Archive

Archive for December, 2009

Frank McCourt needs to be run the F*ck out of town!

December 23, 2009 1 comment

Let’s summarize…

Skinflint owner who inherited Boston real estate, parking lots more specifically, wants to buy the hometown Red Sox, is unable to and takes interest in our beloved Dodgers.

Skinflint owner doesn’t have the wherewithall to buy the Dodgers, but the idea of a skinflint owner in one of baseball’s biggest markets, a chance to control the salary imbalance while not messing with the free spending East Coast teams, is appealing to Bud Selig, MLB and the other team owners. By hook or crook, mostly crook, with promises of a “Giants-like payroll around $65 million”, Frank McCourt and saddlebag wife “buy” the Dodgers with hefty loans from Fox, the outgoing owner of the team.

Skinflint owner immediately shits on Dodger fans everywhere, and tradition, hiring his own whiz kid who will play the role of Theo Epstein, McCourt’s fan boy crush in Boston. Paul DePodesta, or “DePo” for short, is hired, with much boasting of his Harvard background and genius around a spreadsheet. True baseball fans are appalled and sickened.

DePo and McCourt, arm in arm, destroy the Dodgers as DePo carries out his boss’ mandate to slash payroll, with the added fun of being able to prove to the world how brilliant he is. DePo decimates a perfectly functional Dodger ballclub, trading away every meaningful piece for almost nothing, then acquires useless career minor leaguers and baseball dysfunctions and calls them his team.

The DePo Dodgers are a laughingstock, one of the worst editions of the blue in many, many years. Fans, rightfully, are up in arms and want to tar and feather McCourt and his nasally, prepubescent GM and run them out of town. In true Botox rich guy fashion, McCourt throws young DePo to the wolves to save his own ass – even though in part DePo was only doing what McCourt told him to – get payroll real low!

Skinflint owner McCourt has to hire a real baseball guy to appease the masses and keep attendance up – raised ticket prices, raised parking prices, raised concession prices, etc. will mean nothing without butts in the seats. McCourt hires manly man Ned Colletti, he of mussed hair, uneven mustache and old school baseball smarts.

Thankfully the one thing brainiac DePo didn’t do wrong was screw up the farm. THE FARM as it shall be known for now and ever was the creation of Dan Evans and his baseball group, the guys McCourt mostly pushed out in favor of his Theo. Ironically, and it needs to be mentioned, Theo isn’t even Theo anymore – or not the Theo McCourt’s thinking of. What’s Moneyball about a massive payroll and superstars wherever possible? That’s what Boston does, and has to do to keep up with the Yankees, but someone forgot to mention that to Frank McCourt, i.e. skinflint owner.

So with THE FARM intact, Ned Colletti was able to build around it quite easily, rapidly tossing DePo’s horrid AAAA players to the curb. Gone were stellar performers like Hee-Seop Choi, Antonio Perez, Jason Grabowski, Oscar Robles, Jason Phillips, etc. And as soon as humanly possible, so were DePo’s bad personality high-priced items like Jeff Kent, Brad Penny, JD Drew and Derek Lowe (one way or another).

Names that were mysteriously removed from players’ uniforms reappeared and fans had reason to get excited. The Dodgers were finally on the right track, bringing up talented home grown players, and mixing them in with smart, productive veteran performers. A few questionable contracts occurred along the way, which haters will point to as signs Colletti is as incompetent as DePo, but any fan with half a brain would see the results – a horrible team turned into a team that made the playoffs 4 of 5 years, the last 2 as far as the NLCS. The dreaded “no playoff wins in almost 20 years” mantra disappeared as the Dodgers got their playoff mojo back. And for every Jason Schmidt or Andruw Jones there was a Manny Ramirez or Casey Blake.

2 NLCS appearances in a row – that’s worth remembering. In sports, not just baseball, teams always look to get within striking distance. If they get close, almost every team, in all four of the major sports, makes a run at it. It’s common sense. Why would an owner be in the business of sports and not make a serious run when all the pieces fell into place and they were so close? It really is infrequent that an owner would be so stupid that he’d not make the necessary moves to not only win now, but create a mini dynasty, racking up several titles which surely would equate to even more attendance and fan interest and – ta-da! – money in the pocket of said owner.

Skinflint owner Frank McCourt is a rare commodity. He’s an owner that does NOT wear the team’s hat at the games – dare he mess up his expensive haircut. He does not wear a team jacket or even appear to be a real fan of the team. McCourt and haggard wife are all about smiling, posing next to Tiger Woods (not a great person to want to pose with, is he?) and wearing expensive, Rodeo Drive outfits. They like to be SEEN, they like to appear to be a major part of the LA scene. Why? I’ll tell you.

