Home > Uncategorized > It’s a Wonderful Time to be a Suck Up

It’s a Wonderful Time to be a Suck Up

September 1, 2016


One month to go and the fans are getting anxious. I see the tweets. Some are realizing what morons Andrew Friedman and his pet gnome Farhan Zaidi are; while others are thrilled the Dodgers are clinging to the vapors of first place in the worst division in baseball, the NL West. Of course the majority of the latter group are typical LA fans – thrilled by beach balls, parking lot fights and selfies. Too young to know better, or so is their excuse.


The Dodgers ownership is beside themselves that over 3 million fans attended games this year – or as most understand, 3 million tickets were sold. That’s the important thing, after all. Win, lose or draw (do they have ties in baseball?), the greedy finance company known as the Guggenheim Group get their money. They have that sneaky TV deal with evil empire Time Warner Cable pouring money into the offshore accounts, TV partnerships with MLB, gate receipts, merchandise and expensive stadium food. The parking goes to former sleazy owner Frank McCourt, bless his heart.


Fans are still in-fighting, brainwashed by a steady dose of LA media sucking up to the Dodgers gang of geniuses in the front office. The reporters – print, radio or TV – want access to the locker room and the free food before games, after all. It’s hard to find any media person in LA say anything negative, or dare I say, truthful, about the way the front office has conducted business since the last change in direction that landed Friedman and Zaidi into power. LA Times beat reporters triumphantly point to the scoreboard – “First place!”, they declare – while it lasts. If you point out the team has mostly been in first place for many years, under previous general managers, and that payroll is the highest in sports, as well as playing 80 games vs. terrible NL West competition, they shrug their shoulders and head for the free eats.


Since the message is always sunny, the majority of fans boast of “the Azul” and liken the slugs on the field in 2016 to some of the greatest to ever wear the Dodgers uniform. I figured out some time back that besides mass hypnosis, a lot of this was because the fans are in their teens and twenties and even early thirties and just do not know better. In their lifetimes – think of that! – in their lifetimes they have never seen a truly great Dodgers team. Their parents – yes, parents – mention names like Garvey, Lopes, Baker, Smith, Sutton, Fernando, Cey, etc., etc. and they look starry eyed at their folks while wearing a Luis Cruz or Charlie Culberson jersey. i.e. their perspective is skewed. There is no saving them. They root the laundry Jerry Seinfeld used to mention fans cheering on. “Who is Jerry Seinfeld?”, they ask.


If you try to appeal to them with logic and commonsense you are wasting your time. They are loyal to the core, just like Guggenheim wants. They need these young ones to buy hats and shirts and jerseys and get fanatical so the money keeps rolling in. I will sometimes, for fun, make obvious comments on something that is screwed up and I get attacked or responded to with some confused remark. It’s like explaining the sequence of events in “Pulp Fiction” to a Dalmatian.


I can’t fault the young and blissfully ignorant – hell, if the media is so enthralled with mediocrity, why should a vaping kid with a black Dodgers lid be any different? The Dodgers are dead – long gone, a ghost. The final lap of Vin Scully’s career is superficially celebrated but the majority of fans either can’t wait for the old codger to disappear or have no idea why this “boring old guy” is famous anyway.


The Dodgers have one month to sail into the playoffs – helped by a final month full of weak West foes – or choke. The team is interesting – the pen holding its own for the most part, save for various shitheels Friedman tries here and there, but overworked. The rotation is crap on a stick – the worst I can remember in all my years of following the Dodgers. The lineup is a patchwork any given night since analytics maintain you can’t throw your “best” players out there, you must always be clever and innovative – keep them guessing, seems to be the Friedman/Zaidi mantra.


The Dodgers score 10 runs or 0. They hit homers that get the fans jumping up and down but have trouble hitting in the clutch, moving runners over, stealing bases, taking extra bases and basically all the staples that baseball run producing is supposed to entail. When I wonder how this will play in October, some wet behind the ears whelp thumps his chest mightily and like Bill Shaikin himself, says, “Scoreboard! First place!”


No one cares that with 80 games against doormats and a payroll double most other teams, one should expect a degree of success. Again, logic is lost on the clueless. And after all, who am I to rain on their parade? If they want to think the 2016 Dodgers are the team that will break the jinx and bring a parade, full of rioting and hospitalization, to LA, so be it. The game is their game, after all. The young have inherited the Earth – the VMAs, Instagram, Snapchat and Kylie Jenner have deemed it so.


I am from a long past generation. Antiquated ideas that flawed data has determined is passé. In my twisted world a general manager would start with pitching – build a strong bullpen that is several power arms deep, shortening games and work back to the rotation. The rotation would consist of three very good starters – healthy, reliable, and capable of going deep into games. The four spot would be someone who could also reliably take the ball and pitch competitively. The fifth spot could be a veteran or a tryout for a top pitching prospect. The farm would have several other pitching prospects and a few veterans capable of stepping in in a pinch. I know this sounds like madness to the young, but it was the way baseball pitching staffs were considered and put together for many years. I know, the data has shown that it’s better to use a jumble of minor league lifers and reclamation projects, and that a rotation can consist of anyone with a pulse. Or who once had a pulse.


Again, I recall Dodgers rotations that were amazing, and some that were passable. I don’t recall a time when day to day, every month, no one could say who the day’s starting pitcher was going to be. I don’t recall such a cavalier attitude being given to pitching. This is, was, the LA Dodgers, after all. The team’s pitching has been legendary. Or at least that old man behind the mic has claimed.


I am at a loss how a front office full of geniuses – more cooks in the kitchen than Nobu – can spend so much money and have so little to show for it on the field. I mean, a payroll over $200 million while half the lineup, the starting pitcher and several members of the bullpen were just recently UPS drivers is quite an amazing achievement. How do you spend that much and get this little? It’s an art, I tell you.


The fans, guardians of finance companies’ wallets, will support any move the front office makes. Pay Zack Greinke until he’s nearing 40? Bah! Give the money to a few untried Cubans instead and overpay some guys coming off major injuries. Spread that green around. Any moron could look at the winter free-agent market and sign a few solid arms, but it takes brains to wait until all of those players are gone and then pull something out of your ass. Remember, it’s poker. Wait it out. Wait till every possible move that makes sense has happened, then pounce. Cleverness is more important than commonsense.


I also like how when trouble is evident, the brain trust waits longer still, and lets word leak that something huge is coming. Then the fans get all excited, chattering to themselves about this team’s ace or that team’s best bat and lo and behold, without fail, Friedman and Zaidi hit speed dial in the 11th hour and call on their buddies in Tampa and Oakland to bail them out. Hoarding prospects like nuggets during the California Gold Rush, the duo then foists over kids for anything their old friends want to give them. Rich Hill, old, a walk free-agent – on the disabled list! – and a walk free-agent Josh Reddick who was on the DL himself and has about as much pop as Tim Tebow, assuming the ball is an announced batting practice fastball, heralded as a genius move.


A good one was when Friedman had to move clubhouse hero AJ Ellis to get more offense from that all important backup catcher position. Granted, AJ can no longer hit, but if you look through baseball history, or most big league rosters, how many backup catchers do? AJ is a smart player, beloved by his teammates – most especially the guy who wears #22 and is compared to Sandy Koufax – and is essentially another coach or manager in the clubhouse and on the field. Yes, with a rotation in tatters, Friedman felt the need to risk clubhouse chemistry and momentum by moving AJ for another backup catcher. I guess he figured that his new acquisition could pinch hit in the 3rd inning, when one of his horrific starters was lifted, even though it would mean Kike Hernandez or Andrew Toles catching if something happened to passed ball king Yasmani Grandal. Another old guy baseball mindset – who gives a fuck what your backup catcher is hitting? Is he a good catcher? Is he a good game caller? Is he intelligent? AJ is all of these things, Friedman none of them.


There is one month left and I would assume the Dodgers should make the playoffs. The Giants have shown no fight in them in the second half and while the Dodgers’ shortcomings have been noted, I can’t say for certain the Giants have a run left in them. I sense they do, but who knows? So that means the Dodgers could win the West or get the wildcard, thrilling the legion of Southland fans to no end. They will point to progress – how the team made it to the playoffs, forgetting they have for years. If they make the wildcard, it will be heralded as an amazing achievement, especially due to all the injuries. No mention will be made that the geniuses acquired known injury cases – and a July 31st deadline arm already on the DL.


If the Dodgers don’t do well in October, or miss the playoffs altogether, the suck ups in the media and on social media will cite the amazing year in spite of difficulties. Again, no mention will be made that the difficult road wasn’t one that had to be traveled – how an easier road, with a real baseball man (just one, or two – not a consultancy), using both the financial resources available and prospects to shop with, could have been taken.


Kudos will be given to the progress the farm system made, neglecting the fact that almost all of the prospects were inherited from the previous regime. Corey Seager will win Rookie of the Year and get consideration for MVP, but was drafted and cultivated before Friedman and Zaidi slithered into town. Same for Julio Urias. Ditto for Jose De Leon. And others.


It would take an epic collapse for the greedy stiffs at Guggenheim to consider a change so likely Friedman, Zaidi and their merry men are here to stay. This will encourage reporters to write and say nice things about the smart guys in the front office and get fans enthusiastic for 2017. The Dodgers will of course start advertising season tickets for the coming season while many of the young fans throw their blue foam fingers aside and grab Rams and Kings gear.


As most of us longtime Angelenos know, life in LA is about all the diversions. You can get In N Out Burger, see a Kardashian at the Calabasas Commons, hit the beach, believe the Lakers have a shot, sit in traffic on the 405 and smoke your weed out in public in Van Nuys. The City of Angels, the dream factory, a fantasy world where Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi are baseball royalty. It’s not necessarily a great time to be a baseball fan in LA, but it’s a wonderful time to be a suck up.

  1. September 1, 2016 at 5:09 am

    Couldn’t agree more except for one point regarding L.A. media. Los Angeles Times Bill Plaschke is no fan of the Dodger front office as he has written in numerous articles. Other Times reporters also do not praise Guggenheim. You aren’t alone. There are other who have not switched to TWC, bought Dodger tickets or merchandise. I miss my Dodgers.

    • Freudy
      September 2, 2016 at 1:21 am

      Well, Plaschke is also seen as a crank by most LA sports fans, taking the mantle from TJ Simers. I don’t think anyone listens to him, but then they don’t listen to me. I called all of this absurdity – all documented in my blog with dates. I don’t see it as a great achievement the Dodgers are hanging onto first. As I tweeted today, the last two years of Ned, the team had a better record on Sept 1, so the team is not improving, it’s going backward – with double the payroll and less fun for a rational baseball fan. Not sure how anyone is foolish enough to root on generic and retread players who are castoffs from other organizations. It would be one thing if the team were like this but payroll was $80M or less, but how do you explain what’s happened and all the money spent? Besides all this, fans should be livid it’s been years since the Dodgers were televised locally to all LA fans. Wasted in the McCourt and Guggenheim era were the final years of Vin’s career – completely unforgivable.

  2. September 2, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Outstanding take on the condition of the Dodgers and their fans. I find it amazing that you call it as I see it. The very worst thing besides the dishonesty of the two dummies in the front office is that having been a fan of the Dodgers for over 60 years I am drifting away. No more can you live and die for a Wills, Gilliam, Snider or Koufax and Drysdale. The team does have Seager who should be a great longtime player if not traded in a few years for more prospects. I am not sure if I will be a fan when Kershaw leaves around the 2018 season. This is why I despise them so much. It is so bad it sometimes makes you almost pull against them because you know that if they lose it will be the only hope of getting rid of them. I always enjoy your posts as they are so damn honest. THANK YOU!!

  3. Jeannette Bovard
    September 2, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    OMG! You sound exactly like the voice inside my head! I agree with you on the situation totally and the AJ trade was the last straw for this forever fan. I believe the Dodgers will survive the Guggenheim/Friedman et al regime, just as they’ve survived the others. But the McCort fiasco proves that change is not a guarantee of better days ahead. One thing to point out is that LAD may be bringing in huge numbers to the stadium (although I suspect the gate count is skewed to their advantage) but many of those tix are being sold dirt cheap, not at face value.

    I’d like to add one non-baseball observation: Your writing is uniquely entertaining. I’d read your comments about anything… Must say that the line “It’s like explaining the sequence of events in “Pulp Fiction” to a Dalmatian” made my day – thanks!

    • Freudy
      September 2, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      You are most welcome – I enjoyed that line myself. 😉

      I think you’re right – the tickets are being sold or given away and resold for less. A big thing the shortsighted ownership group doesn’t consider is how they are alienating young people to the Dodgers. This doesn’t bode well for fanbase in the future. Young kids are growing up not seeing the Dodgers on TV and therefore not being as addicted as previous generations were. I suppose it’s obvious a finance company like Guggenheim is about immediate ROI and probably will sell before the ass backward philosophy comes back to bite them on the ass. They should consider, if nothing else, what non-fans in LA means. Less precious merchandise being sold, etc. Dummies.

      Thank you for the kind words.

  4. thatsCAPTAINcrunch
    September 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    You can’t honestly believe these things can you?

    First off, you are complaining about the Dodgers, when they are in first place and have dealt with more injuries than pretty much any team in the modern era. And you can lambaste the NL west as much as you want, but don’t forget the Giants were a top 2 or 3 team at the All-star break. Also AZ and Colorado’s offense aren’t anything to sneeze at, even if their pitching leave much to be desired.

    Second, you try and undercut the FO by saying that the young kids weren’t drafted by this regime, but then you use the 200 million dollar payroll argument against them, failing to realize that most of the money was taken on by Ned Coletti and the old regime, unfortunately. This new FO has done an incredible job of shedding those mistakes while still keeping the team competitive, and in reality, a WS favorite.

    Finally, you try and say that the media only say good things about the Dodgers when its actually the complete opposite. The LA times repeatedly complain and whine about the new FO and how they do things differently than they would like. Dylan Hernandez wrote about how he talked with Brandon Belt back at the All-star break, and when Belt tried to point out that the Dodgers are good, Dylan assured him that the Dodgers weren’t a good team. This same team that is now up 4 games on the Giants, without Kershaw. It goes back to when they were hired, Steve Dilbeck wrote an article calling them Google boys over and over again, to the point where it became cringe worthy. Houston Mitchell tried to call the Hector Olivera trade the worst trade ever, and then shortly after the Braves came out and said they regretted that trade the most.

    Maybe next time if you backed your points up with facts, you could present a more reasonable argument.

    P.S. the AJ trade sucks, and I wasn’t in favor of it either, but it won’t be the reason the Dodgers don’t win the WS, so it doesn’t need to be harped on any more.

    • Freudy
      September 6, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      We agree to disagree. I won’t convince you but then I don’t want to. Likewise, you won’t convince me. Here’s my take on things you said…

      The Giants were a good team at the break and have since been the worst team in baseball over that period. Not the Dodgers fault – they have a bad division and I’m sure they love it. But the fact of the matter is there’s no competition to speak of – a good reason why this “$236M underdog” without Kershaw is winning. Since the break I think the Dodgers are 5 games over .500, largely playing poor teams. Is it that the Dodgers are so good or the competition so bad. The Giants have won 16 since the break. If they were anywhere near .500 the Dodgers likely would be behind them. And if your payroll is the highest in sports, is it really unreasonable to assume you should be at the top? I don’t think so.

      The current regime is getting lots of credit from people like you but again in point of fact they are at best treading water, or moving in reverse. Under Ned, the Dodgers had a lower payroll (until Kasten came in) and were regularly winning the West. As I tweeted out the other day – the Dodgers on Sept 1st were better Ned’s final two years than Friedman’s record this year on that date. If Ned is such an idiot and a loser, why were his teams doing better? Again, the payroll was lower then as well.

      All of the fan favorites like Seager, Joc, Urias and De Leon were inherited by Friedman and his merry men. The prospect they have brought in largely have not contributed. You can reprimand Kasten’s spending, or blame it on Ned, but Friedman has spend as much or more on unknowns. His roster is littered with guys with injury history (you sound proud that the Dodgers have had so many DL cases – umm, they acquired guys with injury histories, what do you think was going to happen?), mediocrity and no experience. Friedman’s love for Cubans is hysterical. Name a Cuban who’s been a big star for the Dodgers? It’s actually hard to look around MLB altogether and see many that have panned out. I think when you sign Cuban players, you better have a system in place to work with them, cultivate them, etc. “The Dodgers way to play baseball”, put into place under Branch Rickey, died a long time ago. The Dodgers don’t do well developing prospects who are rough. The guys that do well were more or less recognized for being pretty advanced from day one. I recall vividly the hype on Seager being a pure hitter right out of high school. I doubt the great Gabe Kapler had much to do with his development, do you?

      I would say Friedman’s Dodgers are doing well due to Dave Roberts (Mark Walter wanted him – Friedman wanted, Kapler – remember? I do), a piss poor West, the highest payroll in sports and even with all this the team was better, as I pointed out, under Ned. Unless you honestly believe if the Giants and D’Backs played like some pundits thought they would in 2016, that a rotation changing daily of journeymen and untried kids was really good enough to contend in Oct.

      Sorry, I disagree with everything you said. The great Friedman is a genius at saving money by not retaining or acquiring proven starters in winter or July, and at the same time thinks nothing of absorbing “bad contracts” to show his brilliance. Eating bad contracts when unnecessary does not make you smart. It shows you’re a moron. Michael Morse? Dan Haren? Was it really necessary to always absorb salary and pay other teams to have players play for them?

      Lastly, my contention is Friedman and Zaidi are fixing things that were NOT broken. The team was regularly going to Oct. By going all Moneyball, a crapshoot built on the premise you need to get to the dance and then good luck hopefully propels you forward, was unnecessary. The team was in the playoffs. If a GM wanted to go further, he’d need to improve on what was working, not dismantle it. His philosophy is absurd. Until the Dodgers advance deep into Oct and/or win a World Series, you can’t say with any conviction that Friedman knows what he’s doing. Why did the Dodgers lose last Oct? It wasn’t Kershaw’s fault. It wasn’t Greinke’s fault. It was the missing 3-5 starters that did them in. Now you have an injured Kershaw and Maeda, and some guys. I don’t see how things improved. Maybe keeping Greinke, or getting Price and then signing Zimmerman, Cueto, dealing for Hamels, etc. would have changed things. We will see how it plays out, but to me they’re going nowhere or backward, and you can check Ned’s 2013 and 2014 teams as proof of that.

      The AJ thing is small in some respects. Who cares about a backup catcher hitting in the .190s? The reason it shows Friedman’s ignorance is why? How often does a reserve catcher play? Why “improve offense” there? Why didn’t he acquire an impact bat in July, instead of Josh Reddick? Why risk clubhouse chemistry or pissing off his ace? Why? Because Friedman is a moron who doesn’t get anything but data. Human emotions don’t matter, clubhouse chemistry doesn’t matter. AJ was just an area that could be improved, per Friedman. No, he was actually much more than that to his teammates. He was an on-field coach, a mentor, a trainer, a future manager and a friend. It was foolish to make the deal. Friedman has made lots of foolish moves. Like spending $250m or so on Cubans who have yet to make an impact. Giving $14m to a Cuban and then flipping that guy for a terrible reliever like Fields. He wastes money and saves money. Unfortunately for fans going on 3 decades of futility, he wastes money on guys who don’t make an impact and saves on things like starting pitching and impact bats.

      Enjoy the show, it’s made for people like you.

  5. September 15, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you. You’ve taken the cacophonous ramblings in my head and organized them into logical sentences. I appreciate the help with that.

    I’ve been a Dodger fan since ’59 and what I see on the field now I find confusing. Yeah, they are in first place, but as you mentioned, the NL West just isn’t very impressive. Is this team better than the ones that have for a long time been losing in NL playoff series’? I don’t see it, but the FAZophants are insistent it is, and that this is the way to go. We have enough of who was already here to have a chance come post season. Getting there is a big deal, ask the fans of those teams with payrolls half of what the leaders are if you don’t believe it, but can this Dodgers team beat any playoff team in a long series? Do we believe in miracles? The smart money does not. What a weird year.

