Categorized | Mark Timmons

Culture Shock in LA

I must confess that I have been on Matt Kemp, possibly even calling him a choker, but in a way, that is a compliment because we expect so much out of Matt.  The fact is, in August and September, after all the trades were made, the team only performed when Matt Kemp carried them.

The Dodgers may be Matt Kemps’ team, but he needs help.  The problem is that when Matt didn’t do it, nobody did it, for the most part.  Case-in-point:  last night loss to SF.  Matt Was 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and the Dodgers lost.  The Dodgers simply do not have a winning culture.  The Dodgers do not have the culture that when one player fails to drive in a run, the next guy does it.  The Dodgers don’t have a culture of no excuses.

What does culture have to do with it?  ONLY EVERYTHING.  Take the Cardinals as an example.  After winning the Wold Series in 2011, they lost their manager (who is a Hall-of-Fame lock) and their All-Star 1B (another Hall-of-Fame Lock).  They got Adam Wainwright (who was arguably their Ace) back, but he never returned to his 2009 and 2010 form (he missed all of 2011 and they still won the Series without him).  Their #2 (Carpenter) started just 3 games this season while being injured most of the season.  So, Kyle Loshe became their Ace and guys like Jake Westbrrok, Lance Lynn and Janie Garcia all did their share.  They had a new manager and yet they made the playoffs.  Why?  A winning culture.\

They lost Lance Berkman who had a monster year in 2011 and they didn’t miss a beat.  Why?  A winning culture.  They lost Rafael Furcal and still made the playoffs – you know why.

After losing their All-Star 1B, his replacement (Craig) became an absolute monster with RISP.  Carlos Beltran fit into that winning culture along with Molina, Holliday, Freeze, Jay, Schumaker, Carpenter and others.  A winning culture is contagious.  The Cards have a winning culture.  The Dodgers don’t.  It seems that if Matt Kemp can’t get it done, no one can.

Addre Ethier, Adrian Gonzales and Hanley Ramirez should all be capable, but it doesn’t seem to fall that way.

Money does not buy a winning culture and therein is my greatest fear as a Dodger fan.

About Mark Timmons

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

34 Responses to “Culture Shock in LA”

  1. Ken says:

    I believe the activity during the off season will be partially limited by how many dumb no-trade contracts Ned gave out during the McTrash period resulting in back ended contracts with large amounts of deferred salary in 2013 for average players that can not be traded without paying their salary on behalf of the buyer.

    Minimum required moves for the off season

    1. Sign League for 2 years

    2. Sign one #3 starter for no more than 3 years (TB-Shields?)

    3. Sign a new back up catcher capable of playing 50 games and PH with average or power.

    4. Monitor all players during off season and require endurance workouts for ALL pitchers

    1. Kershaw

    2. Lilly

    3. Beckett

    4. Capuano

    5. Harang

    Who has a no trade clause? Replace one LHP with a #2-3 RHP. If Bills is ok then move either Lilly, Cappy or Harang to bullpen.

    1. Jansen

    2. Belisario

    3. Guerra

    4. Guerrier – Surgery?

    5. Tolleson – Replace with a Long Reliever/#6 starter?

    6. Elbert – Paco in the wings

    7. Wall – Replace with League

    1. Ellis

    2. Fed-Ex – Sign a very good backup

    1. Gonzalez

    2. Ellis – Platoon if BA against RHP < .250 in 2013

    3. Rameriz – Move to 3B if Cruz flops

    4. Cruz – Gordon is waiting (I still want Headley-Is Gyorko ready to replace him?)

    5. Punto

    6. Uribe – "Never Give Up, Never, Never, Never" Churchill

    1. Kemp

    2. Ethier

    3. Hairston/Gwynn platoon for 2 months

    5. Casty or Herera – Replace with Crawford by Memorial Day

  2. Badger says:

    I think your point is a valid one Mark. It does seem like “The Dodger Way to Play Baseball is a thing of the past. (btw, I read that book as a youth and actually patterned my playing, and my coaching, on what I learned from that book. I consider it a must read for any player or coach)

    But I want to say here, as I have already said, that I think the new owners, and the new people in the front office, are much better equipped to do exactly what you say may be missing – install a different mind set when playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And it will resonate all the way to the Rookie League. The Dodgers now have respect. Things will be different. It’s already visible.

