Dodgers vice chairman Steve Soboroff probably needs to be fired

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Frank McCourt hired Steve Soboroff as his Vice Chairman a couple of weeks ago. His mission: to help the Dodgers get their security situation in order in the wake of the Bryan Stow beating.  His real job since that time: to be a McCourt mouthpiece in his battle with Major League Baseball. Indeed, one of his first acts was to try to shamelessly score some P.R. points against MLB using Dodgers’ security as pretext.

The Los Angeles Times reports that he was at it again yesterday, only this time he decided to tell an outright lie rather than merely spin hypothetical scenarios.  Specifically, he told several media outlets that Tom Schieffer, the trustee appointed by Major League Baseball to run the team, did not respond promptly to a request from the Dodgers’ general counsel for upgraded stadium security in the wake of the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.

The only problem: it was a lie. Schieffer responded via email within two minutes of the request, granting it. Frank McCourt apologized late yesterday, admitting that Soboroff’s claim was baloney. Soboroff has not commented. Which is understandable, because what is he gonna say? “I hereby retract the bullsh** statement I made that was clearly calculated to make it seem like Schieffer is not on top of his duties in overseeing the Dodgers. I will attempt to offer less baldly false propaganda in my efforts to help Mr. McCourt keep his team in the future”?

Frank McCourt has said a lot of things in the past week in an effort to make it seem like he’s still in charge of the Dodgers. Here’s one thing that might actually work, Frank: fire your buddy Soboroff.

Or not. After all, when the team doesn’t make payroll at the end of the month and MLB takes over, they’re gonna fire him anyway.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.