Back in the saddle … and hoping you’ll come along on the ride

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I’m like an unwanted house guest. Or perhaps a foot fungus.

Every time you think you have gotten rid of me forever, I just keep coming back.

And so, after 14 long months wandering through baseball-writing Siberia, I have decided to return once again with this blog, which has a name to match my Twitter account because I like to keep things consistent. The mission is to provide you with first-hand, on-site coverage of your Los Angeles Dodgers. That means every day. At home, on the road, in spring training and throughout the offseason. We begin this Friday, Aug. 9, when the Dodgers open a homestand against the Tampa Bay Rays. And when I say I have decided to do this, I mean exactly that. This is my blog. There are no editors, no bean counters, no office managers. No one dictating content. Well, except for you, the reader. Because when I say this is my blog, what I really mean is that this is your blog. More on that later.

First, I want to tell you a little about what to expect. Many of you may remember a Dodgers blog I authored several years ago while covering the team for the Los Angeles Daily News. This will be similar to that, albeit with a few more bells and whistles (photos, video and links to other blogs/stories I think you might find interesting), all without the additional, time-consuming burden of writing traditional, long-form newspaper or website stories. This time, there is only this blog, which will be updated several times a day with posts that will usually be short, quick reads (much shorter than this introductory post).

In terms of content, you’ll be getting a little of everything. The handful of friends and colleagues in whom I have confided about my plan to start this blog have been almost unanimous in offering one piece of advice: the content must be unique. Yes, I will be the only full-time Dodgers blogger who is regularly on the road with the team. And yes, this will be the only media outlet on the road with the team that has the luxury of being able to provide constant, often real-time blog updates. But that alone won’t keep you coming back, and I understand that. So I will work every day to give you something you can’t get anywhere else, even as I also give you all the general news you expect. I want to avoid becoming too formulaic, but at the same time, there will be a few standard, daily things, mostly notably a nightly game thread.

Beyond that, you can expect plenty of news, usually presented in an analytical, what-does-it-all-mean kind of way. There will be opinions, random thoughts and observations, stuff that will appeal to the hardcore baseball fan and other stuff that will appeal to the casual fan. There will be a lot of taking you where you can’t go. I want you to feel like you’re right beside me at the ballpark, in the clubhouse, in the dugout, in the press box, wherever I am. That is my goal, to take you on this journey with me, and to make you feel as if you are seeing what I’m seeing, hearing what I’m hearing, maybe even smelling what I’m smelling. Even in those occasional situations in which I can’t give you a photo or a video, expect a lot of description and scene-setting in the text. I want you to feel like you’re there even when you’re not. We might even do some interesting touristy stuff on the road during the day before going to the ballpark for night games.

And when the season ends, this blog won’t. You’ll get all the usual Dodgers hot-stove updates, including trades and free-agent signings, and I’ll be at the winter meetings. But that’s not all. I spend the offseason at my home in Phoenix, so we’ll be going to a lot of Arizona Fall League games and some Instructional League games to keep up with top Dodgers prospects, and I’ll provide winter ball updates as much as I can. I’ll make sure you can get your Dodgers fix here, even during those long winter lulls when you can’t really get it anywhere else.

Now, for a little full disclosure. For about six months, you will have unlimited, free access to this blog. So my hope is that you’ll visit often, that you’ll fall in love with it, that you’ll become addicted to it. But next spring, probably around the start of spring training, I plan to put it behind a very affordable pay wall. The price I have in mind is $29.99 a year (that’s $2.50 a month for year-round coverage, or less than a dime a day). In telling you this now, I’m going against the advice of multiple business advisers who told me it would be smarter not to tell you about the pay wall until the pay wall is put into place. But my readers have been so good to me over the years, so loyal and so supportive, that I refuse to be anything less than completely forthcoming with you. This blog will be fairly expensive to produce, and a pay wall will be absolutely essential to its long-term viability. Some of you are probably now asking yourselves why you should pay for access to a Dodgers blog when there are so many free ones out there. That’s a legitimate and completely understandable viewpoint, and there is nothing I can say right here, right now, to change your mind. But I do believe that if you make this blog a frequent part of your life over the next few months, you will gradually become convinced that it’s worth the price.

