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Off Base
The Devil You Know

October 17, 2005

We’re simple folk, we Dodger fans. Give us a drum beat and a three syllable fill-in-the-blank and you can have your way with us. Last year, with the power of the slightest suggestion, we droned “MVP, MVP, MVP!!!” like there was no tomorrow; never mind that there was no tomorrow.

One three-homer game into 2005, we kicked it into high gear and came up with “Hee Seop Choi, Hee Seop Choi, Hee Seop Choi!!!”

Next year’s chant? Yeah, you saw this coming. A kewpie doll for the little lady. “WE MISS FOX, WE MISS FOX, WE MISS FOX!!!” OK, everybody, one more time!! WE MISS FOX, WE MISS FOX, WE MISS FOX!!!

Oh, for the good old days of Chase Carey and Peter Chernin, and Dave Johnson and Kevin Malone. Would you believe Tripp Cromer and Brad Clontz? How about Jacob Brumfield and Robinson Checo?

More importantly, where is Dennys Reyes when you need him?

Actually, that last one is a gimme. A quick glance at the handy dandy Who’s Who in Baseball listing tells the tale of Dennys Reyes: “July 4, 1998: Traded with Paul Konerko to the Cincinnati Reds for Jeff Shaw.”

Yes, I know baseball exists outside Los Angeles, but the Dodgers are more interesting in disarray than are the Angels, pretty much no matter what state they’re in. Exponentially so.

L.A. has fired another vice president, presumably for not being “on the same page” with someone or other, so all will be right with their world lickety-split. Shoot, they’ve interviewed Ron Wotus; they’re cured now.

Meanwhile, would-be Dodgers custodian Dennis Gilbert celebrates with the White Sox. Coincidence, I think not. Congratulations South-siders…

Look-alikes: Jackie Autry and Randy Jones…

Thanks to Los Angeles Times’ fine writer Tim Brown for the almost plug: “Gene Michael, an advisor to Steinbrenner and one of the savvy baseball minds left in the organization, was said by the New York Post to be trying to free himself from the remainder of his contract, which brought a pointed response from Zimmer, the Yankee ex-pat.”

Long before there was a “Mendoza Line,” the Dodgers had Mr. Gene Michael. With his .229 and 15 homers lifetime, Michael was known affectionately as "the Stick." As is often the case, Los Angeles acquired and dismissed the player without reaping the benefits of his great talent. Michael hit just .202 as a Dodger in 1967, with three doubles, a triple and seven RBIs, only to blossom later with the Yanks.

Even with Michael, the Dodgers won just 73 games following Sandy Koufax's retirement in 1966. They won but 75 the next year, and the eight seasons between World Series appearances seemed like an eternity. In fact, it was, but eight years and 75 victories with Andy Kosco as the team slugger was inspiring compared to the present circumstances. L.A. is just four years from matching Brooklyn’s record run from 1920 to 1941 between pennants…

BTW: Giants catcher Marc Hill was also know as "Stick." Hill hit a commanding .223, with 34 homers in 14 seasons...

It’s not a perfect comparison, but Josh Paul should take a cue from Moises Alou. Following the Steve Bartmann game two years ago, Alou spoke with perspective and humility: "I kind of feel bad for the guy. Every fan in every ballpark, the first reaction they have is they want a souvenir. They don't think about the outcome of the game or what could happen. Unfortunately, it happened. The guy saw a shot at having a baseball, and he went for it. Hopefully, he won't have to regret it for the rest of his life."

Paul said he would “take no responsibility whatsoever,” and after a day of reflection, added that given the chance to do it all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. With that, Josh Paul is our “Quote of the Week” award recipient.

Interestingly, Rich Rieker was the supervisor of umpires in both instances. His response in 2003: "The fielder goes in at his own risk. In this case, the fan did not reach out."

Statue for Gene Michael: Oh why not? He was a thoroughly baseball savvy man. You can look it up…

Quote of the Week, Part Deux: From Jim Tracy: "You get 27 outs, and every single one of them is precious. The point is to maximize the efficiency of each and every out. That's vital." Sure, now the man gets it. Maybe he was on the same page with Paul DePodesta after all. That’s what it’s all about, you know; being on the same page. You just have to be on the same page. Nothing matters more in baseball today. If you’re not on the same page, you’re nowhere. You're on a different page is where you are...

NLCS: Good for the Houston Astros. A tip of the cap to Phil Garner and company. And once again, a Tony LaRussa club cruises through the entire season as the dominant team in baseball only to fail in October. Sweeping the San Diego Padres doesn’t count.

Savvy baseball man Gene Mauch made sure to leave something behind for all eternity - the double-switch. Tony LaRussa gave us the pitcher batting eighth…

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Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues, so please scroll down to the photo below and vote yes on 32…

Remember, glove conquers all….



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