Positive Things to Think About

We have been a curmudgeon of late, finding it hard to find good things to think about in matters baseball, what with the storm clouds of the Mitchell Report and the larger cyclones of what is going on but has not seen the light of day yet lurking just over the horizon.

My team, my sport, their integrity has been tarnished so much that despair is easily found.

So what is there to feel good about, one might ask?

Well there is Russell Martin, the wonderful Canadian catcher who while still young makes the doings of Paul Lo Duca more than forgettable. Martin is a catcher who can catch as well as hit - take that Mike Piazza! A guy who the hint of scandal has not touched yet, and we hope never does.

Then there is the equally wonderful James Loney, a dazzling defensive first baseman who not only covers his position but at least half of Jeff Kent's as well. Not seen as a power hitter, Loney keeps confounding the experts. And, like Martin, no touch of scandal.

Boy oh boy, two young men who can play without illegal injections.

And there is Chad Billingsley already here and Clayton Kershaw not so far behind. Again, young and virginal, as yet uncorrupted.

And a new Japanese pitcher crossing the waters, a guy, while highly paid, might actually be able to take his turn in the rotation past midseason.

And Mr. Saito returns. These Japanese pitchers just take the ball every time out. Maybe there is something to the Japanese method of not coddling pitchers after all.

We are feeling good that the old Dodgers GM Fred Claire was the first one to come up with a practical start of an answer to the drug business, i.e., strip the offenders of their union membership and the attendant windfall of cash for paraphernalia rights, etc.

We are feeling good that new manager Joe Torre has put his fingers on baseball's real problems, i.e., rebuilding for real fans trust in the integrity of the sport.

We would feel even better yet if Vin Scully would comment on things baseball from his  perch of impeccability (that's a fancy word for he who is without  sin). We will feel better if the venerable Tommy Lasorda will maintain his  silence of baseball's problems.

Heck we even feel good that the Dodgers have a passel of new coaches, even the excitable  Larry Bowa. There ain't gonna be any laid back LA third base coaching this year.

It has helped a tad that the Dodgers head trainer (no matter what his official title) Stan Conte is being said to be one of the  good guys in the juicing scandal, something clearly known to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti in their Giant days.

This helps my own rebuilding process, which would go faster if the Dodgers would begin telling their fans of what good things they have been doing to clean up the game, i.e., the real reason some 'popular' players were jettisoned and why the acquisition of some players who could have been had  did not become Dodgers.

Now if only Jason Schmidt could do something to earn his pay, if only Esteban Loaiza would find a legal fountain of youth, if big John Broxton can move up a notch to the next level of big league stardom, if, if, if - then we will begin feeling good about baseball (and  the Dodgers) again.

P.S. We wonder if baseball brass caught the whiff of fresh air from the Iowa primaries. The folks just ran away from "same old, same old" and marched swiftly and inexplicably toward new faces, a fresh start.

Wasn't that nice? And isn't there a lesson in that?

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