Off Base
It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

December 19, 2006

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about the holidays this time around. I mean, how can I not?

It’s crisp and beautiful outside, the Main Squeeze has a plastic tree, lights a-twinkling adorning the hearth, and the baseball gods are lobbing in the fat ones for me to spank out of the yard. If I can stop laughing long enough to pick up a bat, that is.

C’mon, tell me J.D. Drew failing the obligatory pre-contract physical isn’t the funniest baseball thing ever. Absolutely hilarious, classic stuff. Right up there with Doc Ellis throwing a no-hitter on acid, which by the way, if Theo Epstein was on at the time he signed Drew to a $70 million deal, would be the Red Sox GM’s only even remotely valid excuse imaginable.

And Scott Boras getting screwed by one of his own greedy little bleepards, even if unintentionally, is pretty damn hysterical too. And oh so Christmassy. I’m all aglow just thinking about it. Was I really that good this year, that Santa felt so compelled?

Speaking of greedy little bleepards, Eric Gagne’s off to the baseball Mecca that is Arlington, Texas. Whatever; at least it’s not Frisco. If Gagne’s goal is to be the next Frank Francisco, God bless him. Knock yourself out, French guy. Merry bleeping Noel, pal. I still say your L.A. scoreboard video makes you look like the Unabomber.

If only Boras and a Dickens character like Scrooge were an apt comparison, I’d really have Christmas by the balls. Too much to ask, I suppose. And I hear you, it’s better to give than to receive. Boras is closer to a Dr. Seuss creation (the Grinch) anyway, or maybe an Elton John (Levon) than a Dickens, so let’s go with one of those…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

More Christmas Gifts, Courtesy of the Baseball Gods: The Associated Press, in its infinite wisdom, ran a piece last week called, “Bonds' teammates happy to have him back,” with this quote from Bonds' old and new teammate, Rich Aurilia: “When I was here the first time there wasn't other outside stuff going on…The way we all dealt with it – and we had the same core of guys for a few years – was that Barry helped us win ballgames. Everybody says 'Well, is he a good teammate? Is he a bad teammate?' In the clubhouse, he's a good teammate. He doesn't really bother anybody, he doesn't really put the guys down and I always got along fine with him.”

My initial reaction is “Aurilia is a blithering idiot,” but since I’d never say the same about Dave Roberts, I’ll give them both a pass. Just this once.

Here’s what Roberts said about Bonds in the same AP piece: “It's hard to hold back a smile, really...I think I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be great to have an opportunity to play with, in my opinion, the greatest player to play this game.”

Yeah, and I’d be lying if I said it was hard to hold back a hurling, really…

Blog Plug of the Week: Grady’s Ladies

Stocking Stuffers: Check out the sponsored painting of Paul Lo Duca, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

For a slightly more affordable gift, and especially for the Minnesota Twins fan in your family, here’s a great read, from Jim Thielman. It’s “Cool of the Evening.”

Media Savvy: Props to the Los Angeles Daily News, for tabbing Dodgers GM, Ned Colletti, the Los Angeles Sportsperson of the Year. That’s great. Of course, I, being a more cynical of sorts, would’ve given it to Scott Boras. You know, kind of like when Time Magazine names its Man of the Year for Adolf Hitler, or the Ayatullah Khomeini…

Great stuff from Steve Hensen’s mailbag article:

“Q: Why does the Los Angeles Times print so many more stories about the Dodgers? I hate the Dodgers. I'd prefer that The Times only write about the Angels.

A: Haven't discussed this with my sports editor, Rob, but my guess is that since the Dodgers draw more than 3 million fans annually, garner solid television ratings, have won five World Series titles in Los Angeles, have one of the game's greatest broadcasters in Vin Scully and are located in the heart of the paper's circulation area, which happens to be the second-largest market in the U.S., we might want to drop a few paragraphs about them into The Times every now and then .”

Not great stuff from Ken Gurnick’s mailbag article, on

“I was trying to explain why players -- whose fragile careers can end with a pitch -- make the business decisions they make. This isn't a business to most fans, but it is to the clubs, and it is to almost every player, otherwise you wouldn't see so many free agents changing teams. When players make these decisions, rarely do they consider the other 99.9 percent of the world's population. Fans don't particularly like it, but these decisions almost always are purely economic, as was the Dodgers' decision to buy Gagne out of his $12 million option for $1 million.

And $2 million is $2 million, no matter how much you've made in past years. It's significant money, especially if you fear that it will be your last payday. Now, as long as we're in shoot-the-messenger mode, here's something else Dodgers fans won't want to hear. A former teammate of Gagne's told me this week, "Gagne's loyalty was to his teammates, not to the organization or the fans. And if you look at the Dodgers' roster as it currently sits, those aren't his teammates. He hasn't played with most of them."

Wow. Is Gurnick full of crap or what? No more eggnog for that guy. This argument that's been going around, and which Gurnick perpetuates, about how “it’s just business,” and about the Dodgers showed the same lack of loyalty by declining Gagne’s option is unbelievable BS. The club paid the guy 20 million bucks to chant “I never felt better” for no apparent reason, and to sit around and eat. $20 million!! Sure, Jim Tracy contributed to Gagne’s demise, but Gagne was an absolutely incompetent medical patient. Completely retarded. Clueless.

Gurnick’s point about team turnover is lamer still. It wasn’t Mike Edwards and Jason Grabowski signing those 50 worthless checks – it was Jamie and Frank McCourt!!

Pitchers and catchers and Sterling Hitchcock report February 15...

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….









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