May 22, 2008
I'll keep the "I told you so" brief, but I must say it sure was gratifying to see that within a mere hours of my suggesting the adiosing of Andruw Jones and Gary Bennett by whatever means available, the Dodgers found it within themselves to comply.
And shoot, it took weeks and weeks of proclamations (OK, begging) for the pink slip to finally make it into Brett Tomko's mailbox in 2007, so my powers of persuasion must be growing. If there isn't a character for such things on Heroes yet, there ought to be.
Like I said Monday, there are always ways. Bennett's foot ailment manifested itself at just the right moment to keep him employed, albeit on the disabled list. Don't expect to see him again for months, if ever.
Danny Ardoin is as good a short-term answer as any, and is perfectly capable of both catching and throwing a baseball, neither of which could be said about Bennett. A better qualified backup catcher will be here soon enough, and I'll repeat my preference for either Damian Miller or Mike Lieberthal. Sure, Lieberthat just returned to Pennsylvania to officially retire as a Phil, but that can be undone now and redone come November easily enough.
More importantly – much more importantly – Andruw Jones has been out of the lineup for three days, and should be on the DL momentarily. Fifteen days to rest or six weeks for surgery, it doesn't matter. The break will do everyone good.
But let's get something straight here, OK. The knee injury is an explanation, not an excuse. And even at that, it's only an explanation for his ineptitude with the bat during the Anaheim series, not the entire season.
It's nice of Dodgers trainer Stan Conte to defend his player by saying that Jones' wide body had nothing to do with the injury, but c'mon, who is he kidding? Ask any objective orthopedist on the planet. Pounds and pounds of useless weight where it didn't use to be plus regular athletic activity equals injury. It's not rocket science. And yeah, Andruw's mixed up foot work at the plate contributed. So?
Either way it's Jones' own fault, and as an example of the energy I predicted with the regular center fielder unavailable, the Dodgers swept the Reds out of town Wednesday. The return of Rafael Furcal Friday will boost the team further. If somehow, Jones goes on the DL the same day, that's another positive. The Dodgers catch a huge break if Jones goes away until he's capable of performing like a major leaguer. Not when. If.
The Dodgers need to convert here. This business about Jones skipping both surgery and a couple weeks on the DL in order to get back out there and threaten .170 translates to a missed opportunity for the club. A majorly missed opportunity.
And by the way, Dodger fans would probably still have ended up booing Jones solely for his performance had he bothered to show up in shape, but talk about your bad first impressions. There's no excuse for the 20-plus pounds of excess baggage. It showed that he wasn't motivated to play here. $36 million, and he just didn't care. The smirk wasn't all that helpful either, but the fat was the killer…
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…
Thanks for the Memories, Mike: Any and all broadcast and written appreciations lavished on retiring Mike Piazza are deserving. Every last one of them. Jim Rome, as you might expect, paid an especially kind and well-spoken tribute to Piazza Tuesday, and never was a nickname more apt in this town than Rome's "strongest man in SoCal" tabbing of Iron Mike.
We can argue whether or not Fox's 1998 trade of Piazza to Florida was the worst trade in Los Angeles history until we're Dodger blue in the face, but it's certainly the most unfortunate. That much is for sure. Dodger fans were cheated out of more than half Piazza's career, and the way I see it, if we're not going to win as much as a single division series, we oughta be able to watch our favorite players, and especially our Hall of Famers, play.
What stands out most vividly for me was Piazza challenging Tommy Davis' single season L.A. batting average record in 1995, losing out on the fourth digit, .3456 to Davis's 1962 .3458, only to come back in '97 with an unbelievable .362 to shatter the record. A catcher, at .362.
The .362 ties Piazza him with Wee Willie Keeler for seventh place on the franchise list, which includes Brooklyn, and his Los Angeles career batting average record of .331 ranks fourth, with Brooklyn, behind only Keeler's 352, Babe Herman's .339 and Jack Fournier's .337.
In honor of Piazza, seems like a good time to link to an old column from 2005, so here you go. Best Hitters in L.A. Dodgers History...
Media Savvy: Rotoworld.com's take on Andruw Jones: "Arthroscopic surgery would keep Jones out of the lineup until July, making "arthroscopic surgery" a potential MVP candidate for the Dodgers."
Check out SI.com's first quarter awards, by Gennaro Filice.
And John Rosengren's new book about the baseball season of 1973, Hammerin’ Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid. Great stuff about Aaron's home run record run, and the first year of the designated hitter. Personalized, autographed copies for Father's Day available through June 15.
Seems like everyone is getting their licks in about the NL West and, in particular, the San Diego Padres. Here's Tracy Ringolsby, writing on FoxSports.com, and BaseballSavvy.com favorite Tim Brown, of Yahoo Sports…
Russell Martin Day Off-Oh-Meter: Through May 22, Russell Martin has played in 44 of the Dodgers 45 games. He's started five games at third base and 40 behind the plate, while finishing four others at catcher after pinch hitting for Gary Bennett. Stay tuned…
Investors Wanted: BaseballSavvy.com is a growth enterprise. I’d say we’re looking for Angel investors, but that’s vulgar, and I promised my mother. Invest a thimble full of venture capital today; make major league minimum tomorrow. Inquire...
Under the Radar: In case you missed it, USC and the Coliseum signed a new deal last week, giving the university, among other things, the right to veto a deal between the Coliseum Commission and the National Football League. Not that the NFL had any real intentions about going back there, but this should at the very least, put Exposition Park on the back, back, back, back burner among the possibilities.
So the coast is clear for the NFL go do the right thing and agree that Chavez Ravine is the place for football in Los Angeles. Can you say the Los Angeles Football Dodgers?
Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…
Remember, glove conquers all....
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