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Off Base
Trick or Treat is Right

October 31, 2005

And they say Halloween is just for kids.

I don’t know about you, but I had a bleeping great time. Best Halloween ever.

Not only did my female-baseball-executive-in-a-size zero-dress win Scariest Costume Award at my party of choice, but I had to beat out a covered-head-to-toe-in gauze-J.D. Drew-look-alike and a guy dressed as a self-amplified Tim McCarver to get it.

The capper occurs at the witching hour when I return home to a slew of messages alerting me to the Paul DePodesta firing, and directing me to LATimes.com ASAP.

BTW, kudos to Tim Brown and Steve Henson for landing the story. Not even an intern was on overnight watch in Bristol, CT, and ESPN.com was a solid six hours out of the loop. Just another example of East Coast bias.

With 14 hours to kill till the press conference, I start in on the candy. Turns out the press conference wasn’t televised, so I missed T.J. Simers ripping Frank McCourt a new one. Luckily I have a vivid imagination, which is more than I can say for the outgoing general manager.

Now, at the risk of losing my entire readership and possibly even the loyalty of my dog, I’m going to defend the McCourts. Sure, they’ve earned every syllable of the criticism they’ve received to this point.

But, and it’s a big but, we’re talking Bill Madlock’s butt, Paul DePodesta had to be fired. He just had to, clearly more on October 29 than three weeks earlier, and this is as good a time as any to bite the financial and public relations bullet and get it over with.

Look, DePodesta could not possibly have been a worse general manager than he was. You couldn’t even make one up on a computer. His 2005 was the single worst season by a g.m. in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

It's not just that DePodesta tore apart a first place team in the middle of 2004. It's not just that he put together an obvious-from-the-start inferior 2005 club, let go of players he should have kept, relied on others he shouldn't have considered for a second, and then gave them way too much money to boot. It’s not just all that.

It's what he was going to do next that had to be stopped at all costs. Left to his own devices, DePodesta would have made a managerial choice on par with his weakest selection of players, and the Dodgers would’ve been stuck with another guy with zero experience as a winner. Zip, zilch, nada.

He was going to continue with his theory of player personnel, and force the dependence on certain pet players on the new skipper. He was going to let players who might otherwise become Dodgers land with competing teams.

The entire offseason lies ahead. You can have Pat Gillick and Bobby Valentine and Orel Hershiser (or Bob Brenly or perhaps even Mike Scioscia) in place by Friday, with everyone good to go for the general managers meetings next week. Piece of cake.

Yes, serious questions remain. Like say, who is this “Official A” guy? What’s the deal with the cabal at Chavez Ravine? Is the grizzly vice president with a coronary condition really in charge, with the big boss just a heartbeat away? Can the administration recover from another public relations debacle? Does the removal of one key guy really mean the tide is turned and sunny days lie ahead?

To that last question, I say it does, and point to the ever popular old Jewish proverb for wisdom: “It’s like chicken soup to a dead man. It couldn’t hurt…”

Jackass of the Week: Phil Garner, and it wasn’t close. Phil Garner, the guy who publicly railed against his battling Astros for their World Series offensive inadequacies. That Phil Garner batted .000 in his first postseason as a player. That’s zip, zilch, nada. Orel Hershiser hit .286 in his first one…

My girlfriend thinks Scott Podsednik is really cute, possibly even cuter than, well, someone. I think he looks like a cross between little Lenny Dykstra circa 1986 and big steroid-fed Dykstra of a few years later. Closer to the former than the later…

Trivia: Who holds the record for the most games caught in a season?

New Pope Digs Baseball: Thumbing through my web stats, I found a link to BaseballSavvy.com from something called FreeRepublic.com.

Here’s their motto: “We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America.” Fine, whatever.

It seems the search engines were confused by an article called "Pope Meets with Head of Lefebvre Movement," and I’m going, “a Lefebvre movement in the Vatican, cool!!”

Nah. No such luck. Turns out the Pope was meeting with some ultraconservative group’s queso grande, a guy who just so happens to be an excommunicated archbishop. Dude named Marcel Lefebvre. And here I am, imagining a grass roots push for the new Dodgers g.m. to install an all switch-hitting infield…

Investors Wanted: Invest a thimble full of venture capital today, make major league minimum tomorrow…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues, so please scroll down to the photo below and vote yes on 32…

Trivia Answer: Cubs backstop Randy Hundley caught 160 games in 1968…

The words “Koufax,” “Hershiser,” “Scioscia,” “Lasorda” and “Gillick” have been officially added to my Word spell check dictionary. “DePodesta” has not…

Remember, glove conquers all….



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