Do Italians Make the Best Managers?

Joe Torre keeps bringing the Yankees home. Tony LaRussa just rode the Cards to the Championship. Young tyro Joe Girardi made miracles with he Florida Marlins. Ex-Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia is doing just fine cross town with the Angels. The question is, do Italians make the best managers?

While we have heard Tommy Lasorda on every subject short of Shakespeare and the Septuagint, we've never heard him expound on this subject - other than the fact he considers himself the manager of the 20th century. (Some money grubbing organization gave him an award to that effect several years ago - to sell more charity dinners - and Tommy believed every word of the award.)

When the Dodgers job opened up a year ago, Tommy had one real candidate, fellow paison Jim Fregosi.

It is believed that if Orel Hershiser had changed his name to Olivero Hershiso, Tommy would have waived the Lasorda Dictum (no experience, don't apply) and Orel would now be he Dodgers manager.

Well, LaRussa brought home a wounded team, with no closer, an aging center fielder, a slugging third sacker who had lost the spinach in his left shoulder, the team and league's best player snoozing through the series, but one pesky, puny, undersized, popless shortstop to the big brass ring.

Could LaRussa have done it without Jeff Weaver? Sure he could have. The point really is that he did it WITH Jeff Weaver, the Hamlet of pitchers, the big league pitcher most likely to loose it all at the first bent blade of grass on the field. Amazing. Buono fortuna, fraterni e sistri.

Well, the Dodgers don't have a managerial opening right now, or so it appears. So to get on the Italian bandwagon, they went out and signed Stan Conti as the head man for medicine, trainers, physical conditioning and whatever else goes with it. Conti was, egad, a Giant, but he was of the tribe of Ned Colletti. And like Colletti and Lasorda, he was and is Italian. Now Conti was the head trainer for the Giants during the reign of one Barry Bonds.

He was in charge of all things medical during the entire life span of the steroid scandal. What does this say? If he's as smart as Colletti swears, how come he didn't know or didn't do something about what was going on right before his eyes in he Giants clubhouse.

Does this mean with him coming over to the Dodgers, we can expect what in the clubhouse?

Would Conte have handled Eric Gagne any differently? If he would have, and will this next spring (if Gagne is back) fine and dandy. What was and is the relationship between Conti and Barry Bonds?

Bonds this day says he'll sign as a free agent and as he lives in Beverly Hills, would like to play for the Angels or Dodgers! Would the Dodgers even contemplate such a thing? Well, we got Colletti, who loves bringing Giants over. But we still got Kent, who cant stand the guy.

We got Lasorda, who loves experience above all else and at 42, there are fewer guys with more of that than Bonds. Egad, what a nightmare. To contemplate Barry Bonds in Dodgers Blue. While we are at it, bring back Gary Sheffield.

Then we could have Darth Vader and his twin brother. Talk about clubhouse harmony. The Dodgers would need three clubhouses. One for Bonds. One for Sheffield. A third for the team.

While the still new and wet behind the ears owners ponder such things, they at least know that for the money you'd have to spend on Bonds, you could build X number of new parking spots, which would bring in money rather than spend it, which is rule number one with those who come in on a short nickel.

So far, the Dodgers have picked up a new farm coordinator and Conti. Perhaps now we can move onto the players on the field. One look at Billy Shelly's list of available Dodgers minor league free agents show more than a nugget or two surely to be picked up in the Rule 5 draft or via the free agent route.

The point is if the Dodgers have talent for some other team to take a flyer on, the opposite is also true, i.e., other teams are in the same predicament and have to expose players they don't have room on their 40 man rosters.

The old Christmas song says makin' a list and checking it twice. Who's doing this for the Dodgers?

There are now only three months to suffer through (November, December and January) before the pitchers and catchers begin reporting for spring training and we begin the process all over again. 12 weeks for the front office to duplicate and surpass last year's strong effort.

But it will probably be a sad and somber Vero Beach spring training session in 2007, almost certainly the Dodgers swan song at the storied Dodgertown. The Dodgers had a love affair with Vero Beach ever since Walter O'Malley and buddy Bud Holman got together.

The deal preceded integration and Jackie Robinson and others had to be bedded elsewhere in the early years. The Vero Beach-Dodgers connection lasted at least two generations. It covered every World Championship the Dodgers would ever win, either Brooklyn or Los Angeles version.

Perhaps Holmes and I will co-author a book about this wonderful place and time.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories