Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dodger blogger profile: Jon Weisman (Dodger Thoughts)

In the eighth part of my Dodger Blogger Profile series, I catch up with Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts. I posted a piece on Feb. 3 I wrote about him a couple years ago.

Weisman was the first Dodger blog (or any blog, for that matter) I ever started reading and it's been a treat. He's really the most rational Dodger blogger out there -- he doesn't get too high or too low on the Dodgers. I think that's what I like most about him and his blog.

1. How did you become a Dodgers' fan?
- I have no conscious memory of becoming one. I just was. I actually have earlier memories of being a Lakers and Rams fan – we had Rams season tickets growing up, and the Lakers being on their 33-game winning streak in the 1971-72 season is my earliest sports memory. We just rooted for the local teams in those days and there was no reason for the Dodgers to be an exception. My earliest Dodger memory is watching Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in 1974 off Al Downing on TV – I was 6 1/2, and I know I was a fan of the team by then.

2. What got you into blogging?
- A combination of being bored at one point at work and having a friend who had started her own personal blog, back when blog was an almost completely unfamiliar term. One day it clicked for me that a blog would help with my boredom and provide an outlet for my thoughts about the Dodgers, even if at the time only my brother would be reading. I had no idea when I started that it would be a long-term thing.

3. What are some of goals for your blog?
- Originally, it was just to articulate some analysis and information about the Dodgers that the mainstream outlets weren’t providing. You have to understand that when I started this, you could hardly find any Dodger coverage that wasn’t more or less by the book. Nothing along the lines of what you see today. That being said, I still find angles that others don’t seem to see.

Then, over time, I have come to value Dodger Thoughts as an outlet to offer some more personal reflections. No matter how many people write about the Dodgers, I’m the only one who’s going to write about me.

But I also take pride in linking regularly to good work by others. There’s so much good stuff out there, and I always feel a strong itch to get people to read it. I could be wrong, but I’d venture that no one in the Dodger blogging world has been as dedicated to this as I am.

4. What is the best experience you've had since blogging?
- I’d have to say the way the Dodger Thoughts commenting community came together a few years ago will always stick with me. There are some pieces I’ve written that I’m particularly proud of, but as far as experiences go, that community forming was once-in-a-lifetime. Even though it has mostly moved on to and grown in other places, I’ll always remember how it was.

5. What is your most memorable in-person Dodgers' experience?
- For games I actually attended, possibly Fernando’s no-hitter and Dennis Martinez’s perfect game. I’ve seen lots of dramatic moments – so many that if I tried I could list dozens - but those are the first that come to mind.

6. How many Dodger games have you attended? At Dodger Stadium?
- I’ve been keeping count of this since 1991, and the tally is at 585 – all but probably about 10 of those at Dodger Stadium. My high for one season is 70. I’d guess that if you include the pre-1991 years, I’m approaching 1,000.

7. Who is your all-time favorite Dodger player and pitcher?
- Somehow I keep coming back to the two Pedros, Guerrero and Astacio. I just loved Guerrero as a hitter and was in awe of him, and, outside of Bill James calling him "the best hitter God has made in a long time” never felt he got enough credit. Astacio won me over for his childlike celebration when he pitched a shutout in his first major-league game. R.J. Reynolds is in similar company for me because of his squeeze bunt to win the 9/11/83 game that I always celebrate at Dodger Thoughts.

It’s not that there aren’t players from other eras that I don’t love, including Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw today, but I feel connected to Guerrero and Astacio the same way I feel connected to “Hill Street Blues” as my favorite TV show.

8. What season of Dodgers' baseball do you remember most? Why?
- At the risk of taking this too literally, the way you phrased the question (instead of asking which season is “most memorable”) rules out some more obvious choices. Not that I don’t have clear memories, but I wouldn’t necessarily say 1988 because I was away from Los Angeles most of that season, for college and summer jobs. And I kind of don’t want to say 1981, despite the World Series title, because the strike made a big chunk of that year vanish. I’m actually finding it hard not to say 2009, because it was a crazy year that came so close to a title – and because it was recent so I’m not struggling to remember as much…

9. Who is the Dodger you liked that no one else seemed to like?
- Well, certainly Reynolds and Astacio didn’t inspire a ton of dedicated fans, but I don’t think anyone disliked them. Then there are guys like Hee Seop Choi and Jonathan Broxton, polarizing players who had plenty of diehard supporters. I wish I could think of someone that I was truly out on a limb for. Maybe Jose Offerman? I was defending him well past the point that anyone I knew was listening.

10. What do you the Dodgers need to do to win another World Series in your lifetime (save axing McCourt and Colletti)?
- Well, it’s not rocket science – make intelligent decisions and get a little lucky. It’s hardly unachievable, which is what makes the current drought so frustrating. It’s much more likely to happen than not. But then again, my dad was raised a Cubs fan, so I know how it can go…

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