Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Steve Howe Follow-up

Not to long ago I was chatting with a buddy of mine when he asked the question, "did you hear anything about Howe and what happened?" At the time I said no. Well, now we know. A toxicology report indicates that Steve Howe had methamphetamine in his system. The scourge of the nation has taken one of our beloved Dodger Blue friends.

I, unfortunately, have seen the horrors this drug can bring- not as a user but as a witness. In my more youthful days, when I was more care free and able to party til dawn, I saw really good people get screwed up on that stuff. I mean really good folk who became something different because of that drug. I saw friends become strangers. The intelligent become useless. The responsible became thieves. The trustworthy became dead to me. Its the one drug where I have never seen a full recovery. There is always something there- left over. Speed screws with you for the long term, even long after you've stopped using it.

I sincerely hope that those with this addiction seek help and guidance.

For info on methamphetamine check here:

For Narcotics Anonymous check here:

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Seo and Navarro Traded? For Who?

I just got wind of a trade between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Dodgers. Frankly, I don't get it. We trade a decent catcher with some strong future potential (of course, not with the Dodgers since the advent of Russell Martin) for a older back-up catcher to fill in a position we already have covered with Sandy Alomar, Jr. Then, we include Jae Seo, who has been more inconsistent than my bowel movements, for a much older pitcher who appears to be pitching well beyond his abilities this year, Mark Hendrickson. I guess the hope is that he will continue his good luck this year, but I don;t have high hopes. Afterall, the second half of the season is all about "The Mean," and Hendrickson's past leads me to believe that a regression to the mean is at hand for Hendrickson. I hope i'm wrong, but this deal makes me feel like i'm sitting on the beach doing a whole bunch of nothing.

Trade Link

Thursday, June 22, 2006


My left arm for a pitcher. Please. Can anybody help! We need some consistent pitching! We need some consistent relievers! I did not think that trading Duaner Sanchez would hurt this bad, but, "man-o-live," it's like I got shanked in the shower and blood is dripping down my leg into the drain. There is no relief in sight. Can anybody help relieve the pain.

Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts is calling for a truce.
In the meantime, I'm voting for a cooling-off period on discussion of the Dodger pitching. You don't have to comply, but that's where I'm at.
Jon, I hope things get better before I start chewing off my arms.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mastro, Noe and Shill Biding?

There is a fairly large controversy brewing in the Sports Collectible Auction Business. As the New York Daily News says,
"Mastro Auctions... may have engaged in shill bidding and other questionable practices that resulted in inflated prices and auction house commissions."
This is a serious allegation, and I sincerely hope it is not true. What makes it worse is that Mastro is tied up in the Ohio Coingate scandal involving Tom Noe. Stealing public fund to enrich themselves and the Republican Party is a scandal Mastro wants no part of; especially since Noe is probably headed to jail.

Mastro Auctions has since responded on the popular Vintage Baseball Card Forum.

First let me state that we at Mastro Auctions take very seriously the claims made in the New York Daily News article. Good customers/friends of ours like Richard Masson and Jay Miller understand just how important integrity is when in comes to conducting auctions both for my firm and for me personally. I appreciate their friendship and kind comments.

I am very disappointed but not surprised that the NYDN would run a story like this when their primary source was "unnamed" and the primary allegations were "unsubstantiated".

There is not much for me to say in response except that to my knowledge we are not under investigation and as a firm we have responded to every official inquiry that has come to us regarding Mr. Noe and have not held anything back. If more inquiries come our way, again we will be completely forthright in complying.

The most disturbing thing about this response is the "attack the messenger" attitude. When I see something like that my first response is to believe there is something to hide. Again, I hope this is just a case of Noe use Mastro to do his dirty deeds and not the other way around.

The Lovable Bums Are Back!

Wow. What a slide and we are still in 1st place! Over the last 10 games the Dodgers are 3-7. Over the last 20 they are 8-12. And for some strange reason it seems OK. Afterall, at the end of the day, I love these guys.

We have a full cast of characters including old horses and young bucs- a youthful core that brings promise.
"We've got a mixture of young and old and in-between on this team. It's a perfect situation for young guys to break in. It's great to see several of them taking advantage of it."
Kent, Lofton and Sandy are the like old men by the sea. Guiding and always teaching.
"I want to show them the right path,"
Lofton says in a recent LA Times article from today.

Carl Kemp, Matt's Father added,
"Kenny Lofton said to me, 'Don't worry, Mr. Kemp, I've got him,... You can't imagine how great that made me feel. I mean, that's Kenny Lofton."
Yes. That's Kenny Lofton and this is what it means to be a Dodger. They watch over each other. They provide guidance when needed.

