Beckham in Los Angeles

Back in WWII, the Brits said the US troops were "over paid, oversexed and over here". Now, some 65 years on, the Brits are attempting to repay the favor by unloading an overaged, overpaid soccer player named Beckham on the unknowing and naive saps in LA.

We are abroad these days and when we need an occasional fix of the English language, we repair to The Red Lion, a London style pub and habitat of various English speaking expatriates. Part of the drill is watching soccer, which everyplace outside the US is called "football", a dreary game where lots of guys run around, the scoring is rare, and a 1-0 game is a blowout.

The Limeys are ecstatic they were able to unload Beckham and sniff that LA -- and US soccer in general -- is most definitely "minor league".

You may wonder why we introduce Beckham and soccer/football into a baseball piece. And that is a good question. The answer is Jeff Kent.

Like the GIs in England during the way, Kent is overpaid, overage and unfortunately still hitting cleanup for the punchless Dodgers. Whereas Beckham is playing minor league football, Kent is in the baseball big leagues. And the question is, how long will the Dodgers go on hitting a slow afoot, try-to-pull-every-ball-hitter, in the critical four spot, much less in the lineup daily.

It is still early April and already, Kent, who "rested" all of spring training, looks tired. Let's face it, 40 year old guys playing with 20 year olds, will get tired.

Curmudgeon Kent has been oft quoted as saying veterans know how to play situationally, to hit the ball to the right side, to do what is necessary to manufacture runs. Cleanup hitter Kent has so far been hanging up 0-4s with some regularity, including the 1-0 shutout by the Padres.

We were in Bucharest, Romania, this past week, on the heels of the NATO summit. Perhaps we were fading in and out of reality, but we could swear every cab driver was asking why the Dodgers are so stupid as to hit a well-past-his-prime old fogey cleanup.

We were inclined to respond that the Dodgers have a great respect for antiquity, hence the long record of Tommy Lasorda. We were inclined to remark that 40 year old parking lot slots that don't move have great affection in the eyes and mind of the team owner. We were thinking of Beckham in football.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are not so much thinking of the pitfalls of an aging cleanup hitter as of how long it will be before they can put another aging former hitter in the spot at third, i.e., Nomar Garciaparra, currently on rehab.

They also have to be wondering if on the first month of play expensive CF acquisition Andruw Jones will EVER hit again. The Dodgers currently look like they have set a modern day record for the most years in a row getting suckered into paying too much money for a "name" centerfielder.

In early going, the two duds are playing side by side (while Matt Kemp, the future, sits) -- one can't throw and the other can't hit.

When the Dodgers were unable to latch onto Joe Girardi and took Joe Torre as a consolation prize, the LA baseball world went gaga over the newest miracle maker, the manager who could win games by himself.

Well, the Dodgers are, as they were in spring training, a team under .500 and there have been few if any flashes of brilliance from Torre as yet.

Some wise old sage said hope springeth eternal. What he was probably saying was that since things so far haven't been hunkydory, the law of averages has got to catch up to us someday, and the sooner the better.

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