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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Fear of the Red Menace in Chavez Ravine
2005-10-06 21:05
by Jon Weisman

The 1950s battle over the land of Chavez Ravine that ultimately ended with the creation of Dodger Stadium was a story I thought I was completely familiar with, but until this summer I had no idea that the Red Scare played a significant role.

Back in June, PBS aired Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story, a historical documentary that arose in part from some photographs taken of the area and its denizens by Don Normark in 1949. In the documentary, a former assistant director of the Los Angeles Housing Authority, Frank Wilkinson, spoke about how developers fought the plan to build a new public housing project in Chavez Ravine by discrediting people like him with accusations of being Communists.

As Wilkinson told it, the acquisition of the Chavez Ravine land was nearly complete in August 1952. Families were forced to sell their land or be evicted, but promised first choice at the new housing. But events changed dramatically at one of the final hearings.

"We had tremendous support for the program," Wilkinson said. "We were pretty well finished. And the only people opposing were what is commonly called the real estate lobby, which headed up by the department of house owners association and other people like that. They called [the public housing project] creeping socialism. They were trying to discredit us every way they could. They had petitions, they had initatives to try to kill the program. We should have been more suspicious than we were."

"As I remember, [the piece of property discussed at the hearing] was a very large site. It was vacant land, but the owner of that property was a prominent person in downtown L.A,. and he demanded, I think, a hundred thousand dollars, and we were fighting with them over value. He wanted as much as he could get, when out of nowhere this lawyer for the property owner turned to me and said, 'Now, Mr. Wilkinson, I want to ask you what organizations, political or otherwise, did you belong to since 1931?'

"He didn't say, 'Are you a communist?' He said, 'What have you belonged to?' I just turned to that judge and said, 'I refuse to answer that question.' Everyone, any lawyer would have said, 'Irrelevant and immaterial.' If that man had said that word, I would still be here today. And the project would have been built. But my lawyer said nothing. Not a word. He was just pale, white. He told me later, 'Frank, if I had objected to that question, then people would have known I' - meaning he - 'was a communist, because I object to that question.' I said, 'What about me?' He said, 'Well, you have a problem, too.' "

The documentary then showed 1952 footage of Gordon M. Scherer (R-Ohio), who had helped bring the weight of the U.S. Congress to the fight against Wilkinson and the project. Wilkinson was questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee - and Scherer touted Wilkinson's lack of responsiveness to the public.

"One of the top Communist agents assigned to Operation Abolition is Frank Wilkinson, recently convicted of contempt of Congress for refusal to answer questions concerning his Communist party membership and activities," Scherer said. "Listen to this closely, because in it, you will hear Frank Wilkinson, a Communist agent, explain his Communist jargon."

Cut to a reporter in 1952 interviewing Wilkinson and challenging Scherer in the battle of who could use the same word most often.

"In the Communist hearings today, you were called an international Communist agent. Are you a Communist?"

Having not answered in testimony, Wilkinson, unsurprisingly, did not answer the reporter, either.

Decades later, Wilkinson's disgust with the whole series of events was still evident.

"I was fired," Wilkinson continued in the documentary. "I'm out. Destroyed. Really destroyed. Neutralized, they, the FBI, listed it. They successfully neutralized me. Crews of television people walked in, arrive to take pictures of the whole scene. Mayor (Fletcher) Bowron was removed - he would have been a shoo-in in 1953. After this was reported in the press, the Times and other papers crusaded against the mayor. ... New mayor Norris Poulson came in and started negotiating to turn the site not back to the people, but to turn it over to Walter O'Malley and the Brooklyn Dodgers. We spent millions of dollars getting ready for it, and the Dodgers picked it up for just a fraction of that. It was just a tragedy for the people and for the city. It was the most hypocritical thing that could possibly happen."

Wilkinson was fired and forced to spend one year in jail.

Comments (171)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-10-06 23:24:07
1.   natepurcell
lol wow. this is from the new henson article.

this is gagne playing GM:
"You need to add a 40-home-run guy and a guy who hits .310, that's two hitters," Gagne said. "You need to re-sign Jeff Weaver, the innings he gives us are priceless."

thanks GM gagne for your input. what? 10.5 mil isnt enough? you want to be GM also?

2005-10-06 23:25:29
2.   natepurcell
and this is gagne threatening to leave:
I close games; I can't save losses," he said. "I'll be in a situation in a year where I can choose a team that wants to win. I love the Dodgers and want to be a Dodger. I really like the McCourts and their attitude. I want them to know that they can make a lot of money by winning."
2005-10-06 23:45:32
3.   dzzrtRatt
The Dodgers have been blamed for the Chavez Ravine outrage, unfairly, for decades. But they clearly benefited from the outrage. What a dreadful story, and what a cynical and disgusting PR campaign that would play on the public's fears and destroy a man's life for the sake of a profit opportunity. Business today would never do such a thing, and we know this because...well, I'm sure something will come to me.
2005-10-06 23:45:53
4.   scareduck
Wow, I seem to recall that story was told in the Glenn Stout book, though I'm not certain. I didn't know you were unfamiliar with it.
2005-10-06 23:48:54
5.   scareduck
dzzrtRatt -- I remand you to this sentence:

Families were forced to sell their land or be evicted, but promised first choice at the new housing.

Forced. This wasn't about "profit" or any such other garbage, but about people getting kicked out of their homes because Wilkinson figured he knew better than they did how to use their property. It's like Al Capone going to jail for income tax evasion: sure it's probably the least of his crimes, but it will serve.

2005-10-07 00:05:26
6.   dzzrtRatt
5 Well, you're at least half right. Government, even well-intentioned government, can be as heartless as business. I give no quarter to the left or the right; there's so much blood on both sets of hands, I'm not even that interested in measuring which side spilt more. I'm with Paul Johnson: "Beware intellectuals."

However, as is well known, the people who lived in Chavez Ravine were promised a ticket back. It was subsequent profit-mongering by the city's real estate interests that cancelled the ticket. In the name of national security, for God's sake. The whole urban renewal idea was a fiasco, but the outcome in Chavez Ravine was especially twisted.

2005-10-07 00:11:37
7.   Rob M
Something tells me that the moral of this story isn't that Wilkinson was responsible for kicking people out of their homes. Do you really think that social engineering was the motor driving this, and that the O'Malleys only fell into this land as a happy byproduct? Have you seen the pictures of Chavez Ravine before Dodger Stadium was there? It looked like a shanty town. From what I gather here, Wilkinson was trying to create new housing on the site and he was outmaneuvered by people trying to use the land to lure the Dodgers and advance private interests.

The story makes me think that McCourt SHOULD build a new stadium downtown and Chavez Ravine should be the site of a new affordable housing community - not government housing, but new apartments and condominiums and townshouses amidst the park land. God knows L.A. needs more housing.

2005-10-07 00:13:00
8.   alex 7
That's a good, thought-provoking read. Thanks Jon. However, the true (former) Red Menace In Chavez Ravine will be Dunn. (I know, I know, but there's just not much to talk about that is more enjoyable than Dunn!)

I'm hoping enough baseball GMs look at the following stats on Dunn:

.247 average, 134 hits, 40 HRs in a tiny park, 168 strikeouts, and below average defense.

These GMs would then undervalue him as a Rob Deer-type player.

Meanwhile, a few teams, including ours, will see his 114 walks, .387 OBP, .927 OPS, and 75 extra-base hits out of 134 total hits.

Also, this would fulfill GM Eric Gagne's requirement for a 40-HR guy =)

A team that might surprisingly give us a run for Dunn would be the Padres. Dunn hit 3 bombs at Petco in 14 at bats. I could see the Padres simply swapping Giles salary for Dunn's.

2005-10-07 00:15:56
9.   natepurcell
A team that might surprisingly give us a run for Dunn would be the Padres. Dunn hit 3 bombs at Petco in 14 at bats. I could see the Padres simply swapping Giles salary for Dunn's.

yea but, what players would the padres swap for dunn? They really have a barren farm.

2005-10-07 00:36:41
10.   Tommy Naccarato
What did Gagne say that was so wrong here?

--"You need to add a 40-home-run guy and a guy who hits .310, that's two hitters," Gagne said. "You need to re-sign Jeff Weaver, the innings he gives us are priceless...."

I couldn't agree more with this. They do need to sign Weaver and they do need to have AT LEAST two players that can timely hit .310.

--"The Dodgers make money. The fans show up. You have to give back. As a business, you have to make money. But you have to take risk to make money and in baseball that means paying for players."

Once again, Gagne is spot on. You do have to pay players if you want to win. hasn't this idiot owner claimed that this was the #1 priority when he bought the team all the way till they have fired Tracy? Do you think the Dodgers are going to win with the rookies that are being groomed right now? I don't think so. I think they are going to be lucky enough just to play--especially with a new manager. I tell you another thing Nate, the Dodgers are making money--a lot of it! Don't believe all of this gobbledegook that your reading about them barely making it. It's called creative accounting. Forrest Gump didn't make any money either according to the same style of accounting practices. (An idea: Maybe he can hit .310? We could probably get him REAL cheap!)

*--I close games; I can't save losses," he said. "I'll be in a situation in a year where I can choose a team that wants to win. I love the Dodgers and want to be a Dodger. I really like the McCourts and their attitude. I want them to know that they can make a lot of money by winning.

"We have resources for trades. We have a lot of money. This year, we didn't have the Dodger brand. They bought the brand and we have to put that back in the minds of fans and throughout baseball, that we are the Dodgers."*

Once again, this sounds like an easy WIN-WIN attitude from Gagne. He wants to win, not lose and pocket millions for doing it, unlike the McCourt's. Do the math Nate. They've cut payroll, raised prices, obliterated the walls with advertisements, even on the rails of the bullpen fence! They added a ribbon banner that flasy advertisements all game, and probably paid for itself in one season.....How many million did they attract? What was it, 3.6 Million? It was supposedly a Dodger record too, wasn't it?

No Nate, I think Gagne is hitting on all cylinders with this statement.

*-- "We had 3.6 million fans show up," he said. "You have to give back to the fans. They show up. You have to give back."

"I'm embarrassed for the uniform that we put on that kind of performance," he said. "There are no excuses. It wasn't acceptable."*

Once again Nate, I think this shows the importance of winning and having the right attitude. Gagne wants to win. He is telling the owners and GM to get off the pot or he is going to go elsewhere for a World Series ring. When your a competitor, you will do whatever it takes to win. Gagne is telling them to get serious or just simply trade me, that I don't want to play for a team that is destined to lose because the owner doesn't care to spend money that its going to take to win.

Can you imagine how many of those blue beard "Game Over" shirts they've sold at $20.00+/- a piece? You know how much that shirt cost them? They way MLB teams do it--all of them--try around $4.00 a shirt! I know this because I have a friend that does shirts and he says the only way to make money is to do lots of them and get the shirts at a good price because of quantity and cheaper shipping costs.

And what about the guy who came up with the slogan and the idea for the shirt? Remember that guy that was in the Dodger art department? Well, go ahead and forget him! The McCourt's laid him off before the season started!

*--"Hopefully they want to win at any price," he said. "Winning is the reason you play baseball. That's got to be the way it is upstairs. They've got to understand that everything you put in, you'll get it back four, five, six times.

"Having a family-owned team is huge. From the bottom of my heart I do believe in them, but the bottom line is they have to show it."*

Once again, Gagne is talking about winning. How is this wrong? Would you rather him talk about losing instead?

Now the thing I suspect about all of this, and its something you didn't touch is, guess who Gagne's agent is? Could this be a message to the McCourt's to Sh_t or get off the pot and sign Weaver?

I could see it as that.

Still, I think Gagne wants to win and I would take this refreshing attitude in any player anyday! Imagine that?!?! A player that wants to win and is telling the owner, "You make plenty of money--sign the guys that you can afford but for some unknown reasoning, don't want to spend the money on. If you don't, then your nothing more then Donald Sterling in different sport!

I'm telling you that this guy is nothing but a used car salesman and every dime you spend at Dodger Stadium is a vote for mediocrity.

2005-10-07 00:52:45
11.   Tommy Naccarato
Affordable housing? Yes, maybe in our world of thought. In McCourt's, its whatever is going to bring the most money and that means multi-storied dwellings that would be less then a foot apart with a backyard less then five feet deep. (I know you know this Rob!)

No, I just want this guy to sell the team quickly--get out of L.A. and end this horrible chapter in Dodger history.

(All of you spare yourselves from typing it out that I'm now being unrealistic!)

We all know that this thing ends when he finally turns the team into Pittsburgh or Kansas City and Chavez Ravine is filled with wall to wall townhouses and condos.

BTW, My grandfather used to tell me stories of how he used to hike around Chavez Ravine when he was a kid. Supposedly it was a pretty cool place in its day; and that later on, it sort of slipped shortly before O'Malley had got the rights to the property. Thank God he did too, he built a magnificent ballpark--one of the most beautiful in the Majors even today.

McCourt's downtown park (which will get built) will probably be made out of the same BS he bought the Dodgers with--PAPER! (As in all of the money on paper)

2005-10-07 00:56:30
12.   dzzrtRatt
10 If "competing" were only that easy. Spend money, make the playoffs! It didn't work for the Mets, the Orioles, the Tigers, the Marlins, the Mariners (boy did it backfire on them)...and in the Malone years, it didn't work for the Dodgers.

Look, I basically agree with Gagne, and he has every right to try to put pressure on McCourt and DePodesta for the sake of winning. It's refreshing that we're hearing Dodger players "whine" about being competitive, rather than about how much they're being paid, or "who's team it is." We're not the Lakers, yet.

But to put McCourt in the same category with Donald Stirling is, at a minimum, highly premature. His GM is a guy who is trying like hell to make his bones as a new-style wizard of team-building. If he sees a way to obtain the .310 hitter, the 40 homer hitter, without giving up the farm system, I'm sure he'll do it. If McCourt's real agenda was to maximize profits by fooling the suckers, I don't think DePo would risk his reputation on that.

Weaver--resigning him for more than a year is a risk. But I guess you could argue this: If we get him back for a market-equivalent salary, say $10 mil/year, for five years and he performs, we can trade him a year or two down the road to make room for Jacksonville. Weaver will be overpaid, but so long as we can keep him from becoming an albatross, it might as well be the Dodgers who overpay him.

2005-10-07 00:56:52
13.   Robert Fiore
The question about Wilkinson that never seems to get asked or answered when this subject comes up is, "Well, was he a Communist or wasn't he?" If you were asked this question by an investigation committee, the one answer you can give that will save you the biggest amount of trouble, if you can truthfully give it, is "no." He gave the answer that saves you the most trouble if you are or were a member of the Communist Party, the one about not incriminating yourself. Wilkinson's position as far as I can see has never been that he was not a Communist, but that the government didn't have sufficient evidence to prove he was. The implication in Jon's post seems to be that Wilkinson is completely within his rights to keep his political convictions private. But the Communist party in that era was a special case. An ideological communist is not presumptively disloyal but that particular party at that particular time was substantially controlled by a foreign government. The investigations were hysterical, disproportionate and conducted in bad faith for political purposes, but there was a genuine concern there. It's to Wilkinson's credit that he takes personal responsibility for what happened to the people in Chavez Ravine, but that after all this time he will still not be honest and forthcoming about his affiliations says something to his discredit too.

