Home > Uncategorized > What is Wrong with Dodgers Fans?

What is Wrong with Dodgers Fans?

January 1, 2016

stupid

Happy New Year, everybody. Although under 12 hours old, 2016 is looking to be an active one for Dodgers commentary. This morning I awoke to a great exchange by the ever-wise Dodger Oracle (follow on Twitter @TheDodgerOracle) and several clueless Dodgers fans. One exchange include pearls of wisdom from someone who calls himself Utility Fan, perhaps because he idolizes utility men starting in the Dodgers infield. Here are a few of his brilliant thoughts…

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These nuggets are indicative of a brand of fan I can’t identify with. It’s beyond the Stockholm Syndrome I always chat about, wherein fans feel some obligation to rich executives and even richer owners, rather than fans who struggle all week at work to earn money to take their fans to a ballgame. I guess it’s why Donald Trump is so popular.

This mentality is an offshoot of earlier generations of fans who booed players who were once Dodgers and who come back in different uniforms, whether they left on their own or were traded away. Now don’t get me wrong, if a prickly character like Gary Sheffield comes back into town, boo at will, but someone like Mike Piazza, who came up in the system and was a star for many years? Or Shawn Green, who conducted himself with the utmost of class while in blue and fought Paul DePodesta as the geeky GM tried to ship him away? They’re booing a guy who did local charity work and after each home run gave his batting gloves to kids sitting in the stands. I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t today.

It’s odd if you have a pro-Dodgers/anti-rich guy attitude you’re labeled a villain by these folks. Of course I wear that as a badge of honor since it means the very people I try to get thinking are upset (thought is hard for them). Today (Happy New Year!) I received an irate response to a recent article I wrote on this very blog. First of all, I know my ideas (reason, common sense) aren’t for everyone. I don’t expect folks who disagree with me to read my words and I don’t care to sway them. They, after all, have to look at themselves in the mirror every day and have people in their lives already who don’t like or respect them. I would say if my articles or tweets upset you, please do not read them. There are plenty of thoughtful, intelligent people out there who enjoy and share a like sensibility. The miserable and snarky are welcome to follow a Sabermetrics sycophant or other executive lover’s words.

I will finish this brief New Year’s edition of Dodger Therapy with the earlier mentioned retort on my recent article It’s indicative of this type of mental illness that proliferates baseball fans the country over, but especially the Dodgers fans now that pinheads are calling the shots in the front office. I will show both the words of this poster, grabarkewitz, and my responses. Enjoy, and have a great day with family and friends and a truly wonderful 2016.

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“You sure you are not Plaschke because I haven’t read such moronic dribble in my whole life. For all of things you blame this front office for, you seem to avoid the big thing – they have only been in charge for one year. First, they have to reverse the seven years of Ned Colletti’s regime and before that rebuild what was destroyed under the McCourts. As of today, we have the number one farm system and it didn’t take tanking like the Cubs or Astros, but using our financial might to rebuild what was broken.”

Thank you for your kind words. I would say first off that do we know the Dodgers have the #1 farm system right now? It was #3 during last season and that included Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Scott Schebler, Chris Reed and Hector Olivera, who are all in the big leagues, the last three with other teams. Of what’s left, most were in the system before Andrew Friedman and his little gremlin Farhan Zaidi came to power.

I keep hearing fans touching themselves over all the draft picks the Dodgers are accumulating or could get which is nice, except for the reality that many times draft picks amount to nothing and if last June’s draft is any indication of the talent evaluating might of Friedman, Zaidi and gym rat minor league talent evaluator Gabe Kapler, I’m a bit leery.

You’re right the Dodgers have been using Guggenheim’s financial might to acquire picks and young players, but is this the best use of money when you had a finite window with the world beating pair of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and now are left with three years of Kershaw before that window also closes? For example, is it wise to celebrate $60M being paid to Hector Olivera in essence to get Jose Peraza, who was then spun for a potentially interesting White Sox arm and two older prospects? Or, was it wise to pay $80M for major league players to play against the Dodgers last year? Perhaps if it amounted to October success, but it did not. Which leads me to your obvious Ned Colletti bashing.

Personally, I would take Ned back in a minute if we could. Since he’s currently on the payroll, perhaps the same influence in ownership that nixed Kapler as manager and chose Dave Roberts, will eventually grow weary of the brainy arrogance of Friedman and his henchmen and put Ned back into the driver’s seat. This isn’t to say I love Ned, I don’t. I did however always think his criticism was unfair. Outside of a very manly mustache, Ned put together good fundamental teams that always gave the Dodgers a chance to compete. In July, he made straightforward trades that addressed weaknesses. There were no needlessly complicated moves such as Friedman’s three-team thriller with Atlanta and Miami last July that didn’t really help the team at all.

