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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Who's the Dodger Dog Now?
2003-09-23 08:36
by Jon Weisman

"Point taken."
- Jason Reid, Los Angeles Times

So Odalis Perez wasn't dogging it after all. Big shock.

The small mea culpa from Reid, addressing the criticism laced upon Perez for missing his September 17 start with a finger injury, will probably have to suffice as far as the Times is concerned, although I'm tickled with curiosity about how Bill Plaschke, who wrote the most inflammatory column questioning Perez' dedication, would dance around the subject, following a hopeless inning by the injured Perez that effectively ended the Dodger season Monday.

Oh, but that's right. Unlike Perez, Plaschke can duck out from this challenging assignment and not be criticized by anyone, except a guy with a blog whose readership is in the hundreds.

To be fair to Plaschke, I don't get the sense he made up his column out of thin air. Multiple reports indicate that there was the ever-popular "grumbling" among Perez' teammates, so it sounds like Plaschke used that noise as a launching pad for his column.

Of course, Plaschke could have lent a voice of reason to the proceedings - saying that maybe a guy like Perez, who missed the entire 2000 season with Tommy John surgery but fought his way through rehab and made it all the way back, actually has every appearance of being a dedicated player.

But why bother when there's a tirade to be had? I should know - I'm writing my own now.

Another question: Was there only grumbling about Perez, or was there a contingent of teammates ready to come to Perez' defense - only to be ignored. Perhaps the primary language of this contingent, like Perez, is Spanish. This was a key element in the Ismael Valdes-Eric Karros feud of several years ago, during which the Times ran one pro-Karros story after another, filled with interviews of Karros' white teammates and nary a word from a Latin player.

**Let me be perfectly clear here. I'm not throwing out the racism card. I'm throwing out the language card. I'm saying that the reporters tend to pursue interviews with the people who give them the best quotes. Not suprisingly, those players tend to speak the same language as the reporter. It strikes me that the same thing may well be happening with the Perez controversy.**

So now what? With the Dodgers six days from the end of their season, does this even matter?

Check out Rich Hammond in the Daily News today:

It seems that the recent controversy over Odalis Perez skipping a start because of a chipped fingernail might have made something of an impact in the Dodgers' clubhouse.

Pitching coach Jim Colborn said after Sunday's game that Kazuhisa Ishii had a severe headache and vomited during the game, but apparently neither Colborn nor manager Jim Tracy knew about his ailments until afterward. Ishii gave up five runs in three-plus innings, but the Dodgers beat San Francisco 7-6.

"I don't know a thing about it, I only read about it on the injury report," Colborn said before Monday's game, referring to the post-game sheet given to coaches, off of which Colborn informed reporters of Ishii's ailment.

Ishii did not answer questions about his illness after Sunday's game and refused an interview request Monday. If nothing else, the timing is interesting, given the negative reaction Perez received from teammates when he said he didn't want to pitch last week in part because he didn't want to embarrass himself.

Vomiting isn't the end of the world for a baseball player. However, creating a climate where players are afraid to be candid about their physical condition, for fear of their manhood being questioned, is tremendously dangerous.

Do you want 20-year-old Edwin Jackson, knowing that the Dodgers may want him to pitch Saturday, to conceal soreness in his shoulder? Jackson's a gamer; we can see that. It needs to be made perfectly clear that he should tell the Dodgers if he has so much as achy facial hair. Otherwise, you might be looking at the next Darren Dreifort.

Decisions need to be made on the facts, not on emotion and speculation. And this policy needs to be applied to everyone - the tempermental players as well as the popular and easy-going ones.

Hammond, again:

Colborn said he wasn't concerned about Ishii's nondisclosure, and Ishii ran before Monday's game and appeared to be in good health. Still, Colborn said he didn't immediately see anything wrong with Ishii's mechanics Sunday and called the start "unusual."

"But he would tell me if he thought something was affecting his pitching," Colborn added. "All of (the pitchers) do that."

Are you sure, Jim? You'd better be.

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