July 11, 2016 by Shannon Michael Smith
Yep, you read it here! Kenta Maeda gave up one run on two hits in seven innings worth of work to secure his eighth win. He also struck out thirteen batters, the most he’s ever mowed down in his MLB career.
Mid-Season Report Card
The starting pitching (minus Kersh) is just as mediocre as we thought it would be in the spring. It ultimately will be the Dodgers downfall this year and will keep them out of the playoffs. Getting past the fifth inning has been a major issue. We’re not doing cartwheels over McCarthy and Ryu’s return either. The bullpen, however, has surpassed all expectations—their ERA is hovering around 2.00 at the mo. Kershaw is his usual stud self. Hopefully he’ll be back before August. Jansen passed Gagne’s save mark and has been terrific too.
Corey Seager has actually lived up to the hype. Trayce Thompson has been up-and-down. Yasiel Puig has shown some flashes but will probably be dealt after this season. Joc Pederson started to improve before he crashed into a wall. We’ll see how he makes out in the second half. Gonzalez’ power numbers are WAY down this season. He hit his seventh homer yesterday, whereas normally he’d be at around 20 by now. Utley has been better than expected. Kendrick has been quiet at the plate, but has improved as the season progresses (he’s also done a pretty good job in left field). Justin Turner started slow at the plate, but has also improved greatly over the last month.
The fact that the Dodgers play in the NL West and only have to compete with the Giants has helped out the team quite a bit. San Diego, Colorado, and Arizona are either banged up or just plain miserable.
We hate plugging pampered scribes, but Bill Plaschke’s assessment of the Dodgers is dead on as usual. He’s the only major media goon to see the Dodgers for what they are: average.
The injuries to the Mets’ starters could help the Dodgers in the Wild Card race, although lookout for Mattingly’s Marlins! They’re making a run at the Wild Card and the NL East amongst New York and Washington.
Music at the Ballparks Part 1
When we were kids in the ‘70s, they didn’t play modern music over the PA at the baseball stadiums that we went to (for the most part—we held court at Dodger Stadium or the Oakland Coliseum). Instead, we heard the breezy sounds of a Wurlitzer or Hammond organ. In the ‘80s and ‘90s we began to notice a mix of uptempo oldies and baseball-themed tracks (“Palisades Park” by Freddy Cannon, “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones, “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” by Plastic Bertrand, “Centerfield” by John Fogerty, “Glory Days” by Springsteen, “Did You See Jackie Robinson…” by Woodrow Buddy Johnson, etc…)
These days what you hear at most stadiums is a mix of modern jams (ugh), organ music (played through a modern keyboard or a synth, not the same tones), or awful “bumper music” created by the DJ (usually some high energy or techno swill) so that kids don’t fall asleep between innings.
Okay, but what does rascalsoftheravine listen to during the All-Star break? Funny you should ask! Here are three of our favorite summer/good time albums to keep you swinging ’till September.
- The Ventures Surfing—Released in 1963, this boss lineup of instrumentals showcases The Ventures at their reverb-drenched best. From the frantic shouts on “Party in Laguna”, to the snappy strut of “Windy and Warm”, to the crashing waves on “The Lonely Sea”, this is arguably the greatest surf LP of all-time. Crank at while you crack a cold one and stare at the mid-century glory of Dodger Stadium. Sublime.
- Marshall Crenshaw Field Day—Released in the summer of 1983, this Steve Lillywhite produced gem touts Crenshaw at his Buddy Holly-best. It’s loaded with boss, Beach Boy-esque backing vocals, jangle guitar, and yes, tons of drippy reverb. The cover is a color photo that’s right out of a 1960 yearbook. It features Crenshaw in a suit and crew cut as he stands in front of his high school alma mater (Berkley High School in Berkley, Michigan). It’s even better than his s/t debut album (which was beyond boss). Crenshaw’s songwriting is at its best on this lost gem. See the video for “Whenever You’re On My Mind” (filmed in England, of all places) for a real kicker. Own it, stat.
- The Fleshtones Roman Gods—Released in 1982, this masterpiece of shakedown boogie was produced by IRS Records’ knob twirler, Richard Mazda. If you like early/mid ‘60s dance/garage stomp or rock and roll, look no further. This summertime classic will have you doing the pony all the way down to the Sugar Shack. Peter Zaremba’s “come on and party with us” vocals and Keith Streng’s bitchin guitar will send you in search of some “Blue Whale” cocktails (The Fleshtones’ own drink of choice, see them drink it in the video for “Right Side of a Good Thing”). Handclaps? Horns? Organ? You betcha!
Hey, mirth-seekers! We just wanted to say “thanks” for supporting rascalsoftheravine for the first half of the season. We’re striving to make the second half even better, so keep on checking in from time to time and don’t be afraid to give us your two cents (we need the money). Until next time!