Daily News Honors GM Ned Colletti

Columnist Kevin Modesti of the Los Angeles Daily News announced that the paper selected Dodger General Manaager Ned Colletti as the L.A. Sportsperson of the year.

Mondesti noted, "When the Dodgers went looking for a new front-office leader after the 2005 season, 1000 Elysian Park Ave. was not a fashionable address. The inexperienced owners were said to be hard to work for. The fourth-place team's player roster was anonymous and unlovable.

"Ned Colletti accepted the challenge - and in the year since he became the Dodgers' GM, he has repaired not only the roster but the club's image, earning praise as the man most responsible for restoring the confidence of employees and fans.

For that, the Daily News is naming Colletti the Los Angeles Sportsperson of the Year, an honor this column is proud to present for the second time.

"It must have been a small field (of candidates)," Colletti said with a self-deprecating laugh when he was informed of the honor. He added: "Everybody (in the organization) deserves credit."

The 52-year-old Chicago native left the San Francisco Giants where he was second only to the GM to take over the Dodger helm after three days of interviewing with owners Frank and Jaime McCourt.

Colletti took over the top jobs with a team that included vice president and assistant GM Kim Ng, assistant GM Logan White, senior advisor Bill Lajoie, director of player development De Jon Watson (who replaced Terry Collins in that position) and former VP of scouting Roy Smith.

Mondesti pointed out that in DePodesta's nearly two years as Dodgers GM, he acquired 29 major league players, of whom three had previously been All-Stars (appearing in a total of nine All-Star Games); in Colletti's year-plus, he has acquired 25 major leaguers, of whom 11 had been All-Stars (appearing in 39 All-Star Games).

The first L.A. Sportsperson of the Year Award was given in 2005, and it went jointly to USC Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart for showing the pros (think Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, or Kent and Milton Bradley) how to put ego aside for the good of a team. The award is inspired by Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

But, Mondesi wrote, "nobody captured that spirit like Colletti's Dodgers, who have gone from a laughingstock to - announced earlier this month - Baseball America's Organization of the Year.

"The Ned Era has brought back the old optimism. If the season opened today, the Dodgers would be favored to win the National League West.That's a big change in Chavez Ravine from when Colletti moved in."

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