Clearin' My Desk Before the Game

With professional baseball pausing for the traditional all-star game, this one to be held in Yankee Stadium as a sort of farewell to the "House that Ruth Built" in 1923, we have a number of items that might be interesting to Dodgers fans. In no particular order, here they are:

Dodgers Mourn Passing of Laurie Martinez
Lorenza "Laurie" Martínez Vicioso, Assistant, Baseball Operations at Campo Las Palmas for the Los Angeles Dodgers passed away July 14 in her Santo Domingo home after suffering a heart attack at the age of 58.

  "We are shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Laurie. She was a dependable person and an asset to the Dodgers family and to the many players whose professional baseball careers began at Campo Las Palmas," said Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.

"Our prayers are with her and her family and the many people who called her a friend. Campo Las Palmas will not be the same without her."  

Martínez's tenure at Campo Las Palmas lasted more than 20 years. She worked closely with Campo Las Palmas Scouting Director Ralph Avila.  

Martínez sustained an integral relationship with the American embassy and consulate on behalf of the Dodgers in the Dominican Republic, and assisted all Dominican players with visas, insurance, and other documentation.  

Martínez took pride in ensuring that players' administrative matters were taken care of so that they could focus on their performance on the field.

Ball Girl Video to Officially Debut
On a happier note, the Fresno Grizzlies ball girl that took the nation by storm over the last several weeks will make the transition from Internet to traditional media during Major League Baseball's All-Star festivities in New York tonight.

The ball girl shagged flies yesterday in the Yankee Stadium outfield during the Home Run Derby, and Gatorade is expected to resurrect the planned television ad campaign and debut the video during tonight's All-Star Game.

The "Grizzlies Ball Girl" viral video "leaked" (wink, wink) to the Internet in June, has become an online sensation with more than 5 million views to date. The video features girl at Chukchansi Park making an amazing, "did that really happen?" catch in the left-field corner during a Grizzlies game.

If you haven't seen the video, you must have spent the last few weeks on the space shuttle.

Like so many players this season, the ball girl made the jump from Triple-A to the Major Leagues, catching balls in the stadium once patrolled by Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle.

I don't think Ruth or Mantle would have a problem with a, gasp, girl fielding balls in the stadium but I think DiMaggio might feel it a terrible breach of decorum.

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the last to be played in the current Yankee Stadium which closes at the end of this season, will be televised nationally by FOX, with pre-game ceremonies beginning at eight p.m. EDT.

Tour of New Spring Training Site Set
Dodger Vice President of Spring Training and Minor League Facilities Craig Callan will lead a tour of the Dodgers' new Spring Training complex in Glendale, Arizona to update media and staff on the progress and development of the project to date on Friday, July 18, 2008 1:30 p.m.

Groundbreaking on the Dodgers' new Spring Training home began on Nov. 19, 2007.

No, No, A Thousand Times No
The depth that Barry Bonds has slipped to can be summed up this way. His bat, added to Los Angeles, Arizona or, perhaps Colorado, would probabably guarantee a N.L. West title and a playoff slot for the club that made the move.

The fact that no one is interested in adding Bonds and all the baggage that comes with him is a bright and shining plus for a sport that at one time would have contracted with the devil himself if it had meant a championship.

Rotoworld Reports
The excellent Rotoworld Web site reports "Matt Kemp has taken a lot of criticism from Dodgers fans and local media members this season, who seemingly blame him for the Dodgers' poor record despite the fact that he's pretty low on any list of the team's problems.

"Kemp went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, two runs, and two steals in the final game before the break, giving him a .284/.337/.444 line with nine homers, 51 RBIs, 47 runs, and 22 steals in 89 first-half games. While certainly not spectacularly, that's damn good from a 23-year-old.

"Kemp is a career .300/.341/.473 hitter with 26 homers, 75 total extra-base hits, and 38 steals in 846 plate appearances, who can capably play center field defensively, and doesn't turn 24 years old until September, yet much of the focus on his performance seems to revolve around mediocre plate discipline and a high strikeout rate.

"While valid concerns, those flaws haven't kept Kemp from being an outstanding player so far."

Rotoworld also pointed out, "Chad Billingsley was 0-4 with a 6.53 ERA in late April, but 32 strikeouts in 20.2 innings had me suggesting him as an ideal buy-low candidate in this space.

"Sure enough, his ERA now matches his outstanding strikeout rate. After fanning a career-high 13 batters while holding the Marlins to one run in seven innings, Billingsley is 9-4 with a 2.54 ERA and 96-to-37 strikeout-to-walk in 95.2 innings spread over his last 15 starts. At just 23 years old he's closing in on ace status."

L.A. Times Notes
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times had this to say after the July 13 game, "The Dodgers' young players believe they're close to turning a corner, in part because they're becoming used to playing under their new manager.

"We're getting more accustomed to the style Joe wants," outfielder Andre Ethier said. "It's not easy changing in a short period."

Torre said that he's also learning about his players -- but, more important, the players are learning about themselves. "They're finding out their capabilities as individuals," Torre said.

"Even the ever-demanding Larry Bowa said he drew optimism from the way the Dodgers pounded Florida's Andrew Miller."

Worst Record Ever?
Ubberfan Roy Lieberman found this Jason Stark's ESPN web site.

"If Andruw Jones's second half resembles his first half, he's potentially heading for (ready for this?) the Worst Offensive Season in Baseball History. At this rate, he'd finish with a .172 average, .261 slugging percentage, five homers, 21 RBIs, 125 strikeouts and only 64 hits.

"And you shouldn't be flabbergasted to learn that the all-time list of players who have had numbers that gruesome consists of, well, nobody.

"Heck, only three other players in history have even had twice as many strikeouts as hits (in a season of 100 or more whiffs): Rob Deer (175-80 in 1991), Dave Nicholson (126-60 in 1964) and Mark McGwire (118-56 in 2001). But at least those fellows made a few home run trots, or finished over the Mendoza Line."

To deal or Not To Deal; This is the Question
Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, writes : "The Dodgers continue to confuse everyone. "Some want to buy, some sell," I'm told. One faction of the front office wants to deal for a shortstop and is focused on Jack Wilson or David Eckstein, while another (which appears to hold sway with the McCourts for now) want to see if Nomar Garciaparra can hold the position down.

"Teams simply don't want to deal with the Dodgers because of the confusion over who has final authority. One front-office source told me that the Dodgers have made deals, only to have ownership pull out at least twice."

That pretty well clears my desk, so join me by putting your feet up, grabbing a cold beverage of your choice, and watching to see how Russell Martin does playing in the Big Apple at the old stadium.

You noticed, I assume, that the Dodgers are the only team in baseball that has not played a regular season game in Yankee Stadium. They have, however, played 32 World Series game there.

So much for the glory of Interleague Play.