Old Chavez Ravine was romantic but you shouldn't romanticize it. It was a neighborhood with electricity or running water. What the people there had, though, was a place where they liked to live and could live cheaply. What they were compensated for was slum property. It was sheltered from development because re-grading would have been so expensive the potential return wouldn't justify it. The public housing authorities weren't fettered by the costs and had unlimited power to remove property owners. However, because the project was so costly the housing project had to house a large number of people to justify itself. The development envisioned therefore had Cabrini Green written all over it, and it was probably just as well it never came to pass. Personally, I don't pretend that I don't like the ultimate outcome, just as I don't pretend that I wish we'd never taken America from the Indians, or California from Mexico, or water from the Owens Valley. If, however, you wish that the old Chavez Ravine community had persisted as long as it could, you ought to admit to yourself that the party in the matter that would have given you that result was the red-baiters.

2005-10-07 01:04:01
14.   dzzrtRatt
What on earth is wrong with "paper" all of a sudden? Don't most people buy their homes with "paper"--including some with zero-down loans? Most businesses are started with "paper" and grow using "paper." Attack "paper," buddy, and you're attacking capitalism. You're attacking America! Maybe you need a year in jail to think about it, Commie. (Only kidding.)

I'm sure McCourt is not the first guy to leverage purchase of a sports team. I'd lend money to someone to buy a sports team like the Dodgers. Just sitting there with an MLB franchise, the value goes up every year. And the Dodgers are prime cut. This issue of his "paper" is a red herring.

2005-10-07 01:06:31
15.   Midwest Blue
There are two different topics going on in this thread and I want to comment on them both. First Chavez Ravine:

It's a shocking and dissappointing story the facts of which I was unfamiliar. There are two tragedies at work. Wilkinson was railroaded. But he was wrongheaded in forcing people to buy into the promise of new housing "for their own good". Additionally, the spectre of racisim is evepresent because many of the people who were forced off their land were Mexican. Most never received any compensation. At the very least, the city and the owners of Dodger Stadium in perpetuity should be forced to establish a trust to benefit the Mexican community of LA. But removing DS is not the answer because it would just be continuing to open the wound and there is no guarantee that deserving families would ever really benefit from Chavez Ravine as history has shown.

Gagne's right. For the love of the team, I hope McCourt and DePo take him seriously. Just do what he says and nobody will get hurt :-)

2005-10-07 01:31:02
16.   Robert Fiore
15: The property owners were compensated. If the development had been built as planned the original residents would have been given preference in moving into it. Eligibility for public housing is based on income, not race. I live in a Mexican community. It's called Koreatown. Do I get to be part of the trust fund?
2005-10-07 03:35:10
17.   Doug N
I'm young enough to walk around calling myself a patient Communist as a joke, and of course I had a Che Guevara poster up in my dorm room the same year I voted for Harry Browne (conflicted, I know). What should I do in 20 yrs when my own kid has a Bin Laden poster in his room? Or, god...Giants paraphenilia?
2005-10-07 03:49:59
18.   Joon
Gagne is right about winning in principle, but it's not clear, at least for me, that the ownership needs his pressure to commit to winning. Also, it's not good if he is pressuring the team to go into a (IMHO)wrong direction: get a 40-HR guy and sign Weaver no matter what.

I suppose both Kent and Gagne want to win it all next year. Kent don't have many years left, and Gagne realize next year may be his last year here if his option is not picked up.

If they want a team in 2006 that can win the WS on paper, that may be doable, but it would probably jeopardize the team's future.

If it's just a contending team they want, what makes them think the 2006 Dodgers wouldn't be competitive? What makes them think there's a lack of will to win in the ownership that would cause that? Only the Mets spent more money on FAs last year, and Kent and Gagne themselves were signed last year. Was it the lack of a trade besides Cruz?

I'm thinking if the Dodgers had a better record than Dback's 77-85 by making a big trade, people would probably be less embarrassed and less impatient, as that would mean they'd be second in NL West. But would it be worth it? After all the injuries, is it very important to avoid 91 losses and finishing fourth if they don't make the playoffs anyway? Even if they could win the NL West, they'd' probably not go far in the playoffs anyway, would you choose that over keeping the top prospects? I guess if you look at it more from a business point of view, you'd be more concerned about the future, but not everyone view it that way.

Maybe it comes down to the question of which takes precedence, contending or rebuilding? DePodesda chose to contend while rebuild, and people who strongly think it should be the other way around could take offence at that.

2005-10-07 06:54:12
19.   Steve
Trade for a 40 home run hitter, eh?...

See ya, Eric...

2005-10-07 06:56:50
20.   Bob Timmermann
The story of Chavez Ravine is an example of the power of the real estate industry in the region. Southern California took on its current form when developers started selling land and houses to people in all sorts of areas.

But having low-income or public housing wasn't part of the picture. The architect behind the Chavez Ravine plan was Richard Neutra, although in later years he realized that his housing village wouldn't have worked well.

The pinnacle of political power for the real estate industry may have been in the 1960s (1963 I believe) when, in response to a law passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Pat Brown, discrimination in housing sales was banned (The Rumford Act). However, the real estate industry was able to get a referendum on the measure. And it passed and the law was repealed. (Proposition 14 in 1964).

So the people of California voted IN FAVOR of being able to discriminate whom you would sell your home to on the basis of race (or just about anything else.)

A couple of years later, the referendum's result was overturned because it violated Federal Civil Rights laws, and the Rumford Act returned to the books, although in a modified form.

Wilkinson's political beliefs were probably of less concern to the people that opposed the Chavez Ravine project than the fact that the City of L.A. was going to build a lot of housing that the big real estate interests weren't going to cut out of. So to stop the project, they found their reason.

2005-10-07 07:01:24
21.   Eric Enders
Thanks for this great post, Jon.

On Gagne, it would've been more amusing if he'd mentioned the two guys Tracy kept on the bench... you know, the potential 40-HR guy and the .310 hitter.

2005-10-07 07:03:20
22.   Vishal
I'm with Paul Johnson: "Beware intellectuals.

this isn't aimed at you specficially, ratt, but i just want to note that i REALLY REALLY hate the reflexive anti-intellectualism that's endemic in american society. it's one of the worst things about our culture.

2005-10-07 07:05:17
23.   Eric Enders
Ditto 22.
2005-10-07 07:10:26
24.   Sam DC
Fascinating stuff, both strands.

On Chavez, I know it's mealey-mouthed, but this is one of those things that I just never quite know what to think about. I love Dodger Stadium and am glad that it's there, but if I got to make the decisions along the way I don't know that it would have been done. Robert's point about taking water from the Owens Valley is another good example of the same thing. I don't freak out at "forcing" people to leave; sometimes I think it's OK for governmen to do that, but it just takes a good clean government. Not always easy to find. On HUAC, sure US communism was not entirely benign, but the reaction to it was grotesque and unamerican.

On Gagne, I think Joon got it just right. Fine sentiments, but why in heaven's name does he think management doesn't agree with them? Also not great to shoot off in the papers, but I have a limmited capacity to blame the young guys who play baseball for not always being to keep their mouths shut. Me at that age, not always able to keep my mouth shut.

So a good long morning comment with absolutely nothing new.

