So I’m back after slogging through the trenches that can be the First World War. I asked people not to trash the place while I was gone and it seems they didn’t, at least not too bad. Of course MLB has decided that my team is being trashed, so maybe I got trashed after all.
I see that MLB decided to take over the Dodgers, arguing that it was in the best interest of baseball for Frank McCourt to go away and leave the team alone. So Bud Selig now is going to be the savior of the Dodgers, is he? Do you have any idea how hard it is to write “Selig” and “Savior” in the same sentence? It’s as bad as Maximilian Schell asking Montgomery Clift to form a sentence using the words “hare”, “hunter”, and “field” (see the 1960s flick “Judgment at Nuremberg”). Anyway, McCourt’s crime seems to be that he was using Dodgers funds for this own personal use. He was using team money to, among other things, pay for a haircut. Hey, Frank, a haircut at the local barber around here is ten bucks. If you’re that short on cash, I’ll loan you a ten. Why do I know it wasn’t a 10 haircut?
I don’t really know what I think of this whole idea. McCourt hasn’t been a bad owner. The team got better. It’s been to the playoffs with some consistency and even won a round or two. But I keep looking at the team and ask myself “Self, why isn’t this team more impressive?” Think about it for a minute. The team is the premier baseball franchise in the second largest market in the USA. I don’t count the Angels who can’t seem to figure out if they are in Los Angeles or Anaheim. The Angels have nowhere near the Dodgers draw and there’s no professional football team in the immediate area (and, yes, I know there is USC, but it doesn’t count–they’re supposed to be amateurs) so the Dodgers have little real competition for the professional dollar outside the Lakers, whose season ends in June at the latest and starts in November at the earliest. So money shouldn’t be a problem. The team has a certain amount of talent. OK, this isn’t the 1927 Yankees, but the 2010 Giants weren’t the ’27 Yankees either and they won the whole thing. So talent alone isn’t the problem. Having said that, the talent could be better. McCourt did bring in good talent in the front office and managed to marginalize his wife’s influence. I was horrified at her “we need more diversity in the front office” line. What “we” need is more people who know what they’re doing, diverse or otherwise, and McCourt seemed to be bringing them in. And I know the divorce is a problem and so was betting long-term on Manny Ramirez, who was an aging flake, but the team is solid, if not spectacular. I wish they had a real four hitter and never understood why Joe Torre kept putting James Loney there, but then how do you argue with Torre?
So, see my dilemma? I don’t know that McCourt was a bad owner, but I think he could have done better. I don’t know that MLB will be the best steward of a storied franchise, but at least the money should go back into the team. I hope they find a new owner who knows what he’s doing. I keep wondering if Nolan Ryan wants to move to LA.
Anyway, I’m back and at least this place didn’t get trashed too badly. Thanks, guys.