In L.A., It's the Atmosphere Baby

Screenwriter Abby Mann, who died the other day, invented detective Theo Kojak, he of the "I love ya' baby" line. Actor Telly Savalas, who played Kojak, was a frequenter of Dodgers Stadium back in the Frank Sinatra Tommy Lasorda days (note that all of them - Mann, Savalas and Sinatra -- all but Lasorda - are dead).

Savalas would have loved the Dodgers Stadium improvements just unveiled. More choices, more room, better toilets, even more environmentally friendly. Multicultural Barak Obama would be just another face in the crowd.

If Hillary would be chasing bullets here, she'd have to bring her own (again).

So, blinded or distracted by these off field things, what's going on on the field - or in the Dodgers infirmary?

The Dodgers literally limp into the season with a record of more losses than wins and injuries up the gazoo.

Each day that goes by makes the decision a year ago to give forty-five millions to one Jeff Schmidt, the absolute worst player pickup in all Dodgers history, not only in LA but in Brooklyn and including the days when they were known as the Robins.

A horrible decision. Full Pack Stanhouse at least took his lumps on the mound for his money. Schmidt has done exactly nothing. So much for pre-decision due diligence.

Now it is nice that there are better toilets. Then we will have a nicer place to go quickly and regurgitate when the second of last year's major pickets tries to actually throw a baseball from the outfield, i.e., Juan Venus de Milo Pierre.

Now there appears to be a growing list of things Pierre can NOT do besides throw, or hit extra base hits. Now Pierre is more than flirting with the Mendoza Line (.200), he seems positively in love with it.

Boys and girls, let us hope the Dodgers of the real playing season are a whole lot better than the spring training version, for the spring training version - be it in Vero Beach, China or Arizona - was positively mediocre.

When will the Dodgers owners learn that it also important to improve the product ON the field? Esteban Loiza "won" the fifth starters slot by pitching over 6.00 in the spring, the same underwhelming stats he showed us last year.

That's like winning fifth place in a four person race.

This is the year either Holmes or I might have made the squad as many were called but none were chosen, or still standing at the end of the competition.

The most exciting Dodgers player will not be seen in the new, improved Dodgers Stadium.

He, lefty Clayton Kershaw, will start in decidedly unglitzy Jacksonville, Florida.

Whereas Vero Beach may have been dowdy or frumpy, Jacksonville is, well, Jacksonville, where a trip to the toilet does not have the ennui of Dodgers Stadium.

The Dodgers who for whatever reason continue to favor age (the older and more fragile the better) over youth may in spite of themselves be tempted to move Kershaw to Las Vegas at some time before the World Series.

Tommy Lasorda will be 81 or 91 one then and Joe Torre not far behind. They can sit and slowly decide when the most exciting thing about the Dodgers can be unveiled at the major league level.

Why is it we think that it is easier for a new toilet to make it to LA than a prize lefty, baseball's most precious commodity?

We are currently ensconced in the Dugout's eastern most outpost, on the Black Sea in Europe. There are some very, very, very old things here. We hope the Dodgers braintrust never gets out this way.

We have a piece of our back wall well over 500 years old. Should the Dodgers show up, they would see Jeff Kent like power in that wall but just as surely neglect to see it has the same mobility.

We were walking in the sidewalk stalls the other day and saw mountains of spinach. We thought of air freighting a ton or so to Nomar Garciaparra who lost his own some time ago.

Come to think of it, may of the men here - and some of the women - resemble Nomar Garciaparra.

Long live Clayton Kershaw!