2005-10-07 07:27:22
25.   King of the Hobos
I wonder if Gagne used specific numbers for a reason, maybe he wants Dunn or Konerko, and Jason Marquis? Mike Jacobs also fits, but the Mets won't unload him unless they get an actual 1B

Did Gagne become good freinds with Konerko back in the minors? (they never played on the same big league team)

2005-10-07 07:37:54
26.   dagwich
This is likely a completely un-wantable and un-workable scenerio, but....word is that Manny Rameriz wants out of Boston, and it is well known that management wants out from him and his contract as well. Plus Boston will want a CF when Damon splits. Is it possible that Theo and DePo can get a Bradley + a prospect for Manny + some salary relief? Not sure about how many years left on Manny's contract but he sure is an immediate upgrade (offensively) in LF, fills one of those Big Gaping offensive holes Game Over referred to.

OF of Manny, Drew, Cruz/Werth -- not so bad (on offense).

Obvious problems:
1) Manny is a an absolutely horrible fielder and seems to be a weird guy
2) $$ (maybe not such a big problem really, though)
3) Hate losing MB, especially at his current cost
4) Might be a losing proposition depending on the prospect(s) we send
5) There must be other problems with this deal, but we are not blocking any prospects in LF as far as I can tell.

OK, fire away...

2005-10-07 08:05:33
27.   SMY
Manny has 3 years left on his deal. I think he's owed like 56 million. He's also a 10-5 guy and can veto any trade.

To my eyes, he doesn't look like a terrible fielder. He looks about average, not sure what the metrics say. I'd definitely take him in the lineup, unless it blocks other players in LF.

Now, I'm not saying they should run out and get him (I'd definitely look at players like Dunn first), but if it happened, I wouldn't be upset.

2005-10-07 08:07:26
28.   Telemachos
I don't mind Weaver coming back as a Dodger... I just suspect his asking price will be so extreme that it's laughable. I do hope the Dodgers offer him arbitration at the very least (I can't imagine why they wouldn't), and I wouldn't go more than a 3-year deal for him -- which I think won't be enough for him to re-sign. But you never know.
2005-10-07 08:16:29
29.   gcrl
this gagne thing reminds me of gretzky's unofficial turn as kings' gm. he demanded a 50 goal scorer, so good ol' sam mcmaster sent fan fave luuuuuuuuuuuc to pittsburgh for rick tocchet. who was later sent to pittsburgh for kevin stevens. luc was brought back to the fold a few years later. meanwhile, gretzky was run out of town to st. louis, and although i was ecstatic in 88 when he came to la, i was happy to see him and his personnel meddling ways hit the trail.
2005-10-07 08:22:19
30.   Eric L
25 My guess is that Konerko and Gagne never played together. Konerko was traded in '98 and Gagne was at Vero Beach that season.

What is the fascination with re-signing Weaver at all costs? Over his career (and I'm guessing this year as well) he's been pretty much a league average pitcher that throws alot of innings. I'm not saying that what he does isn't valuable to a team, but I have a feeling that some team is going to pay way too much for him and I'd rather it not be the Dodgers.

2005-10-07 08:23:29
31.   Eric Enders
"I don't mind Weaver coming back as a Dodger..."

I wouldn't mind, either, but frankly I'm hoping he leaves and we get 2 first-round picks for him -- which would give us at least 3 first-rounders in 2006.

In case you were wondering, we have the #7 overall pick in the June 2006 draft. The good thing about that is, since it's in the upper half of the first round, we can't lose the pick for signing a free agent.

2005-10-07 08:25:17
32.   Eric Enders
Actually, upon further review, we have either #6 or #7, can't tell which for sure since we tied with the same record as Detroit (!).
2005-10-07 08:43:32
33.   Eric Enders
After "combing the desert" for the new draft rules (they were changed this year), I can't find out what the tiebreaker would be between us and Detroit.

Anybody know? Anyone? Bueller? Nate?

2005-10-07 08:44:11
34.   scareduck
16 - The property owners were compensated.

This is essentially immaterial, on two grounds:

1) How if I come to your house with a dozen or so of my muscular friends, ransack its contents, and then offer to "pay" you "compensation" -- of, oh, maybe $20. Don't like it? Tough. Oh, but wait, you say, this was the government doing it, so that makes it better or different or special somehow? Yes, you're right in this: you have even fewer avenues of recourse.

2) They had lost their property. Government promises about what will happen to property, tax dollars, schoolbooks, you name it, are, as in this case, worth nothing. This is why we have private property, a plaintiffs bar, and a court system: to prevent this kind of blatent depredation.

22 - Vishal: perhaps the sentence in full ought to read, "beware of intellectuals with guns". Thus began the Soviet revolution, and, had Herbert Hoover not bailed their sorry asses out, it would have ended with Lenin's head on a stick. Instead, the Reds continued to menace the rest of the world for the better part of the 20th century. How's that for gratitude?!

2005-10-07 08:44:57
35.   scareduck
33 - are you sure they were changed, Eric? So far as I am aware, there were only proposals for such change.
2005-10-07 08:45:07
36.   Chris H
The tiebreaker would be the 2004 season record.
2005-10-07 08:46:29
37.   Eric Enders
"Instead, the Reds continued to menace the rest of the world for the better part of the 20th century."

Of course, there was this other superpower that was also menacing the world for the better part of the 20th century...

2005-10-07 08:47:36
38.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
22 What do intellectuals have to do with government anyway? These days those labels are pretty much mutually exclusive.

And I couldn't agree more, Vishal.

2005-10-07 08:48:17
39.   Eric L
"Of course, there was this other superpower that was also menacing the world for the better part of the 20th century..."

And into the 21st century....

2005-10-07 08:49:08
40.   Curtis Lowe
If Alan Trammel gets the job as the next Dodger manager, what are the chances that Gibson is hired along with him?
2005-10-07 08:50:09
41.   Eric Enders
"are you sure they were changed, Eric? So far as I am aware, there were only proposals for such change."

Yes, the new rules were already in effect for this year's draft. Previously, the two leagues alternated years getting the #1 overall pick, and the draft order also alternated between leagues, AL-NL-AL-NL-AL etc.

Now it's just based on your record without regard to league. So, AZ got the #1 pick this year even though SD had it the year before. And teams in the same league, like Washington and Milwaukee, could follow each other in the draft order.

2005-10-07 08:52:32
42.   Eric Enders
"If Alan Trammel gets the job as the next Dodger manager, what are the chances that Gibson is hired along with him?"

The Tigers specifically said they fired Trammell because he couldn't/didn't stand up to his veteran players. So if he's hired, it might behoove him to bring a designated ass-kicker like Gibson along.

2005-10-07 08:52:53
43.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
I notice Gagne didn't offer to contribute any of his huge salary toward the acquisitions he demands. After all, he got paid handsomely this season for little more than occupying a prime Dodger Stadium seat.
2005-10-07 08:54:11
44.   Eric Enders
I notice the Times article this morning mentions the insurance payout the Dodgers got for Dreifort, but what about Gagne? Wouldn't they have had his big contract insured too?
2005-10-07 08:58:24
45.   Adam M
Manny alone would bump the payroll over $100M, if I'm not mistaken. Not that I'm opposed, though his defense is genuinely atrocious and I'd wonder about his ability to adjust to the NL, hit in The Stadium and handle decent weather. It's been suggested the Red Sox might be interested in Kent, so Boston could take back some salary in that case, and I doubt they'd accept Kent for Manny straight up, so that's more dough potentially. Of course, if the Red Sox are looking to replace Manny's bat and pick up a new center fielder, well, have I got a deal for them!

