Owning up on ways to measuring the Dodgers’ 2013 success

Stan Kasten, second from left, entering the first Dodger Stadium press conference with the new ownership group that included, left, Peter Guber, Mark Walter and Magic Johnson.

Stan Kasten, second from left, entering the first Dodger Stadium press conference with the new ownership group that included, left, Peter Guber, Mark Walter and Magic Johnson.

What’s the best way to measure the Dodgers’ success in 2013?

Stan Kasten tries every day. He pools together his resources – maybe that’s not the best term to use if you looking at it from an Diamondbacks  perspective – and crunches numbers until he’s that certain shade of blue in the face.

His metrix of the moment: Fans in the stands.

91958783_crop_650x440The NL West champions will emerge from recent apathetic attendance decline to not only eclipse the 3.7 million mark at home – leading all of baseball as they had once done on an annual basis in years gone by — but they’ll also have the greatest road attendance average per game.

“We don’t even know the last time a National League team led in both those categories,” the 61-year-old Dodger president, CEO and co-owner said the other day, a reference to the fact that the almighty New York Yankees have accomplished the feat on several occasions, most recently in 2010.

“To me, that speaks to the progress we’ve made. None of us feel our job is close to being done because we want to be a team that has sustained success, and we’ve just started. But we feel we’ve made real progress. The response, the reaction and the support from our fans have been very gratifying.” Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Play It Forward: September 30-October 6 — ITFDB, in the ATL

Update: 8 a.m. TUESDAY:

How the sports week lays out moving forward, locally and nationally:

DodgersFacebookTHIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
MLB PLAYOFFS:

NL DIVISIONAL SERIES:
Game 1: Dodgers at Atlanta, Thursday at 5:30 p.m., TBS
Prior to the first game of their regular-season ending series against Colorado, the Dodgers’ official Twitter account released a photo with Kenley Jansen and Jerry Hairston Jr. posing next to a new logo on the Dodger Stadium outfield wall commemorating their NL West championship. Except the tweet came with the wording: “The National League Champions are finally home! #ITFDB” (The hashtagged initials stand for:  It’s time for Dodger baseball). Kind of a big whiff there — it was eventually corrected to “National League West.” By then, it had already been captured, distributed and ridiculed on the Internet machine. Whether the Atlanta Braves’ followers were following along, we’ll soon see.
c04_mlbinside_19-x-largeThe Dodgers start with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the first two road games of the playoffs in Atlanta against a Braves’ team that may head the NL in home runs (180, to the Dodgers’ 138), but they also seem to enjoy swinging and missing.
891551574Atlanta led the league with 1,379 whiffs, led by Dan Uggla (171, pictured right), Justin Upton (161) and B.J. Upton (151), who rank third, fourth and fifth in the league. Kershaw led the NL in inducing strike outs with (232). With Matt Kemp out, and likely Andre Ethier, the burden falls heavily on the Dodgers’ pitching. The Dodgers have a 71-4 record when leading this year after the sixth inning. They’re 4-51 if they’re trailing at that point. And the Braves have the best bullpen in the league.
TBS has put Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ron Darling and Cal Ripken (analysts) with Craig Sager (reporter) on this one. They must think it’s important.
Also:
Game 2: Dodgers at Atlanta, Friday at 3 p.m., TBS
Game 3: Dodgers vs. Atlanta, Dodger Stadium, Sunday, time to be determined, TBS or MLB Network

BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

What USC gets with Orgeron, no one is blindsided

Ed Orgeron leads the USC team to the edge of the tunnel before the start of the Trojan's season opener against  Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in 2010. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Ed Orgeron leads the USC team to the edge of the tunnel before the start of the Trojan’s season opener against Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in 2010. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin could not have been blindsided by his eventual ouster as the USC football coach.

Yet all the while, waiting for another chance, was Ed Orgeron.

Mr. Blind Side himself.

When you do a head coaching search at USC, someone’s IMBD.com resume isn’t the first thing checked for red flags after their Facebook and Twitter profiles. In this case, athletic director Pat Haden didn’t have to go real far to find an understudy willing to jump into the lead role for the last eight games of the season.

The humble and engaging but ever lovin’ ragin’ Louisiana native Orgeron, whether you can understand what he’s actually saying with a voice that sounds like someone gargling a mouthful of lugnuts, already has captured this Trojan team’s attention.

After all, he mostly likely sold them on coming here in the first place. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Q and A: Scully, on McCain, champagne and, really, when you’re calling games in October, how can you complain?

scully-firstpitchFor about an hour, Vin Scully allowed himself the chance to remember.

The Dodgers had just wrapped up the NL West title with a Thursday afternoon victory in Phoenix, and a champagne celebration ensued.

After calling the final out, Scully said he watched the players roll around near second base at Chase Field, then collected his belongings and headed down to a team bus that waited in a nearby tunnel.

“It was kind of lovely to be sitting alone, just thinking, very quiet, no one around,” the 85-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster admitted. “I didn’t feel alone or left out. It was by design.”

Ralph_Branca_after_giving_up_homerun_to_Bobby_Thomson_-_77804929RPA006_BrooklynDodgersCollection_001_fs_fsHe said he found himself back in 1950, his first year with the franchise. The Phillies’ Dick Sisler hit an opposite-field home run in the 10th inning to eliminate the Dodgers on the last day of the season. A year later, it was the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson historic homer that did the same kind of damage.

In 1955, it was the elation of Brooklyn’s first and only championship. Then the title runs of the teams from ’59 and ’63 and . . .

“I felt like I was going through a scrapbook, I guess,” he said. “I saw faces, players I knew, many I was close to. It all came back in a rush.”

How this 2013 Dodgers season will end is a script Scully is waiting to narrate, as he takes to the radio booth to call games through the playoffs.

But first, another journey through his personal scrapbook for the way this season played out, and how that affected his decision to come back for a 65th season in 2014: Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Dodgers ’88 vs. Dodgers ’13: Do they compare at all? Start with the regular season records

20130728_161447“These Dodgers are a wild-card team that’s not a wildcard,” TBS analyst Ron Darling said of this 2013 squad, based on injured players trying to get healthy, an offense that can be inconsistent, but with a pitching staff that dominates.
stadiumhannahjpeg_0 Sound familiar? Maybe it’s not so different than the heavy underdog 1988 Dodgers squad that somehow rallied to win the World Series.
Are there comparisons to draw here with this 25-year gap we’re now faced with — the last time a Dodger team won it all? Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email