    I think Gonzalez is a winner, though he never really played for one. I think, I hope, he may hunger for more than a huge paycheck. I think Ramirez is an incredible talent. I have no idea of his passion, but if he doesn’t have it, he will be gone. Ethier? You tell me. He seems like a service to self guy, but I don’t know him. Beckett? Look at his post season numbers. I think he can help. Crawford is work-out animal and if healthy, will be a force in L.A.. But you are right, this is Matt Kemp’s team. He doesn’t hit, there will likely be no title. We need him to put up the MVP numbers. He does, and this team will indeed be the beast that Jamie Wright believes it will be.

    This is a rebuild from the foundation up. It may take time. Like was mentioned, this season started with a bankruptcy. Let’s give these guys some time to put it together.

    I think Ken has some good ideas there. I also think it will be important to see who might want to be a part of the new L.A. Dodgers. There could be some moves that we have no idea are available. I trust Kasten. I don’t know about Colletti, but he seems, for now anyway, to have been given the official okey dokey by those in charge. Maybe all he needed was McButthead gone. We’ll see about that.

    I have confidence in what is going on now. Yes, it’s true that having money isn’t the be all end all. But not having it is worse.

  3. the truth hurts says:

    completely agree, Mark

    that fear is REAL…..its quite scary actually.

    If this team continues this mindset into next season, we are in for a world of hurt.

    It is easy to say, “oh boy! wait til next year”

    I am very worried.

  4. the truth hurts says:

    Bobbie17 made a very good point, 24 years and counting….

    This whole next year thing is getting old.

  5. Gionfriddo says:

    I want to believe the “winning culture” point you made. However, too many variables are at play here for the failures of the ’12 Dodgers. First of all, 3 components of the back to back NLCS teams were intact at the beginning of the year in Kemp, Ethier, and Loney. These guys are not new to this winning culture- they have been there and done it on the big stage.

    Mark, you are correct with the Cards winning culture that is in place and that is due in part to the stability of having Tony LaRussa for 16 years– Matheny played for 5 years under LaRussa and he’s an extension of LaRussa per the Cards vets.. This is not to say Mattingly has not or will not be able to foster this same stability. I believe the jury is still out on that one for me because I witnessed far too many games being mismanaged this year by Mattingly (both mismanaging of game situations and misuse of the bullpen).

    This is what IMO continued the Cards winning culture in ’12:

    - Molina- .315, 22, 76
    - A Craig- .307, 22, 92
    - Holliday- .295, 27, 102
    - Beltran- .269, 32, 97
    - Freese- .293, 20, 79

    When you have 5 bats in your everyday lineup such as this, your winning culture or winning ways are going to continue as long as you get clutch hitting to go with consistent SP and good bullpen work–which is exactly what the Cards got. Yes, for the better part of 8.5 weeks we had Kemp, A Gone, Victorino, Ramirez and Ethier in the same lineup.. But, the Cards had this continuity for a full 6 month period. On top of that, not one of those 5 Cards big bats sustained injury that required a lengthy DL stay (all had over 500 PA) such as Kemp’s 59 games.

  6. Michael says:

    It makes it all the more mind-boggling to me that we have the great baseball mind of Kasten, boatloads of cash and they don’t have their own front office and management team chosen, that’s where the whole mindset starts. We’re playing Donnie baseball not Dodger baseball.
    At this point a few years ago I guess Grady and Podesta were coming back and we know the rest of the story but these new owners are signaling the status quo is in order.

