Eternally Optimistic

There are so many different types of fans out there in the baseball world. Some go to every game with their scorebook and enjoy logging every pitch, hit, and error in their books. Do these people even get the chance to enjoy a beer & hot dog during the game? Do they get to go to the bathroom??

A gratuitous shot of Dodger fan, Denise Milani

Some fans are eternally optimistic. You’ll hear them say “it’s a long season” or “plenty of game left” or the worst, “there’s always next season.” Some are eternally pessimistic and will despise each player on the roster at one point in the season. What have you done for us lately?!? Sure you hit .330 last season but you’re only hitting .285 this season you bum!!! We should trade you now!!

And of course, there is the eternal bickering between fans over who should stay and who should go.  Manny sucks…no, Manny is a beast.  Trade Blowingsley…no, Bills is the future of the Dodgers.  Probably the only two consistencies amongst all fans is that Ethier cannot, under no circumstance, be traded away…and also that Sherrill, under any circumstance, must be traded away.  It’s pretty entertaining to read the comments on the Los Angeles Dodgers Facebook page and the divergent comments from fans and haters.

There is one thing to appreciate.  Dodger fans are loyal.  In fact, I think the Dodger fans are more loyal than any in the NL West considering it’s been so long since we’ve seen success.  Real success as defined by Major League Baseball…a trip to the World Series.

The Rockies last made it to the World Series in 2007.  The Giants went in 2002.  The D-Backs won it the year before.  And the Padres last went in 1998.

Our last trip to the World Series was in 1988.  In 1988, the Billboard chart was dominated by George Michaels, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson.  I think considering that it’s been so long since we’ve felt the joy of competing in the World Series…any fan, regardless of passion or opinion, should be commended.

My only wish is that our owner felt the same.

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McCheap Being McCheap

McCheap being McCheap. That’s the first thought that crossed my mind when Colletti signed Jamey Carroll this past winter. While other G.M.’s were given an actual budget to strengthen their teams, we were scouring the bargain bins in our attempt to finally reach the World Series. One would think that after coming so close, just being denied by the Phillies two years running, that the Dodgers front office would have been a bit more aggressive, but this is the era of McCheap being McCheap.

Of course Colletti wouldn’t find names, like Lackey, Damon, or Lee, in the bargain bins. However, he would find Jamey Carroll, whose most notable accomplishment to date could be scoring the last run for the Montreal Expos before the franchise moved to DC. A career .275 hitter, the utility infielder gives the Dodgers a good, reliable glove at any infield position. A bargain at $1.5 million, especially when you divide that salary by 3 (the 3 of 4 IF positions he has played in the Majors).

Does he remind anybody else of J.P. filling in for Manny during his 50-game P.E.D. suspension last season? Where would the Dodgers have been without Juan Pierre? Where would the Dodgers be this season without Jamey Carroll?

I think there is a growing sentiment to give Carroll more playing time. He’s hitting .294 and provides the team some much needed speed on the bases. Carroll made some great plays at 2nd last night and had one of the four Dodger hits against Sabathia. And given the fact that he even hits RHP better than the lefty hitting DeWitt (.308 vs .268), shouldn’t Carroll start at 2nd over DeWitt?

C’mon Joe. We need to find ways to win. Forget who we thought was more impressive during Spring Training. That was yesterday. Our starting nine has to be the nine who gives the Dodgers the best opportunity to win. In my opinion, that is with Carroll playing 2nd and hitting in the 2-hole.

I guess sometimes being McCheap can pay off. Just like it did last night at dinner when I tipped $5 on a $200 check.

Please Sell The Dodgers Frank McCourt!

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading fan comments on all that is wrong with the Dodgers. A lot of finger pointing. Kemp’s lack of hustle. Manny being Manny. Casey’s beard…or lack thereof. Garret Anderson’s BA < his weight. Belisario, Troncoso, and Sherrill blowing holds. Haeger pitching hangers. Furcal’s injuries. Loney’s lack of power. Torre abusing the bullpen. And on and on…

Some are valid points.  Some are ridiculous.  I think the only Dodger who has avoided any blame is Ethier. Dre practices hard, plays hard, and has truly earned his Captain Clutch nickname.  It doesn’t hurt that the ladies find him dreamy.

But let’s all please go to the root of the Dodger woes.  It starts at the top.  Frank McCourt.

A parking lot developer from Boston who first tried to buy his beloved Red Sox…followed by the Angels and the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Finally he settled on the Dodgers and since MLB was anxious to replace the evil Murdoch, Bud Selig overlooked McCourt’s questionable liquidity and character.

What a goldmine this turned out to be for the real estate developer who immediately realized the untapped retail possibilities in Chavez Ravine.  Who cares about a World Series title when McCourt stands to make hundreds of millions after he develops Chavez Ravine into a restaurant and retail strip mall?  And who cares about the pristine character and history of Chavez Ravine?  Obviously not Frank McCourt.

McCourt has since dragged the good Dodger name through the mud and tabloids with his high-profile divorce.  This divorce has revealed a slush fund created by McCourt to extract more money from the Dodgers than allowed by the Board of Directors and an exorbitant salary paid to his two sons for doing nothing.  And let’s not forget the recent discovery of a Russian wizard, Vladimir Schpunt, who McCourt paid a six-figure salary to channel positive energy to the team.

What is most disturbing to me is the promise McCourt once made to Dodger fans to keep the Dodgers in the top 25% of payroll in the league.  In 2010, this should have left us at approximately $115 million…roughly $20 million more than current.  For $20 million, we could have offered arbitration to both Wolf and Garland….and acquired Cliff Lee this past winter.

Where would we be right now with these three on our roster?