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Blue Book Exam
2005-11-11 07:31
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

1) Compare and contrast the changes and effects of relatively new ownership of the Times with the changes and effects of relatively new ownership of the Dodgers.

Comments
2005-11-11 07:45:11
1.   Jesse
Off topic-

Comedy on ESPN with Steve Phillips as the GM for the silmulated news conference. This is funny as hell--

2005-11-11 07:56:37
2.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
2005-11-11 08:05:16
3.   DodgerBlueBruce
Like a new pair of dress shoes they are uncomfortable at first but after a few miles you get used to them.....I hope.
2005-11-11 08:06:05
4.   blue22
I posted this on the last thread, but find it remarkable:

From Adande's article:

Of the four men who have held the position since Fred Claire got the boot in 1998, none has landed a similar job with another team.

So between GM and manager, the only person to get another job in the last...um...30 years (arbitrary number because anything older and it predates me) after leaving the Dodgers has been Jim Tracy!

What is it with this organization? Is this a coincidence? Why can't anyone who leaves the Dodgers ever get another job?

2005-11-11 08:14:54
5.   Bob Timmermann
The GMs since Fred Claire have been:

Tommy Lasorda (still with Dodgers)
Kevin Malone (burned bridges)
Dave Wallace (really a pitching coach)
Dan Evans (who could very well get another GM job)
Paul DePodesta (who has been out of work for just a few weeks)

2005-11-11 08:29:52
6.   Sam DC
Re the topic, "Who's to say they both don't soar to dizzying new heights this year, with multiple pulitzers and 400K new subscribers at the Times and a 3.5M attendance and a Worlds Series win this year?"
2005-11-11 08:31:52
7.   Steve
Who's to say that if Bob Keisser wrote for the LA Times, he wouldn't win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
2005-11-11 08:38:46
8.   Bob Timmermann
6
The chances of the Dodgers winning the World Series are much greater than that of the L.A. Times picking up 400,000 new subcribers. The former is in the realm of possibility. The latter is not
2005-11-11 08:47:22
9.   Vishal
they both are pretty terrible, and they both hate each other.
2005-11-11 09:19:25
10.   Bob Timmermann
I don't think the LA Times hates the Dodgers as an organization. Just the McCourts.
2005-11-11 09:27:49
11.   underdog
Did anyone read Ken Auletta's piece on the LA Times in the New Yorker a few weeks ago (Oct. 10 issue)? It was about the Tribune ownership butting heads with the managing editor and company, and how they kept trimming staff numbers every year, lost some good people, and on the Chicago (where the ownership is) vs. LA problems. Interesting reading, explains a lot about why the paper has gone from one of the best to a mixed bag at best.

Here are some highlights: http://mediachannel.org/blog/node/1281

2005-11-11 09:31:41
12.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
The Times just lost their top guy, John Carroll, who is a respected newsman. Say what you want about the Times, but he made it a better newspaper while he was there, and they had a pretty good run of Pulitzers on his watch. He left because of cost-cutting threats by the new owner.

But the LAT replaced him with the most logical choice, his right-hand man Dean Baquet. Instead of floundering around in search of a replacement, they had a top-notch editor waiting in the wings.

2005-11-11 09:35:57
13.   Vishal
[10] we're comparing ownerships here, aren't we? though i guess the times ownership doesn't hate the mccourts and the mccourts don't hate the times ownership. it's more that the times hates the mccourts and the mccourts probably hate the times.

[12] i agree about john carroll. i thought that up until a couple of years ago, plaschke and simers notwithstanding, the LA times had become a better paper than the NY times, and those 5 pulitzers it got were totally deserved. the decline, however, has been swift and preciptious, and now the LA times is crap.

2005-11-11 09:42:56
14.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
11 Yeah, I was a copy editor on the National Desk when the Tribune bought the paper. It's been a war over the direction of the paper ever since. The Tribune seems more concerned with profit over quality, although there are plenty of places to trim that bloated newsroom staff.

I left about three years ago to start my own business, but I can't say I agree that the paper is as worthless as many here seem to think. They still do some very good journalism; I think their Pulitzer for the series about what's wrong with King/Drew Med Center was well deserved, for instance.

If I were running the place, though, Plaschke would have been demoted to delivery boy long ago.

2005-11-11 09:44:50
15.   Jon Weisman
I should say that I find compelling articles in the Times every day, just like I find compelling reasons to think about the Dodgers every day. But the reason I posted this is I feel like there is a parallel chaos among the two organizations.
2005-11-11 09:50:09
16.   underdog
No, I definitely wouldn't say it's worthless at all. And as some of you had said, for awhile there, under Carroll it had improved radically to its former glory, or almost, before declining again, thanks to the Trib. Doesn't mean it's still not a good paper, compared to most of the nation's crappy ones. Just that, compared to how it was when I was growing up in SoCal, when it featured some of the best writing, the best film reviewers on the west coast, arts coverage in general, and of course, a fantastic line up of sportswriters, editorial and news, coverage, etc, just compared to that anyway, it's a sad shell of its former self. I mean even the SF Chronicle here which used to be an embarrassment has gotten a little better to where it's close to the Times. Which is sad.
2005-11-11 09:50:17
17.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
And that's true enough, John. But Baquet took over with the belief that the cuts would be manageable, so the chaos is probably nowhere near what the Dodgers are facing.

