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Everybody Hates Kevin
2003-02-18 09:29
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Last night, on Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray was volunteering at a hospital. Question: If his fellow volunteers are at the hospital at 7 p.m., and he shows up at 7:05, is he late?

The reason I ask is because of headlines today like this one, on Dodgers.com, regarding Kevin BrownÕs absence from Dodgertown:

Tracy defends tardy Brown
Injury-plagued pitcher skips voluntary workouts

It really strikes me as oxymoronic that you can be late for something voluntary. But I guess itÕs possible.

In any case, before passing judgment on Kevin Brown, letÕs make sure we have a clear understanding.

He isnÕt late for Spring Training. He has until February 26 to report Š eight days from now. Any insistence that he report sooner is a violation of the Basic Agreement between owners and players.

Despite the fact that most pitchers and catchers have been working out for days, despite the fact that a full-squad workout is scheduled for today, despite the fact the Dodgers have designated Thursday as Photo Day and despite the fact that the DodgersÕ first exhibition game is only one day after the mandatory reporting day, not one dollar of BrownÕs contract requires him to be in Vero Beach today.

So maybe itÕs a workersÕ rights issue for Kevin. Long live the proletariat!

Nah.

I do believe that, family birthday parties aside, Brown should have been in Vero Beach with the rest of the pitchers. KevinÕs job is to help the Dodgers win a World Series (stop snickering) and his absence works against that goal. In addition to the divisiveness and ill-will it creates, the Dodger staff has made it clear that Brown is already behind when it comes to rounding into pitching form. This allows us to enter the stipulation into the record that BrownÕs private workouts in Georgia are no substitute for working out in Vero Beach.

I donÕt think the additional family time makes up the gap. And in any event, shouldnÕt the Dodgers at some point qualify as family for Brown?

Brown is no longer penciled in as the No. 1 starter Š in fact, for now, he is the No. 6 starter, as even Darren Dreifort has to be considered ahead of him, if only temporarily. So this very well could all blow over by the time spring is over, and maybe Brown knows that. Maybe Brown has a better perspective on life than anyone we know.

Nah.

I donÕt want to vilify Brown for not being at the DodgersÕ voluntary Spring Training workouts. But I share in the disappointment, and itÕs all I can do not to brand him as a selfish jerk for this act.

Of course, no doubt there will be other moments down the road when the opportunity to brand Brown will recur.

Can I love the Dodgers without loving Kevin Brown? Can I love them while thinking that his character grows more selfish and irritating with each passing year?

Well, I love Everybody Loves Raymond without loving Ray Barone, thinking that his character grows more selfish and irritating with each passing year.
***
Things that make the Dodgers the Dodgers:

1) Chad Hermansen is acquired É while under anesthesia during shoulder surgery.
2) Andy Ashby injures his back while ducking away from a beanball thrown by É a pitching machine.

No word on whether the machine has been suspended or merely issued a warning.

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