Categorized | Mark Timmons

Inside Camelback Ranch

camelbackranch-2009-244On a spot where just 18 months ago all that was there were spiders, cactus and snakes, now sits beautiful Camelback Ranch, and today, Dodgers Vice-President of Communications, Josh Rawitch took time out of his busy day and gave Roger and I the inside tour of this spectacular site.  I couldn’t take pictures inside the clubhouse, but let me tell you that it is truly “state-of-the-art.”   Today I got to shake hands with Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti, Josh Rawitch (of course), Logan White, Franklin Stubbs and many others.  We got to see the weight room, meeting rooms, offices, media rooms, photo room, coaches office, Joe Torre’s office and all of the major and minor league complex.  The Dodgers have nearly double the amount of offices and training facilities that the White Sox do, and it is pretty obvious that McCourt has outspent Reinsdorf by nearly double. 

Someone suggested that McCourt was “broke” – I think not!  Also, the rennovation of Dodger Stadium will start soon, and he’ll spend another $500 million or so on the team, and my guess is it will be amazing!   I would suggest that Dodger fans don’t need to pine for the “good ‘ole days” because the days ahead might be the best days yet.  One way you can determine how far a company or team can go is evidenced by attitude, a team attitude, you might call it, and the Dodgers’ “team attitude” is incredible.  All of the employees treat you like long-lost friends, and this includes Ned, Logan and Frank.  In fact, this type of attitude has to come from the “top down.”  Never forget that this is a business, but no business can be successful without great employees who threat their customers like family.  That’s how we felt when touring Camelback Ranch, and I’m just a “blogger hack,” not a real writer.

Thursday’s Game Notes:

  • Hiroki Kuroda retired nine of the 10 batters he faced in becoming the first Dodgers starter to go three innings this spring.
  • Doug Mientkiewicz slugged a two-run homer.
  • 2B Orlando Hudson was back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday with a sore wrist and made a spectacular play up the middle to rob Brian Myrow in the second inning.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo and RHP Jason Schmidt threw batting practice, pushing back their spring debuts by another four to five days
  • Xavier Paul had two hits, including a home run, and is now batting .421.
  • Stephen Randolph struck out all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth.
  • It was great to see Lucas May and Xavier Paul get hits in the 9th inning coupled with a walk to Mitch Jones and then Jason Repko drove in the winning run with a walk-off single.
  • Be sure and see todays photos on the top navigation bar on the home page (Camelback Ranch Photos).

camelbackranch-2009-227

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Roger and I are in the Dodgers’ Batting Cages as I am ready to throw my 97 MPH fastball past him.  I struck him out!   What?    He had no bat?  Well, that doesn’t make any difference, does it?

Assuming Juan Pierre gets his wish and is traded, here is our roster (as of today).  I will now post changes daily.

 

Starters

 

1.

1B

James Loney

 

2.

2B

Orlando Hudson

 

3.

SS

Rafael Furcal

 

4.

3B

Casey Blake

 

5.

LF

Manny Ramirez

 

6.

CF

Matt Kemp

 

7.

RF

Andre Ethier

 

8.

C

Russell Martin

 

 

Bench

 

9.

1B,2B, SS, 3B

Mark Loretta

 

10.

C

Brad Ausmus

 

11.

1B, 3B

Doug Mientkiewicz

 

12.

2B, SS, 3B

Chin-lung Hu

 

13.

CF, LF, RF

Jason Repko

 

Pitchers

14.

SP

Chad Billingsley

 

15.

SP

Hiroki Kuroda

 

16.

SP

Randy Wolf

 

17.

SP

Clayton Kershaw

 

18.

SP

Jason Schmidt

 

19.

RP

James McDonald

 

20.

RP

Scott Elbert

 

 

21.

RP

Guillermo Mota

 

22.

RP

Hong-Chih Kuo

 

23.

RP

Cory Wade

 

24.