On the other hand, newspaper readership is declining everywhere, and you can't say the same about the Dodgers fan base. So in the long run, the LAT is probably in more trouble than the Blue.

2005-11-11 09:51:45
18.   underdog
15. And thus my above comments also reflect my feelings about the Dodgers, too. [g] definitely the same level of organizational chaos, yeah, and whereas maybe a Carroll = DePo analogy is a major stretch, the headbutting of philosophies analogy isn't.
2005-11-11 09:53:41
19.   Bob Timmermann
I've probably been reading the LA Times as I have been conscious of being a Dodgers fan.

Yet, I don't get the LA Times and I will likely go to just as many Dodger games as I have in the past and watch as many on TV.

2005-11-11 09:55:33
20.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
16 Yeah, I used to love the LAT sports section. But there's very little reason to read it now, and a lot of reasons to avoid it. (Not wanting to start the day by pulling my hair out, for instance.) And that's a real shame.
2005-11-11 09:57:59
21.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
19 Still reading the LAT online, though? I remember when you canceled your subscription, you said you would still read it online.
2005-11-11 10:09:06
22.   Bob Timmermann
I'll read the paper online, but I'm not paying for it.

If they deliver another one for me on Sunday, I may be angry.

2005-11-11 10:27:11
23.   Vishal
[20] i was really sad when jim murray died, and i didn't even yet realize that it would mean the terror reign of billy "the kid" plaschke.
2005-11-11 10:51:25
24.   dzzrtRatt
I see a distinct difference between the Dodgers and the Times. The Tribune swooped in because the Times' owners stopped believing in the Times' ability to maintain the profits to which they felt entitled. The Tribune publishes a mediocre, but profitable newspaper, and doesn't understand why the Times can't be like them. There's no reason why it can't, except the entrenched culture won't let it. Meanwhile, the entrenched culture itself had fallen into a long period of decadence.

The Tribune buying the Times is like Napoleon taking over Venice. The Venetians saw themselves and their city as too beautiful to die, but too weak to fight. So they just handed Napoleon the keys, hoping he would leave them alone to their pleasures and pretensions, and not break too many of their toys.

The Dodger situation is different. The Tribune has a model in mind for the Times' success. That model might horrify the aristocratic Timesmen, but at least it's one that has worked elsewhere, from a profitability standpoint. By contrast, McCourt hasn't got a flippin' clue!

McCourt wants to remake the team into a reflection of himself and his wife. But he doesn't really know who he is, or what that means. He's improvising desperately, convinced he has a plan when in fact he has none--no experience to draw on, no values to guide him, no end in mind.

You might not like the Tribune Co., but they are the real deal--a media company. They probably don't care if anyone loves them, so long as they make their profits. Frank and Jamie McCourt are narcissistic pretenders whose PR-driven fantasies are deployed as a substitute for good business or baseball judgement.

The Times will slowly wither on the vine, and be transformed into another Tribune media property, for better or for worse. For the McCourts and the Dodgers, I see a different fate: A train wreck, dead ahead.

2005-11-11 11:11:05
25.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
1 Still off topic: I saw that Steve Phillips as Dodger GM dramatization. Didn't he make a mistake in saying that Gagne had Tommy John surgery? I understood that they thought there were going to, but when they opened him up, they realized they didn't have to...
2005-11-11 11:26:12
26.   Vishal
[25] you're right, there was no tommy john. steve phillips is just an idiot.
2005-11-11 15:10:52
27.   bokonon42
"The Pulitzer is for the birds--for the pullets. It's just a dummy newspaper publicity award given by crooks and illiterates. You become a walking Pulitzer ad, so even when you croak the first words of the obituary are 'Pulitzer prizewinner passes.' "
-Saul Bellow, (in his Pulitzer prize winning) Humboldt's Gift.

I started reading the Times in '88 just for the Dodger news. I stopped reading it when the only part of the paper that didn't make me angry was the Fry's ad on the back of the Sports page.

2005-11-11 15:42:17
28.   Steve
So the BBWAA gives away the Pulitzer too?
2005-11-11 17:41:33
29.   bokonon42
Bob Scheer and Michael Ramirez were cut loose by the Times today. I won't speculate on which Dodger dumpings these correspond to. Although Ramirez seems to think he was cut over his contract demands. And Scheer thinks he was cut because of a VRWC.

http://tinyurl.com/776h4

2005-11-11 17:52:32
30.   gvette
At least the BBWAA never gave an award to a Stalin propagandist (Walter Duranty)or a fraud (Janet Cooke).

As to the topic question; even in the "good old days" of local ownership (Chandlers/O'Malleys) both institutions, while beloved by many, were not so beloved by others for their aura of arrogance within the Los Angeles power structure.

Of the two, the road back is easier for the boys in Blue,even with baseball version of Gilligan and Skipper at the helm. As '04 showed, if you win, you draw. The rules of that game have remained the same.

The Times is faced with changing technology where newspaper readership is fading, and the disastrous results of an editorial policy that favored Pulitzers over local news, treating places like Pico Rivera and Bell Gardens like exotic far off lands, accessible only by passport on the rarest of occasions. Oh, and their two main sports columnists couldn't carry Jim Murray's typewriter.

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