Fix the Team, Then the Ballpark

So Frank McCourt plans to spend $500 million to put a new face on venerable Dodgers Stadium over the next five years. Fine and dandy. The plan even GIVES UP parking spaces, but no problem, the surely increased parking rates for the remaining spaces will more than compensate

. But, we ask, when will the Dodgers ownership announce a plan to upgrade THE TEAM ON THE FIELD with the same or identical enthusiasm?

Are the Dodgers obsessed with the packaging the Dodgers come in more than what's inside the box? Do they know what we don't, i.e., Californians cherish the experience more then the result?

We are afraid that the cart is before the horse. We are afraid that five years hence, 45 year old Jeff Kent will still be playing second base, 40 year old Nomar Garciaparra is occasionally coming off the disabled list to play third, that Andre Jones will still be patrolling center and still trying to get to the magical Mendoza Mark, that is to say .200.

In five years, Tommy Lasorda will be 85 and still cussing up a storm in between meeting popes. In five years, Ned Colletti will still be looking for his first trade or signing that actually works for the Dodgers. In five years, Joe Torre will still be uttering calls for patience. In five years, Clayton Kershaw will still be trying to work his way up the Dodgers minor league chain and in five years, the Dodgers will be still trying to trot out guys named Larry, Curly and Moe as the Dodgers fifth starter in the rotation.

We are glad that Frank McCourt cares about how it looks. We just wish he seemed to care just as much about what the product IS, not what is inside the Christmassy packaging. (One is beginning to wonder if he ever knew what was inside the Boston buildings his parking lots surrounded.)

In five years, there will still be the neverending Democratic primary (with some Clinton in it to be sure). In five years, baseball will still be around. In five years, Alex Rodriguez will have passed Barry Bonds as all time home run leader, in itself restoring some purity to baseball records.

We have to admit, we don't much care about the seats in LA in five years as we expect to be sitting with Brothers Spencer and Shelley in really great box seats, albeit somewhat far away.

But if the past of the McCourt ownership is prologue to the future, the Dodgers will still be overspending to put a mediocre product on the field - and they still will be a .500 ball club.

P.S. As we continue to chide Jeff Kent, it is to be noted that his batting average, if not his foot speed or fielding, has risen to a lofty .296. If our chiding "inspires" him, we will keep chiding IF he keeps hitting.

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