Of course, then you have to find that .310 hitter Gagne's talking about. Thankfully, the list of people who did it is short enough that we can consider all of them:

1) Derek Lee (.335): think his team wants to keep him a little longer
2) Placido Polanco (.331): signed by DET thru '09
3) Michael Young (.331): see #1
4) Albert Pujols (.330): see #1
5) Miguel Cabrera (.323): see #1
6) A-Rod (.321): see #1
7) Todd Helton (.320): might be available
8) Vlad Guerrero (.317): see #1
9) Johnny Damon (.316): FA
11) Sean Casey (.312): might be available, career averages are approaching Choi's
12) Derek Jeter (.309 - squeaks in): uh, see #1

The .310 figure is so random (what, not .315? .307?) it can't be a coincidence. Gagne clearly wants them to acquire Helton, Damon or Casey, no? Assess.

Off topic, a bunch of people are commenting on various boards about Jacque Jones, and saying things to the effect that they'd rather get intestinal parasites for a year than have Jones on their team. What gives?

2005-10-07 09:05:05
46.   Improbable88
I think we're all giving Gagne too much credit as far as the specific .310 mark. I''m sure it was just his way of meaning a guy who will hit over .300.

I hope these ultimatums to McCourt and Depo keep on coming. I know that injuries were the true reason for the terrible season, but these two men CANNOT be beyond reproach. They need to know the pride associated with this team and the success the fans expect...which, it seems to me, however, all supports Tracy's release as well. But we can all understand why Gagne has such a warm spot in his heart for the man.

2005-10-07 09:10:30
47.   Eric Enders
"Off topic, a bunch of people are commenting on various boards about Jacque Jones, and saying things to the effect that they'd rather get intestinal parasites for a year than have Jones on their team. What gives?"

Um... the fact that he's never been any good and is about to get worse?

Jones has had one season (2002) in which he was a good player. Other than that, he's firmly established himself as a significantly below average hitter for a corner outfielder, and he'll be 31 in 2006 -- right on the precipice of what is almost certain to be a quick downhill slide from a hill that was never very high to begin with.

All hail the offense-boosting power of the Homerdome.

2005-10-07 09:12:04
48.   SMY
It just seems to me that the ultimatums are all premature, given that so far McCourt and DePo have given no indication that they won't spend any money to improve the team.

I hope Gagne expressed his concerns to management in private before going off in the media, but that's probably too much to hope for.

2005-10-07 09:13:09
49.   Eric Enders
"I hope Gagne expressed his concerns to management in private before going off in the media, but that's probably too much to hope for."

The article makes it clear that he did not.

2005-10-07 09:17:23
Before the offseason officially begins, Id like to say a cheers, "HERES TO AN EVENTFUL OFFSEASON!" To signing big names, to losing big names (not Milton, hes the heart and soul if there ever was one), to aquiring players Ive never heard of, to adding pay roll, to shedding pay roll, to big trades (and small ones only Bob can explain too), to signing prospects (Im looking at you Scott "Labor Relations Expert" Boras) and to losing prospects (I know they might be MVPs in five years Nate, but by then, I might get run over or I might get shot).

And in an (arguably) more clear headed way, heres also to trades that come close, but never happen. Like the Johnson Fiasco last summer. Im partial, if DePo makes other teams angry, Ill still support him.

What Depo should do is use those media reported trades that were close but dont happen like a boxer uses a feint to set-up an effective punch.

Heres an idea: If Depo wants Dunn, he should offer exactly what hes willing to give up for him, to Boston for Manny, publicly. While ESPN reports that the two sides are talking about a potential deal but need to iron out details, DePo knows hes gonna pull out (or better yet Manny will veto the deal). After the trade doesn't happen, the Cincinatti GM will look great for getting anywhere near what the Dodgers were offering for Manny for Dunn, becuase the media says Manny's more valuable.

I know this is an unbelievable simple idea and much naivety on my part, but Im bored and it might work. Maybe. Nah.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-10-07 09:18:11
51.   SMY
49 -- Thanks, obviously I skimmed over that part.
2005-10-07 09:20:30
52.   Eric Enders
"Before the offseason officially begins, Id like to say a cheers, "HERES TO AN EVENTFUL OFFSEASON!" ... and to losing prospects (I know they might be MVPs in five years Nate, but by then, I might get run over or I might get shot)."

Good intentions notwithstanding, this is one toast to which I cannot in good conscience raise my glass.

2005-10-07 09:20:56
53.   MikeB
Off-topic posted interview with the new owner in Tampa Bay - sounds like he may be a Moneyball guy.
2005-10-07 09:23:35
54.   Jon Weisman
Bill Plunkett of the Register had similar quotes from Gagne days ago. There was plenty of time for McCourt (putting aside the reported death in his family) to talk to Gagne and reach an understanding before Gagne gave this subsequent view to Henson for the Times.
2005-10-07 09:32:11
55.   scareduck
37 - "Of course, there was this other superpower that was also menacing the world for the better part of the 20th century..."

Um, yeah. Wake me when the side effects of said superpower involved cannibalism at home:

... or engaged in slaughter unparalleled:

Please, Eric. I don't want this discussion to get too far afield on politics, but your comment is so far out of line as to be absurd. I'm not saying there weren't/aren't abuses by the U.S., but at least we have a Senate to vote 90-9 against torturing detainees, regardless of the cries of the idiot at the top.

2005-10-07 09:35:21
56.   Jon Weisman
55 - " don't want this discussion to get too far afield on politics..."

Yeah, this post was not meant to be an excuse for everyone to air out their political opinions. The post is about the fear of Communism being a factor in the history of Dodger Stadium, not the merits of said fear and certainly not how they apply to the present day. I think there was obvious/irresistable room for some historical discussion but let's err on the side of keeping the site politics-free.

2005-10-07 09:36:17
57.   MikeB
Fox sportscaster Jeannie Zelasco says Kevin Kennedy should manage Dodgers. According to her, Kennedy has the owner's "ear."
2005-10-07 09:37:39
58.   Eric Enders
I'd rather not get too far into politics either, but there is no small mountain of support for the POV I expressed. I found your original comment to be a little extreme and one-sided, which is why I replied with one that was perhaps equally one-sided from a different perspective.

I'd only point out that your last paragraph is irrelevant because we were talking about the 20th century...

2005-10-07 09:39:12
59.   Eric Enders
Fox sportscaster Jeannie Zelasco says Kevin Kennedy should manage Dodgers. According to her, Kennedy has the owner's "ear."

So he decided not to mail it to Scotland Yard?

2005-10-07 09:44:41
60.   MikeB
59 - Sorry about the simplicity of my earlier post. I was just interested in furthering the discussion or potential Dodger managerial choices.
2005-10-07 09:45:51
61.   Improbable88
I can't help but comparing this past year, or at least the feelings I have about the offseason, to the Laker's failure in the playoffs in 2003. It seems to me that the Dodger committment to winning, and by committment I mean money spent, could have been jeopardized long term by tasting success with a meager budget. I think this failure of a season should act as a gut check.

Now, I'm not saying that the Dodgers will go acquire two future hall of famers, but they will have to do SOMETHING noteworthy to keep fans excited...and reassuring everyone that we will get healthy, just won't cut it.

And in case they didn't realize that this WAS their position, Gagne will be there to remind them!

2005-10-07 09:46:10
62.   Telemachos
The earliest the Dodgers would announce a new manager would be a week from Monday, right? It's my understanding that Depo is conducting interviews from Tuesday through Saturday.
2005-10-07 09:46:36
63.   FirstMohican
Thanks Jon... I think it's a reminder that because our country was not immune to stuff like this 50 years ago, we shouldn't assume that something similar won't happen in the future, or isn't happening now.

