Charlie Dressen Wuz Finally Right

When Charlie Dressen was managing the Dodgers in the early 50's, he was asked in mid-August about the Giants. "The Giants?", he quipped? "The Giants is dead!" Charlie, with a quick managerial mind, didn't bother much with proper English, admitting to Roger Kahn he had never read a book clear through.

Also, he wasn't exactly right that year as the Giants caught and passed his Dodgers - winning the 1951 pennant in the ninth inning of the third playoff game when ... what's his name ... hit a home run.

This year, Charlie would be right but he just had his teams mixed up.

The Dodgers IS dead - at least for 2007.

The double header loss to the Rockies on Tuesday did the trick. If that wasnt enough, the next two losses made it apparent.

They now have to "run the table" and there ain't no way that will happen.

The 2007 Dodgers - with a $100 million payroll - should have done better. And there is plenty of room to go around for the reasons why, or more appropriately, why not.

Manager Grady Little was roundly excorciated for not relieving Pedro Martinez up in Boston, a decision for which he was first roasted and then fired. This year, he overworked his star catcher, Russell Martin, and his bullpen duo of Jonathan Broxton and Takaishi Saito.

All three showed the ravages of being used too often and not having had enough rest at the end. Broxton gave up three game winning homers and Saito one big one - things they didn't do for most of the season.

They were running on fumes at the end. It wasn't their fault, they were plumb tuckered out. Ditto for Catcher Martin. On track for 20 plus homers, 20 plus stolen bases and 95 rbi, Martin hit a wall.

Little made the lineups and managed the roster, so he has to take a good share of the blame. The Dodgers have also gone to Scott Proctor, already overworked by the Yankees, almost every day.

The Dodgers also went too much to Rudy Seanez and to Roberto Hernandez when both oldsters showed demonstrably they should be well rested and spotted in just the right circumstances.

The roster was given to him by GM Ned Colletti, who gave him two pitchers who didn't, Jeff Schmidt and Randy Wolf. They were given over 20 per cent of the payroll but didn't give back 20 per cent of the wins needed.

The fault has to go to Colletti because he knew both had questionable arm histories and yet took the chance. The Dodgers paid dearly for this investment.

Highly paid shortstop Rafy Furcal got hurt in spring training and never returned to the form that had the Dodgers so highly excited.

Furcal went halfway through August with single didget steals, not nearly enough, especially from the leadoff spot, when the number two guy was second in the league and had over 50.

Somebody made the decision to stay with aging and overweight pinchhitter deluxe Olmedo Saenz, the senior Dodgers player. He didn't hit his weight, maybe not within 100 pounds of it.

Somebody made the decision to used Brett Tomko (2-11) and Mark Hendricksen ahead of Chad Billingsley. A bummer which bit and bit and bit the Dodgers and then bit some more.

Whoever made that call made a very bad one.

And there are so many others, to wit: keep James Loney and Matt Kemp in Vegas for months. Expecting Wilson Betemit and Nomar Garciaparra to hit like the teams that had already let them go already knew they wouldn't or couldn't.

The roster crafted had two outfield arms on which everybody, everybody too advantage. It didn't have a platoon at third, it had a regiment. Combined, the regiment was found lacking.

To be sure, Nomar Garciaparra is hitting almost.290, but trying to find a less productive .290 from one of the power corners would take a long time and you better have a record book in hand. Pick the wrong guys and them play 'em over and over.

Take your good pitchers and then overwork them until they were literally out of gas before Labor Day, when there was still four weeks of play left.

One wonders if young manager Joe Girardi would have waited so long to get the kids into the lineup. One wonders if Orel Hershiser, the brainy pitcher, would, as GM, have crafted the pitching staff in the same way.

Looking at it another way, the players, all things considered didn't play or perform that bad. At the same time, the same can't be said for the decision makers, not by a long shot.

Next year (how often we said that in Brooklyn) will be 2008 - exactly 20 years since the last Dodgers championship banner was hoisted.

Too long ago. Way too long.