The McCourts came to Los Angeles to own a baseball team, but more to own what could be a major real estate operation. The Dodgers ownership comes with very valuable real estate – the property Dodger Stadium sits on, which would be ideal for condos and fancy shopping malls, restaurants, etc. A sharply dressed power couple shmoozing those warm summer nights away alongside Tiger and smirking Mayor Villaraigosa, could quite easily develop all this land and make a killing. What about the baseball team? Yeah, they could stay too – as long as they didn’t get in the way of the shopping malls and restaurants and CASH.

As I noted, a normal owner would see a team loaded with young stars who were quickly becoming some of the best young players at their respective positions, a team peppered with established stars as well, a team that not only was an NLCS player but also had the best record in the NL and home field advantage in the playoffs, and that owner would know this was a chance to make a serious run.

Stop for a moment and ask how would the Yankees handle this? How would Boston? How would the Mets? Ok, they’re rich teams, not a fair comparison? I’d argue why not? Is Los Angeles suddenly Poughkeepsie? If you notice, the Phillies won a World Series and wanted more. They obtained Cliff Lee, a pitcher we desperately needed, and went to the World Series again – two years in a row, right through us. They lost the World Series this Fall but were there. This off-season they added more players, including Roy Halladay, arguably the best pitcher in baseball. This is Philadelphia btw, not New York, or Boston. How are they able to do it? Why do they do it? Because they’re NORMAL!

An owner worth a damn sees this opportunity once in a blue moon, and in Philly’s case, they realize that the window will likely be closing soon. Ryan Howard will walk, and so will his 40-50 homers and 140+ rbi. The time to win is now. Philly invested in their future and are insuring that in doing so they will be major players in the NL for several years now. But what of the Dodgers?

A team loaded with young talent – both everyday players and pitchers and more on the way. Young talent is a wonderful thing as it serves two functions – a) it allows for holes on the major league roster to be filled, and b) it allows ammunition to acquire much needed stars as such needs arise. Well, with his hands held behind his back by said skinflint owner, Ned Colletti isn’t allowed to do much, especially now. This past July he couldn’t add the ace we needed, nor could he last off-season. After a second straight ouster in the NLCS and admission that the difference between the Dodgers and Phillies was in starting pitching, surely this winter would be different, right?

Immediately our best starter, Randy Wolf, was let go. As were Garland and Padilla. Well, surely this was a way to move pretty good pitchers’ salaries and refocus them into VERY good pitchers, right? The Halladay rumors began and we were barely mentioned. This player and that went here and there, mostly to the Yankees, Boston, Phillies and even the Mariners! The Dodgers acquired utility man Jamey Carroll and I’m sure will make a move or four before the team heads off to spring training. The problem is – during a winter where our beloved Randy Wolf is the 2nd best starter available, obviously it’s going to mean trades to acquire the much-needed starting pitching we need. We are unable to deal – not because we don’t have players other teams want, but because skinflint owner will not allow his GM to add salary.

At this writing the Dodgers team payroll is remarkably close to that “Giants-like $65 million” that was apparently promised Bud Selig, MLB and the other team owners several years back. Also, it’s not much different than what payroll was under not Fox, but Peter O’Malley – eons ago. If you account for inflation, the old O’Malley Dodgers had a higher payroll than the 2009, soon to be 2010 Dodgers. And Fox’ payroll was near double what it is today.

When I hear “we’re going to give 2nd base to Blake DeWitt”, I am torn. I have long been a fan who championed the home grown talent, rooting for the Tracy Woodsons and Ralph Bryants of the world – yes, it’s been a long ride. I am a huge supporter of Blake DeWitt and not only am thrilled he could be our opening day 2nd baseman, but I think he’ll do a very good job. The kid has baseball smarts, and is talented both as a clutch hitter and as a versatile defender. That said, I’m disgusted.

Let’s face it, DeWitt showed a lot in 2008 where he stepped in from AA obscurity to hold down 3rd base, then 2nd base, even playing in the 2008 post-season, and doing well. 2009 was the time they should have said “we’re going to give 2nd base to Blake DeWitt”, but they didn’t. They signed Orlando Hudson to an undermarket contract, and I was happy about that. Why? Because Orlando Hudson’s a Gold Glove 2nd baseman and amazing player, not to mention a great citizen and team leader. The young Dodgers needed another veteran influence, and Hudson was a perfect addition.

