Six years — a little longer than six, really — is a long time to do anything. It’s a long time to write about the Dodgers almost entirely by yourself. Hell, it’s a long time to be a Dodger. Back in the summer of 2007 when I first started this thing up, we were talking about Grady Little, Juan Pierre and David Wells and Mark Hendrickson and Olmedo Saenz and whether Wilson Betemit should be starting at third base over Nomar Garciaparra and wondering why Luis Gonzalez was getting playing time over Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Zack Greinke was working mainly out of the Kansas City bullpen. Clayton Kershaw wasn’t making $200 million; he was a 19-year-old walking nearly five per nine at Great Lakes and Jacksonville. You know, Jacksonville, which isn’t even a Dodger affiliate any longer, just like Vero Beach and Las Vegas.
At the time, I was pretty close to being the blogger stereotype: partially employed, fully single, and making a pit stop at my parents’ house. Now, I’m over 30, married, and probably over-employed. Along the way I’ve had a lot of fun, met some great people — I can’t say enough about the commenters on this site — and managed to take a stab at a career working fully in sports. All of which is to say, I can’t really keep up with being a one-man band at a daily baseball site any longer. I’ve loved doing it, but it’s exhausting, and it just no longer works. (I’ve also developed quite the reputation for, you know, being asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.)
That’s a long way of saying that this is both post number 2,771 and the final post you’re going to see on Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness, and that’s both a happy thing and a sad thing.
But don’t worry: you’re not getting rid of me that easily.
You see, I love writing about the Dodgers. Wherever that takes me, I don’t intend to stop. And while I can’t do it myself any longer, I do like working with great people, and that means something exciting is going to happen.
So on Monday morning, don’t click over to MSTI.co like you otherwise might have. Instead, browse over to DodgersDigest.com, which will be my new home along with three of my favorite people: Chad Moriyama, Dustin Nosler, and Daniel Brim. That’s right, it’s a team effort, but this team spans about 6,000 miles, includes great prospect work from Dustin & Chad, awesome math things I don’t understand from Daniel, and whatever it is I add, which I believe is just funny GIFs and posts that end in “…and that’s okay.”
It’ll look a lot like this site — not entirely, dig Eephus Blue’s cool logo — but it’ll be better: more content, more timely, and more awesome.
Smell ya later.
l’m guessing that — with the possible exception of Rakuten deciding to finally post Masahiro Tanaka — the next few days are going to be relatively quiet in the Dodger world, as players, agents, and management all disperse to spend holiday time with their families. (He says, knowing damn well those are famous last words.)
Though it seems like it’s been a slow off-season for the Dodgers so far, it really hasn’t. They finally added Alexander Guerrero after months of flirting. They returned Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell to what could be a very good bullpen while saying goodbye to Ronald Belisario. They added Dan Haren to the back of the rotation in what looked like a reasonable deal at the time, and seems even moreso now. They filled a Juan Uribe-sized hole at third base with, well, Juan Uribe. I think a lot of fans get it into their heads that deals which happen during the Winter Meetings are somehow more notable, but really, they aren’t. This roster didn’t have a ton of holes, and the ones they had have largely been filled, other than the bench, and there’s time enough for that.
It’s with that that I prepare for an early morning flight to the in-laws by saying happy holidays to you and yours. For the next few days, we’ll have season in review pieces auto-posting at 12pm ET (I hope!) daily, while you all count down the moments to the giant move that inevitably happens while I’m away, because that’s always what happens.
In the meantime, a special thanks to the great commenters on this site — and particularly KMT, who pulled it all together — for sharing the following gift. That ball was caught in the stands in San Diego on June 22, also known as the day 2013’s ridiculous streak got started, and traveled thousands of miles back and forth across the country to collect as many signatures as possible. Very cool, and very appreciated.
Happy holidays, friends, regardless of what holiday it is you choose to celebrate. Personally, I’m partial to Festivus & Ludacrismas myself. I think the Dodgers have given us more than we could have asked for over the last calendar year, but is it really gluttonous to ask for an righty outfielder who can bash lefty pitching? It is? Oh well. Enjoy anyway.
As you’ve probably noticed, the last few days have been kind of rough around here. Yes, I got myself targeted by a hacker, and yes, it caused a ton of problems. Even when I thought I had it resolved, it came back, and so eventually I just took the site offline for a few days to sort it all out, and my sincere apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced or otherwise confused by the strange messages this site was giving off. I’ve managed to restore everything from backup save for the few most recent posts — uh, sorry, Josh Wall, though I’m sure I could restore him if I really wanted to — and I’ve learned a lot about database security so that this doesn’t happen again in the future.