RP

Stephen Randolph

 

25.

CL

Jonathan Broxton

 

 

Still Possible

 

Juan Castro

Could take Hu’s place

 

Mitch Jones

Can a 32-year old make it- he’s been great?

 

Jeff Weaver

Can he re-invent himself?

 

Claudio Vargas

He has a contract.

 

Victor Garate

Looked good so far

 

Brent Leach

He has the stuff to be a situational LH.

 

Ramon Troncoso

Has not looked good up until now.

 

Delwyn Young

Is the end of the line near?

 

Tony Abreu

Injured again, but unknown.

 

Blake DeWitt

Deserves to play in LA, needs AAA.

 

Xavier  Paul

Someday his time will come.

 

Eric Milton

He’s turning heads.

 

Jamie Hoffman

Has the tools to be a 5th OF.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

26 Responses to “Inside Camelback Ranch”

  1. mario says:

    Good sh.t Mark..
    How did you get to do all that?
    Because of running this site?
    That looks like a hellova vacation..

  2. Bill Russell says:

    I see that’s Josh but who are the ugly fellers???
    You cut off my Casey Blake trade scenario again Marky. I won’t repost again this time. I will just say I told ya so if it happens.

  3. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy,

    What and where did I cut off?

  4. Mark Timmons says:

    Tell me about the trade…

  5. Mark Timmons says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Tony Jackson of The Daily News came down and sat with us the last couple of innings. He was sitting with us when the Dodgers Jason Repko hit the walk-off single. Tony is great guy with a unique insight into the Dodgers. Check him out daily!

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    Also, I just read that Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise was laid-off (fired, whatever). The Rocky Mountain News folded last week – it’s a tough year for newspapers.

  7. mario says:

    He’s ignoring the guys that make more sense than him Russell….

    Great idea Russell as usual..
    They are saying he might be out 4 months, so the trade makes sense…

  8. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy and Mario,

    I went back and looked at the post to which you were referring and all I can say is:

    Who would you get for Blake when you can trade him, which is after June 15th?

    Do you really think the Yanks would wait until then?

  9. Bill Russell says:

    I was not aware that the Dodgers couldn’t trade Casey Blake until June 15th. If this is true my bad. I was simply thinking of a way to rid ourselfs of another bad contract.

  10. Bill Russell says:

    Speaking of bad idea’s, having Hu stay in the majors instead of sending him down for daily experience would be a bad move. Also, I think Castro is the better pick to stay with the Big Club. Repko may of had the game winning hit today but isn’t Mitch Jones out playing him so far? I guess we still have a few weeks to decide. And lastly, Stephen Randolph? Wow that would be a surprise. Anywhere, have fun boys….

  11. Bill Russell says:

    Anyway

  12. Badger says:

    Blake is a .264 career hitter with a career .334 OBP. We give him the three year contract and he is one year younger than Manny. I didn’t understand that one but, ok, we have a third baseman. From ESPN:

    2009 Season Outlook

    “You pretty much know what you’re getting when it comes to Blake, who may not have much upside but is a steady producer. His three-year deal with the Dodgers ensures that he will have a starting job, at least for 2009. However, Blake is 35, and even one of his best seasons of his career last year ranked him only 18th among third basemen in our Player Rater. It’s reasonable to assume that his advancing age and spending a full season in one of the worst hitting parks will mean a decline in his numbers, likely pushing him out of the top 20 at the hot corner. Blake remains that endgame corner guy you can take when you’re looking for someone with some guaranteed at-bats. However, his production is not as safe as it used to be.”

    That’s pretty much how I look at it. He will have pedestrian numbers but he should be there everyday.

    Speaking of being there everyday, Pierre found a home yet? And why would the Dodgers tell him it’s ok for him to start looking around for a team? Isn’t that what Colletti is paid for?

    I am going to Camelback soon. Anybody else going to be there?