So Hudson is sent packing – I’m sure not at all to do with salary – and DeWitt, who struggled in the minors in 2009, probably demoralized due to not getting a big league job, and struggled in this Fall’s AFL action, is now all of a sudden ready. How is this possible? He’s playing better now than he was in 2008? No. The difference is he’s cheap.

Skinflint owner has a great excuse that he’s went to many times over the past several years – he can sell it to the Dodgers fan, god bless them, many not so neurotic and geeky as myself and you, if you’re reading this. He can say, “see, I’m restoring the Dodgers to what they were – a team that develops its own talent and plays them!” What Dodger fan could find fault in that? He’s right – that’s what the Dodgers are about. A well trained farm system that produces great talent who come up through all the usual stops and play for the big team. That’s Dodger baseball, right?

Well, it is, except he’s using this feel-good story to strangle us. I know, you know, and others know that it’s all about money – money he doesn’t have since the real estate collapse and a pending divorce from said saddlebag wife. I used to think that he was just cheap, and I think there’s certainly a good dose of that in his actions, but let’s face it, he had to borrow and steal to “buy” the team, so even with 3.5 million plus and all those increased ticket and parking prices, not to mention ads being sold and covering every square inch of Blue Heaven on Earth, he’s broke. At least in rich baseball owner terms.

Is McCourt really broke? Well, it’s all relative. I think he’s as broke as he feels. He expected a certain amount of money, and it ain’t there. The real estate bust made sure there would be no condos, shopping malls and restaurants on Dodger Stadium property, and with his wife looking to slice him in half come May and the divorce proceedings, the likelihood is slim skinflint owner will ever see the dream become a reality. I think he’s too goddamn stupid to realize the easiest way to achieve his dreams is to field a winner year in and year out at Dodger Stadium.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us with a sore ass as we’ve been reamed once again, and for what? For loving our Dodgers and again foolishly believing this would be different. I mean – we got rid of DePo and his crap team, and we got Moneyball genius Billy Beane to give us Andre Ethier for meltdown Milton Bradley, and we got Boston to not only give us Manny Ramirez, but pay his salary too! We won the West, had the best record, home field – this is amazing, right? Arguably all we need are two pitchers, an ace and a good 2nd banana, to go along with what we have and we could not only WIN the World Series, we’re in a position to win several titles.

Surely the Dodgers brass has to realize this too – yet, as I listen to XM’s baseball discussion on my radio each day, I hear the same teams mentioned for every good player – and none of them are the Dodgers. It’s gotten to the point where very openly it’s discussed how the Dodgers need to keep shedding payroll, and can’t sign anyone. Our GM is so pissed he’s taken to inviting anyone who says he can’t sign a player to his room so he can punch them in the face. Imagine how frustrated Ned Colletti is when he says he plans to address the big need for starting pitchers, and is then told by McCourt and his go-between that he won’t be adding anybody that costs more than a Wal-Mart employee. I bet Ned’s drinking a lot of wine, beer and Jack nowadays.

So we can bend over and take it, like we have for years, even predating skinflint owner’s entry into this sad melodrama, or we can do something about it. What can we do? We can run this motherf*cker out of town like he deserves. I think inevitably he will have to sell, as was the case in San Diego as their owner divorced, but what it means is we waste 2010 and all of this talent – which sadly will compete as/is.

Doing nothing at all, just keeping the offense, a representative bench and fairly good bullpen intact will mean a team that could win the West, or at worst will battle all summer with the Giants, Rockies and Snakes. But if we added 2 starting pitchers, that almost could be a certainty and the Dodgers would likely have enough to take down the Phillies and go to the World Series. Left as it is now, said skinflint owner can say “see, we’re right in the thick of it” and as we scrape to the West title, he can smile next to Hollywood power players as an ordinary LA family can’t afford to attend more than 1-2 games, if even that.

So how do we run this douche bag out of town? I will leave that to the group to decide. I will say that I’ve hopefully given enough reason for McCourt’s abilities as Dodger owner to be called into question. For the brainwashed few who say “he’s brought us a playoff team” – umm, no, he hasn’t. The facts are – Dan Evans and his team, including Logan White who Evans hired, created THE FARM that has served us so well the past several years. McCourt came in and hired his Theo who destroyed the team and sent us back into the stone ages, complete with no names on the backs of the player uniforms. Do you remember those players he assembled? Look up the lineups, they’re not only laughable, they’re unrecognizable. On any given night I had no idea who the players who were impersonating the Dodgers were. And unlikeable? Jeff Kent and his surly demeanor, JD Drew? Please.