  7. Gonzo says:

    I think that Donnie will be a different manager next year and he will get in players faces. You can be a players manager and still take them to task behind closed doors. That’s why I admire Charlie Manuel. he doesn’t put up with any crap from anybody. If Donnie learns that it is OK to call out his players when they are underachieving it will make a big difference. If Hanson is replaced, I’d like to see Rudy Jaramillo given a shot.

    All in all I’d give this season a B. I didn’t expect that the team that started the season would compete as they did. I didn’t expect that the reinforcements would come in and fix the situation right away. And I didn’t expect Guggs to put their money where their mouth is and make this team competitive for the long term. Bunching all these circumstances together makes me feel pretty good. Think about it. we were one running mistake away from possibly going to the playoffs. A lot needed to happen but oh well. I know that the pitching situation will get addressed.

  8. Roger Dodger says:

    Interesting game last night. Like many here, I really thought the Dodgers were going to come back and win that one.

    Then, then I saw A Gonz hit that little ground ball to second base. And Punto took three called strikes. He was totally looking for a walk. That really surprised me, his approach to the plate.

    Face it, in 2012, the Giants had a better team, won many more games and deserve to have the N.L. West Flag.

    I agree with Mark and others on the winning culture. Remember the Dodgers like 30 years ago. With that infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey . . . And how many guy hit 30 or more HRs!!!!

    This team is getting closer to that.

    Watching the A’s make a great come-back over Texas. Interesting. Hamilton really misplayed a ball in centerfield big-time.

    Oh, I am not sold on the Dodger starters for next year.
    Clayton is there of course.
    Bills, surgery? recovery? confidence?
    Lilly = is he through or back and if so, is it for a whole season??
    Beckett is fine. I go with him.
    I have problems with both Capuano & Harang. Mark believed in them all the way to 20 wins; but the long season for another season on their backs — maybe one of them and bring in someone else. Left / right arms need to be counted.

    So we can sit back now, watch the post season, and the moves that the front office makes.

  9. Rob says:

    When you overhaul your team like the dodgers did you kind of lose your identity. Once these guys get settled in and comfortable with their teammates and their personal life’s they will find their place. Our pitching staff didnt change tremendously and they continued to pitch good on the other hand you change 50% of your bats and expect a slump. I am not worried about next year because this team will win.

  10. Ken says:

    These were my NL ACE Meter scores in 2011

    Halladay 2.06
    Kershaw 2.08
    Lee 2.09

    The closest in many years

    I am obviously not a shill for Kershaw and would have voted for Halladay last year

    However, so far for 2012 I have

    Dickey 2.38
    Kershaw 2.39
    Cain 2.50
    Hamels 2.68
    Cueto 2.77
    Lohse 2.82
    Gonzalez 2.96
    Bumgarner 3.04

    If Kershaw has a very good performance today such as
    IP 8
    Hits 5
    BB 1
    ER 2

    or

    IP 7
    Hits 5
    BB 1
    ER 1

    then he is my Cy Young Award winner.

    • Gionfriddo says:

      You would have voted for Halladay last year?? Based on some ACE meter system??

      Kershaw won the SP version of the triple crown last year– 21 W’s, 2.28 era, 248 K’s.. In the previous 40 years prior to ’11, only 4 other NL hurlers had achieved that honor (Carlton, Gooden, Big Unit, and Peavy).. Had you had a vote, you would have been the only one who DIDN’T vote for Kershaw.

      IMO, Kershaw needs to get 10 K’s today (has 2 thru 3 inn) to pass Dickey for the K lead to add to his era crown he has locked up already.. If he is leading in era AND K’s he will garner some consideration. That being said, it will come down to Gonzalez and Dickey..

  11. Rob says:

    Watching the A’s game and rooting for them. What a great story.

  12. Ken says:

    I was wondering – On the days that Donnie is interviewed and he is constantly rubbing his neck is that a subconscious sign of him admitting that he was the person that choked that night?

