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Koufax is Post-erized
2003-02-21 09:07
by Jon Weisman

The news: Sandy Koufax has severed ties with the Dodgers because of his offense at a gossip item in the New York Post, which, like the Dodgers, is owned by News Corp.

The gossip, printed two months ago, didnÕt mention Koufax by name, but by implication. I hadnÕt heard anything about it here in Los Angeles, so I donÕt know how big a deal it was on the East Coast. Apparently, it was enough.

I donÕt want to take generalized potshots at the media, whom I still consider colleagues, but this particular example appears to exemplify the incredibly poor behavior some in the business are capable of. I realize this puts the very existence of some gossip columns in question, but I donÕt believe that innuendo has any news value and that it should be printed. Almost all of the people IÕve worked with feel the same way.

Koufax has all my sympathy in the world for what's happened.


Even acknowledging the mutual ownership of the Post and the Dodgers, it seems too bad that Koufax is rigid about the connection between the two entities - that he can't endorse one while protesting the other. Their common interests are far up the food chain.

Koufax now won't visit Dodgertown, either as a freelance employee or as a friend. It doesn't make sense to me. He certainly wouldn't expect any of the Dodgers - his best friend Dave Wallace, for example - to resign in protest or otherwise withhold services over what transpired at this so-called sister organization, the Post. Is there any reason Koufax should feel the need to do so?

The only conclusion I can draw is that he's just so mad and he doesn't know what else to do to show it. But in effect, he's directly bumming out the Dodgers, indirectly hurting News Corp. and not harming the Post at all. It seems misguided.

In any event, News Corp. wonÕt own the Dodgers forever, or even the long term, it appears. For a lot of reasons, including but not limited to Koufax, this is good.

IÕll just renew my plea that the next owners, whoever they are, come in quietly and humbly. They can do good, but they can also do harm, even if theyÕre not Fox. The Koufax issue aside, Bob Daly, Dan Evans, Dave Wallace and Jim Tracy have made progress mitigating the effects of Fox ownership. IÕd hate to see that path changed.

P.S. Tommy LasordaÕs quote in the Los Angeles Times:

"This just ruined my day," said Lasorda, who joined Koufax on the Brooklyn Dodger pitching staff for part of the 1955 season. "Sandy would always come by and say hello when the team would come to town, so I was wondering what was going on because I hadn't seen him all spring. Now that I know what happened, I can't tell you how bad I feel."

Maybe itÕs my own reflexive reaction to Lasorda, but saying it Òruined my dayÓ seems like an idiotic choice of words. ThatÕs the expression you use when you get a speeding ticket, not when your friend of 50 years will no longer be coming around.

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