The Godfather, Part Four

The Dodgers announced Saturday afternoon that the club has fired GM Paul DePodesta and is seeking a new general manager. Below is a statement from Dodger Chairman and Owner Frank McCourt. "As the steward of the Dodgers, I have high expectations and winning is at the forefront. As an organization, we have those expectations and so do our fans. These expectations were not met. I met with Paul DePodesta this morning and told him the Dodgers were moving on."

If Francis Ford Coppola were to look for a great scenario for The Godfather, Part 4, he'd have no further to look than the Dodgers current application of "The Prince" by Nicholo Macchiaveli.

In the Godfather, Part 3, actor Eli Wallach wonderfully played Don Altobello, the subtle adversary of Don Michael Corleone. In the climax of part 3, Don Altobello meets his end by eating poisoned fruit while sitting at an opera.

In the Dodgers current version, there was poisoned fruit all right, but Don Altobello wasn't the victim -- it was Godfather and Machiavelli-challenged young Don DePodesta who was the victim.

Don Depodesta took an ill advised trip to Italy to attend the wedding of his sister, and while he was absent, the other Dodger dons pounced. By the time Depodesta returned to his family, it was no longer he in charge.

When it came time to consider re-elevating soldier Orel Hershiser, the bread was broken and the oath administered by Dons Frank McCourt and Tommy Lasorda with Depodesta twisting in the wind elsewhere.

The sitdown dinner with the empty chair (DePodesta's) was to be fatal to the young Don with the meaningless three year contract as his only remaining lifeline. It was not enough.

Stunned by consistently bad press in Los Angeles and elsewhere, the Dodgers owners began late in the season to turn their ear to their wise consigliere Tommy Lasorda. Then GM Depodesta's closest seat to owner McCourt was in the row behind the consigliere whispering incessantly in the owners ear right in front of him. That scene, replayed on almost every late season televised game, should have been a clear signal. For Depodesta, it was not.

As ex (and fired) GM Fred Claire and many others during the Lasorda reign in LA learned over the years, Tommy Lasorda, while he lost over 1,400 games on the field, has lost very few off it.

Baseball insiders throughout the game are appreciative of Lasorda's skills in warfare. Dusty Baker will have no part of the Dodgers while Tommy is still in the saddle. Available GM candidates, even including Theo Epstein, aren't likely to sign up when the power doesn't go with the job.

While the flower wreaths are still fragrant over the late Depodesta, the tea leaves look like this.

A new GM is likely to be Lasorda himself, or a Lasorda pick like Orel Hershiser.

Terry Collins, with the ink on his contract as manager still wet, will not manage the Dodgers. There are two Lasorda picks - Bobby Valentine and Mike Scioscia, probably in that order. Both have made their bones in the Lasorda family.

As Don Vito and then Don Michael Corleone oft told their questioning minions, there is a plan I can't tell you now, but just accept it my way and go along.

Don Lasorda tried to tell soldier Depodesta that but he didn't listen - with the now predictable results.

These internecine wars have slowed if not hurt the Dodgers path back to respectability. Like in any war, casualties are lost. Time is lost. While other rebuilding teams move on, the Dodgers are stuck in regrouping. It can not help.

The Dodgers soap opera version of the Coppola brilliant Godfather gems are foreign to laid back southern California. These days, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner must look like a benign character to Dodgers fans.

These days, the Dodgers PR department is better known for what it doesn't say than for any Dodgers news. The best way to find out about what's happening is to go to the team page on the net and look over front office personnel. Names disappear faster than Joseph Stalin's purge victims are airbrushed out of photos.

If director Coppola were to take our suggestion and use the Dodgers current high drama as a script for the Godfather 4, Lasorda and Depodesta could play themselves. Hershiser would be perfect for portraying the Tom Hagen/Robert Duvall character. Scioscia could play Lucca Brazzi, Valentine the wayward son returning to the fold played by Andy Garcia in Godfather 3.

Coppola could save money writing the script for the Dodgers have already done the job for him. The beautiful Mrs. McCourt would have a lock on the female lead played by Connie Corleone.

There are enough dead bodies around the Dodgers these days to fill in the violence quotient necessary to any winning film.

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