Off Base
You Deserve a Break Today

July 10, 2007

It's All-Star Tuesday, and while I love the Midseason Classic, I'm absolutely burned out on the thing. Three hours before the first pitch, I'm spent on baseball.

I need a break. And since I need a break, I'm thinking, you need one too. Well, I don't know whether you need one or not; I can't possibly talk to all of you. So, for the sake of argument, and the headline which I'm not changing, let's just say you deserve a break a today.

You deserve a break from gigantic (pun intended) newspaper stories about steroids, and Barry Bonds. A break from the Barry Bonds slash Bud Selig discussion, and a break from the A-Rod-will-surpass-Bonds-anyway discussion. A break from batting practice home runs, fake home runs, and especially those dramatized by Chris Berman.

You deserve a break from Scott Boras. Oh man, do you deserve a break from Scott Boras. In case you missed it last week, Boras took it upon himself to save baseball with a best-of-nine World Series suggestion, including a game played on a neutral site.

Because, quite obviously, the World Series isn't the greatest, most genuine sporting event on the planet, and needs a complete overhaul. Let's face it: the Series sucks. Out with the old.

Unsatisfied with remaking the World Series in his own image (ooh, there's a scary thought), Boras is proposing a new statistic to celebrate defense. The "EP," which used to stand for "extended play," as in record album, will, if Boras has his way, become known as the "exceptional play," to be determined by the official scorer.

All in favor of banning Scott Boras from being in our face forever, starting now, say "I."

All that is going on in San Francisco as we speak. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, all we need a break from is distinguishing our greatest Brett Tomko-related fear. Which worries us more, Tomko's appearance at the start of a ballgame, or the end?

Or perhaps just a break from this column. That's easy enough to arrange. Go for it…

Midseason Awards: National League Cy Young Award: (Tie) Jake Peavy and Brad Penny.

NL MVP: Prince Fielder.

NL Rookie: Hunter Pence.

NL Manager: Ned Yost.

AL Cy: Josh Beckett.

AL MVP: Magglio Ordonez.

AL Rookie: Reggie Willits.

AL Manager: Jim Leyland.

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Trade Talk: Mark Buehrle would've been nice, but it's just as well. There's a difference between the price a club pays in terms of prospects, and the price in dollars. Yes, the Dodgers have a surplus of prospects whose trading wouldn't affect the major league roster, but picking up salary is less expensive, if you know what I mean.

Everyone's talking about Dontrelle Willis and the various White Sox starters who still might be available. Of those, Javier Vazquez would be great, but he stood in the way of a deal to come to L.A. earlier, and he's liable to do it again. But who knows? Money talks.

There are other easier-to-achieve options out there. Woody Williams of the Astros, is still going strong, and will probably be traded someplace. Why not Los Angeles? Forget the ERA for a minute. He pitches well in L.A., and in San Diego for that matter, and knows the West. He can still go seven or eight innings, and is not fazed by the pennant race or the postseason.

The Reds could provide a starter and a reliever, in Bronson Arroyo and David Weathers. Arroyo makes a ton of money, but his $10 million per year won't look as steep come 2008. Again, forget the ERA. He's pitching in Cincinnati, on a horrible team. He'd benefit from pitchers parks in the West and being in the vicinity of a pennant race. A reunion with old Bosox pals Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe and Grady Little wouldn't hurt either.

Williams and Arroyo will be salary dumps. Significant prospects will not be required. Makes sense to go that route, and keep the youngsters.

Media Savvy: I'm not sure what exactly is going on at the Los Angeles Times, but premium baseball writers are dropping like flies (no Juan Pierre jokes, please). Tim Brown split for Yahoo last year, and Steve Henson has recently made the switch as well. And the Times' Dodgers coverage has slipped considerably since.

Here's what Henson told me: "Yahoo! Sports is a great opportunity for me, something I couldn’t pass up. I get to work under Yahoo! Sports Editor Dave Morgan, who was a tremendous editor at the L.A. Times for 20 years, and get to work with Tim Brown and Jeff Passan, two of the best baseball writers in the country. I will be splitting my time between editing and writing, a combination I enjoy. The L.A. Times was a wonderful place to work for 22 years, and I believe the paper will remain strong through the current turbulent period.

The Times’ Dodgers coverage will always be good – if there is any drop-off right now it will be temporary. Give the new folks a chance. I know both Kevin Baxter and Dylan Hernandez well and am confident they will do a great job."

OK, I'll give the new guys a chance. Meanwhile, I've started reading Tony Jackson, over at the Daily News, much more frequently. And he's great. An actual beat reporter, who knows the Dodgers backwards and forward, inside and out. I recommend Jackson's traditional work in the hard copy newspaper, and his blog even more. Please check it out…

Poly-Sigh: Two words about Antonio Villaraigosa: Ass and hole…

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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