To steer this away from anything non-baseball (or TV), Go Dodgers!

2005-10-07 09:46:56
64.   Sam DC
Thank you for the gentle reminder, Jon. I for one pledge allegiance to keeping my politics out of here. s
2005-10-07 09:49:36
65.   Eric Enders
59 was not intended to critique your post in any way whatsoever. It was a historical reference that apparently nobody got... Jack the Ripper famously mailed the ear of one of his victims to Scotland Yard.
2005-10-07 10:01:02
66.   Steve
Thousands of non-pitcher bunts over the past three years, and you're all discussing the fate of the free world. Blah. :)
2005-10-07 10:01:20
67.   MikeB
65. "I lost on jeopardy"
Here's something on Torey Lovullo published in Ohio yesterday. Brief item. No body parts were mentioned ;>).
Perhaps Lovullo is the guy DePo has wanted all along? Did they work together when DePo was in the Cleveland organization?
2005-10-07 10:03:08
68.   Improbable88
Furthermore, I get the feeling in here that people don't think spending a lot of money can necessarily equal quality teams, that instead, it is smart spending, that makes a great team, that creative budgets like we see in Oakland are the best way to go.

But isn't the enticing thing about Depodesta the possibility that we will use 100 million dollars and use it all SMARTLY?!?

You're right, it's not that we need to spend $100,000,000, it's that we need to spend it smartly...but more money, should equal, a better team.

2005-10-07 10:10:44
69.   SMY
"But isn't the enticing thing about Depodesta the possibility that we will use 100 million dollars and use it all SMARTLY?!?"


I think so, but the most vocal people (not on this site, just in general) seem to be in favor of spending it on anyone, just as long as it gets spent. That's my feeling, anyway.

2005-10-07 10:11:41
70.   Jon Weisman
67 - They overlapped briefly but never met, according to earlier articles.
2005-10-07 10:11:44
71.   rageon
Wouldn't it be easier for the team to improve if Gagne complained to management, rather than the papers? I would guess that if he wants to bring in free agents so badly, perhaps he doesn't want to give these players the impression that it sucks in LA or that Gagne will be gone in a year.

Of course, this assumes playesr don't just sign with the highest offer, which I'm not sure is true.

2005-10-07 10:12:42
72.   Improbable88
Well, as long as we use it!! I mean I got the supersize fries I might as well finish's a very American thing
2005-10-07 10:14:07
73.   Improbable88
Phil Jackson seems to use the media as his personal panting zone to some success. Why not Gagne? He's as crucial to the Dodgers' success over the past years as Phil was to the Lakers.
2005-10-07 10:14:29
74.   Improbable88
panting = ranting
2005-10-07 10:18:03
75.   Jon Weisman
69 - "the most vocal people (not on this site, just in general) seem to be in favor of spending it on anyone, just as long as it gets spent"

Definitely not the feeling of the proprietor. I always agree with spending smartly.

2005-10-07 10:18:19
76.   Telemachos
I'm very intrigued by Lovullo... except that an Indians fan over on the Dodger board mentioned that Lovullo was very into speed and bunting. However, perhaps that's simply a case of him using the skills of the players he had available. I'm fairly confident in Depo's ability to gauge whether a potential manager will share his vision.
2005-10-07 10:19:36
77.   Curtis Lowe
I dont think Gagne cares much for Depodesta, remember after the Trade and he had everyones numbers on his hat, now calling Tracy a great man and saying he was fired, when we all know he pretty much quit in june.
2005-10-07 10:22:10
78.   Steve
Gagne doesn't play hurt.
2005-10-07 10:23:01
79.   Jon Weisman
If you go to, they were having a discussion on Tracy. At least last night, they seemed rather unfamiliar with some of the complaints about him.
2005-10-07 10:23:02
80.   Improbable88
Well, I think you have to understand Gagne's affection for Tracy...Tracy is, at least, credited with Gagne's successful transformation to Closer Extrordinaire! And guess what catcher was along for that ride...LoDocu.

Gagne's affinity for his team mates and coaches, to me, seems like a personality trait. So, if we bring in good players and a good coach I don't see Gagne holding a grudge.

He wants to win, and he'll put that before everything...unfortunately, some day he might put that above being a Dodger.

2005-10-07 10:23:42
81.   Improbable88
What is the tone of 78?
2005-10-07 10:25:25
82.   Improbable88
I was at Gagne's last outing...he struck out the side with a torn ligament.

Anyone read the Nen article on Seems like Gagne would do a similar thing.

2005-10-07 10:31:42
83.   Steve
How can you give a long-term contract to guy with such a history of medical problems?
2005-10-07 10:34:10
84.   Steve
Going to the media? Not good for the old team chemistry.
2005-10-07 10:36:02
85.   Bob Timmermann
Gagne is not able to get along with Anglophones.
2005-10-07 10:36:31
86.   Icaros
DePodesta needs to clear the team of all players, coaches, and bat boys who are infected with Tracy Loyalism.
2005-10-07 10:38:27
87.   Bob Timmermann
Then the Dodgers can finally reacquire Mark Grudzielanek!
2005-10-07 10:38:50
88.   Jon Weisman
85 - Was Anglophones the sadly undiscovered Greek playwright?

86 - Tracy Loyalism is almost an anagram for Torey Lovullo!

2005-10-07 10:39:56
89.   Icaros
Anyone read the Nen article on Seems like Gagne would do a similar thing.

Guess what, Nen lost when he did that, and then his career was over. I don't think I want any players on the Dodgers following that example.

Players who play hurt are not heroes. They hurt the team for selfish pride.

2005-10-07 10:40:51
90.   Curtis Lowe
When the best closer in the game goes to the media asking the new ownership of a horrible new team to spend some money on some quality player I dont think it's the players fault(who has been around much longer then either Depo or Frank). Think about a step child, Its not his fault the step dad is a cheap prick and wont get hime a new toy after throwing away his old ones.
2005-10-07 10:42:13
91.   Icaros
Was Gagne the best closer in the game this season?
2005-10-07 10:42:53
92.   Curtis Lowe
89-I disagree.
2005-10-07 10:43:23
93.   Eric Enders

For what it's worth, Lovullo's Akron team this year laid down 59 sacrifices, ranking about middle of the pack in the Eastern League. In 2004, his Kinston team laid down 38. I don't know how that compares to the rest of the league, but it certainly seems like an extraordinarily low number.

This year Akron stole 144 bases, 3rd most in the league, at a 68 percent success rate (basically average). In 2004, Lovullo's Kinston team stole 128 bases at an excellent 73 percent success rate.

These stats may or may not mean anything, because a manager (if he's smart) won't have the same managerial style in the majors as in the minors. The majors are for winning; the minors are for learning. That's where your players are supposed to LEARN how to steal bases and bunt, and you can't learn that without trying it.

Lovullo is quoted in an article on the Akron Aeros website as saying he'll be coaching with AAA Buffalo next year if he doesn't get the Dodger job. I don't know if he really meant coaching, or misspoke and meant managing.

2005-10-07 10:44:26
94.   Eric Enders
"Was Anglophones the sadly undiscovered Greek playwright?"

I was thinking an Anglophone was one of Thomas Edison's inventions.

2005-10-07 10:46:29
95.   Eric Enders
"When the best closer in the game goes to the media asking the new ownership of a horrible new team to spend some money on some quality player I dont think it's the players fault(who has been around much longer then either Depo or Frank). Think about a step child, Its not his fault the step dad is a cheap prick and wont get hime a new toy after throwing away his old ones."

