Manny Joins the Cast of The Hills

He's ready for his close-up

He's ready for his close-up

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple hours (or at the movie theater seeing Space Chimps), you know that arguably the greatest right-handed hitter of all time was just traded where else but Los Angeles. The Dodgers desperately needed a power bat in the middle of the lineup (they haven’t had one since the pride of the Jewish community – Shawn Green), and they got one, and then some.

Nobody’s questioning the Dodgers in this deal, as they gave up their ‘best’ hitting prospect in Andy LaRoche, who couldn’t win the position from some guy called Blake DeWitt or a gimpy Nomar Garciaparra. The only question is how Manny will fit in in LA LA land. I know Manny will be a great fit for several reasons:

 

1. In Los Angeles, the fans don’t show up until the third inning and leave in the seventh. So does Manny.

2. Dodger fans can often be seen talking on their cell phones in the stands during the game. So can Manny.

 

 

 

3. Angelinos enjoy the night life, often heading to clubs to spend tons of money on overpriced drinks with celebrities. So does Manny.

4. Many aspriring actors come to Los Angeles with the hopes of becoming the star of their own sitcom. So has Manny.

5. People in Los Angeles are free to express themselves through their appearance, especially through unique and interesting hairstyles. So is Manny.

 

So it looks like Manny will have no problem being Manny in LA, and the kooks and vegetarians will even embrace him for it. Just make sure he sets the alarm so he knows when to turn when he’s on the beach tanning. There’s nothing worse than an uneven tan.

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Morgan Goes Mental

Don\'t know if the Emmy is coming this year, Joe

 

I’ve always defended Joe Morgan when people (including sites like firejoemorgan.com) told me he was a bad commentator. Yes, he is a little self-indulgent, like when he said, “He’s the best second baseman I’ve seen since…well…me.” But I think he knows the game and I enjoy hearing his stories about the old days…………most of the time.

Here is a full conversation that Joe started with Jon Miller, his long-time partner (in the midst of the absurdity I was somehow smart enough to hit the record button on my DVR, and boy was it worth it) during the eighth inning of the Cubs-Dodgers game Sunday night. Please enjoy Joe Morgan, redefining the word “trivia”:

 

Joe: Jon, I gotta ask you a trivia question. I was fishing with Matt Franco, who used to play for the Mets, and Ken Jowdy, I was fishing with ’em on a boat. And Matt Franco asked me this trivia question. He said he had talked to players past and present, and he said, and he asked me who, which guy, hit the hardest line drives most consistently of all the players I had ever seen.

 

Jon: Hard?

 

Joe: Hardest line drives.

 

Jon: And that’s a trivia question?

 

Joe: Well it was for me and him. We were playing trivia on the fishing boat.

 

Jon: Where would I look up the answer to that?

 

Joe: Well, you should know the answer!

 

Jon: So, give me the question one more time. [this was Miller’s big mistake. should have just pretended not to hear him]

 

Joe: Alright, who hits the hardest line drives of any player you ever saw on a consistent basis?

 

Jon: Dave Winfield.

 

Joe: Alright, keep going. That’s one. See you– that’s A. A wasn’t right.

 

Jon: (Laughing in disbelief) Yes it was right! I beg to differ!

 

Joe: Alright, I’m gonna give you a hint. You even broadcast games for him. [nice hint…Jon Miller has been broadcasting baseball games for over 25 years!]

 

Jon: I broadcast Dave Winfield’s games.

 

Joe: No, that’s not– for the answer I’m talking about. I’m telling you what–he asked all the other players, I’m not saying…

 

Jon: Well I’m saying that this is a question for which there’s no correct answer!

[shot of Morgan and Miller in the booth…Miller laughing and Morgan looking like he’s starting to get upset]

Joe: Yeah, there’s a correct answer.

 

Jon: Well what did you say? What was your answer? Did you get it right?

 

Joe: Yes. [5 seconds of silence while Miller looks apologetically into the camera] Al Oliver.

 

Jon: Oh, Al Oliver? He was…

 

Joe: See.

 

Jon: He was a very good hitter.

 

Joe: I knew you would say that…see I knew that you’d eventually come up with the answer. [Jon Miller never actually did come up with the answer…Joe told him the “answer.”]

 

 

So that was what I got to watch after I saw the Lakers play like my summer league team for 3 quarters. At least Joe Morgan’s nonsense provided 5 minutes of humor before the Dodgers lost too.

Bad day for L.A. Great day for the credibility of sports broadcasters.

Man Crush of the Week

 

It’s rare as a sports fan that you get to witness history. I may have done so on Sunday when I was fortunate enough to witness the highly-anticipated debut of one of the best prospects in baseball: 20 year old pitcher Clayton Kershaw. I watched the young lefty’s first start in the big leagues from the Loge level of Doger Stadium on a cloudy afternoon in Southern California, and I left with the same butterflies I came in with.

Now I’m not one to believe the hype. I am one of the biggest cynics you will find when it comes to young talent, especially young, hard-throwing pitchers. I’m used to seeing guys come up from the minors with electric stuff who fail because they have no idea how to pitch.

They throw 95+, but leave it in the middle of the plate. They have a devastating breaking ball, but can’t throw it for a strike. They get caught up in trying to strike everyone out, and build up 100+ pitches by the fifth inning.

And that is exactly the kind of immaturity Kershaw displayed in his first inning of work. After striking out Cardinals leadoff hitter Skip Shumaker, he walked the second hitter and gave up an RBI double to the great Albet Pujols (due in part to shotty fielding by Juan Pierre). Kershaw ended up striking out the side, but threw over 20 pitches and looked like he had no chance of locating his breaking ball. I figured he’d struggle to get through 5 innings and give up 3 or 4 runs while striking out 7 or 8 (shades of Chad Billingsley, and we see how that’s turned out so far).

But, presumably after a mid-inning talk from dugout leader and catcher Russel Martin, Kershaw turned the corner. He got a groundout on the second pitch of the at-bat to start the second inning, and he cruised from then on.

With the game tied at 2 (the second run scored on a sun-ball off James Loney’s face and a high throw to home from Blake DeWitt), Kershaw, rather than being satisfied with a great first start, finished his job by getting a fly out to left field with runners on second and third to keep the game tied. After the Dodgers took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, Kershaw was in line for the win in his first big-league start, and would have gotten it if not for a leadoff walk by Cory Wade and a throwing error by Martin in the seventh.

Kershaw’s final line: 6 innings, 5 hits, 2 ER, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 102 pitches

they look good together, don\'t they?I know the Cardinals aren’t exactly the ’27 Yankees, but Kershaw looked brilliant. More impressive than the mid 90s fastballs and the 12-6 curveball was the fact that he actually PITCHED. He was economic with his pitches and got big outs when he needed to.

I believe the hype. Kershaw is the best lefty starter the Dodgers have seen since….um….Odalis Perez? Kaz Ishii? Carlos Perez? Wilson Alvarez?

I don’t want to draw any comparisons to a certain Dodgers Hall of Fame left-handed starter (we’ll just call him Randy Nofax), because that would be unfair, but Kershaw certainly looks like the real deal.

 

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