Finally — and this is what I meant when I said this is your blog — I want there to be a lot of you. This blog won’t work without you and your comments. I want us to have — and I hate to use this term, because politicians use it all the time, but in this case it fits perfectly — a conversation. A running conversation, as if we were all sitting around a neighborhood bar watching the season play out on television. I want to hear from you. And while most of your comments will be centered around the Dodgers, I also want to hear your thoughts on this blog. What do you want to see more of? What do you want to see less of? What parts of this blog do you love, and what parts do you hate? In addition to posting comments, feel free to email me at tony.jackson@dodgerscribe.com. I’m going to do my best to respond to as many of your comments and as much of your email as I can — although if this blog is as successful as I hope it will be, the volume of comments will be such that it may become impossible to respond as frequently as I would like.

I embark on this new adventure with a tremendous sense of optimism. This blog has been in the planning stage for about three months now. At the moment I decided to go for it, the Dodgers were 12-13, and it would get far worse before it got any better. Yasiel Puig wouldn’t be called up for another five weeks. The bullpen was a mess. Andre Ethier was hitting .241. Matt Kemp was hitting .253 with one home run. Hanley Ramirez was just off the DL and hadn’t started a game yet. And the Dodgers would lose 18 of their next 29, leading to widespread speculation as to the job security of manager Don Mattingly. If things had continued along that path, interest in the team would have largely waned by now. Some fans would have followed the Dodgers to the bitter end, but a lot of them would have found a better way to entertain themselves for the rest of the summer. It certainly wouldn’t have been the best time to be launching a new Dodgers blog and trying to build an audience for it.

But then, things turned around dramatically. The Dodgers “got good,” as we used to say back home in Arkansas. And now, as you and I begin this journey together, the Dodgers are quite possibly baseball’s best story, a team with a real chance to play deep into October. There are no guarantees in this world, but at the very least, it’s a great omen for the launch of this blog.

However the rest of this season plays out, I am excited by the opportunity to witness it first-hand. But I’m even more excited to try to provide you with that same, up-close vantage point.

I’ll see you Friday.

88 comments

  1. As your very first commentator, I’m pleased to see you’re”back in the fold” as NHL Rangers GM Glen”Slats” Sather once said to me. Loved your first entry, but don’t think you’re going to get all the unique Dodgers content because this national reporter and columnist has game. So bring it on. By the way, where can I send the first payment of $29.99? Why wait six months? Consider it seed money. I’ll be a charter investor. And you can pay for lunch at The Pantry on Friday. In sll seriousness, great to have you back and here’s my vote on this being a huge success!

    @Boomskie

  2. Count me in!

  3. Gotcha bookmarked. Good luck. I will be here for Dodger related information/commentary/news. You will lose me if the blog turns to “the best actor on cable on Tuesday night after 9:37 p.m.” or “should I use marinade before or after … ” I realize you can’t fully control comment sections at all times but a community of 12 to 16 “friends” Facebook-like “What’s for dinner tonight” is a turn off on other Dodger sites. But that’s just me! I want a place to go to for “baseball” and I think this might be a great place to hang. Again, great luck with this endeavor — I’ll be watching!

  4. Really excited for this Tony. You do amazing work

  5. Welcome back tony! Super excited about your new blog

  6. Very exciting. Can’t wait to see what’s in store.

  7. So are u traveling with the team on the team plane? Does somebody fund you or do you pay for the traveling yourself? just curious haha

  8. Glad to have you back!

  9. Bring it, Tony! I look forward to balancing out your negativity with my positive, hopeful comments. ;-)

    @geekpowers

  10. Very happy to hear this. You are in my rotation of blogs for sure.

  11. I’ll be monitoring this

  12. I like where this is headed and will be on my daily browse list.

    Good luck!

  13. It’s fantastic to have you back, Tony. You are officially bookmarked and can expect multiple visits from me every single day, year round. I’ll also do what I can do spread the word. Best of luck to you on this wonderful new venture.

  14. Welcome back Tony! I’m in…this year and next year

  15. This sounds fantastic. I am especially excited about the description/scene-setting type of information. Good luck!

  16. Siiiiick!

  17. the more dodger blogs the better.

