Baseball Getting Dumb and Dumber

Scott Boras has hit a trifecta in the pawning off of (1) the kid from Japan, (2) J.D. Drew and now (3) Barrry Zito. The total deals for the trio, including the signing rights, could reach $350,000,000. Count those zeroes boys and girls.

The kid from Japan might be good, J.D. Drew will always be what he has already demonstrated, and Zito, albeit young, hasn't been so good with a good Oakland team in the past couple of years so how is he supposed to be good with a worse team in windy San Francisco?

The one good thing about the Zito signing, at least for the Giants, is that there will be something else to focus on rather than Barry Bonds. And after Barry Bonds takes his crippled legs and juices off into the sunset, the Giants will have Barry Zito to try to refresh their image. Although vastly, vastly overpaid, Zito remains a value, which is more than can be said about Bonds.

The baseball owners are spending money like they are playing a kid's monopoly game when in reality they are playing with the fans money. There are differences.

Monopoly money is plentiful but not real. The fans money is real but NOT plentiful. If there was ever a well running dry, this is it.

Baseball is overexpanded and overpaid. There are not enough real players to go around but there are plenty of so called athletes wearing uniforms, getting paid, making agents rich. If there were half as many teams, the average age of big league players would drop dramatically in a heartbeat.

Overexpansion has killed the quality of the game while simultaneously created a national workfare program for old guys. The numbers being put up in baseball are phonied up by being piled up against kids not ready for real big league baseball and against guys who should have been put out to pasture years ago.

Add the senior citizens sidebar signings of 40 year olds - Greg Maddux, now Randy Johnson, Luis Gonzalez.

These old guys are more than halfway to 80 years old. If most of us wanted to watch a great old player, we'd buy film clips, not watch over the hill guys break down before our very eyes.

The scariest thing for Dodgers fans is that the Dodgers have been associated tangentially with EVERY ONE of these off season signings: the kid from Japan, Drew, Zito, Maddux, Gonzalez and now Johnson. (The latest rumor was young, fast Kuo for old, not so fast anymore, Johnson.)

Why is it everybody wants to sucker the Dodgers? Is there something about the Dodgers that we are not aware of?

In just a month and a half the pitchers and catchers will report to spring training and a lot of teams are going to feel like parents the day after Christmas, suddenly realizing they spent money they didn't have and a lot of the junk they bought is broke already.

The sad thing is the Dodgers still don't have anybody who is likely to hit over 20 homers even against too young, too old, and not very good pitchers. You have to feel sorry for guys like Duke Snider, who lives just down the road. Duke never made $50,000 in a year. Now some of these Punch and Judy players with slick agents are making $50,000 an at bat much less $50,000 a home run.

The next sad thing about the Dodgers is the iffy state of their bullpen. Instead of the image of Eric Gagne striding triumphantly to the mound to the strains of GAME OVER, the immediate thought when the Dodgers have to take a starter out is "oh my God, he isn't going to bring in Brett Tomko AGAIN, is he?"

It could be worse, the Dodgers could actually have signed some of those players old name lovers wanted to pawn off on the team.

The biggest real issue for the Dodgers when they arrive for perhaps their final ever spring training session in Vero Beach is what are they going to do with James Loney. You can't even think about the kid having to go back down to the minors again.

You really can't honestly think about sitting a kid like James Loney, but that is exactly what the Dodgers are thinking about. The Dodgers really will sit James Loney until one of their old geezers breaks down.

Gee, we loved Lillian Russell and Sophie Tucker and Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe. We loved the memories.

But the memories are better off left of these greats when they were in their prime. In horse racing, the Kentucky Derby is for two year olds. That's why is stays great. Baseball is the antithesis of the Derby. It is infatuated with live reruns.

My closet is filled with: a wheelchair, several canes, braces for the wrist, the waist, the shoulder, liniment for stiffness, aspirins, pills and health related stuff of all sorts. But I am not a ballplayer, nor to I pretend to be.

Frankly, if I were getting paid like a modern day ballplayer, I would first have to get around the guilty feeling that I would be stealing.

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