August 6, 2007
You know it's a strange weekend when Barry Bonds hitting 755 is the best thing that happens in SoCal baseball.
OK first, Dodger fans; you'll live. Trust me. I have years of experience in this department, 18 consecutive to be precise, and damn near nineteen. You may not stay sober, but you will live.
Yes, your club sucks right now, and it looks like the manager and general manager are asleep at the switch (actually, it looks as if they're in a coma, but there's no such expression as "coma at the switch" or I would've used it). But it only looks that way.
There is a complete absence of good teams in the National League at the moment. Three or four clubs will eventually win 87 or 88 or 90 ballgames, if only by default, but there is no one particularly good team. Plenty of average ones, like the Braves, the Phils, the Cubs and the Brewers, and one hot one in the Diamondbacks. The Mets and the Pads I'm still trying to figure. Let you know when I do, but neither of them puts the fear of God in me.
While perhaps it's difficult to take solace in the words of one Juan Pierre, he's essentially right when he says "We've dug ourselves a little hole here, but we haven't gotten hot yet this season, so hopefully we saved the best for last…It's fine. We're not a rah-rah type team anyway…It's the same (in the clubhouse) as if we'd won five in a row."
The successful Dodgers teams of the 1970s and 80s prided themselves on that exact type of thinking. Don't get too carried away when you win; don't get too down when you lose. Basic stuff, and a good philosophy to live by just generally, no?
On the other hand, Jeff Kent's injury is an excuse for squat. Philly lost Chase Utley and immediately started winning. Most of the contending clubs have key guys out. It's no excuse when you lose a guy, or several, and in some cases, it's your own fault when you lose a guy, or several. Matriculating a season full of aches, pains and serious injuries is part of any club's responsibility.
What's the big surprise when a Dodgers pitcher tries to come back from a shoulder, a bicep, an elbow or even a hip injury, only to end up "shutting it down" for awhile, or having surgery that could've been done earlier, or avoided altogether? C'mon, that's what they do.
But I understand the fan psychology of just plain surrendering to the inevitable. If you throw in the towel now, even somewhat, you're elated if your club makes a serious run. OK, orgasmic. And if things only get worse, you'd already given up early and it doesn't hurt quite as much. In theory, and kinda.
Anyway, I'm grateful the club's off today…
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…
Barry Bonds: What, you expected more? Well, I posted a mostly tame piece for the day job at the voiceofsandiego.org. I'm saving the real rant for after he breaks the record, and fair warning, I don't care one bit what the reaction is. In fact, bring it on. The man and the club are in last place, and it couldn't be more appropriate. More later…
Speaking of Obnoxious Giants Most Knowing Fans are Just Plain Sick of: Did you see this thing about Joe Morgan changing his tune, ever so slightly, on the Hall of Fame Veteran's Committee voting process? Since they never elect even a single player, Morgan now says the vets will institute a screening process, which will narrow the field down from 50 to 10 players, which in theory will make a difference for a few guys.
Actually, what'll do is allow Morgan and company to bleep up earlier in the process, and still elect no worthy ballplayers.
But what really bugs me is that, even with this latest revamping of the system, the vets will still only vote every other year. So, in other words, not only are they incompetent in their voting, they can't fix a system with repeated attempts, and to top it off, they're lazy. Too lazy, apparently, to fill out a ballot and stick it in the mail, which will take all of five minutes, out of their valuable 365 day year, of which they spend the rest of their time, in Morgan's case, being a bad baseball announcer…
Media Savvy: Much head shaking about the Bucs taking Matt Morris off the Frisco's hands at the trading deadline. At the time, the quick-witted Rotoworld.com chimed in with this: "Pirates acquired RHP Matt Morris from the Giants for OF Rajai Davis and a player to be named. The Pirates are no longer cheap. They're still, however, quite bad."
With a little more time to think about it, and yes, it's all one paragraph, Jayson Stark ranted as follows, on ESPN.com:
"The Giants' brass was sitting around its suite Tuesday morning, bemoaning the fact that it had no decent deals cooking whatsoever. And then, out of the blue, it happened. The Pirates called. And wanted Matt Morris. His 7.94 ERA since mid-June? Not a problem. That $9.5 million he's owed next year (not counting his $1 million 2009 buyout)? Not a problem. And so they swooped in and finished off a deal for Morris minutes before the deadline -- for a legit prospect (Rajai Davis), a second prospect to be chosen from an agreed-upon list and absolutely zero money changing hands. Well, it didn't take long. For the next two hours, after people around baseball learned of this deal, they couldn't stop calling, e-mailing and texting reactions that could probably be summed up with three succinct words: WHAT THE BX!GRZFDQ!!!!! Don't get us wrong here. We love Matt Morris. Terrific guy. Has had a wonderful career. Should be a fine mentor to those young Pirates starters. But the Giants were just about begging teams to take Morris and offering to chomp big chunks of his money if they had to. Then this team going nowhere dropped out of the sky and took the man and the money. What a country. "That move," said one incredulous front-office man, "is so far out of left field, it's in the Monongahela."
What it means to me is that both GM Dave Littlefield and manager Jim Tracy are assured their pink slips the minute new ownership takes over, and probably before…
More Media Savvy: I finally invested the two hours to watch HBO's wonderful "Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush," which I'd DVR'd three weeks ago, and I loved it.
I knew a lot of the history, but not all of it, and I especially enjoyed Carl Erskine's story about the tearing down of Ebbetts Field. Someone had painted stitches onto the white wrecking ball, and it looked every bit the giant baseball (pun intended), as it tore into the visitor's dugout to start the demolition.
I also happened to catch the name of the film editor, Jason Schmidt. No word on whether Schmidt complained of a dead arm during post production, but was told by the director and staff doctor to suck it up till the wrap party.
Here's as right-on a review as I could find, and an enjoyable read, by Denis Hamill, of the New York Daily News…
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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