disloyal to the team.
On Monday, he responded:
MLB Network analyst and 11-year major-league veteran Eric Byrnes was at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. He and his MLBN colleagues are making several stops in spring training to film video segments for their annual “30 clubs in 30 Days tour.”
That’s a lot of clubs in a short amount of time, and Byrnes said he’ll be seeing 10 of them, starting with the Cubs, Royals, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Reds and now the Dodgers. He’ll be at the Brewers, A’s and Angels later in the week. I asked him for his thoughts about what he’s seen so far from talking to and watching the Dodgers. We hit on a variety of other topics that I’ll save for future posts/stories, so enjoy this two question Q-and-A.
The man commanding the most attention at the Dodgers’ camp is also the least comfortable in the spotlight.
Through his work with the club’s pitchers, Sandy Koufax may prove himself to be a master mentor, Yoda and Mr. Miyagi rolled into one. But he’s never been one to embrace his celebrity. In that regard, this spring — even with Koufax donning a Dodger uniform for the first time in decades — is no different.
“It’s fun,” Koufax said during a brief media session Friday. “I’m having a good time. If I wasn’t having a good time, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
The Dodgers announced that Prime Ticket will televise an additional four games this spring at Camelback Ranch: Feb. 25 vs. the Chicago Cubs, Feb. 28 vs. the Angels, March 7 vs. the Texas Rangers and March 18 against Arizona. Vin Scully will call all four telecasts, in addition to the KCAL 9 games on March 17 vs. Milwaukee and March 26 vs. Colorado.
Six Cactus League broadcasts represent the most that Scully has ever called.
“All I can say is, you can’t buy chemistry.”
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea reports that attendees at the Giants’ Fan Fest earlier this month responded to Belt’s statement with “a thunderous ovation.”
Nothing like a few fightin’ words to stoke a good rivalry, right?
The Dodgers released their tentative spring training TV and radio schedules today:
How do you spend billions of dollars and on the other hand, why will you not accept the market rate for carrying the Padres? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
– Ron Fowler, co-owner of the San Diego Padres
U-T San Diego has the story about the state of the Padres’ impasse with Time Warner Cable. The short version: Local Time Warner subscribers, about 185,000 of them, can’t watch the Padres because Time Warner won’t carry Fox Sports San Diego. The team’s co-owner has scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the cable provider to resolve the situation. This doesn’t happen often.
That quote was lifted from an interview Fowler held Friday afternoon with a local radio station. It was in reference to the Dodgers’ creation of SportsNet LA, a regional network that will launch in 2014. Time Warner is believed to have paid $7 billion-plus so its subscribers will have access to the channel. Will anyone else? That’s the question Dodgers fans will be fretting a year from now. It’s a problem for Padres fans now, and it’s something to keep an eye on.
Regardless of the outcome, the lesson here is an ugly one: Consumers simply don’t win when big money, politics, sports and cable television collide.
H/T to Hardball Talk for this one:
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is expected to miss the entire 2013 season and may be forced to retire due to a series of injuries.
The 37-year-old was bothered by a nerve issue in his shoulder that limited him to five games last season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Carpenter currently has health concerns in his right shoulder, arm and neck.
Significantly for the Dodgers, who have a surplus of starters one week before pitchers and catchers are expected to report for spring training, the GM added that he’s “comfortable” with his starting rotation as it’s composed. Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller are the right-handers; Jaime Garcia is the lone left-hander but he’s questionable to start the season because of an elbow injury.
Free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse went 16-3 for the Cardinals last season and would be a sensible replacement. If Mozeliak decides one lefty starter isn’t enough, he might end up calling Ned Colletti, who has two veteran southpaws (Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly) entering camp with no assurance of a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Lilly has health concerns too – he’s 37 and hasn’t pitched a major-league game since May 23 of last year – and is coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September.
The circumstances seem ripe for a trade, but it will hinge on both GM’s sense of urgency. Publicly, Colletti and Mozeliak say they’re in no rush to resolve their rotation situations, but we’ll see if that changes.
Onto the links …