I also find it intriguing that fans slam Ned as if it’s a sport, yet his Dodgers teams did exactly what Friedman’s did – win the West. In fact, Ned’s teams, as you point out, under great financial limitations by Frank McCourt, were playing for the league championship. Until Friedman’s teams do better in October, and the way he’s been building the teams (Moneyball style), that seems unlikely, it would be unfair to say this regime is markedly better than Ned’s. Also, what of Stan Kasten? While Ned is often blamed for shortcomings in the end of his time as GM, you and I both know uber genius Kasten was brought in and had final say over everything player personnel wise. Worth mentioning as it shows that since taking over ownership from McCourt, Guggenheim has changed plans multiple times and all fans have to show for it is a TV deal that keeps 70% of the Los Angeles area from watching Vin Scully’s last days behind the microphone.

***

“The fact that you cannot see the plan is mystifying to me because is quite obvious. Getting younger while also bridging the gap to the farm system. Kendrick fit that role as did Rollins. Trading Gordon filled three big holes – catching depth (which we didn’t have), depth on the ML roster and a set up guy. In my opinion, it was a great trade for us. The plan this year is very easy to spot – get younger, be less beholden to the overpaid (no matter how you slice it, Greinke is overpaid and I, for one, am glad we are not on the hook for that contract) and improve our depth. I can even see the Utley signing for what it is, improving depth at a marginal cost.”

Thanks for allowing me insight into your superior intellect. I would counter, I suppose, by saying the fact that you SEE the plan is even more mystifying than me missing it. If the idea is to “get younger while also bridging the gap to the farm system” I’m not sure we’ve seen that much of that happening. Chase Utley for $7M to replace 32-year-old Howie Kendrick or 27-year-old Dee Gordon is getting younger? I would say in reality Utley is older than Howie and Howie was older than Dee. The truth of the matter is Moneyball connoisseurs do not value the running game, so they decided to “trade high” on Dee. Zaidi himself this past season admitted they underestimated what that high was as Dee surpassed his 2014 season by quite a bit.

Allowing second ace Zack Greinke to leave and fans (Stockholm Syndrome) citing his age (32) as a good reason for his departure would be more meaningful if Friedman didn’t then sign Scott Kazmir (32) to replace him as the #2 (assuming, of course, if they don’t package prospects for a better #2 – after all, “it’s still early”). There is definite risk in signing ANY pitcher long-term, but one could argue with a decent track record of durability, monster numbers and an athletic body, Greinke might be worth banking on. Especially, I would say, if you had that incredible 1-2 punch of Kershaw/Greinke that few teams (none?) could match. I would say that’s where that “financial might” you noted would be useful – moreso than Olivera’s rich signing bonus and eating $80M to make players hit home runs against the Dodgers.

I’ll be devil’s advocate and say Friedman WILL still tinker and perhaps try to add a more legitimate #2 to slot behind Kershaw, but for now the reality is many optimistic fans are trying to suggest Kazmir makes the Greinke exit more palatable and I’d say it really doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Kazmir and yesterday’s addition of Kenta Maeda (who I like) definitely adds more quality innings to the lower part of the 2016 rotation than what Friedman foisted on us in 2015, but neither is Zack Greinke. Why is this important? Well, Moneyball loves to use a jumble of numbers to predict how many individual stats can be mixed together to win X numbers of games. That’s a nice theory and has success during a 162 game season (witness last year’s tepid West title). On the other hand, as Billy Beane himself has said, the algorithm goes out the window in Oct. That explains why the Dodgers folded rather quickly, even with “superior intellect” in charge of decision making (Friedman and Zaidi geniuses are better than Stan Kasten as solo genius, I guess, though result was no different).

Your comment about the Dee Gordon trade being “great” is even more glowing than Zaidi’s comment, which I noted earlier. You’re also wrong in the package the Dodgers received in return for the award-winning second baseman. Essentially what the Dodgers got was Howie Kendrick, who is now suddenly deemed “too old”, Chris Hatcher, who was horrendous until the end of 2015 and Austin Barnes. Yasmani Grandal, the catcher you credit the Gordon trade for acquiring, actually came from San Diego in the Matt Kemp move that also cost $35M in cash. So if you think Grandal’s .282 first half, .162 second half, and .000 in October was a sensational haul for Kemp, plus $35M, you have every right to that opinion. But no, trading a young(ish) All-Star/Gold Glove/Defensive Player of the Year in Gordon may not be a complete slam dunk, as it turns out.