McCourt only canned DePo to save his own ass, and only hired Ned Colletti to make it seem as if he too was outraged. Outraged? Why would he be outraged? He hired DePo and told him to do what he did – albeit DePo took an added relish in the dismantling of our beloved underachieving team, and will never be forgiven for that.

The turnaround under Ned Colletti, 4 of 5 playoff appearances, yadda yadda, is not because of McCourt, it’s because of Dan Evans and his team, Logan White included, and Ned Colletti. Don’t be bamboozled, and don’t worry about “poor Frank McCourt” and his money. If he can’t afford to own a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, he shouldn’t own a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers. He can own the Pittsburgh Pirates, or better, a minor league team.

While Bud Selig and MLB would have you believe the only teams that matter are in the East, and that LA is not a large market, it is. Screw Frank McCourt, screw Bud “Crypt Keeper” Selig and the jackoff owners who enabled skinflint McBotox to “own” the Dodgers. The Dodgers are a public trust, and are really owned by baseball fans who love the team. McCourt and his well worn saddlebag of a wife are merely caretakers of this trust and they have screwed things up majorly. They’re only fortunate that the stars aligned and THE FARM has made their skullduggery less noticeable.

Let the casual fans bury their heads in the sand like ostriches, we’re the geeks and diehards who know better. Frank McCourt isn’t fooling us, and what he’s doing by not adding the necessary pieces to this beautiful puzzle is FAR WORSE than what Fox did in their time as owner. The Fox teams overspent and forced the issue, but in truth we were not ready then. After many years of cultivating a minor league system, resurrecting it from the ashes and more, finally producing not only serviceable big leaguers, but young stars, the time is NOW. Not acquiring an ace last winter, and again this past summer, and now this winter is CRIMINAL. Skinflint owner needs to be run out of town on a rail. NO MORE.

If you feel like I do, you’re going to go to get out of your chairs, go over to the window, stick your head out and yell, “I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!!!!!” Enough of this bullshit, the time has come for action.

McCourt, you’re on the way out, baby.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized

Shit or Get off the Pot

December 14, 2009 1 comment

It has been almost two weeks since my last post.  I hadn’t intended to go so long, but it appears that my inactivity was perfectly in keeping with the current Dodger zeitgeist.  What can be said about a winter meeting in which the pursuit of Jeff Weaver is the biggest rumor?

But the issue here isn’t fan boredom or the simply the lack of big signings and juicy rumors.  If only it were.  Nope – we’ve been down that road before and usually I’ve been the guy preaching patience.  I don’t generally want to see an exciting offseason so much as I’d like to see a well-executed offseason.  What thrills me is seeing the Dodger’s GM come in with a plan and execute it.

Unless that plan is all about standing pat when a championship is just inches from our grasp.

As I sit here typing this, it literally sickens me.  Lord knows, though DFNY and I have only just begun to recount our version of the Dodger experience, we’ve certainly already touched upon a pretty long list of hurt, betrayals and letdowns.  Much of it has been told with a bit of tongue in cheek and a flair for the dramatic as we certainly recognize that in the scheme of things, baseball is just a game.

But it is a game that millions of us invest ourselves in.  It becomes entwined in our personal histories.  It becomes a part of our lives.   We fill the stands night after night, buy the overpriced food and the overpriced jerseys.  Some even name their kids after a favorite player or perhaps even have their remains kept in an urn with their team’s logo.

So yes, we are invested.  And I am not being dramatic when I ask if it is too much to ask for the people who have taken on the trust of owning our team to invest themselves in the game too?  What other goal is there besides a championship?

I’m not sure what it is from Frank McCourt’s perspective, but it appears to be about financial restraint as much as anything.  Now financial restraint is admirable I suppose, but nobody spends eternity in an urn with their accountant’s logo on it.  We want to celebrate a world series.

Here is a little factoid for you:  Guess where the Los Angeles Dodgers ranked in overall payroll last year?  Somewhere near the top of the pile, right?

How does ninth strike you?

Less than the Houston Astros.  Less then the Orange County Angels of Disneyland.

So when you read a story wherein Ned Colletti denies that his budget has gone down, and then he brags that it might even go up this year – ask yourself if “might” is actually good enough.  

