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Off Base
Los Angeles: A City Divided

May 2, 2006

No, no, no; not the Dodgers – Angels thing. Not that again. L.A. doesn't care about the Angels. No one outside Orange County cares about the Angels.

And no; we’re not talking Lakers – Clippers either. Sure, it makes sense that the Clippers could have a legitimate following in Los Angeles, since they actually are in Los Angeles. They could have a legitimate following. They could, but they don’t. No self-respecting L.A. sports fan with half a brain cares about the Clippers. Billy Crystal has his reasons. Lame, but he has them.

And no, Los Angeles isn’t divided over the illegal immigration thing; at least, not so much as I can comprehend. I’m just a sports dweeb.

But we’re a city divided all right. We’re divided. Half of L.A.’s millions wanted Lance Carter exiled to Las Vegas faster than you can say “ Hong-Chih Kuo.” The rest of the city thought sending Carter to lower level Tampa Bay a more appropriate choice. The rumor as I heard it, had Lance Carter returning to the Devil Rays, in a straight trade for a pair of Tampa Bay Lightening tickets, upper level behind the net. For an exhibition game next season…

BTW: The 2006 Dodgers will be fine. I’m not at all concerned about the first few weeks. The players are there, Ned Colletti works better and faster than Paul DePodesta, and Grady Little has shown himself to be more the leader of men in a matter of weeks than Jim Tracy did in five years. It’s a long season. The Dodgers will be fine.

And while I’m 95% sure Rafael Furcal will be all right, I'm 100% amused by this sentence from Jim Carley, of Dodgers.com: "Furcal took some ground balls earlier from coach Mariano Duncan, himself an All-Star infielder during his career."

Mariano Duncan, “an All-Star infielder?” Wow. Yes, technically, he was the 1994 Phils answer to the 1992 Dodgers Mike Sharperson, but c'mon...

Records are Made to be Broken, CDs Disposed of Some Other Way: OK, let’s talk turkey.The St. Louis Cardinals are precisely one sixth of the way into their season and Albert Pujols has 14 home runs and 32 RBIs.

I’m not suggesting Pujols is going to hit 84 homers, but wouldn’t it be something to have him make a run at 74, this year of all years, while Barry Bonds goes through whatever awaits him? Can you think of another athlete on the planet, going after any other record, at this particular time especially, who would draw more genuine and universal support than Albert Pujols chasing number 74, clean as a whistle?

And even if 74 isn’t entirely realistic, maybe 192 is. Do the math. Pujols has 32 RBIs in 27 games, so he’s exactly on pace as we speak. Hack Wilson held the record of 190 for as long as I can remember, but picked up an extra RBI somehow or other, and the record now stands at 191.

Yes, this discussion comes up whenever someone has a great April, but if there’s one player who’s 2006 April might just qualify as average or even ordinary, rather than great, it’s Albert Pujols, the greatest right-handed hitter in half a century. I’d love to see him do it…

Well, in case you missed it, the Pulitzer Prizes were handed out a couple weeks ago, and once again, BaseballSavvy.com was shut out. Inconceivable, I know. But don’t be too disappointed just yet. We still have a shot at the Nobel…

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Talkback: Please send us your comments...

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. This is the year. We’re going for it. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

National Anthem Quandary: Now that there’s a recording of the “Star Spangled Banner” in Spanish, I wonder if Carlos Delgado will stand for it…

Remember, glove conquers all….



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