  18. I am looking forward to reading your work.

  19. Good luck, sir! Can’t wait to read all your updates.

  20. Outstanding! Glad to see one of my favorite writers (and Tweeters) has a new home. Looking forward to following what promises to be “the blog to read”. Congratulations.

  21. Welcome back, Tony! You have been missed. I’m very excited to see where this goes.

  22. Welcome back, Anthony, and best of luck.

  23. Good luck Tony!

  24. Look forward to following your work, Tony.

  25. I can prepay too like Barry Bloom wants to do. Again. Welcome back Tony! Btw, I enjoyed Barry being a moderator at the Sabr convention in Philadelphia.
    -Emma

  26. Great. I have been following you on Twitter and look forward to the blog. I look toward to all the “behind the scenes” info you will provide that other bloggers can’t or don’t provide. If it is good I will be one of the first to pay. Good luck!

  27. I’m down

  28. Excellent move, Tony! I remember reading your blog several years ago. You have a gift of bringing fans “behind the scenes” which is something I have always appreciated, especially living here in Chicago. Stay true to what you’ve plotted out in this post and you will succeed. Count me in. Tom

  29. Also forgot to mention … I also appreciate the mobile friendly format. This makes all the difference in the world.

  30. Tony,
    As a true BLUE diehard Dodger fan in Arizona, best of luck and I am in!!!

  31. You have been missed, so the thought of you creating compelling Dodger content is exciting. After Josh Rawitch stopped updating the “Inside the Dodgers” blog, which was mostly a Dodger marketing site, and used by a group of loyal fans as a nightly chat site, I created “Outside the Dodgers” to give those fans a place to go. It is now self sustainable for the core of a dozen or so fans that meet every day to talk Dodgers.

    I had links to your old sites and Twitter feed until you dropped out of the scene. I, and some or all of the OTD folks will be eagerly awaiting your spin and reporting right from the field, dugout, and clubhouse. Good luck Tony!

  32. So glad to have you back Tony. Loved your blog back in the day and can’t wait to see what you do as your own editor. Who knows…maybe we can all work to cinvince Donnie to knock it off with the bnting

  33. Welcome back Tony!

  34. First thing I did was bookmark this website.

    I used to post on your old LA Daily News site, and to say the least, wasn’t happy when it disappeared. And that led me to me to LADodgertalk.com, the site hosted by that Timmons guy with the ugly mug above (Mark, that’s a JOKE). Looking forward to Friday. If this is anything like your old site, $29.99/yr. will be a bargain.

  35. Congrats Tony! I started following you during your Siberian saga, and will certainly continue now, as you are one of the top journalists following the Blue!

  36. Adding this to my daily Dodgers work rotation, welcome back

  37. Site bookmarked! Great to see you back, Tony.

  38. Here by way of M. Timmons. We’ll see!

  39. I may not be your only Australian fan but this Aussie is really glad to see you back covering the Dodgers. I look forward to a long association on this blog.

  40. Good luck Tony. Wish you the best

  41. So looking forward to it!

  42. Welcome back. It will be a pleasure to read someone that is not an Angel’s fan in disguise scribbling on the world wide leader’s site.

  43. I used to depend upon your Dodger reports in the past. Glad to have them back.

  44. Tony, good luck.

  45. Man, am I dreaming? My favorite Dodger writer is back! Life is GOOD!

  46. This is great news, Tony. Missed your Dodgers writing. Already added you high up in my Main Bookmarks folder…

  47. Welcome back, Tony. Best news of the day was seeing your return to the Dodger blogging world!

  48. There are no words to express my gratitude at the kind, supportive words you have posted on this blog today. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I will work every day to give you a product that is worthy of the support you have shown me. The rest of this Dodgers season is going to be fascinating, no matter how it ends. I am grateful for the chance to chronicle it for you.

  49. That’s great, Tony. I’m really glad my favorite beat writer is back.

    • By the way, I hope you accept the payment via Western Union,Tony. I don’t live in US I hate credit cards.

      • Ricardo, I’m in the process of figuring all that out now, so I’ll keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks for the kind words.

