Off Base
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

September 28, 2009, 4:43 p.m. Uh, stadium.

That was some series in Pittsburgh, wasn’t it? Oy. But look, there’s no point reliving the whole thing now. You saw it, the horror (if you didn’t, consider yourself lucky), so let’s just move forward. Without further review, please. Please!

Better the Dodgers got it out of their system the second to last week of the season (plus Monday) instead of the last, or God forbid, next week in the National League Division Series. Better an awful three-out-of-four in September than a three-and-out in October.

They’ll go to San Diego, regroup, and start over. Reboot, as some would say. Don’t worry about it. You’re going to have your postseason fun.

Forget the “backing in” talk. And no one’s choking. What we’re experiencing is a rather difficult-to-watch lull. It’s distracting, yeah, hard for the fans to ignore, but it’ll pass, I promise you.

And you know what, the Dodgers aren’t alone in the way they’re playing. The Phils are Cards are each 5-5 in their last ten games, same as the Dodgers. Colorado is 6-4. The only National League team finishing strong is the Braves, 8-2 in their last ten, and they’ve got a ways to go for it to matter.

Over in the American League, the Angels, Red Sox and Tigers are all 5-5 over the last week and a half. It’s going around, OK, so just take a deep breath and relax. The heavy lifting has been done throughout the sport, and that certainly includes the NL West.

The Dodgers will win the division in a day or two, and will finish with 94 or 95 or 96 wins. That’s a great season. Up and down is part of the norm. It happens. We all would’ve liked to have seen the club sweep through Washington and Pittsburgh, Goliath vanquishing David, as expected. It didn’t happen, players were embarrassed, but it’s done with. Next…

Media Savvy: I stood up for Eric Collins a couple of weeks ago, cutting the rookie Dodgers TV guy what I thought was a break he deserved, but I’m coming around to the general consensus.

Collins missed Saturday’s game to do college football, which says something in and of itself, and one night of Charlie Steiner and Steve Lyons together again showed what’s been missing.

I’m sticking with my defense of Lyons, who plays well with Steiner, as he does with Patrick O’Neal on Prime Ticket. So sorry, Psycho-detractors. I like him and will continue to say so.

With his less-than-expert knowledge of baseball, his “this is gonna get down,” his regular miss-calling of room service fly balls which he thinks have a chance, and his constant interviewing of the analyst, Collins makes Lyons’ job considerably harder than it ought to be. There’s no way it can sound natural with that much going against it. And the result simply isn’t good enough broadcasting for Los Angeles.

What’s more alarming is that Collins doesn’t seem to know all that much about the Dodgers, past and present, only able to recall the most the obvious of players and occurrences in history. I imagine Collins doesn’t live in L.A., and doesn’t watch much of the team’s games that he’s not calling.

Sorry to pile on, but I pretty much have to. It’s not a major priority, but the club should make a change before 2010…

Elsewhere: Padres gm Kevin Towers talking aloud that’s he open to a return San Diego engagement for Milton Bradley is a stunner. Mulling it around in your mind, for fun, maybe, but actually going public with the thought?

Even if Bradley brought zero workplace or psychological issues to the table, and even if the Cubs were to pick up his entire salary, and take a non-prospect in return, the Pads’ actually relying on this particular player to both regain his hitting stroke and stay healthy enough to play anything approaching part-time statue is just bizarre. What in the world Towers is thinking, I have no idea. Wow.

Also not winning any Mensa contests lately is Phils' manager Charlie Manuel, who seems to think moving Brad Lidge down a notch or two in the bullpen is going to save the day, and the club.

He should be thinking like Joe Torre is (or was a few days ago) with Chad Billingsley: if the lad can’t be counted on to help the team in the playoffs, he might be best left off the roster.

Bobby Cox Calls it Quits: After 2010, and not a minute too soon. If you’re a regular here, you know how I feel about Bobby Cox. Rather than re-state what I’ve been saying for years, I’ll just direct you to a piece I wrote in 2007, and invite discussion.

But I’ll tell you something, more and more people are using the search term “Bobby Cox wife beater” at Google, and finding their way to No joke.

In any given year, and in most months, Ron Cey is the most commonly used search term which bring readers to the site. Since I love the Penguin, I consider that an honor. Who wouldn't?

After Cey, with a search total of 1149, next on the 2009 list is "Bobby Cox wife beater," at 271. This month alone, the Cox phrase leads the pack, at 115 searches, with Cey second at 108.

Along with an outdated Where Are They Now story about Cey, written in 2000, the Cox article referenced above is one of September's most-visited columns, at 215 page views each.

While it’s a shame that I’m almost completely alone in the baseball media, Internet or traditional, with this line of thinking, the web searches you guys are doing offer some consolation. Kind of.

Check out this unfortunate wording from Buster Olney, last week on "What has enabled Cox and Joe Torre to last as managers, I've always felt, is that they like players; they like people. They aren't overwhelmed by any anger or bitterness toward the players that are increasingly younger than they are."
Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

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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