Torre's Strange Moves

The Dodgers, not a very good team (thanks to the front office and injuries), clinging to a slender lead with most of the rest of the season to be played on the road (where the Dodgers have the worst record in all of baseball) got either a shot in the arm or a kick in the butt from manager Joe Torre on before the second game of the series when he juggled his lineup in a very strange way.

He sat Matt Kemp and James Loney in favor of Nomar Garciaparra and Andrew Jones. (The game wasn't over when we penned this so there's the probability he'll also send Mark Sweeney up to hit as well) [ed note; he did].

Kemp and Loney are both hitting over .290.

Garciaparra has hit under .150 since the All Star break and had in fact lost the everyday shortstop job to Angel Berroa, the light hitter who was nonetheless out-hitting Nomar. Jones, the bust, has never reached the .150 mark all year. (Sweeney is under .130 with his batting average heading south.)

The Nomar/Jones switch for Kemp and Loney has all the earmarks of the current presidential campaign - despair and hope.

One shouldn't be surprised since the Dodgers have pinned much of their pitching hopes on what fumes Greg Maddux has left. He is 1-3 and cant pin that record on anything other than his current pitching prowess. You cant beat baseball teams with memories alone.

The Dodgers have gone through spells when they ain't hitting much. All teams do. But it is hard to see how having a lineup of sub .150 hitters does anything to solve that.

Maybe Torre wanted to give Kemp and Loney a breather to take some of the pressure off the kids during the heat of the pennant race. But he took a big chance in a game the Dodgers could hardly afford to lose.

If this be genius, please save us from geniuses. If this be "change you can believe in", I believe it all right, I believe it is a change that costs a heckuva' lot of money and was doomed to failure from the start.

A team that will field the current iteration of Andrew Jones and Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Sweeney and, yes, even Greg Maddux, is, to put it kindly, living in dreamland.

If you're in Gotham and want to sit in the best seat in the house for a Mets or Yankees game, the ticket will cost you between $1,200 and $1,500 - for a single game. For one person. Can you believe it?

And this is before New York teams will soak gullible fans for thousands of dollars just to get on the list to buy tickets in new stadiums.

This is connected directly to the above piece on non-performing, aging names from the Dodgers. Baseball is going crazy both on and off the field.

Circus man P.T. Barnum said it so well so long ago: "There's a sucker born every minute." Baseball has new stadiums, great seats, new toilets, superb parking, great names AND .150 hitters, players closer to AARP membership than their next World Series.

Fannie Mae and that other Freddy boondoggle have fired their chief executives. One can easily see Ned Colletti dumping the Dodgers to take over one of those organizations, or the Dodgers hiring the ex-Fannie Mae exec to replace Colletti.

Meanwhile we are still a tad obsessed with a manager who puts a guy hitting under .150 since the All Star break into the lineup over a young outfielder who is hitting twice as much. Different-yes. Funny- no.

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