    • Freudy
      September 15, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      I have to think if able to do it over, genius Friedman would have planned better starting pitching. Riding on injury cases coming back and strictly on Kershaw who was probably due for a breakdown was never a good plan. Now he’s overusing Urias and De Leon since that’s the best he has (both Ned era acquisitions though Friedman is getting credit for the “kids”). It’s like when “GM Lasorda” traded Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw because he wanted a closer for his team going nowhere. No thought into what it might mean long-term. Konerko goes on to a borderline Hall of Fame career while Shaw was a closer footnote. Similarly, is it worth going all in to get spanked by the Nats or Cubs and potentially blow out Urias or De Leon’s arm or shoulder? Anything can happen, hot teams have won, but realistically if you’re counting on the health of Brent Anderson, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir you really shouldn’t be uncorking the champagne.

      Moneyball is about getting to the dance – the Dodgers were getting there every year under Ned, so not sure how this is progress. Ned at least had rotations and didn’t have game time decisions who might throw 3 innings to start a particular day. To me, old as the hills I know, this is embarrassing.

  6. Snider Fan
    October 2, 2016 at 2:10 am

    I think about Adrian Beltre, who was rushed to the bigs because Fox traded Todd Zeile away, and hope they get their money’s worth for Urias and De Leon because they could have traded their potential for help now and next year (think Chris Sale).

    I have a friend who grew up in Chicago and he tells me all the Cubs home games were televised back in the sixties. He’s lived in California for over 50 years, but he’s still a Cub fan. We had Vin Scully. Kids growing up today who can’t watch the game are not going to become Dodger fans. Tough enough to get them interested in baseball when there are faster and more violent sports and video games competing for their attention.

  7. badger3
    October 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Hey Snider. Just happened in to see if there might be a new post and see that you stopped in. I don’t have much new. We made it in, no surprise really, and I see we are favored today with Kershaw on the mound. I’m surprised to see him pitching as well as he has since returning, but this will be a different test.

    I thought we would see both Urias and De Leon on call ups, but did not expect, nor want, either to be used the way the way they were. Poor planning I believe. It would appear that some luck is on our side as SF took a dive and Washington is banged up. We are favored today, This morning both LA and Washington are 7-1. Most believe it’s the Cubs’ tournament to lose, and I’m on board with that. They are clearly the class of the field.

    • Freudy
      October 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      I don’t get the celebration of winning the West. LA fans are clueless if they think that’s an accomplishment for this ownership and front office. The team was winning the division and/or making the playoffs before, nothing new. The team had a lesser record than when Ned left, and remember, Ned “sucked.” Not sure how a team mostly of Ned’s draft picks and int’l signings winning the West – with the highest payroll in sports – and in the worst division in the NL – is a big success.

      The ONLY barometer for Friedman and his team of data Nazis is Oct success. Moneyball is a philosophy to get you to Oct, with “luck” the factor (they say) once you get there. So, if the team was already getting there, why Moneyball? i.e. they aimed to fix a problem that wasn’t a problem – getting to playoffs. Anyone with a brain (not Friedman and his minion) would understand the reason the Dodgers weren’t winning largely was holes. They had two aces, but of course Kershaw had Oct jitters for a few years, negating that advantage. Then when he finally stepped up, as did Greinke, they had no 3. Anderson? So here we are the day of Game 1 and Kershaw ties up his aching back and hopes to outdual his equal, Scherzer. Then what? Hill is less than Greinke, but Maeda better than Anderson. Both of these guys are good for 5 innings, 6 if lucky. So not sure the issue of strong starting pitching has been addressed (it hasn’t).

      Will the Dodgers win? They may. Nats dinged up with Strasburg and Ramos out, Harper gimpy. I would bet my money on Nats at home and Dusty vs. struggling Dodgers and Friedman managing in-game decisions. We shall see. If the Dodgers fall, it proves Moneyball is a joke and Friedman and his team should go. No advantage to lessening the starting pitching and praying for “luck.” The teams that get lucky in Oct – i.e. win from the Wild Card spot – are still all good teams. They are not the little sisters of the poor who just stumble into the playoffs after sucking all year and win. The Giants have won twice from the Wild Card spot, maybe three this year. Are they bad? No, they’re proven professional players with a brilliant manager and know how to win in Oct. Ask the Mets.

      Friedman needs to step up bigtime in Oct. He better manage like he never has before.

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