  13. Rob says:

    Dempster looked great, Yeah Right!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Moneyball part 2!!!!!Congrats to the A’s!! Goodluck to the Dodgers next season!!!

  15. Gonzo says:

    So to all of those that said that Billy Beane was overhyped. How’s that crow tasting. Of course its about the players but Billy B. Has A LOT to do with the A’s success.

    • Mark_Timmons says:

      I liked Moneyball, but Beane is overhyped. This is the first season in the past six that Oakland has a better than .500 record.

      I will be rooting for them but he is overhyped, IMHO.

  16. Badger says:

    Moneyball seems to work in stages. You get some good draft picks (a must) you trade those you can no longer afford for more draft picks (better not miss) and the next thing you know – you got a lot of talent on the field. After a few years of this, you gotta start all over again.

    Check it out:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/

    A few years of .400+, followed by a few years of .500+, back to .400+ again, then back to near .600. They haven’t really won anything big for a long time (WS 1989) but for what it is they do, I guess you have to give them credit.

    Is it the model I want?

    Oh hell no.

  17. Roger Dodger says:

    5th inning, can the Dodgers score a run?

  18. Bball says:

    Does it really matter

  19. Rob says:

    Kershaw= Best pitcher in baseball!!

  20. Rob says:

    Kudos to casty for his first career HR!

  21. Michael says:

    Who is that masked man? It’s Clayton Moore[the Lone Ranger} er Kershaw. He is the man although Sandy has my heart.
    We have a lot to be thankful for

    We’re on the road again

  22. Badger says:

    Plaschke nailed it.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodgers/la-sp-plaschke-dodgers-20121003,0,1024430.column

    Kershaw could very well be the best pitcher in all of baseball. I won’t argue that. But I doubt he wins the Cy Young again. Not that it matters really.

    Bball… tonight’s game matters to me for one reason – send the midgets into post season on a losing note.

  23. Ken says:

    Nice way to end the season – Getting ready for 2013

    Easy Button

    Kershaw for Cy Young just like King Felix in 2010

    Kershaw 2.34
    Dickey 2.38
    Cain 2.50
    Hamels 2.68
    Cueto 2.77
    Lohse 2.82
    Gonzalez 2.96
    Bumgarner 3.04

  24. Roger Dodger says:

    Nice to see some of the kids zipping the ball tonight.

  25. Badger says:

    I got it:

    Dickey
    Gonzalez
    Kershaw

    Dickey is the sentimental favorite, and his numbers support a CY nod. Gonzalez won a bunch of games on the league’s best team. Kershaw plays for the Dodgers and didn’t get a lot of run support.

    For me, any of these three deserve it.

  26. Kris says:

    My money is on Dickey. Knuckleballs live!

  27. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I thought for sure that I posted on this thread earlier today. Must have gotten lost in the ether (or is that Ethier?)

    Even with their so-called “winning culture”, the Cardinals ended up in 2nd place in the NL Central, and had to rely on a Dodgers meltdown to find there way into the postseason as the SECOND wildcard. So last year (no 2nd wildcard) their “winning culture” would have gotten them nothing. And the Cardinals weren’t exactly a juggernaut driving relentlessly towards a playoff spot. Last year they at least played well down the stretch, although even then it took a meltdown by the Braves to get them into the playoffs.

    In fact, the Cardinals and their “winning culture” were only able to split with the Dodgers in their September four game series. And the Dodgers may have been only one swing of the bat away from being the team with the winning culture. And that’s hard for me to swallow in a sport where even the best hitters fail more than they succeed.

    • Badger says:

      I see your point, but they took advantage of their opportunity last year. This year they are in it and the Dodgers are on vacation. They lose Albert Pujols and still make the play-offs. We gain Gonzalez, Ramirez and Victorino and don’t. Since 2000 they have been to the play-offs 8 times with 7 trips the NLCS, 3 WS appearances and 2 World Championships. I would take that in a heartbeat.

      I don’t like their chances this year, but I never count them out.

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