Fingers Crossed

Play ball. The Dodgers, for better or worse, are underway. The first spring training in Arizona is over. The Dodgers, as usual, wasted time and money on a dozen or so has-been players of yesteryear, hoping that Ponce de Leon had a pipeline to Mssrs. Lasorda, Colletti and Torre.

The names were Weaver, Estes, Milton, Vargas, Randolph, Calli et. al.

None made the opening day roster. None are everyday players. Nor will they be. Their names might have just as well been Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death, aka The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Any or all would have caused the Dodgers great tribulation. The Dodgers discovered what the rest of basebal already knew -- it was a complete waste of time.  

There is good news: the Dodgers resisted the chance to send Blake Dewitt back to the minors.

There is bad news: Brother Lindblom, clearly one of the 10 best pitchers in camp, got sent out as the Dodgers don't seem to have have a clue how to get kids into the mix. Note this same failure has never bothered the Braves, who started Mr. Escobar last year and a AA centerfielder this  year.

(Are  there any other Dodgers junkies who grieved when Derek Lowe went eight scoreless, two-hit innings for the Braves instead of wearing the Dodgers Blue? The four runs, which Lowe got in support would have made him an easy 20-game winner a year ago!)

What happens off the field can affect what happens on the field. So one wonders what if anything Tommy Lasorda has to contribute to the present. One wonders if GM Ned  Colletti, who well may be serving out the last year of his contract, can or will contribute to the play on the field. One wonders if Manager Joe Torre, well known for taking Casey Stengel in-game snoozes  in Yankee Stadium, will carry an ample supply of No Doze pills.

(An aside, let us be the first to propose Torre's successor when his contract expires -- Angels third base coach Dino Ebel, a Mike Scioscia protege with plenty of Dodgers experience in the good old Dodgers days, i.e., pre-Fox and parking lots.)

Having bitten the bullet on Andrew Jones, we still wonder how much better the team would be if they had jettisoned Juan Pierre as well and began the season with the multi-talented Xavier Paul.

Perhaps in spite of the Dodgers presence or absence of off-field discernment, the team on the field ain't that bad, particularly in the National League West.

While Joe Torre continues to pump Yankee Don Mattingly as his successor, one can't happen to notice that players in need of batting counsel. (Mattingly is 'hitting  coach') They seem to rush to that fellow in Texas for advice, one Rudy Jaramillo.

If Andrew Jones comes back, it will be what Jaramillo has done and which  any number  of Dodgers hitting coaches failed to do a year ago. Jaramillo tutored Braves outfielder Jeff Francouer as well over the winter.

2009 may be a make or break year for Dodgers pitching coach Rick  Honeycutt as well. Almost every armchair expert claims the Dodgers are much less experienced in pitchers this year and that the team has better hitting than  pitching. So Honeycutt's handling of the staff will be ever so closely monitored from day one.

The 2009 Dodgers are less than Manny Ramirez' team than it is Ned Colletti's team. Every manager, every batting and pitching coach, is stuck with what the GM has given them.

The Dodgers are now into their third decade without a trip to the World Series -- surpassing the once seemingly long hiatus between 1920 and 1941 - and heading to a century long record of ineptness (pleasant expression vs failure, blunt, statement of fact).

Surely, Mssrs. Martin and Loney and Kemp and Kershaw will give us more day-to-day reason to hope for on the field play, that is if Mr. Torre doesn't burn out Martin again as he did last year and as he has done with innumerable others in the past, pitcher Scott Proctor being a case in  point.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories