Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

The once popular TV show Hee Haw had a great recurring song called "Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me." Having cut through all the team generated hype and over generous West Coast media pat on the back kudos to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, we find very little (pun intended) to feel good about for 2007.

Brady Clark and Larry Bigbie and Marlon Anderson and Wilson Betemit individually and collectively do not give us visions of a World Series. Very far from it.

Brady who? An over 30 outfielder still looking for his career year. Fact is, he's probably already had it. Larry who? A guy more familiar with the DL than the active roster.

Now, we do like Rafy Furcal and Juan Pierre at the top of the batting order (although Little has them backward in how they should be hitting). But then comes a quartet of hitters (Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez, etc.) that are slower than a company softball team.

You can run on Gonzo at will (he had a Tommy John operation on his throwing arm). He had lost a step (at least). Gappers will fall and Juan Pierre will get there first, but he can't throw either.

In a recent exhibition, a gapper fell in right center. Pierre could have got there first, but he backed up so Andre Eithier could get the ball, he having the stronger throwing arm. But Eithier couldn't handle the ball Pierre should have taken, and a run scored anyway. This is a premonition of the Dodgers outfield defense to come.

The middle of the order is full of double plays to come as the hitters slow down the line are out be more than a step.

Boy, we love Chad Billingsley. But for reasons only Colletti and Little understand, he has had the starting job he earned last year taken away and given to a Colletti favorite, Brett Tomko.

Billingsley will get his starting job back sometime because the favored starters have long familiarity with the DL and the quintet will likely not survive three rotations before one of them goes down.

And boy oh boy, we REALLY love James Loney. Very obviously a whole lot more than Colletti and Little. Loney said it right when he said he came to help the Dodgers, which can't be done from Las Vegas.

Why the Dodgers stuck a dagger in their best hitter is imponderable. Loney will be back and soon. Just as Billingsley will get the job he should already have, one of the flock of brittle old guys will go down and the Dodgers will need their best hitter urgently, no matter what side of the plate he hits from.

Our concern is that the silly slight to brother Loney will be kept in the recesses of his heart and mind and resurface some years down the line when he gets a chance at free agency and he will remember the slight of 2007. And then loyalists will say, "Where is his loyalty?" Brothers and sisters, Loney's loyalty will be found right under the 2007 roster decision.

Even though spring season statistics and wins and losses don't mean much, the early Dodgers look lethargic. In the Angels cross town series, Mike Scioscia's Angels looked agressive, pushing the envelope. The Dodgers on the other hand looked like they were playing on their heels. Definitely not a good early sign.

The Dodgers must first get out of their division. The Diamondbacks look definitely better. The Rockies as usual have hitting upon hitting. The hated Giants look renergized. Every team in the divisions looks, hype-aside, definitely improved.

Press stuff says the Dodgers collection of players feel good about their mix,  themselves, blah, blah, blah. Boy, we hope so. But cold eyes don't see the same. We hope we are wrong.

Having been wrong before and experienced at saying so, we'll be the first to apologize to my brother (and sister) Dodgers junkies.    

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