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Monday, March 30, 2015

Grantland (Lindbergh): 2015 AL West Preview

I enjoy these previews but it’s hard to see how every team will hit the “over” on their projections.

Chris Fluit Posted: March 30, 2015 at 04:53 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: al west, angels, astros, athletics, mariners, rangers

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Posnanski: A Baseball Story

Then there was Bobby Bragan, who would confess that he was willing to give up his career to make this stand. In later years, he explained: He saw blacks as inferior to whites. He did not know how to tell his family and friends that he was playing baseball with a black person. He did not see this as hateful or even objectionable; it was simply his view of the world. Bragan asked to be traded.

The Dodgers didn’t need him. He was a backup catcher who was only good for a few dozen at-bats. He was popular in the clubhouse, and he was one of those players who makes the season more enjoyable for everyone. Such players are not exactly disposable. But they certainly are not essential. There seemed no reason for Rickey to deal with Bragan’s mutiny.

Branch Rickey was many things, some of them admirable, some of them less so. But, above all, he was shrewd. And that day, he saw something in Bobby Bragan that Bragan did not see in himself.

“If Jackie Robinson can play the position better than another player,” Rickey said after summoning Bragan, “then regardless of the color of his skin Jackie Robinson is going to play. You understand that Bobby?”

“Yes sir,” Bragan said.

“And how do you feel about this?”

“If it’s all the same with you, Mr. Rickey, I’d like to be traded to another team,” Bragan said.

And then, Bragan would remember, Branch Rickey leaned back. Maybe he puffed on his cigar. Maybe he didn’t. He asked Bobby Bragan a question.

“If we call Jackie Robinson up,” Rickey asked, “will you change the way you play for me?”

And here, at last, Bobby Bragan was forced to confront what kind of man he was.

“No sir,” Bragan said. “I’d still play my best.”

That was what Rickey wanted and needed to hear. He dismissed Bragan and made a note in his mind: Bobby Bragan would be OK. Bobby Bragan had it in him to change.

Of course, Bragan didn’t think so. He went into the season bitter. But he began to watch Robinson from a distance. There wasn’t an overnight conversion.”I learned,” Bragan would say. “Not fast. But I learned.” The more he watched Robinson, the more he felt — despite himself — something like grudging respect. The guy could play ball; Bragan thought he was the Dodgers’ best player more or less from his first day. Robinson kept his head down. He did not try to engage teammates in conversation. He ignored the persistent taunts from the crowds and the opposing benches. Bragan at fired avoid Robinson on the train, but soon he found himself drawn as if magnetized. He would sit two rows away. He would sit one row away.

And then he sat next to Jackie Robinson. They didn’t talk much, and they didn’t talk about anything, in particular — just baseball stuff. Something about a pitcher. Something about a play. Maybe Bragan told a little joke. Maybe Robinson smiled. Maybe Bragan — again, in spite of himself — felt good that he could break Robinson’s hard exterior.

Then, they would sit next to each other again on the train. And again. Robinson joined a card game Bragan was playing. Few things can connect people quite like playing cards. Bragan would find himself sitting next to Robinson in the dugout, and they would talk, and when Bragan heard his family and friends and others discount Jackie Robinson, heard them call him less than a man, Bragan found dissent welling up inside him. “Wait a minute,” he would think. “You don’t know him.” And, to his surprise, he found himself saying that out loud.


Mariners Prospect Victor Sanchez Dies - BaseballAmerica.com

Victor Sanchez has passed away.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2015 at 12:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, prospects

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Dome: 15 years ago Seattle blew up a giant, concrete eyesore full of memories.

Its hosted an All-Star Game, a Pro Bowl, an NBA All-Star, and a Final Four. Thank god its gone.

It was an albatross. Only fifteen years after its spectacular demolition was King County able to pay off the bonds still tied to it. The Kingdome was only slightly older than Safeco Field is now before its two main tenants began grousing about its inadequacy as a modern sporting venue. The moment that Camden Yards opened in 1993 and began printing money for the Orioles the last 30+ years of ballpark construction was rendered obsolete.