Hey Ned, not sure if you recall, but the Dodgers were in the NLCS two years running.  Both times we fell short because our team did not quite stack up to the Phillies.  Both times the Phillies walked away determined to improve themselves .  Ned, I get that you feel you have to mouth the company line now that you are officially our biggest free agent signing for the year, but tell me with a straight face that we are not realistically one pitcher away from catching the Phillies.  And we might increase payroll?  Are you fucking kidding me you swarthy moustached bastard?

Meanwhile all appearances are that we are not even doing that much.  None of our free agents were offered arbitration.  Our best starting pitcher was allowed to sign elsewhere as a free agent – and we won’t even get a draft pick as compensation.  In the paper every day we read about how we are not a match for any of the big name free agents or trade targets.

Perhaps this is just a ruse and we’re really laying in wait – soon to pounce on the big kill.  Fine by me if the big kill actually comes.  But if this offseason plays out as it appears right now, it will be the single biggest sin in the hisory of this franchise – worse than every other betrayal we’ve catalogued in this space combined.  If our ownership fails to make a legitimate run at a World Series this year, we the living fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers owe it to the souls of every poor bastard stuck for the rest of time in a blue and white urn to boycott the living hell out of this team.

Shit or get off the pot Frank.  Either make a legitimate effort to win or sell the team to someone who will.  If not, be prepared to be run out of town.

Categories: Uncategorized

Winter meetings

December 3, 2009 1 comment

I thought I’d throw out a short post about next week’s winter meetings. Ned, with little money to work with even though payroll dropped $40 million since season’s end (we’re now at $70 million before winter shopping and arbitration cases – haha, or less than 1/3 of the New York Yankees, or 1/2 of the New York Mets), says he plans to wait. And wait. And wait.

That’s Ned’s style, he waits it out. He keeps us squirming, guessing, blogging, kvetching and somehow before the team goes to camp, he assembles a representative team. It ain’t fun, but it’s hard to argue with the results the past two seasons.

So while we hear about the Phillies moves, the race for Halladay and so on, we can pontificate about what sleeper deals Ned will make to give us a shot in 2010. We’ll hear some “rumors” placed by the Dodger p.r. machine to make it appear as if we’re interested in some of the big names out there, but ultimately will always fall short in such “pursuits”.

To me, we don’t need much. The big elephant in the middle of the room was, and is, starting pitching. Randy Wolf says he always wanted to be a Dodger and loved playing here, and would enjoy coming back. I heard Brad Ausmus tonight and he said he’s an NL guy and would love to play in SoCal for us, preferably. I say the best case scenario would be acquiring Josh Johnson, or if not, Edwin Jackson. I’d take a flyer on Erik Bedard for the bottom of the rotation, should we get one of Johnson or Jackson, and then all that would be left is reconfiguring the bench. I think we have enough in the pen, with more guys on standby at AAA. I’d like to see Cory Wade and James McDonald bounce back, and Josh Lindblom emerge as a late innings guy (eventually freeing up Broxton as a trading chip).

If we can’t get Johnson or Jackson, then I’d like us to retain Wolf. Wolf was a guy we drafted out of high school, who wisely opted to go to college at Pepperdine. He was with us, let go, and came back last year, emerging as our best starter. While conventional wisdom says don’t buy high, Wolf is a great pitcher and while not an ace perse, a very solid guy who saved our butts last season. If we can’t truly upgrade with one of the guys I mentioned, I’d like to see a guy who’s from the area, excels here, and loves being a Dodger come back yet again.

To me the success or failure of our winter depends on how we configure the rotation. If we add a filler or two and are really no better than last year, we lose. Let’s face it, with any effort at all by our owner we could have won World Series championships the past two seasons. The difference between us and the Phillies was in starting pitching. We knew it last year, yet we didn’t truly address the need. A lot of lip service by our owner, and big hopes, but in the end, nothing to show for it.

Payroll at $70 million right now – Fox raised our payroll from $60 million to $120 million a decade ago. Tickets have never been more expensive, parking has never been more expensive, food, souvenirs have never been more expensive. Ads cover the stadium, baseball is healthy, stadiums packed, TV revenues pouring in. Why is a Dodger team that’s capable of going to the Championship Series two years in a row, with a roster full of wonderfully drafted and cultivated homegrown talent, unable to purchase the last couple of pieces we need to win it all?

To be a Dodger fan is like having a tapeworm just eating at your insides. Bring on the winter meetings!

P.S. I love the picture in this post – three huge phonies all laughing it up at the expense of integrity and ethics. Weeee!

Categories: Uncategorized

Where Have You Gone Nancy Bea?