So if you’re one of the dozens of people who emailed, tweeted, or otherwise informed me that my site was broken, thanks for caring enough to reach out, and sorry again. We’ll have a real new post — you know, the one I never wanted to post in the first place — later on.
It took you guys all of four days to crash the server this was hosted on entirely, leading to yesterday’s downtime. Well done! I’m in the process of moving the site over to a far more stable environment (what you see here is still on the old server, which is why I have disabled comments so we don’t kill it again), which should be done today. Hooray for well-timed off-days.
Today has been a long time coming, let me tell you. After four-plus years, several million pageviews, and 1,587 posts on a simple free WordPress template, the time has finally come to take MSTI to the next level. I’m tremendously excited to share it with you.
Take a tour with me around the new site, won’t you?
• Game Threads. We’ve never done these officially around here, and I think it’s time for that to change. As you can see along the top of the page, the next seven upcoming games will be listed. As each thread is turned on approximately an hour before game time, it will appear on the main page, and then be removed following the game in order to not clutter up the rest of the main posts. You’ll always be able to access them on the Game Threads page itself.
• Payroll. This is a variation on a spreadsheet I’ve been keeping privately for years, and it’s not intended to be as fully detailed down to the plate appearance as Eric’s great resource at TrueBlueLA is. The intention here is to have an at-a-glance, color-coded view of Dodger payroll commitments for the next three seasons. See all that green melting away after 2013? Delicious, isn’t it?
• Bullpen. Is Kenley Jansen available tonight? Is the bullpen wiped out because Chad Billingsley got knocked out after 2 1/3 last night? Check here for daily updated bullpen pitch counts over the last week.
• Organizational Depth Chart. This is potentially the part of the site I’ve been looking forward to the most, because I don’t think this exists anywhere else, at least in this form. Here you’ll be able to find the depth charts for each of the top five clubs in the Dodger system, in addition to the updated 40-man roster. Want to know what team Zach Lee ended up on, or who the fifth-string catcher would be if Ned Colletti goes on another trading spree? Well, here you’ll be able to find all of that, updated as often as possible. (Only Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga have officially announced their rosters so far, so everyone else is a best guess at the moment.)
• Daily Stats. Thanks to Baseball-reference, daily updated hitting and pitching stats for the entire team are now available for your use. They’ll be updated when b-ref refreshes their database, which I believe is early each morning. Right now, this still displays 2011 stats and will be flipped to 2012 on Friday.
• Twitter database. Down to the lowest levels of the minors, the Dodgers seem to have more players on Twitter than most other organizations. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if that is true.) I’ve managed to collect about 50 handles from big leaguers, prospects, team officials, and local media, which will be updated on a semi-regular basis.
In addition, a look at some of the fun, new features you’ll find here…
• A new, easier URL. Sick of trying to remember how to spell http://www.mikesciosciastragicillness.com? Yeah, me too. That address still works and always will, but now so will the much simpler msti.co. (You can blame domain squatter Robert Seeman for sitting on “msti.com” and the internet as a whole for not having a “.ti” extension available.)
• Real-time commenting. I’ve long found the standard WordPress commenting system functional, but little more. When I asked recently how people would feel about moving to a more advanced third-party system, the reaction was somewhat mixed, but the main issue people were concerned about was whether they’d be forced to use a social media account they either did not have or did not want to share in order to log in. I can confirm that is not the case; you can still log in as a guest with only a name and email account required, just like before. If it doesn’t work out, we can always switch back, but I’m excited to give it a try. (I’m aware it says “0 comments” for each post, which is of course not correct; working on that. Click into the post here to get to comments.)
• A fun easter egg. Let’s just say it has to do with a fat guy and a three-digit number which he’ll barely top in OPS.
• An updated Twitter handle. With a new site comes a new Twitter name, since “MikeSciosciasTI” was both unwieldy and long. You can now follow me @mike_petriello, though it’s the same account, so if you followed me before, no need to do anything.
• More coming soon… I’m working on some other fun ideas for the site, including guest authors, ticket-purchasing capabilities, and potentially a way to input live game updates into the game threads. Stay tuned for all of that.
Last but most certainly not least, an enormous thanks to Stephen Caver, not only for the wonderful and thoughtful design that you see here, but also for excellent advice, feedback, and tolerance of stupid questions across several dozen emails as I tried to do his work justice during my development process.
So there we have it. With about 48 hours to go before Clayton Kershaw throws the first pitch of the season in San Diego, we’re ready to go. Well, mostly; it wouldn’t surprise me if there were still a few bugs in the system. I will track down those bugs and hand them two-year deals.