3) It was permanent. Anything that pre-dates your memory is. Anything that large isn’t designed to be so fungible. Part of the point of massive buildings is to impart upon you your own smallness. This massive thing laughs at your size, your fragility, your temporal nature. The Kingdome was 5 years old when I was born but it may as well have been 100. I still feel strange walking around Sodo in between Century Link and Safeco.
 
4) After you took your seat in it you were struck by two things. One was the sheer enormity of it. This was emphasized by the fact that typically the place was only 1/4 full at most. It felt like you could fit Rainier itself in there. Two was the way sound worked. This was apparent to us way before Seahawks games made it famous and 95 made it legendary. On a typical game day you could easily have a conversation with someone two section over as though they were sitting next to you. The Kingdome used sound to compress the space between us. The Kingdome gave us a power we’ve been using ever since.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2015 at 06:11 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: defunct stadiums, kingdome, mariners

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Five toughest roster dilemmas this spring | MLB.com

Dan O’Dowd has been providing some great analysis on MLB Network this off-season. He’s spot on in this article.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dodgers land Cuban second baseman Olivera for six years | MLB.com

The Dodgers pool all the spare change in their office. There is a lot of risk with Olivera. It will be interesting to see how this works out. Does this also mean Alex Guerrero is gone?

Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera has agreed to a $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers, according to an industry source.

The club has not confirmed the agreement, which includes a $28 million signing bonus.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 02:52 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban free agents, dodgers, hector olivera

SI cover: 2015 MLB Preview: It’s anyone’s year

The last time Sports Illustrated anointed the Cleveland Indians as favorites to win the World Series was 1987.
With Joe Carter (who would have his own World Series moment years later) and Cory Snyder on the cover, SI declared that “Cleveland is the Best Team in the American League.”

No, this is not the script of the movie “Major League,” as the previous five seasons before 1987 Cleveland finished 5th, 7th, 6th, 7th and 6th in the American League East.

Well, 1987 was no different as the Indians pitching staff, that featured two aging future Hall of Famers, was pummeled to the tune of allowing an absurd 957 runs with a team ERA of 5.28. Cleveland finished with baseball’s worst record at 61-101, 37 games behind division winner Detroit.

The losing would continue for the next seven years, before a breakout season in 1995, when the Indians went to their first World Series since 1954. (The Indians were beaten in six games by the Atlanta Braves).

So what makes this year any different? Could MLB see another “Indian Uprising?”

Cleveland hasn’t won a World Championship since 1948 but boasts loads of talent, with leftfielder Michael Brantley, first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Moss, first baseman Carlos Santana and reigning AL Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber, who went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 269 strikeouts last season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2015 at 11:58 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, mariners, nationals, royals, sports illustrated

Mariners feel pieces are in place for special ‘15 | MLB.com

Expectations are high in Seattle.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 07:42 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jimmy Rollins Q&A: ‘I feel like I’m free to be myself’

Here’s a great interview with Jimmy Rollins.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 08:57 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, jimmy rollins, phillies

Saturday, March 21, 2015

PEORIA, Ariz.: Mariners send six players to Tacoma, reassign five others in latest cuts | Seattle Mariners | The News Tribune

Mariners send a bunch of players down and start lining up their pitching rotation.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 21, 2015 at 08:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pederson letting play make case for starting job | dodgers.com

I’ve seen him play a lot this spring. His defense is better than I realized. I’d be shocked not to see him start the season in centerfield for the Dodgers.

“We think Joc’s really good defensively,” Mattingly said. “He gets good jumps on the ball. He’s shown us that he knows where to throw it. As far as game awareness, outs and situations, he’s been good.
“Really, his whole game is like that, from the standpoint of the way he runs the bases. He’s shown us game awareness and that’s really what you like. You look at the whole baseball player, not just the talent.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2015 at 07:05 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, joc pederson

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lefty David Rollins quietly making case for M’s bullpen spot | The Seattle Times

Some Mariners camp news.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 18, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This is Tommy Lasorda dancing to ‘Turn Down for What’

Tommy has always had a great sense of humor. I mean, not about gays, but about other stuff.

We’ve now gone to the next level as former Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda, age 87, danced and sang the hook to the song for his Instagram followers.

That’s peak Internet. Shut it down. Let’s all retire and go live in the woods. Our job here is done.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 17, 2015 at 01:08 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, tommy lasorda, turn down for what

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mariners’ Taylor to miss 4-6 weeks because of fractured bone in right wrist | Mariners Insider - The News Tribune

This is the worst way to lose a spring training battle for a position.

The Mariners’ spring shortstop came to an abrupt end Saturday when an examination revealed Chris Taylor suffered a broken bone in his right wrist.

The injury is expected to sideline Taylor for four-to-six weeks and effectively sends Brad Miller into the season as the club’s starting shortstop.

Taylor suffered the injury Friday in a 10-5 victory over Milwaukee when hit on the wrist on what was ruled a foul ball. He remained in the game and lined a single up the middle before exiting for a pinch-runner.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 14, 2015 at 04:20 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: chris taylor, mariners

Wizard of Oz Night at the Ballpark

With April 1st so far away, this must be legit. Will Ozzie Smith throw out the first pitch? That would be ToTototally awesome!

natebracy Posted: March 14, 2015 at 12:04 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, minors, uniforms

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Strange Saga of the Dodgers and a Twitter Parody Account

A Dodgers spokesperson said the team did not ask Twitter to suspend the account. But curiously, the account was suspended shortly after the Dodgers had a social media team meeting in which, according to one source, Colletti spoke about how he had been harassed on Twitter.

An email to Colletti asking for comment earlier this week was not returned. When reached by phone on Thursday, Colletti angrily inquired how I had gotten his cell phone number. I told him that as a reporter I was pretty good at acquiring numbers. He then asked curtly if I had a question. I said yes. He answered that I should go ask it to the person who gave me his number. And then he hung up.

Jorge Arangure cracks the case of the thin-skinned has-been.


Monday, March 09, 2015

The Favorites For Hector Olivera - BaseballAmerica.com

It will be interesting to see how much he signs for.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 09, 2015 at 06:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cuban free agents, dodgers, hector olivera, padres

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Ned Colletti is enjoying his new, purer baseball role with the Dodgers - LA Times

Just don’t let him sign players to long-term contracts.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2015 at 08:49 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, ned colletti

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ethier must prove his worth in crowded outfield | MLB.com

When was this?

Eighteen veteran outfielders with salaries of more than $5 million changed teams in the offseason, going to 16 different teams, and that list doesn’t include the likes of Wil Myers, Jonny Gomes, Ichiro Suzuki, Seth Smith, Matt Joyce and Heisey. Yet there was no market for Ethier, who not so long ago was viewed as a possible free-agent prize for teams like the Red Sox and Cubs.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: andre ethier, dodgers

Mariners’ Walker poised to turn potential into production | mariners.com

“You know what potential means?” said McClendon. “It means you haven’t done anything yet.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 05, 2015 at 08:01 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, taijuan walker

Monday, March 02, 2015


Guerrero believes he can help contribute to Dodgers now | dodgers.com

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2015 at 10:27 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: alex guerrero, dodgers

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dodgers going organic this season

“We are the healthiest team in pro sports,” was written across the top of the menu at Camelback Ranch Thursday. That day’s lunch was organic seared pork chops, free-range herb seared chicken, organic baked potatoes and organic sautéed asparagus. Not exactly low-calorie, but fortifying and low on toxins.

Because nothing says healthy like pork and potatoes.

 

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 28, 2015 at 06:01 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Friday, February 27, 2015

Juan Pierre officially announces his retirement

Juan Pierre, who sat out last season after struggling for the Marlins in 2013, has officially decided to retire at age 37.

A delayed goodbye from one of the game’s fastest men.


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