  13. Mark Timmons says:

    Badger,

    We’ll be there Saturday : smile:

    Too bad you didn’t come yesterday – you could have gotten the tour with us.

    On Pierre: The Dodgers granted him the same thing at the winter meetings. With economy in the toilet, no one wants him for even half of what he makes. I think a trade is going to be very difficult.

    On Blake: He’s a good clubhouse guy and that is being stressed this year: Loretta, Blake, Mientkiewicz, Ausmus, et al will make a difference. Blake DeWitt could take his place or platoon with him, but the Dodgers only pay Blake in 3 years 3/4 of what they pay Manny in one year. He’s durable, generally hit 20 HR and hit .260 – remember, he’ll probably be out #8 hitter.

    See, here’s what I don’t get: You guys say McCourt is cheap. Wouldn’t just not signing Blake and playing DeWitt be the “cheap” thing to do, and yey you complain that he spends too much money on Blake? It just seems to me that you have a bottom line opinion of McCourt that says “I DON’T LIKE HIM,” and then any move he makes is criticized. Try that on your taxes. Fill-in the bottom line and work up. See what happens. :smile:

    The baseball people I have talked to (not just Dodgers) all agree that Manny is a DH in 2 years. We may have him one year, but I think it will be two. If McCourt were cheap, he could have beat Boras down, but McCourt just wanted Manny. They didn’t go after Dunn or Abreu because they wanted Manny.

    You can criticize McCourt all you want about player selection (Jones, Gonzo, Nomar, Schmidt), but the fact of the matter is that NO TEAM is baseball has outspent the Dodgers in the last 3 years except maybe the Yankees.

  14. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy,

    I put Randolph there yesterday, because he struck out all 3 batter he faced, and his stuff was electric. I would love to see Mitch Jones make it, but with Manny we will need a defense replacement and that would be Repko (or Paul). Paul looked very good yesterday and is hitting over .400. We have a lot of decisions to make.

    Also, “baseball people” (not stat geeks) love Casey Blake. He brings intangables. So does Blake DeWitt. DeWitt could take Hu’s (or Castro’s place). If there is a runner on 3B with 1 (or less) out, I would rate Blake DeWitt as one of our players most likely to get him home with a flyball. That’s omething that doesn’t show up in the boxscore, but which is very important. We failed in that case twice yesterday and if DeWitt had been up, I think we would have succeeded.

    Josh Bell is a couple of years away, so McCourt signed a 3B who can be a placeholder, but DeWitt could have the job soon.

  15. Badger says:

    OK, here’s the deal mark…………

    change o’ bir’day plans…….

    me unt da mrs. are getting up early and driving down to the ranch manana. Should be there between 9-10. Lunch is on me. I’ll call Roger on his cell, or maybe I still have yours if you haven’t changed it from years ago. I would imagine whatever tickets we can get won’t be anywhere near you guys but that’s ok, I do have a reputation to maintain. I expect you to introduce me to Frankie. Judy wants to meet Tommy so put that together too.

    Lookin’ forward to it.

  16. Badger says:

    post script:

    Dodgers were 4th in team payroll from 2006-2008

    They were 10th in wins per dollar spent.

    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/03/20062008_payrol.php

    OK, I am ready to take back what I have been saying about Frankie.

    I have been wrong before. Once in 1966 and again in 1979.

  17. Badger says:

    What I may have left out of the efficiency ratios was this pertinent fact – a polynomial trendline returns an R-squared of .4892 (vs. .41 for the linear trendline). Nonetheless, the following equation is a bit convoluted for my tastes: y = 0.1616x(squared) – 22.909x + 876.88. It is not possible to map the quantum without following alpha tunneling linear minimums in calculating probabilities:

    x2 + 2xy + 5 = 2x + 2y = -1 = 4 minimum : The line x = x0 is a “vertical asymptote” of f(x) if and only if f(x)(y) approaches + or – as x approaches x0 from the left or from the right.

