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Friday, March 31, 2006

Two Games, Dodgers Split-Squad Edition

Astros 11, Dodgers (ss) 3

Mariners 4, Dodgers (ss) 3

Far 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.

Frank McCourt with the newly renovated pastel seats in Dodger Stadium

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:

In all, it was the most forgettable offseason the Dodgers have had since their disastrous 2003/2004, in which Frank's lily-livered efforts at placating Bud Selig prevented the name Vladimir Guerrero from being penciled into the team's roster every day. (Update: What's amazing is that they've really only had two under Frank McCourt's direct thumb.) Larry Dobrow of sportsline.com wrote that the thusly assembled team was "Not unlike an elephant attempting to mate with a ceiling fan, the parts don't fit." This has been easily the most dispiriting team ever assembled in my history as a Dodger fan; old, fragile, yet full of stars who would superficially appeal to customers possessing a vague familiarity with the game and its luminaries. Just as with my first girlfriend, you discover quickly what to avoid before handing out emotional commitments to someone else, or in this case, to a team that seems destined to break your heart if you believe in it.

How to catch flies

And so to the games. I didn't hear the first game because of more problems at MLB Gameday Audio; and the second I watched after the end of the rainout of the Angels game at AT&T Park. By the time I got there, it was subs and scrubsville, and nobody of note played for either side. Tomorrow, the Freeway Series, and the meaningful games beyond that. But I foresee a long season. In the Dodgers front office, there's creationism, and then there's creationism.

Astros 11, Dodgers 3
Seattle 4, Dodgers 3

Update: Thanks for the link back, LA Observed.

"Having fired DePodesta just in time for the winter meetings, Kim Ng filled in suitably, while failing to acquire any of the few top-tier bats available."

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.
Sorry about the confusion on the Ng thing: I was ranting late at night and wanted to rush this one out the door this morning, and so missed the semantic slipperiness of that sentence. Thanks for the catch; it's corrected above.

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