Dodgers Do What Ponce De Leon Didn't

The Dodgers have done what Ponce de Leon didn't do, i.e., discover the fountain of youth. Old Ponce was looking hard, but the Dodgers, up until lately, were committed to a mixture of good old veterans and slowly integrating kids one at a time.

But only after they were trained, readied, sent back out for more training, optioned, platooned, committed to the bench, in the big time to watch and observe and then finally only when injuries and other such occurred, slowly inserted into the lineup, usually at the bottom of the order as if to say, watch the veterans perform at the top of the order for a while.

It took a while for the Dodgers to put Russ Martin in the number three spot. Like when they put him  behind the plate when Dionar Navarro went down with an injury, Martin is proving it both hard and alternately foolish to not leave him where he is.

Now the Dodgers are being asked why James Loney is hitting seventh inasmuch as he is contributing more than at least a couple of guys ahead of him. Ditto Matt Kemp. How long  can the Dodgers afford to platoon Kemp and Andre Ethier (a lefty who hits lefties) when the prospect of an outfield of Ethier AND Kemp and  Luis Gonzalez might not be the best outfield the Dodgers could field, both offensively and defensively.

Baseball pundits  galore now are saying what some of us have been suggesting (and imploring) ever since spring training (and even  before), i.e., to win, put  your best winning team on the field, field the best lineup in order of prospective contributions, not always reflecting who has the longest or most expensive contract.

Would old Ponce have altered his diet if he had found the fountain of youth? Hardly. He'd have jettisoned his old ways in a hurry.

The Dodgers, who go slow about things sometimes, are not now resisting the obvious, even if it looks like the stumbled into a new program.

When they turn to 6-0 Chad Billingsley, there is an air of optimism. When they continue to trot out Bett Tomko, the initial pre game or mid  game thought is "oh oh." Therein lies a message. When they turn to Jonathan Broxton, the thought is today (or tonight) this kid, already good, is going to take the next big step forward. Alternately, when they go to Joe Beimel or Rudy Saenz, the thought is keep your fingers crossed boys and maybe we'll get lucky one more time.

It seems like the messages are getting louder, also are the wins. And last time we looked, winning is still the  name  of  the game.

With Loney and Ethier and Kemp  and Martin and Billlingsley and Broxton, there is even a ray of hope even when we head south to Padre land where the Dodgers have not been frankly very good since a sick and dying Franklin Roosevelt hung the UN on us.

And the current hope of the Dodgers rests with players that were first signed under then GM Dan Evans and his sidekick Dave Wallace. The best that can be said about the kid GM that followed is that he didn't screw it up. And sooner now than later (as he planned), Ned Colletti is beginning to benefit.  

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