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The Advance Scout: May 29 - June 1 vs. L.A. Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers in a Box
Category Dodgers NL Rank
Runs Scored/Game 4.36 9th
Runs Allowed/Game 4.00 3rd
Defensive Efficiency .691 12th
OBP .335 T-5th
SLG .371 14th
BA RISP .267 T-5th
Strt ERA 3.84 5th
Rlf ERA 3.20 3rd
Pythagorean Record 27-23 N/A

Record/Position/Streak: 29-21, T-1st in NL West, W1 (5-5 in last 10)

Scheduled Starters: Tuesday, Brad Penny (6-1, 2.26) vs. Jason Simontacchi (2-2, 4.37); Wednesday, Derek Lowe (4-5, 3.64) vs. Mike Bacsik (1-0, 1.98); Thursday, Mark Hendrickson (2-2, 3.62) vs. Micah Bowie (1-2, 3.91)

Dodger Blogs: True Blue L.A. (his MS Paint handwriting isn't any better than mine!); Dodger Thoughts; Sons of Steve Garvey (heh); Dodgerama

Monday marked an historic day in baseball history, or at least its historicity was incorporated by reference. Fifty years ago, on May 28, 1957, the National League club owners unanimously approved the relocation of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles and the New York Giants to San Francisco. Relocation in itself was not a novelty by then -- Milwaukee and Baltimore had recently received relocated franchises -- but this particular dual relocation did indeed reshape our National Pastime in ways too multifarious to satisfy in this space.

A review of the circumstances that led to the Dodgers' move can be found in this article. It's a fascinating article that tracks the actions of Brooklyn/L.A. owner Walter O'Malley, as he in essence dueled Robert Moses -- a master builder/city planner who played a larger role in shaping the physical environment of New York State than any other figure in the 20th century -- over a new ballpark in Brooklyn and ultimately rejected Moses's offer of a stadium site in Flushing.

Flushing would eventually become the home of the expansion Mets, of course, but the Brooklyn-born O'Malley said no dice. He long sought to build a "geocentric domed stadium" in Brooklyn. The article notes:

In a letter dated June 25, 1953, to William Tracy, vice chairman of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, O'Malley had proposed "a new ballpark should be built, financed and owned by the ballclub. It should occupy land on the tax roll. The only assistance I am looking for is in the assembling of a suitable plot."

I do not quote this portion of this article as a comment on O'Malley or Brooklyn or stadium-building. Instead, I reference this letter because, through the wonder of teh internets, we can actually read this letter. Pretty cool, huh?

It turns out the O'Malley family has created a Walter O'Malley website in honor of the big guy. The site contains all kinds of scanned-in correspondence to and from O'Malley as well as his own internal memoranda. Here is a memo to the file dated April 11, 1957, after O'Malley visited Moses's home and "frankly discussed the general political apathy toward the new stadium in Brooklyn." This meeting occurred about six weeks before the NL vote, of course. Here is a telegram from Commissioner Frick to O'Malley dated May 10, 1957, in which Frick advised O'Malley to be especially circumspect concerning the relocation process. And here is a letter from San Francisco mayor George Christopher, whose city supervisor apparently met with O'Malley concerning stadium construction features. Christopher noted Frick's wish to keep things under wraps but noted with some understatment, "[T]he various media on occasion take the liberty of elaborating on certain remarks made[.]" (As a personal aside, the Christopher stuff interests me a bit more than it probably should. He was close friends with my grandparents and when he passed away a few years ago, my grandmother would have gone to his funeral but for her own frailty at the time.)

Anyway, I find this all very fascinating. It's like searching through old issues of the Sporting News except with the added benefit of reading from a primary source. The hat tip goes to Dodger Thoughts from the wayback machine.

* * * *

According to this Baseball Prospectus article (registration required), the new ballpark is on track for a noble yet simultaneously cynical Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design ("LEED") certification from the United States Green Building Council. The author appears to use logic similar to that employed by Jennifer Aniston's restaurant manager in Office Space -- you know, she had the minimum amount of Flair but was a vague disappointment because she sought not to have more than the minimum.

Not that I'm knocking the author; he wrote an essay on environmental-friendliness in this year's BPro annual and is obviously both passionate and knowledgeable on the subject. And I certainly know nothing about this stuff. But the criticism seems to be that, when the DC ballpark hit or exceeded its spending cap, the LEED stuff was the first choice to be cut back. If so, it's hard to consider this a particularly remarkable development.

* * * *

Levale Speigner's next turn in the rotation isn't until Friday, so we don't have to worry about that for the Dodger series. But we might not have to worry about Speigner starting during the Padres series, either, because the Post reports Manny Acta is mulling the possibility of replacing Speigner with another hurler for Friday's start. Acta certainly has cause. Speigner has a 14.81 ERA in three fill-in starts, and the Cardinals -- a team that otherwise did nothing much offensively over the weekend, let alone the entire season -- gave the poor fella metaphorical whiplash Saturday night. It seems time to go back to the cozy world of garbage time for the Rule 5er.

Still, the "another hurler" part might prove dicey, since there just isn't much left. This is not to say I doubt the team's ability to coax quality innings out of just about anyone. Who's the next miracle lefty willing to volunteer? Donovan Osborne? Brad Woodall? Dave Otto? Shane Rawley? It might be Chris Michalak, actually. Close enough.

The Post article notes Columbus starters Joel Hanrahan and Emiliano Fruto have had their own injury issues. I suppose -- in light of the injuries that have befallen four-fifths of the big league Opening Day rotation -- this would be called the "I learned it from watching you, okay?" defense. Hanrahan actually pitched on Monday evening, tossing three scoreless innings. He was great before a groin injury set him to the DL, but he's obviously not an option for Friday now. For what it's worth, the ex-Dodger farmhand's line Monday seems to indicate an erratic and inefficient outing: 69 pitches, 35 strikes, and four walks.

Another option seems to be righty Tim Redding, a foolish favorite of mine during the spring's rotation derby. He has a 6.54 ERA at Columbus. Billy Traber is apparently not an option for Friday's start. The team appears steadfast in its preference that Traber remain in the bullpen.

For the dumpster-divers among us (and who isn't?), Sir Sidney remains unemployed but Mark Redman took a minor league deal with Texas.