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Dodgers Dugout: Free advice to whomever buys naming rights to field at Dodger Stadium—‘Vin Scully Field’

Vin Scully
(Paul Connors / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and if you haven’t seen “Spider-Man: Homecoming” yet, go see it. It’s really good.

The name game

While the Dodgers continue to play well, sweeping the White Sox in a quick two-game series in Chicago, the big news is that the team is open to selling naming right to the field at Dodger Stadium. So, for about $12 million a season, you could have the field named after you and hear on broadcasts, “Welcome to Joe Smith Field at Dodger Stadium.”

To be clear, the Dodgers say they have no interest in changing the name of the stadium with team President Stan Kasten telling Times baseball columnist Bill Shaikin, “That has never been for sale. It never will be for sale.”

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Some Dodgers fans are up in arms about this, but it doesn’t really bother me. Fans will still just call it Dodger Stadium. And while it’s probably true that Dodgers ownership doesn’t need the extra money, it’s also true you don’t get rich as by letting money-making opportunities pass by. As long as they don’t change the name of the stadium, it’s really not a big deal.

However, if I am in charge of a major corporation, I’d jump on this immediately. But I wouldn’t name the field after my company. Let’s say that McDonald’s pays to name the field. If I am in charge of McDonald’s, as soon as the deal is completed I announce to Dodgers fans, “While it is true we have bought the naming rights to the field at Dodger Stadium, we feel there is only one appropriate name for it: Vin Scully Field.”

The good vibes that would cause among Dodgers fans would be worth gold, and would generate more business than naming it “McDonald’s Field.”

Hopefully some smart corporation does that. And McDonald’s, if you are reading this and do that, how about sending along some free French fries as a gesture of goodwill.

He’s just like.....

In the 1980s, Bill James came up with a new concept called similarity score, which is designed to tell you who your favorite player is most similar to, as far as career stats are concerned. For a detailed explanation, you can go here. For example, you can take Yasmani Grandal’s career stats and compare them to other players in two ways: Which players had the most similar stats in his career, and which player had the most similar stats through the same age. For career numbers, the most similar players to Grandal are Yan Gomes, Ramon Castro and Bill Schroeder. The most similar batters through age 27 are Jarrod Saltalmacchia, Jason Castro and Andy Seminick.

What does that mean? Well, not a lot, but it is fun and interesting to see what names come up. And while worrying if the Dodgers will win it all this year, let’s not forget that all this is supposed to be fun. So let’s look at the similar players for other Dodgers.

Adrian Gonzalez

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Career: Derrek Lee, Kent Hrbek, Greg Luzinski

Through age 35: Derrek Lee, Paul Konerko, Will Clark

Chase Utley

Career: Bret Boone, Ian Kinsler, Vern Stephens

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Through age 38: Victor Martinez, Bobby Grich, Ken Caminiti

Corey Seager

Career: Francisco Lindor, Devon Travis, Carlos Correa

Through age 23: Hanley Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Derek Jeter

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Justin Turner

Career: Tim Naehring, Anthony Rendon, Wilson Betemit

Through age 32: David Freese, Elston Howard, Wilson Betemit

Joc Pederson

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Career: Juan Francisco, Ken Hunt, Oswaldo Arcia

Through age 24: Melvin Nieves, Dave Kingman, Dave Henderson

Yasiel Puig

Career: A.J. Pollock, Ed Coleman, Cliff Lee

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Through age 25: Leon Durham, Rondell White, Larry Walker

Clayton Kershaw

Career: Max Scherzer, David Price, Jeff Tesreau

Through age 28: Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Rube Waddell, Tom Seaver

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Kenley Jansen

Career: Greg Holland, Bryan Harvey, Mark Melancon

Through age 28: Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Joakim Soria

Comparison

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The Dodgers are trying to win their fifth consecutive division title. Let’s take a look at this year’s record and how it compares to the same point in the last four seasons.

2017: 66-29, first place in NL West, 11 games ahead of Colorado

2016: 53-42, second place, 4 1/2 games behind San Francisco

2015: 53-42, first place, 2 1/2 games ahead of Arizona and San Francisco

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2014: 52-43, second place, half a game behind San Francisco

2013: 48-47, second place, 1 1/2 games behind Arizona

Ask Ross Porter

Trisha Higgins asks: How many men have played major league baseball?

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Ross: Just over 19,000, Trisha.

Manny Katz asks: Ross, do you think we will ever see another pitcher win 300 games?

Ross: No, I don’t, Manny. A pitcher has to average 15 wins for 20 seasons. There are too many no-decisions, too much emphasis on pitch counts, many relievers, and few complete games. Bartolo Colon has 235 wins and he’s 44. CC Sabathia has 231 and he’s 36. No other active pitcher has over 181. Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the game, has 141 victories and is 29. From this point on, he would have to average 20 wins for eight years.

Terry Walker asks: Dodger Stadium has not hosted an All-Star game in 37 years. Ross, why do you think that is?

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Ross: Great question, Terry, and one I have asked myself. The Dodgers have the longest active All-Star game hosting drought. Nine teams have hosted it at least twice since Dodger Stadium in 1980. The game has been played 20 times in National League parks after that. Do you think politics might be a factor? The next three sites have been chosen by a major league baseball selection committee which chooses the venue. Dodger Stadium is not one of them. Only Tampa Bay has not had an All Star game.

Ross answers reader questions every week. Email me and I will pass your question on to him.

Next series

Thursday, 7 p.m. PDT, Atlanta (Mike Foltynewicz, 7-5, 3.84) at Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy, 6-3, 3.38)

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Friday, 7 p.m. PDT, Atlanta (Jaime Garcia, 3-7, 4.33) at Dodgers (Alex Wood, 11-0, 1.56)

Saturday, 6 p.m. PDT, Atlanta (Julio Teheran, 7-7, 4.69) at Dodgers (Rich Hill, 6-4, 3.55)

Sunday, 1 p.m. PDT, Atlanta (Sean Newcomb, 1-5, 4.86) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 15-2, 2.07)

Note: Pitchers are subject to change

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And finally

Clayton Kershaw tweaks his strategy on the mound. Read all about it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter:@latimeshouston.

Houston.mitchell@latimes.com

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Twitter: @latimeshouston


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