    I think that changes the 10th place finish in wins per dollar spent.

  18. Roger says:

    Hey Badger, great you and the misses is coming down tomorrow. As for seeing the game . . . we keep moving around the park from time to time to see and take pictures from various locations, and talking to fans.

    On Mitch Jones, the Dodgers are really giving him playing time early here in Spring Training. X. Paul is also getting field time. I like Paul. Same for DeWitt.

    But remember Bigby 2 years ago. He about led the Dodgers in hitting for the spring, and they released him.

    Dave Roberts was released by the Giants.

    What impressed me yesterday on our tour — was everyone we were interdrouced to, was warm and friendly. They were glad to meet us and did not seem fake or whatever.

    We were at the practice fields when Manny came out. The fans, photo folks, etc. followed him around like kids wanting to see Santa up close. First to the batting cages to meet some of the players, then across to the next field for some throwing the baseball, then to the next field for some batting with the regulars, then back to the first field for coached running in the outfield. Then a bit of signing for fans. Finally, back in the Big House.

    About the middle of the game, he was announced over the PA system as the newest Dodger in camp and stood at the balcony of the Big House and waved to the fans.

    Yesterday I wore my Manny shirt. There must have been 300 Manny shirts in the park. Also, the Dodger Store put out the newest Manny official Jersey with the new Dodger patch — $275. They were flying off the shelves.

    Today to Mesa and the Cubs. Today I am wearing my Harry Carey shirt with a Dodger hat and Dodger jersey. All to have some fun with the Cub fans.

  19. mark says:

    Badger,

    True, the Dodgers were 4th in payroll, but add in the $70 mil for Camelback and the money spent leaving Vero and the Stadium Upgrades and while the money spent may not exceed the Yankees, it was a much higher percentage of income than the Yanks spent, AND the dollar amount was closer than you think. McCourt is not cheap! You can see it from the Camelback Complex. Reinsdorf’s side is cheap! The White Sox didn’t even print programs. While I haven’t been inside the White Sox side, I have been told it is very “spartan.”

    See ya’ tomorrow!

  20. Bill Russell says:

    The real question is, when will Haze arrive? And will he be packin?

  21. Voldomer says:

    Sounds like a great tour–wish I could have been there!

    Lawdog, could you answer a question about McCourt’s comments about Dodger contracts from now on requiring a donation to the youth parks program? I’m all for building parks for kids, etc., so I’m not criticizing the idea, but is it legal for an employer to include such a thing in a contract? (I suppose the player could write “0″ on the line, but I would think players would feel special pressure to contribute in this sort of situation, especially young players.)

  22. Badger says:

    If Haze comes packin’, it had better be a sandwich.

    I’ll take swiss on 9 grain, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicey mustard and a dab of pickle relish.

  23. Mark Timmons says:

    Vold,

    I’m not Lawdog, but if you sign a contract with an attorney as your agent and advisor (present) and it is not illegal, it is valid.

  24. Voldomer says:

    Something still strikes me as coercive about this contract clause, though. As I said earlier, I’m all for the parks program. Also, I assume this only is relevant for major league contracts, not for those in the minors. I commend Manny for giving a million for the program.

    But, if you are, for example, Hu or DeJesus, two guys whose careers with the Dodgers long-term likely will be an either/or proposition since they have similar strengths and positions, do you feel compelled to make a large donation from your meager (by MLB standards, not “real life” standards) salary in order to please the boss?

    Many of us have employers who urge support for the United Way, etc., and allow payroll deductions for such causes, but that strikes me as very different that having to stipulate a particular sum that becomes part of the actual contract itself.

    This clause is for ballparks, which is relevant to baseball. If this is OK, what is to stop an owner from putting in a clause to support a political or religious cause? Where is the line drawn?

  25. wizguy says:

    Unfortunate spelling of a word in a sentence above.
    To be threatened by the employees?
    It just came off weird like that.

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