Oh, and you note Utley came at marginal cost. $7M is a lot for an old player with a history of injury concerns. I’m not a fan by any means, but the Nationals just signed Stephen Drew for $3M (that’s less than half) and Drew had more home runs, more RBI and a higher OPS in 2015. So if you want to be concerned with the owners’ wallet, be fair and admit the Utley deal wasn’t a youth movement and didn’t come at a great price.

***

“Lastly, you lost all credibility the moment you made the claim that keeping Gordon would’ve translated into more wins. How many more wins in ’15 from ’14 did the Fish get with Gordon in their lineup? Don’t bother looking it up – they won six less games, in a weaker division with less injury issues than the Dodgers. You can have your asterisks on the back of baseball cards, I will take what I am seeing for the 2016 Dodgers, another division title and in the playoff crapshot, maybe a ring. I like our odds a whole lot better with this front office than that under Ned Colletti.”

Well, as I said in the opening, you are entitled to your opinion and by no means should you read my tweets or articles if they offend you (I would not read yours). We discussed all of this but I guess I will leave it as we shall see. I don’t personally believe the Dodgers (Fangraphs would disagree) can expect to win the West with both San Francisco (3 titles in 5 seasons) and Arizona (they won much more recently than the Dodgers) greatly improved. It would take an addition like Sonny Gray, another arm or two in the bullpen and a bat or the complete maturity of Yasiel Puig to honestly convince me the Dodgers could cruise to a West crown (cruise too strong a word, even with a pitcher like Gray, the Dodgers have their work cut out for them).

Blaming Dee Gordon’s amazing season on the Marlins losing games has no basis in reality, so I’ll let that go. If you honestly believe having the batting champion and Gold Glove at second over Utley and/or .27o minor league career hitter, utility man Kike Hernandez at second will equate to more wins, much less more excitement, I don’t know what to say.

I am happy you are enthralled with the math geeks in the front office. I personally like a more traditional approach, such as Dan Evans, or straightforward, like Ned, or if it includes lots of analytics (they are important, don’t get me wrong, just need to be used in conjunction with actual baseball IQ and common sense), Theo Epstein. Theo, for example, uses numbers but when given resources, such as he was in Boston and now Chicago, acquires good players. You don’t see a lot of confusing, multi-team deals that you have to squint at, look sideways, and then argue throughout the year and winter if the team improved. It’s pretty evident, given his track record with Boston and Chicago, Theo’s teams improved immensely. With Friedman and Zaidi and whatever dorks they have tied up in back, it’s harder to say.

***

Have a very Happy New Year, everyone. I think we all have the same goal, but some of us just prefer to sniff the rarefied air of executives’ asses. I prefer freshly mowed grass, a little old fashioned organ music and a bag of peanuts.

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  1. Snider Fan
    January 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Steven Drew? I’m betting Utley will be better than that. But did anyone notice Darwin Barney hit .300 in 24 games for the Blue Jays? He would have cost less in terms of cash and prospects than Utley. For all the effort FAZ put into minor-league depth last year it’s strange how they used it.

    I like the fact Faidi actually admitted they underestimated Dee. I waiting to hear an apology from the other smart guys who said his .288 in 2014 was a fluke. Don’t get me wrong, I know we got a lot of pieces in the trade. But if Kike is not going to play every day, Barnes goes back to OKC, and Hatcher doesn’t become the setup man I think some fans may well start to grumble.

  2. January 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    With Gordon, you have a player who is much better than most other players at his position–therefore if you have him you are better at the position than the teams you are playing. To me, that’s the way to build better team–with better players position by position. Guys like KeKe and Barnes may have versatility, but as total players, they are more average. If you build a team to feature guys like this, you are building a team that is limited. That’s why it’s a mistake for the Dodgers to trade quality for quantity. With our depth, we should be going the other way, building a team of exceptional players position by position.

    • Freudy
      January 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      To acquire players like Kike and Barnes you didn’t have to trade a young All-Star and leadoff presence. It’s like when Fox execs dealt Piazza and fans tried to suggest well, the Dodgers got Sheffield and Bonilla. Both of those players were salary dumps by Florida and could have been had for nothing, let alone a soon to be HOF catcher and focal point of your team. Likewise, guys like Kike are a dime a dozen, you could have traded third tier prospects for a guy like that, it didn’t have to be Dee. So the deal will always suck unless a .270 career hitter in the minors (Kike) becomes better than Dee, which is not going to happen.

