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  . . Off Base.

What Ills the Dodgers

Whatever it is, it’s contagious.

I took the liberty of calling the Center for Disease Control. The CDC is in Atlanta, and to a man roots for the Braves, so they weren’t completely forthcoming. And of course, the scientific community is as stumped as the rest of us. But they did have a few thoughts.

First of all, it’s a disease, not a weakness.

There’s a contagion at play. Not air-born like some, “Dodger Blue” gets passed down from one club owner to the next, from g.m. to g.m., field manager to field manager, and so on. When placed in a new work environment, Dodger Stadium, no one seems to perform at previous levels.

The players are a mystery. Since there is so little high-fiving going on in Los Angeles, Dodger Blue isn’t being transmitted through touching. There’s something else going on.

“But what,” I asked. “Not the dreaded chemistry. Please, not that!” “No,” said the CDC, “...it’s not that. We can’t explain the chemistry thing to anyone’s satisfaction, so we just won’t go there.”

“It’s a tough one, this Dodger Blue. We don’t think it started with the Mike Piazza trade, but that was a factor. Things spiraled out of control from there. Symptoms increased, ranging from confusion to headaches, to the afflicted being almost completely incapable of looking in the mirror. A total lack of responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault. That’s a key. Excuse making is big with Dodger Blue. Goes at least as far back as Fred Claire. That much we know.”

“Nausea too, but that’s mostly in the stands. Seems to clear up with a nice run, say eight of ten. But evidence shows that sufferers find it difficult to rely on eight out of ten. It’s like playing for the three-run homer in the National League.”

I asked the CDC about an epidemic.

“Well, cities in close proximity seem to be ok. Anaheim would be the most likely team to become infected, and from what we’ve seen this year, they’re immune. San Diego has us concerned, but Oakland and San Francisco are free of symptomology. Baltimore looks as bad as L.A., worse in some ways, so we’re keeping an eye on them.”

“Los Angeles is the big problem. The Dodgers are dangerous, and quarantine is not out of the question. We don’t want to be second-guessed, which happens a lot there, so we’ll tread carefully. Sure the team is hard to watch, but that’s our job.”

What about a cure?

“A transfusion. The Dodgers need old blood, untainted stuff, like say, Dusty Baker, with Bobby Valentine as a fall-back plan. The Giants will make a pitch to keep their skipper, and the Dodgers will have to completely sweep him off his feet, but it’s doable. Dusty has an open mind. Talk is cheap.”

“Piazza would be great too, but there’s no way. Maybe in 2003 or 2004, maybe. We’re also developing a theory involving Dodger Blue and climate, but the Dodgers would have to be playing in October for us to test it fairly.”

Should they change general managers? You know, out with the old?

“Kevin Malone’s not that old, and can stay another year. He’s part of the problem, but he’s not the problem. It would be nice if a Dodger executive, any executive, would admit a mistake, like, ever, but we’re cool with Kevin for 2001.”

“Say what you will about Devon White, but for the life of me, I can’t understand how you can lose your leadoff man and center fielder in early May and do nothing about it until July 31.”

“Putting Todd Hollandsworth out there for such a long stretch was inexcusable, and not having that fourth outfielder available to spell the other guys was huge. They ran Shawn Green right into the ground, messing up the entire offense, really. That was lame, but like I said, one more year for Malone.”


“No. No Arod. Leave Alex Rodriguez alone. Let’s keep him germ free, shall we. The city of Seattle deserves a superstar, this superstar. Don’t mess with them. Alex Cora is fine. He’ll make all the plays, hit .275 and play smart. The Dodgers need a young player like him.”

“Besides, this business of throwing money at everything is a major symptom. Has to stop. You can’t have a 10 or 15 or 20 million dollar man at every position. Arod stays in the Emerald City. Just sign Darren Driefort before you get back on the yellow-brick road, or you’ll keep going in circles.”

And Bob Daly? “Rookie. Should learn from Cora.”

That’s as out on a limb as those Atlanta brains will go, at least on the Internet. Thanks guys. The rest is up to L.A. To review, see your doctor, get plenty of rest, eat right, spend wisely, look at yourself, get Dusty Baker.

Don’t be so blue. There is a cure. At least we think so....

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Copyright © 2005 by BaseballSavvy.com.