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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Putting On Airs, Just Passing Gas

There are some Dodger fans out there -- I don't know who, poor naifs -- who believe McCourt's long-term plan is to have a payroll befitting the Dodgers' market, i.e., $100M or so. That is to say, they have Mercedes-sized appetites, but with Frank McCourt's Hyundai-sized wallet, we await a whole lotta nothing going down. Those of us cursed with clearer vision foretell of Gagne's "sell-the-closer" departure in what looks like a blue version of the Curse of the Bambino. With that in mind, I bring to bear yet another piece of calculated disinformation from McCourt's new accomplice, Paul DePodesta, a formerly good man brought low by his willing association with a known felon. As Mencken observed, a man who suppresses a good impulse can only become a knave -- that is, a politician. So it is with poor DePodesta. His ambition and vanity having led him to become the Dodgers' general manager, he now must hide the grotesque realities of his budget constraints from the paying public, issuing nonce press appearances. To wit:
Q (New owner) Frank McCourt said he wanted to keep the payroll around $100 million this year. Can you take on money beyond that?

A We haven't gotten into that. My sense is Frank's definitely committed to putting together a winning team, so it's probably a case-by-case basis. He set an area where he feels the payroll needs to be, but he hasn't said this is an absolute ceiling. [No, in the same sense that a 757 can't go into low earth orbit.] He's committed to finding a way to put the best team out there possible. If that means going over budget, I'm sure he'll be open to discussion.

Ah, to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
Q A lot of the players here have below average on-base percentages. Do you feel given how bad the on-base percentage was collectively and individually, you'd be comfortable starting the season with that this year?

A I'll say this. The good thing about having the pitching staff that we had here last year is this doesn't have to be the best offensive team in the league to win a lot of games. ... The one thing we have over last year is we have a healthy Shawn Green.

Oops. Sorry 'bout that one, Paul.

Coda (2/19): I claim DePodesta knows the oft-repeated $100M payroll figure is purely fictional and meant as a balm to the wounded pride of the typical Dodger fan, who -- rightly -- imagines his team should compete with the likes of the Yankees for both fiscal clout and star-studdedness. But imagine McCourt is lying even unto his general manager. Well: there is no honor among thieves. Would we expect less?


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