He men, she men, brutes and dandies… a look at Dodger GMs since Al Campanis
Your “Dodger Boy” post, which was amazingly detailed and right on, got me thinking about a topic we’ve discussed a few times in our own conversations. I thought I would throw out there the comedy that has been Dodger GMs since Al Campanis. Let me explain…
First off, Al is looked at fondly as a great Dodger character, and was. I don’t think for a second he was racist – drunk, as you point out, probably, and old, confused and thrown last minute in front of the camera certainly, but not racist. We all know Al’s relationship with black and Latin ballplayers, so it bothers me when Dodger haters painted Al as a villain.
An interesting thing happened after Al stepped down though, non baseball people, or business-minded guys with white collar trappings, “Metrosexuals”, began populating the Dodgers front office – as well as other front offices throughout the league. The real issue to me here, and it’s meant to be funny, so please take it in the spirit of which it’s intended – after Al Campanis, there were a lot of “Dodger Boys”, in some way, shape or form – and very few men.
NO baseball men, NO guys who could down a bottle of scotch, grab a dame around the waist, or in fact get away with calling a woman a dame, a broad, a skirt, baby, or any of those lovely chauvinistic things we as guys hold so dear. That is, until Ned Colletti came aboard. (And rest assured, Kim Ng is a better woman because of it!)
Think about it…
Fred Claire – VERY effeminate speaking voice, beautifully sculpted and sprayed hair, natty attire without so much as a wrinkle, always gentlemanly. Can you imagine Fred across from an old school baseball guy at a negotiation? No wonder after his whirlwind of great moves leading up to the 1988 season, he almost never replicated that genius, even backpedaling whenever a trade opportunity arose. Ok, Pedro for Delino bit him in the ass badly, but I’ll go on record and defend that move, as I clearly remember how all of that went down, and moving a little relief pitcher his manager and team physician ruled too slight to start 35 games per year for one of the most exciting young catalysts in baseball, after losing his second baseman, isn’t such a crazy idea. But Fred was impotent (sorry, Fred) for years after that and when offered a then in his prime Robin Ventura for guys like Roger Cedeno or Billy Ashley, Fred shied away. Tsk, tsk, it wasn’t just the voice, the hair, the ironed Dockers and properly fitting polo shirt, Fred, it was your spine. You didn’t have much of one.
Kevin Malone – already gone over in great detail. A guy with a wimpy voice, odd looking, almost Hitler-like mustache (say what you want about Hitler, I hate the guy’s guts, but at least if the Sheriff shaved his ‘stache a little smaller and it actually WAS like Hitler, he might’ve been more of a bad ass), and corporate suck up mentality – how tough could he be? Sure, he immaturely challenged taunting fans to fist fights like an ape, but he also talked an awful lot about God, faith, Jesus, church, and perhaps the Holy Ghost. So again, “Dodger Boy” sitting down across from an opposing GM in a negotiation, a guy who probably chewed pistachio nuts with the shells on, or a Godless parasite like Scott Boras…? No match.
Tommy – ok, a blip on the radar. Here’s a man’s man who has been rumored to have had infidelities, even those of the “professional” nature. Tommy comes from a fine line of hard drinking, foul mouthed baseball guys that any guy would be proud of knowing. He was an abysmal GM however, well past his prime, a throwback not equipped to mix it up with more alert, younger, and better educated GMs. Tommy, at least you were a dude, so I can appreciate that.
Some proof Tommy’s all man…
Dan Evans – Dan is a hero of mine, a HUGELY underrated Dodger GM. If Malone didn’t foul things up so much, Fox wouldn’t have clamped down on the purse strings the way they did. Evans had to work with nothing, and still managed to field a competitive Dodger team. I went into details about his pitching staff, his defense, his scouting, etc. Evans took over and realized our pitching rotation and lineup needed variety and intentionally went out and found that variety, creating a staff of dissimilar styled pitchers that excelled. The remaking of the sad farm was absolutely brilliant, and it amuses me to no end when Sabermetrics lovers trash Evans and assume all the kiddies they love so much fell out of the air, or that Logan White just appeared and made all of this happen by himself. Dummies. But as far as a man’s man…? Dan wore the famous pink shirts, had a very nicely styled haircut and also spoke in a quasi effeminate voice – though not nearly as Charles Nelson Reilly-esque as Fred Claire’s. Dan, I love you, but we got you on the pink shirt and high-pitched voice technicality.
Paul DePodesta – whiz kid smart-ass Paul DePodesta looked and sounded like a child. His squeaky voice and Howdy Doody look no doubt got him shoved into many a locker during his school days. A wimp who tried to pad his resume as a baseball man by saying while at Harvard – yes, Harvard! – he played baseball and football. That’s like saying he… well, played baseball and football… AT HARVARD! A GM I thoroughly despised for his destructive need to screw up a good situation and rebuild the thing in his own Moneyball image, it’s highly unlikely DePodesta has reached puberty yet. A wimp, putz, dork and dipshit all in one package, this bespectacled waste of space is a blight on the name Dodgers. And did I mention he’s a jackass? No? He is. And not a man by any stretch of the imagination.
So there’s my case – except for the Lasorda speedbump that did it’s darndest to derail our ship, even in the brief time he had in the hot seat, the Dodgers GM office was high on flower arrangements and Kenny G music from Al Campanis’ time ended, to Ned Colletti entering.
Now we have a red meat-eating man’s man with forearms Lou Grant would be proud of. Ned’s a no-nonsense tough Italian who could kick my ass and yours – at the same time. Ned’s all man and no doubt has had driver/bodyguard-loving Jamie McCourt sighing lustfully at the Dodger offices and fanning herself more than once. No Jamie, those aren’t hot flashes, sweetie, that’s Ned’s man musk driving you crazy.
Ned should be bottled. He’d surely outsell Axe, the products marketed to Neanderthal-ish young men who read Maxim magazine and are told to believe if you use some of it, chicks will line up around the block to hop into bed with you. Axe probably has no hormonal effect on women, but Ned…? Ned’s Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Forrest Tucker, Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Russell Crowe all in one guy.
Does all this testosterone matter for a Dodger GM? Of course it does! When Ned sits down with other GMs, they know a man’s sitting across from them. They send Manny to Los Angeles for Andy LaRoche, and PAY Manny’s salary to boot! When reporters ask asinine questions at a press conference, Ned rubs his face with disgust and growls out a short answer that has none of the nasally twang of gentlemanly Fred Claire, math whiz DePo or genial Dan Evans. AND Ned shuts the dumb reporter down – fast, moving onto the next question, and probably dinner at Musso & Frank.
Ned’s a smart baseball man who makes a mistake on occasion, but GETS the game. He isn’t pouring over spreadsheets and developing cute, little Excel macros to calculate a player’s worth. Ned looks at a player’s performance, factors in his character, goes with the word of his scouts and coaching staff, and uses some old-school gut to make the final decision.
While the same folks who criticize Evans take shots at Ned, I’ll defend both to the grave. Will I say both are flawless? Hell no, I already said as much. But would I prefer either of them over some of the other dolts who have managed to majorly screw our beloved team up?! You better believe it.
Ned, here’s to you, the winner of the Most Manly Dodger GM Since Al Campanis award, given to you for your thick, hairy arms, mussed, unstyled hair, sloppily trimmed mustache and overall machismo.
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