      • I bought a used Nikon D3100 DSLR camera yesterday and the seller told me about Chase Quick Pay. The money is transferred fast and and recipient doesn’t have to pay a fee.

      • Thanks, Brian, I’ll definitely take a look at it. There are so many of those services out there that it’s hard to figure out which one to go with. Good luck with the new camera.

  50. You have been missed, old friend. Good to have you back. See you on Friday.

  51. Cant wait to read! Good Luck!!

  52. Looking forward to it!

  53. What’s your name again?

  54. There can never be too much information on the Dodgers ….I became a fan in the glory years of the 50′s and have been a fanatic ever since!!

  55. Excellent news! Welcome back, and looking forward to your coverage and insights.

  56. I’m in. With a question:

    are we signing Guerrero or not?

  57. This is the best news of the year. I’d pay 30 bucks a MONTH to read your blog!

  58. Hi Tony.

    This is great news! However, I’m not loving the font you chose. It looked pretty good on my android, but not good on this PC!

    • yeah, we’re not exactly wedded to this particular blog theme. It’s what we’re going with for now, but it may change. Thanks for the feedback.

  59. Looking forward to wanting to pay for your blog.

  60. Mark Reynolds anyone? If McGwire could get through to him, and get him back into OPS+ country, he could be an improvement at third. Well, ok, maybe not playing in the field but in the lineup. I saw him every day in 2009 and he was very impressive then – at age 25. Juicer? Never heard his name associated with that, but, who knows.

  61. Okay Tony, a selling point you made is a promise to not withhold the true facts. Dodgers didn’t disclose facts about Kemp’s injury, actually they disclosed misleading information that I among others couldn’t bite into and thanks goes to M.S.T.I.’s continual feed that showed Kemp was really very injured. You were inside and ‘privy’ as a witness to know a better truth than we got, as an example. Is it a fair question to ask if a pay wall gives inside info, perhaps that Dodgers wouldn’t necessarily appreciate? What I mean is, me, and others, knew Kemp was injured, (you knew Kemp was injured) so would we hear it 1st from you? If the answer is yes then I’m sold and the pay wall is surely a great bargain.

    • You make a fair point. Only problem is I haven’t actually been with the team this year. That will change on Friday, though, so I will do my best to provide you with what you’re looking for.

  62. When did you leave the Daily News? I thought you were just on vacation.

  63. Sounds cool. I’m not sure how you can support yourself doing this, especially if you are paying your own airfare on every Dodgers road trip. Maybe you have a good accountant who can write the expenses off your taxes. Anyways, good luck. Hopefully the comments stay focussed on the Dodgers and baseball in general instead of diving in to the love lifes and business trips of your readers.

  64. Tony, welcome back . . . I am Mark T. friend at Spring Training. The guy always giving you deep stories to write and then passing. Best on this site. Will see you either at Camelback or on a road game sometime.

    Again, best to you on this . . . and want to hear your insights. Roger

  65. Tony, I like your point about the timing of kicking off Dodger Scribe in relation to the current state of affairs that is the Dodgers’ amazing (no other word for it) record, as opposed to attempting to launch out of the toilet of 12-13. But when you follow or just observe other sites — Mike Scioscia’s, SOSG, True Blue etc — you see a huge fan base out there that you can be sure will be cheering the Boys in Blue or moaning about the dem bums until the last out of the season. So, whether you’re tapping into it during the current, ecstatic situation or at a different time when the picture isn’t so rosy, I believe you will find an engaged and very wide audience. Charge me 30 bucks or whatever. Sounds like a blast.

  66. When does the Dodgertalk begin?

  67. Wilson’s progress? Fastball topped out st 91-93. I believe he was throwing his slider that hard in SF. He has a foot to go on that pitch.

  68. I am in. Looking forward to your next post.

  69. Man did you pick the perfect night to return!!!

  70. Impressed the first day Tony. Refreshing to actually have a place to get an updated status on players that are injured. I haven’t found that anywhere but here. I am in for the fee when it comes and wish you all the best. I just got a bite of what is ahead. I like, so don’t go away.

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  72. Tony,

    I’m so glad that you’re receiving all this support. Good luck.

    Rick Assad