No worries here. Everything is unfolding as planned. Sure they may be playing like Bums now, but you wait. Even Bums find glory.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Liking What I'm Seeing

Over the past several days I just have not found the inclination to write. Frankly, I'm still a bit worn out by my vacation and find myself in a daze most evenings. Unfortunately, I have not been sleeping regularly- at least at regular hours. Maybe its jetlag, but I doubt it. That should have worn out long ago. I guess you can say that I feel like I'm in limbo. Mind you, not a purgatory style limbo, but more of a worn out, I can't find the words kind of feeling. Nevertheless, the Dodgers play of late has not added to my plight. In fact, it appears to have lulled me into a kind of blissful happiness. You see, I don't care that the Dodgers are 5-5 over the past 10 games because I'm quite content with how things are shaping out. The old veterans are contributing and the rookies are picking up the slack. Sure... the pitching has been ailing, but so what. The future is bright.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Dodger Farm

Dodger Thoughts points to a great Daily News article about the Dodgers Director of Player Development Terry Collins. He has been an important cog in the Dodgers recent success with its rookies.
The laid-back, congenial (Logan) White is the man generally credited with building the Dodgers' pool of minor-league talent. (Terry) Collins, who is part drill sergeant and part father figure, is the man who is developing them. Or, as he would prefer to put it, the man who hired the managers and coaches who are developing them.
There is a great story about his influence on Mariano Duncan.
Mariano Duncan was done with baseball. Or so he thought...

"I was so upset that I packed all my stuff," said Duncan, now the Dodgers' first-base coach. "I was going home to the Dominican."

That's when Terry Collins... gave him a typically Collins-esque pep talk.

"I felt he needed to be challenged, and he needed to face that challenge," Collins said. "I told him he was going to continue to battle, that he wasn't quitting and that he needed to get his (rear end) out there and get better until he got back to the big leagues."

The discussion was loud, one-sided and not for the easily offended. But it was effective.

Mariano endedup with a long Major League career.

Check it out.

Luke in Blue??

I guess I spoke too soon. Luke will be wearing Blue. It'll just be Kansas City Blue. He was taken 1st in the 2006 draft and will be asking in the neighborhood of $5 million for his services. That's a lot of dough for a player not yet tested on the grand stage. Good luck in the Baseball wasteland we call Kansas City. At least it wasn't Tampa Bay.

Kemp: Guided by Family and Friends

What does it take to be a success? Well, the LA Times has a great article today about the current successful path taken by rookie phenom Matthew Kemp. He's a man with a great foundation. He has a family that has been there to guide him along the way. He has friends who have steered him right. After having my first chance to see him play this year on Wednesday (after my week long vacation) I am very impressed with the tools he brings to the table. Apparently, Grady Little saw his potential in Spring Training and subsequently made inquiries about Matt when the outfield was ailing. Then, the team brought him up and now it may be very difficult to send him back down. I guess the questions right now is: Do you send Matt down for additional seasoning when folks come off the DL, or is Matt here to stay?

Matt Kemp's game-by-game record with the Dodgers:

Date Opponent AB R H HR RBI
May 28 Washington 4 0 1 0 0
May 29 Atlanta 3 3 2 0 2
May 30 Atlanta 0 0 0 0 0
May 31 Atlanta 3 0 1 0 0
June 1 Philadelphia 3 2 1 1 3
June 2 Philadelphia 3 1 1 1 1
June 3 Philadelphia 4 1 1 1 2
June 4 Philadelphia 4 0 1 0 0
June 5 N.Y. Mets 1 0 0 0 0
June 6 N.Y. Mets 4 1 2 1 2
June 7 N.Y. Mets 4 0 1 0 0
Totals 33 8 11 4 10
Batting average: .333

Monday, June 05, 2006

Maui Baby

Here is a brief video of a traditional Hawaiian dance that was at my hotel on Maui. I saw this on my first night at my hotel. Also, I have downloaded some pics from my trip and put them in my photoalbum. Check them out here:

Below is a video of Haleakala on Maui. It's a volcanic landscape that looks like the moon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Double Play

Man-O-Live... I go on vacation and end up missing so much. Gagne comes back today, and now I read that Joel Guzman has been called up. Wow. Another Rookie who can show us what the future brings. I'll miss the next few games, but I hope to see some great stats from these guys.

Anyway, I landed in Maui a couple of hours ago and I suddenly find myself transforming into an islander. My Filipino cultural blood is seeping out. I suddenly find myself at home. I could get use to it here.