Bochy Leaving Padres Break for Dodgers

The Dodgers, no secret, have been plagued by the downstate San Diego Padres ever since Bruce Bochy signed on as manager of that franchise. So, Bochy moving upstate to the Giants has to be a big plus for the Dodgers. Anything that hurts the Padres has to help the Dodgers.

Bochy, a good-catching, bad-hitting catcher (the opposite of Mike Piazza) has won more games as Padres manager than anybody in the franchise's history and that includes some pretty fair to middlin' guys - Dick Williams, Don Zimmer and others.

Why would he leave? Hard to tell. He is leaving behind a better pitching staff than the Dodgers have, and pitching remains as always 90 per cent of baseball. One wonders whether the decision to bring in Piazza behind the plate had to rankle Bochy.

Mike, great guy, never was, is not now and never will be even adequate behind the plate and as each year passes, he becomes less and less the formidable hitter he once was.

But whatever the reasons, Bochy will have his hands full in San Francisco. Maybe Giants GM Brian Sabean gave him some hope and insights into the Giants future when he talked Bochy into the job.

The Giants are an old team, full of free agents, and still have Barry Bonds, who, home runs aside, was, is and will be a problem. The steroids issue aside, Bonds is no gem in the clubhouse. If he comes back and plays (or tries to), he's a problem, 'cuz, well, he just ain't that good anymore. If he comes back and doesn't play, he's still a problem. Only ex-Dodgers player Gary Sheffield can match him in the charm category.

But bottom line, the Bochy less Padres will be easier to take and even Bochy ain't gonna turn the Giants around any time soon.

Speaking of Sheffield, what is wrong with this guy? The only, repeat only, place in the world he could make $13 million next year is playing baseball - for anybody who will take a 38 year old head case with an injury record that tops Nomar Garciaparra's and Kerry Wood's.

Sheffield is Sheffield. He was barely tolerable when his talent matched his mouth and his high opinion of himself. Sheffield has Hall of Fame wrists and an ego to go with them. Sheffield's constant complaining almost want me to actually hear broadcaster Tim McCarver or Tommy Lasorda. Sheffield (and Bonds) are symptomatic of what is wrong with baseball.

They forget that the most important ingredient in baseball is you and me, the fans, the working stiffs who cough up $100 or more per head to go to watch a big league game. Try to get a good seat (lower level, between first and third), foot the parking bill, have a couple of beers and hot dogs, and try to go home with change from a C note. I mean, you got to budget for $100 to be able to do so. And where does the money go, to the Sheffields and Bonds who don't care a lick about their employers, you and me.

Orel Hershiser always had the attitude athletes are entertainers, thus worthy of the money the market will bear to watch them entertain. Well, lots of fans don't necessarily find either Sheffield or Bonds entertaining.

Notes-- Did you notice the Yankees elevated manager-in-waiting Don Mattingly to "bench coach", a job he has never held before? Another case of the Lasorda Rule not being applied. ...The Twins rehired their coaching staff, including Joey Vavra, the hitting coach, a longtime Dodgers minor league player, coach and manager. How did Vavra do last year? He had the AL batting champ, the first catcher ever to do that, and a bunch of other overachievers. Vavra worked as a minor league staffer for years with the Dodgers with Angels third base coach Dino Ebel, two good baseball men who couldn't get promoted by the Dodgers.