December 2, 2009 1 comment

Funny stuff DFNY.  I loved that you went there.

All that talk about manly men and Lou Grant got me thinking about the old days.  Remember going to the stadium back when we were young bucks?  You could take a seat anywhere in the park and try and keep to yourself, but invariably you’d end up embroiled in a conversation with some old duffer with bushy eyebrows, hair coming out of his nostrils and a voice loud enough to drown out Helen Dell.

I learned the game from guys like that.  My father was closer to Fred Claire than Al Campanis when it came to sports – it simply wasn’t his thing.  But there was always a seemingly endless supply of hirsute old guys willing to show you how to keep score properly,  lecture you on the evils of free agency, or explain why Gil Hodges whizzed from on high all over Greg Brock.  I learned to love this game from them.

I still find myself looking for guys like that whenever I make it back to Dodger Stadium, but they are a practically extinct breed (except for the harsh reality that I am rapidly morphing into the last of them myself).  Instead of those colorful oldtimers,  the stands now seem filled with the younger demographic so clearly prized by the folks that care about such things.  Normally I’d say this was a good.  After all,  how can you argue with the notion of baseball catching on with the young.  But I can’t help being a judgmental old bastard and suspecting that most of them come for the wave, or the Gordon Biersch garlic fries or something.  But baseball?  Hard to imagine it.  Not baseball the way I think of it.  The game with almost religious implications.  I don’t sense a lot of the gospel in Elysian Fields anymore.  I’ll put the baseball knowledge and sheer baseball fervor of any one of those old guys from my youth against the entire top deck of one of today’s games.

But my lament today isn’t about old vs. young, but rather the sense I have that Dodger tradition is slipping away – only to be replaced by little more than gimmicks and commerce.  Consider the fate of organist Nancy Bea Hefley – marginalized to just a few bars of music a night in order to make room for the same stale stadium rock playlist now featured in every ballpark in America.   Or turn your thoughts to the radio broadcasts that no longer start off with the gloriously corny “It’s a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame.“ These days Dodger tradition exists only in the gift shops.

Of course everything changes.  We need to embrace change, or so I am told.   But for decades visit to Dodger  Stadium made you feel like it was possible to beat back father time.  From 1968 through 1998 they had a total of two General Managers running the organization.  And only two managers sat in the dugout going back even further.  Vin Scully was a constant. The uniform never changed.  The Infield stayed together throughout my entire childhood and into my teens, and the stadium itself was unsullied.  Even the straw-hatted ushers and peanut vendors seemed constant.  It was comforting.

Is it wrong to miss that comfort?  Is it wrong to lament the replacement of the Cool-a-Coo with the inferior Its-It?  Is it wrong to be annoyed by all of the flashing lights and jumbotron gimmicks designed to make the game more like the NBA?  Should I just shrug my shoulders at the closing of the venerable Dodgertown in Florida’s Vero Beach – the last preserve for the breed of old guys I mentioned earlier.  Where will the last of them/I go now?  The great ballpark in the sky?

When I watch a game on TV and I see every square inch of space used for advertising, I’m reminded of the days when the only ad visible from the stands was the Union 76 globe (later it was replaced with  a Coca Cola globe).  And yes, I know that a lot of the old time ballparks had ads all over the place for Bryl Cream and the like, but the point is that Dodger Stadium was pure – and Dodger tradition is the only tradition that matters to m right this moment .

The thing is – baseball is all about history.  Why else would we pit today’s player against the entire history of baseball?  That weight of history is what makes the game profound.  So when a guy like Cal Ripken surpasses Gherig, we all stand in awe.  If we surrender our history, what do we replace it with?  Animated jumbotron races?

Maybe some day one of today’s kids will grow up and lament the passing of this era.  In fact I’m sure many will.  That is how it works. Every generation loves what they know and are unconcerned with the  things that fall outside their experience.  Maybe they’ll grow to feel as marginalized as I do now as the game continues to change.  And when this happens  – I wonder if they’ll hand on as stubbornly as I do.  Will their connection to the game be as fanatical as mine?  Can the watered down attention deficit disorder version of the game inspire the same addictive behavior as the game that hooked me? I wonder.  Maybe they’ll just accept constant change as a tradition in and of itself.  Who am I to say they shouldn’t?

So there it is.  Maybe I have no complaint.  Maybe change is natural and tradition is a mirage.  Maybe.  But I know what those old guys I grew up talking to would say about the subject – and it isn’t something you’d want the kids to hear.

Categories: Uncategorized