I'll let Jon deal with the rules violations, but the content of this post is silly as well. How does ranking 2nd among 30 MLB teams in money spent on free agents constitute being a "cheap -----"?

2005-10-07 10:48:27
96.   Improbable88
89!! Are you kidding!! The article constantly referred to the fact that the trainers said he would be alright! His team was in a playoff race and he was doing his job!
2005-10-07 10:48:27
97.   Icaros
92 You disagree that playing hurt caused Nen to lose the game and his career? It's a fact.
2005-10-07 10:48:40
98.   MikeB
Be DePo For A Week
(apologies in advance for the length of this post)

Let's pretend you are Paul DePodesta for a week. Next week in fact. You are about to select a new manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers. You've had one winning season, and one god-awful season. You're despised and ridiculed by the local media. Your owner means well, but can't seem to overcome his image as a carpet bagging parking lot attendant from Boston who uses OPM to buy the local team, and a couple of expensive homes, but can't buy the love of Plaschke and Simers.

Your team's biggest star players (Penny, Kent, Gagne) have said directly or indirectly they want a winning team in 2006 – or else! You've just "parted ways" with a manager who is labeled by others as a good/great manager, and was popular (to some extent) with the media and the players on your team.

You've got to get back on the winning side of the game quickly – next year in fact -- or you will be the obvious candidate for "parting" from Chavez Ravine. You've got to make this managerial selection work. So who do you choose? What do you need? What can you get? What are the compromises you make to get the best person for the job?

Obviously you make a list of the criteria for the person selected to manage the Dodgers (hopefully for at least the next 3 years - the time remaining on your contract). You list the qualities, experience and personality traits a person should have in order to work successfully within your plan for the team and win ballgames too.

OK. I'm now Paul Depodesta. Here is my list of hiring criteria ranked according to their importance to me.

1. Someone willing to understand, support and use sabermetric principles for roster building and lineup creation
2. Someone with several years of baseball managerial experience – preferably at the MLB level or possibly at the AAA/AA levels.
3. Someone willing to work in a lions den of media hostility, ignorance & spite -- must be thick-skinned, have a great sense of humor, willing to take the high-road, and able to feign ignorance of a barbed quote at the drop of a hat
4. Someone capable of managing the clubhouse -- that's really what managing is all about these days
5. Someone relatively close in age to yourself (meaning DePo) – someone closer to 40 than 50. That helps remove obstacles such as the media repeatedly pointing out your callow youthfulness and general lack of knowledge of the great book of baseball wisdom as compared to your newest and most important employee (that probably rules Jack McKeon).

So who best fits the criteria from the list of announced candidates? Anyone else want to be DePodesta for a week?

2005-10-07 10:49:40
99.   Eric Enders
One could also argue that the Gibson HR, wonderful, life-affirming moment though it was, also basically cost him his career.
2005-10-07 10:50:23
100.   Eric Enders
"Let's pretend you are Paul DePodesta for a week. Next week in fact."

No, this week, please. I've never been to Italy...

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-10-07 10:51:09
101.   Icaros
96 And he lost and never pitched again. What part of that outcome do you fellows not understand?

Gagne tried to be a hero this year and missed almost the entire season. He knew his arm was hurting again, didn't tell anyone, pitched in a regular season game, and was lost for the year.

2005-10-07 10:51:22
102.   Bob Timmermann
I couldn't be Paul DePodesta for a week because he's both shorter and skinnier than me and his clothes wouldn't fit and I can't interview managerial candidates wearing sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts.
2005-10-07 10:53:09
103.   blue22
102 - I'm sure Wilson Alvarez could give you some loaners. :-D
2005-10-07 10:54:03
104.   Icaros
99 As great as the Gibson homer was, I think it has worked to set the Dodger fan reality quotient back quite a bit ever since.
2005-10-07 10:54:46
105.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
75 "I always agree with spending smartly."

Isn't that really the true goal of Sabermetricism? (If that's not a word, it should be.) Isn't much of the player analysis really all about figuring out who would help your team the most?

2005-10-07 10:55:22
106.   Eric Enders
This is how I would rank those qualities, in order of importance:

1. 4. Someone capable of managing the clubhouse -- that's really what managing is all about these days

2. 1. Someone willing to understand, support and use sabermetric principles for roster building and lineup creation

3. 3. Someone willing to work in a lions den of media hostility, ignorance & spite -- must be thick-skinned, have a great sense of humor, willing to take the high-road, and able to feign ignorance of a barbed quote at the drop of a hat

4. 2. Someone with several years of baseball managerial experience – preferably at the MLB level or possibly at the AAA/AA levels.

Don't think this matters at all: 5. Someone relatively close in age to yourself (meaning DePo) – someone closer to 40 than 50.

That said, I really have no idea what candidate best meets those criteria.

2005-10-07 10:56:54
107.   MikeB
100. OK. Eric is now in Italy! Chiao baby!
102. Bob - it's OK to adust the fantasy to your liking. You are now conducting job interviews at Dodger Stadium as a tall, skinny gentleman wearing an expensive suit you recently purchased while in Italy.
2005-10-07 11:07:44
108.   gcrl
102 - my old firm (a/e design) once hired a guy who showed up to the interview in a sweatshirt. he was forever known as "sweatshirt guy". he lasted about 5 months.
2005-10-07 11:07:58
109.   dzzrtRatt
22 Ironically, the quote, "Beware intellectuals" was written by a British historian, a learned scholar and a polemicist. By intellectuals, I think he meant the term as it was used 50-100 years ago, to describe those who rationalized great crimes in the carrying-out of "visionary" social progress. The classic intellectuals of this type were those who, in the 30s and the 50s ignored the real Stalin because to do otherwise would discredit Communism, which was still an ideal to many at that time. Think Edmund Wilson and Lillian Hellman, for two of many examples. But it's not a critique of the left exclusively. Fascism, anti-Semitism, Zionism, and the extremes of laissez-faire economics were and are all concocted and propagandized by intellectuals. Certainly, the most powerful intellectuals of today are those around Bin Laden who are striving to revive the caliphate...and the "neocons" around Bush who dreamed up the strategy behind invading Iraq.

I like brains. I like scholarship. I like the company of intelligent people. But I do "beware intellectuals." That doesn't mean hate them. Just be careful around them.

Sorry to get off baseball, but I thought I should explain my aphorism, to which I fear some took offense. One of these days, I'll start a weblog and we can hash it out over there.

2005-10-07 11:12:44
110.   MikeB
106 - Eric - I don't know who is the best man either. We can only hope DePo will find someone who is - or close to it. In my way of thinking, the most important event of this off-season for the Dodgers is the selection of a new manager. It won't matter much who DePo acquires if the new guy doesn't use them properly -- or blames the GM for a losing streak. DePo needs someone in the clubhouse who is on his side. He needs a partner. Not an adversary. He's got enough of those to last a lifetime.
It is interesting you feel managing the clubhouse (my #4) was your #1. Wasn't that a perceived strength of Tracy's? Wasn't my #1 the primary reason Tracy was not invited back? Just wondering.
2005-10-07 11:14:38
111.   jasonungar05
1. 4. Someone capable of managing the clubhouse -- that's really what managing is all about these days

Are u sure. according to the press (and tracy it seems), thats what Shawn Green, Robin Ventura, Paul LoDuca and Alex Cora were for.

2005-10-07 11:19:39
112.   Bob Timmermann
Wilson Alvarez's clothes wouldn't fit me. He's a lot heavier than me.

