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A Couple Of Must-Read Interviews

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Here are a couple of links to read on this fine Saturday night.

Our own Phil Gurnee was interviewed before the series by Dan Podheiser of NESN:

NESN.com: Now that Ethier is back, and the offense is healthy, does this Dodgers team have enough starting pitching to come out of a much-improved NL West?

P.G.: Well, we did win three 1-0 games in the just-concluded homestand, beating such aces as Dan Haren, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright along the way. Now that the Giants realize that keeping one of your best hitters in Triple-A is not the best way to win a pennant, it should get very interesting. I’m of the opinion that the Rockies are still the team to beat, but the Padres have done this long enough that it has gone beyond fluky. It should be a great battle the rest of the year, with all four teams taking turns at weakening each other's midsections. If the Dodgers’ current rotation stays healthy, the answer is yes, but we just received word that Chad Billingsley is headed for the DL. Hopefully, it’s just a 15-day stint.

I’d be perfectly happy with Clayton Kershaw, Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla and Ely, as the first three are as good a threesome as any team has. For some reason, Kuroda does not get much media play, but when healthy, he’s been an above-average pitcher every year of his contract. Everyone should have heard about Kershaw. You can bet the NL West knows about him. Billingsley is an enigma -- great arm, All-Star pitcher in 2009, then couldn’t even make the playoff rotation in 2009. He’s had a great May/June until his last start, which might explain why’s he’s on the DL. Padilla should fill the fourth role adequately. Ely has given the rotation a huge boost in the arm, but the question will remain: Can he at least be average for the rest of the year? I don’t know of any team other than the Rays who don’t have a question mark in the fifth spot of the rotation.

Now that the dreaded Ortiz twins have been exorcised from the team, the bullpen is back to the dominating group it was in 2009. Broxton gets all the headlines because he’s the closer, but Kuo has yet to allow a hit to any left-handed hitter this year. Ronald Belisario started slow but is now looking like the excellent setup man he was in 2009.The only downside to the bullpen right now is that George Sherrill has completely lost his way, and they don’t have that second lefty, which was a great weapon last year. 

Caleb Bacon of LAist (and Gentlemen's Club podcast fame) interviewed Josh Rawitch, Vice President of Communications for the Dodgers.  This passage was especially relevant:

6) The Dodgers have been the first baseball club to credential bloggers as regular media. How come that came about?

I could literally go on for hours about it. Those of us who deal with media relations have to realize that the media world around us is changing and we can't try to stop it from changing. Nothing’s going to stop the fact that anyone with an Internet connection can basically go online and cover the Dodgers.

It’s not any person with a website can come out here and have clubhouse access and talk to players, but I think if sites are proving that they’re willing to cover this team in a journalistic fashion, not in a profane way, and are putting hours and hours of time into covering the team, to me, they deserve access.

To me, it’s better than to ignore all these sites that are out there and hope that they write something good about you. It’s better to give them at least the ability to interact with you and let them know what’s going on. We want them to have the ability to ask questions of the people who make the decisions and interact with the team.

There are some rules that they adhere to. If you started causing problems in the clubhouse, you’d be bounced in a heartbeat. Plus, the process has kind of weeded itself out. People think: you show up, you watch the game, you write about it, and you call it a day. It’s not that. It’s a huge time investment for somebody.

The other thing I’d say that made us change this policy was that the Dodgers are such an international brand. The three cities that visit Dodgers.com the most, are LA, Riverside and Taipei.

If you’re a Dodger fan in Taipei, you don’t know what the LATimes.com is versus TrueBlueLA. Whoever gives you the best coverage of the baseball team you like, that’s where you’re going to go.