Friday, March 31, 2006
Two Games, Dodgers Split-Squad Edition
Astros 11, Dodgers (ss) 3
Mariners 4, Dodgers (ss) 3Far too many years ago, before adipose tissues enveloped my once-scraggly frame and gray hairs infested my beard, I fell stupidly, head-over-heelsly in love with a girl. We were both in college at the time, and our first social visit was at her hospital bed following a rather tricky operation that could have left her paralyzed from the neck down. Fortunately, things went well, and perhaps as something of a flyer, upon recovery she requested -- nay, demanded -- my solo presence following a group visit.
She was model-thin, and if it hadn't been for a hooked nose that gave her a Rogers and Hart visage, model-gorgeous as well. That is to say, she was well out of my league, something I rather quickly discovered five months or so later when she got bored with me. Though I clung to the notion that something could be worked out between us for the better part of a year, reality and -- more important -- another girlfriend set in.
Would you buy a used stadium from this man?
It's a part of my life I revisit around this time every year, because I vividly remember the date of our first meeting: April Fool's Day, 1982. And like that long-lost love with its star-crossed opening day, this year's Dodgers strike me as meretriciously attractive: just underneath an All-Star glow is a 25-man roster destined to break your heart. Certainly, the Dodgers' offseason couldn't have gone any less catastrophically:
- Reaching an impasse between their general manager and field manager over the quality and playing time of the talent, Paul DePodesta summarily fired Jim Tracy.
- This was followed weeks later by the firing of Paul DePodesta, a move that brought hosannahs from the hyenas in the Times. The expulsion added to an already lengthy list of executives and others fired in the wake of Hurricane Frank.
- Having fired DePodesta just in time for the winter meetings, the Dodgers sent Kim Ng to fill in. While she failed to acquire any of the few top-tier bats available, I do not fault her for this; indeed, I consider it a testament to her intestinal fortitude (or her extensive collection of blackmail photography) that she is still in the employ of the Los Angeles Dodgers Professional Baseball Club.
- Then the Dodgers started looking for a GM; the candidates came down to
- Veteran GM Pat Gillick, who eventually took a pass to work for the Phillies.
- Perpetual self-promoter and chronic pitching misevaluator Jim Bowden.
- The she's-too-good-for-the-job candidate, Kim Ng.
- The man who thought $250 million over 10 years was a good deal for A-Rod, former Rangers GM John Hart.
- Larry Beinfest, whose candidacy seems to have been a whole-cloth invention of the Daily News.
- Tommy Lasorda's heartthrob, Bobby Valentine, in what was reputed for a time to be a dual GM/manager role, the kind of thing that hasn't been seen since the deadball era.
- Frank's white whale, Theo Epstein, who eventually reunited with Boston, but not before tactfully withdrawing from the whole crazy front office scene.
- Former Astros GM, Jerry Hunsicker, who ditched the Dodgers to take the GM job with the Devil Rays. The Devil Rays!
- The Dodgers' offseason comedy continued with their field manager search. Pressed for time and ideas, the Dodgers
- Floated the idea of managing to Angels pitching coach Buddy Black -- who had never managed a day in his life.
- Flirted again with Bobby Valentine (he of the career .510 winning percentage), who took a pass and decided to re-up with his Japanese club, the Chiba Lotte Marines.
- Jim Fregosi, whose very mention under DePodesta cause Tommy Lasorda's toes to curl in a particularly repulsive manner?
- Sent a flyer to Devil Rays bench coach Don McLaren. So much for earlier pronouncements that made the list of requirements "must be an ex-Dodger" and "must know how to win".
- Interviewed Cleveland 3B coach Joel Skinner.
- Also interviewed Mets bench coach Manny Acta.
- Having settled on Grady Little, the Dodgers proceeded unto the $40M/3-year contract for Rafael Furcal, he of the annular strain in his back.
- Colletti, not content to have one fragile, old player on his roster, signed two from the Boston Red Sox, Bill Mueller and Nomar Garciaparra, the latter to play out-of-position at first. Garciaparra hasn't had more than 350 at bats in two years, mainly because of various durability issues. Worse, Garciaparra was actually out-hit by Hee Seop Choi, the man he replaced.
- The Dodgers got Kenny Lofton as a free agent.
- At last, Colletti signed perennial fifth-starter Brett Tomko, traded Duaner Sanchez for what looks like a shiny penny (not the ucased-Brad) in Jae Seo, and inexplicably traded Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany for Danys Baez and Lance Carter.
creationism, and then there's creationism.
Update: Thanks for the link back, LA Observed.
IIRC, Kim Ng did not fire DePodesta.
"Bobby Valentine, in what was reputed for a time to be a dual GM/manager role, the kind of thing that hasn't been seen since the deadball era."
Actually, that kind of thing has been done since the deadball era, though not very often--most recent example is Whitey Herzog with the Cardinals in the 1980s. Not that Bobby Valentine is Whitey Herzog, or anything close.