A Tale of Three Cities

Monday was a tale of three cities in baseball- New York, Philadelphia and Minneapolis and how each of them impact the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Philly first. The Phillies, swept by the Dodgers in LA only last week, returned the favor putting a serious crimp if not a big mountain in front of the Dodgers attempts to sneak out a win in the National League West as the first of September looms. The Dodgers hit enough, but never when there were baserunners on.

They didn't, as of late, field particularly well.

And the pitching, the heart of baseball, was suspect if not odoriferous. The starters put the team in the hole and he bullpen was, well, not much of a bullpen.

With closer T. Saito out, it's hard to put the blame on Manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, for having to pick between Tanyon Sturtze, Jason Johnson and the other cast of suspects dropped on them by the front office.

Five of the Dodgers pitchers counted on are on the DL. Some were overworked. Some were allowed to work when a prescient medical staff might have seen early warning signals. But, fact be known, the Dodgers do not now feature a pitching staff worthy of getting to, much less excelling in, the post season.

The second city of note Monday was Minneapolis.

Maybe under-noticed, the Twins went out and plucked lefty reliever Eddie Guardardo from the waiver wire. Now Mr. Guardardo isn't exactly among the top five relievers in the game, he is nonetheless still a quality big league reliever - exactly what the Dodgers need.

The question can be legitimately asked how the Twins, with a win-loss record better than the Dodgers, were able to get to Guardardo, or, more precisely, why in the world Dodgers GM Ned Colletti passed on a guy who clearly would have helped the Boys in Blue.

Is the GM not doing his job? Has the owner put the kabbosh any any more spending?

Do either honestly think the Dodgers have enough pitching for the last month of the season? Something doesn't add up here.

The fact is the Dodgers bullpen is fishy right now and the Dodgers have done exactly nothing to improve it.


The third city where there was big baseball news on Monday was in New York City.

The New York Times ran a major story about what the New York teams are doing to their fans just to get in line to see a big league baseball or football game.

Wall Street and the mortgage brokers have nothing on the sports owners in New York City. Not only can blue collar stiffs no longer afford to go to a game, the legitimate middle class and upper middle class segments of the fan base are being priced out of the sport.

What happens in New York City sooner or later spreads to the other large market cities - read that Los Angeles - and ultimately to ever big league sports city.

The Times story is worth reading and reflecting on.

The price for a big league game is already sky high and clearly going higher. Many questions can be asked.

Are today - or tomorrow's - prices fair to go to a game and see a retread like Jason Johnson trotted out again and again in a crucial pennant drive? To see a Mark Sweeney try to imitate a big league hitter? To support a GM who hasn't delivered a team worth watching much less winning?

Or a manager with a history of burning out pitchers? Baseball's ostrich like owners, avaricious agents, and the others who control the sport are biting the hands that feed them.

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