  3. badger3
    January 3, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    The knowledgeable baseball fans could see something in Dee. He didn’t play a lot of baseball before turning pro, and was showing improvement. By all accounts he is a hard worker who is coachable. We need more of those type players, not less. I’m on record that did not like that trade. Nor do I like the fact we gave Miami about 7 wins, paid for them, and we still don’t have a leadoff hitter.

  4. badger3
    January 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Have you stopped writing?

    • Freudy
      January 24, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      Hi. I write when there’s something worth writing about. The winter has been uneventful if you’re a Dodgers fan and I’ve written a couple of articles. I guess we are all in the waiting game to see what happens as the season approaches. Right now it looks like the division got stronger and the Dodgers in turn got weaker. It’s possible they get lucky under a GREAT new leader like Dave Roberts, but with the constant tinkering of Friedman and Zaidi, hard to say what Roberts’ influence can be. In the end, pitching, defense, timely hitting and speed win championships and the Dodgers are deficient in most areas imo. They will need incredible luck on health and maybe a surprise or two by the boneheads in the front office to pull 2016 off.

  5. badger3
    January 24, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    As evidenced by your reply, there is still plenty to talk about.

    I agree just having new dugout leadership, coaching and training staffs, might contribute to a positive year. But with the improvements made by other teams in the West it’s my opinion we need to keep up or we will be left behind. Obviously we are still a good team, but there are a number of caveats that come with that. Pederson, Puig, Turner, Ethier, Crawford, second base, the entire pitching staff – ok, one exception – are all question marks. It should prove to be a most interesting Spring.

    • Freudy
      January 24, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      Well, the optimistic side of me says the new manager and coaches will make a big difference, especially perhaps with hitting. Mac was not a good hitting coach, even though he did well in St. Louis. I think that was because the hitters there were good. In LA, where apathy and laziness becomes the rule, his swing for the fences approach wasn’t helpful. Not sure about some of the picks, I think Mark Walter insisted on Roberts so Friedman managed to squeeze a few of his ringers into the staff to ensure Moneyball was being played. Seems like a lot of busted “top prospects” in the coaching staff, so not sure Roberts would have chosen them himself. We shall see.

      I don’t like the idea of an overachieving utility infielder like Turner being the cleanup hitter, that’s very weak IMO. They need to get lucky and somehow get Puig to perform like he’s been billed to do. If they can get some variation of Mike Trout or Bryce Harper out of him, of course that changes everything. They shouldn’t count on Joc or Seager to step up just yet, but contribute. The meat of the lineup, as well as lack of leadoff presence is troubling. And of course, Giants and Snakes both better. I would say the Dodgers are a 3rd place finisher unless things break their way.

  6. badger3
    January 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Yeah, I see a three team race as long as our pitching doesn’t split open. I agree the offense could pivot on Puig, and I would add Pederson to that as well. I know many are still picking the Dodgers, with some saying they could win 92 again. I got the under on that number. I just don’t see this team scaring anyone.

    I appreciate your take and your writing ability. I hope you get busy here.

  7. Freudy
    January 24, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Maybe time to write something. I am a big believer in Joc, I don’t get folks who gave up on him so quick. His minor league stats are pretty consistent. Mac didn’t help him, nor did the Home Run Derby swing. He seemed to right the ship in Sept. I hope he’s given a shot to redeem himself. No one in the outfield plays defense like he does.

  8. badger3
    January 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I’m not as confident in Pederson. He still projects at .230 and the reason is he is a terrible 2 strike hitter. Until he changes his approach I don’t see him helping much, other than getting on at .340. If he could hit .250 he could lead off. I’m hoping Ward can help him with contact and an ability to hit the ball where it’s pitched. Still too many ifs all over the field for me to be confident in this team.

    • Freudy
      January 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Joc is my favorite outfielder. He’s a complete player and will learn. He’s a baby and has a great track record. Just needs to cut down the strikeouts. Not going for homers should help with that. If Joc hit 10 homers he’d still be the best outfielder they have. Bat him lower, take pressure off and he’ll do fine. I don’t give up on kids when they hit a bump. Most prospects don’t make it at all (don’t tell Friedman) and the ones who do usually have rough patches and make it as bench players at best. Joc will be fine, he just needs time. Since the Dodgers aren’t trying to compete anymore, it’s a perfect learning environment. Sad they gave up on Peraza and Schebler so soon. If they want to go cheap and play kids, really play kids. Calling Zach Lee?

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