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Off Base

Out With the Old

April 21 2006

Out with the old, in with the, uh, old.

You know what, Dodgers powers that be? Go ahead, take Vero Beach, see if I care. Just give us Roger Clemens in return. We can use the bat. Clemens for Vero, straight up.

And you know what, Dodger fans? The team leaving Florida for greener Arizona pastures isn’t the end of the world. I’m pretty sure you’ll live. Actually, I don’t think Florida even has pastures, so what’s the big deal?

Besides, Dodgertown is older than Julio Franco. Why, it’s so old, when they built the facility, the cup holder hadn’t even been invented yet. You won’t find one in the whole place.

Look, Vero Beach was chosen for its spring climes and proximity to baseball’s northeastern cities. So was the entire Grapefruit League, for that matter. The last time I checked, Goodyear, Arizona was more proximic to Los Angeles than Vero Beach, Florida. Sure, it’s about money, but it’s also about geography. The Dodgers trained at Vero a half century longer than they might have. The world won’t end.

But in exchange for their support, the club has to throw the home folk a bone. What with ringing scoreboards already in place, and high rise condominiums to come, the purists need something old and fine to hang their hats on. Like say, Roger Clemens. Yeah, Clemens. He’ll do. And $3 mil a month oughta be enough to get him here. Maybe 3.5. Some hungry desert town will kick in the extra dough.

Anyway, old guys rule.

Couple more things. Before the move west, give us a year’s notice. We’ll join you for a Dodgertown love-fest. A fun time will be had by all. More importantly, no sharing of facilities at the new pad, please. Only the best, the absolute best for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The place has to stand out in every way conceivable. Totally unique. Do that, and you’ve got your blessing…

Miscellaneous Dodgers Stuff: I’m mystified by the constant maligning of Jose Cruz, Jr. by certain members of the Los Angeles baseball media. Here’s an example from Los Angeles Times’ Houston Mitchell:

“Ethier has career fourth outfielder written all over him, but with the brittleness of Jayson Werth and the erratic play of Jose Cruz Jr., Ethier could be up with the big club at some point.”

What “erratic” play? The man hit .301 as a Dodger last year; he’s hitting .296 now.

While not a star, Cruz is a solid player and a Gold Glove outfielder. I’m partial to switch hitters, yes, but I just see Cruz as an all around reliable guy, and don’t understand the unhappiness with his playing left for Los Angeles. Left field is not a major issue.

Catcher, on the other hand, is. Major. It’s not the pitchers, OK. Enough with that. It’s the catchers. If you can’t throw like a major league catcher, you’d better hit like Mike Piazza, circa 1997.

More unbecoming the Dodgers is the way Dioner Navarro slams the bat down like a child after popping out in a clutch situation. We’ve seen it enough times to use the word “trend.” The out is bad enough. At least look like an adult when you’re biting it. The club needs a real catcher…

The Dodgers have had so many runners thrown out at the plate this year Rich Donnelly is making coaching third base look like a difficult job. Can’t you just see J.D. Drew or Nomar Garciaparra, out at home “from me to you” and gone for months? OK, you can see J.D. Drew or Nomar Garciaparra safe at home from me to you and gone for months, but you get the idea…

Rome Alone: Jim Rome needs to freaking decide. Which is it, satellite radio or radio down here on earth? Radio or cable television? Fox or ESPN? ESPN or ESPN2? Radio or cable television? Back away from the repeated discussion about your career choice. Like, you’re doing us all a favor when you end up staying. Make a bleeping decision. Enough already.

When Rome pulls this crap, it’s incredibly bad radio. The rest of the time it’s a great show. Well, except for when he props his interviews for an hour after completing them and encourages the listeners do the same. That, and when he talks hockey. Hockey and tennis. The rest of the time it’s a great show...

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Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged.

Put up Your Dukes: Hey, dig this. Apparently, there’s a thing called Major League Lacrosse. I bleep you not. MML. Major League Lacrosse. Here’s an example of the news they make: “April 16, 2006 - The Boston Cannons have traded for All-Star defenseman Jamie Hanford in a trade with the Chicago Machine. In return the Machine receives Boston's third round pick in the 2007 MLL Collegiate Draft. Hanford is pictured playing for the New Jersey Pride during the 2005 season.”

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. This is the year. We’re going for it. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….




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