My size is probably somewhere along the lines of D.J. Houlton and Derek Lowe.

2005-10-07 11:19:54
113.   molokai
Miggy Tejada would be my answer to Mr. Gagne. JMO
2005-10-07 11:20:01
114.   Colorado Blue
110 - ...Wasn't that a perceived strength of Tracy's? Wasn't my #1 the primary reason Tracy was not invited back? Just wondering.

I think it was until the MB-Kent affair. It then appeared to many that JT could not contain nor manage the clubhouse...

Of course, I personally believe JT's mis-mangement of that event was all part of his master plan to undermine DePo's credibility further.

2005-10-07 11:20:17
115.   Eric Enders
"It is interesting you feel managing the clubhouse (my #4) was your #1. Wasn't that a perceived strength of Tracy's? Wasn't my #1 the primary reason Tracy was not invited back? Just wondering."

Yes, and yes. That said, I still think it's the most important quality for a manager to have, without a close second really. The game strategy stuff really has far less importance than people here tend to give it -- the mathematical differences involved are minute; it makes a difference of a handful of runs over the course of the year, but it's not going to make or break anybody's season. If a manager is liked by his players and they play hard for him, you can still have a winning team even if he leads the league in bunts and steals.

However, on the other side of the coin, a manager can display all the sabermetric smarts in the world, but will still find himself in an untenable (and losing) situation if his players don't respect him or bust their butts for him.

Tracy obviously has one of these two qualities in spades, and the other, well, very little. I think DePo probably let him go because he thought he could find someone with both qualities.

2005-10-07 11:21:19
116.   blue22
110 - These are the guys I like.

1. Bob Geren (proved his worth as a manager in the Oakland minor leagues, personally hired by Billy Beane, spent the last few years in the bigs as bullpen coach, could be frontrunner for Oakland job though)

2. Orel Hershiser (obvious strong Dodger ties, "nerdy" enough but no real evidence of being a "stat geek")

3. Torey Lovullo ("hot" candidate, we'll see if he is in line with Depo's approach though)

4. Terry Collins (the man if you need someone to come in and kick some tail)

2005-10-07 11:21:57
117.   SMY
I find it interesting that in that Tony Jackson article a couple days back, he blamed the "clubhouse incidents" (guys checking cell phones, etc) on DePo ignoring chemistry, yet, shouldn't it be Tracy's job to deal with those sorts of things?

I also have a serious question about clubhouse chemistry. It seems like the Dodgers are the only team I hear about with "terrible" clubhouse chemistry in the media (mainstream or otherwise). Why is that? We rarely hear reports of problems in other clubhouses, or they're pretty much brushed aside (like the whole Marlins deal recently). I find it impossible to believe that all 29 other teams factor "chemistry" into their team so much that they never have any problems. So what gives? Am I just missing these other incidents?

2005-10-07 11:25:20
118.   blue22
114 - Tracy's strength is getting his player's to like him. He manages like it's a popularity contest, showing a lot of faith in his players.

It does not seem like he's good with confrontation or adversity though.

112 - My humble apologies.

2005-10-07 11:25:49
119.   Eric Enders
I think that's just because we probably read more about the Dodgers than other teams, and so are more familiar with their clubhouse situation. I disagree strongly that the Marlins deal was "brushed aside." Other teams have also had clubhouse issues this year similar to those of the Dodgers, including the White Sox and Red Sox, so it's not limited to losing teams. Everybody has them. I just think the L.A. media makes more of them in the Dodgers' case, and since we all read everything we can about the Dodgers, we get it ad nauseam.
2005-10-07 11:26:17
120.   blue22
118 - getting his players to like him
2005-10-07 11:26:24
121.   molokai
I'd interview Ron Cey.
1. Great Dodger Pedigree
2. No ex-cool-dodger other then Jimmy Wynn knew better the value of a walk. (discounting Sheffield because he is on my top 10 disliked list)
3. Should be able to handle the LA media
4. Has absolutely no experience
5. Understands that players shouldn't get pigeonholed based on looks.
6. He and Kent can compare moustaches
7. Would really tick off Garvey and Lopes
2005-10-07 11:27:24
122.   Eric Enders
8. Is great in beer commercials.
9. Cool nickname.
2005-10-07 11:28:08
123.   Romyrick
3. 3. Someone willing to work in a lions den of media hostility, ignorance & spite -- must be thick-skinned, have a great sense of humor, willing to take the high-road, and able to feign ignorance of a barbed quote at the drop of a hat
I kinda disagree with this, I think we need to get someone in here with the same ideology as Depo's and is willing to get right in the face of the Plaske/Simers and tell them they are ignorant hacks. In fact its one thing i've never understood about Depo/McCourt they always do that ^, they never defend themselves and i feel they should. I see the manager is someone that could polarize dodger fans against the LA Times/Angels, lets face it the fan base isnt very smart they are just going to go with whoever they like more. A manager comes in and is humorous and combative with the media and I'm sure you'll get alot of those fringe fans.
2005-10-07 11:28:32
124.   SMY
That was my thought too, but I seem to see it pop up a lot on, Yahoo sports, etc. Maybe it's just my perception.
2005-10-07 11:29:04
125.   Bob Timmermann
Despite whatever chemistry problems the Dodgers purpotedly had, they pale in comparison to the 1971 Angels.

As for current teams now, there are stories about teams with good and bad chemistry a lot now. If a team in New York or Boston had dissension in the clubhouse we'd hear about it all the time.

Think of how much news there would have been if Bradley and Kent had played for the Mets this year.

Or you could be an NFL team where every emotional foible is the subject for discussion. Mainly because it's hard for the beat writers to fill up the paper the rest of the week.

2005-10-07 11:29:26
126.   Romyrick
Also if i get to pretend i'm depo, at the end can i keep the degree?
2005-10-07 11:32:56
127.   Adam M
106 - Based on those criteria, Lou Piniella is not a bad choice, though he's probably not my first choice. Saberwhatsis probably means nothing to him, but the guy just wants to win, and has shown he can adapt his managing to whatever talent management gives him. His biggest weakness is in using the bullpen: he yanks starters too early, won't let effective relievers finish an inning, and often plays favored guys like Ayala and Charlton who just don't have it anymore. Thankfully, the Dodger pen is pretty much set as far as roles, so there's maybe less potential for chaos there. As for handling the media, fuhgeddaboutit - he's got a sense of humor, rhino skin and a fistful of rings. He could care less what a bunch of paunchy sports media punks say about him.

That said, I think he'll just sit out until the Yankee job opens up.

2005-10-07 11:34:25
128.   dzzrtRatt
If Paul DePodesta were looking for a manager today without having had Tracy work for him before, he might've hired Tracy, based on his reputation among players and as a clubhouse force.

But he had to "part ways" with the Jim Tracy he inherited, because Tracy was disloyal. Did Tracy's failure to use Choi in situations that clearly called for it cost the Dodgers the pennant? Nobody here would say so. But it was an act of tremendous disloyalty and intellectual arrogance on Tracy's part. It meant that DePodesta would never get a chance to really run the team, because Tracy would, at his own whim, undermine DePodesta's personnel moves. One or the other would've had to go this winter, and McCourt probably realized along with DePo that it had to be Tracy, because if DePo left, a new GM might find Tracy as unmanageable as DePo had.

To me, assuming the manager DePo hires can pay the price of admission, i.e. he's a baseball man, he's managed somewhere before, he knows his a** from his elbow, the most important quality for DePo to discern is whether the man will be loyal to him. Everything else flows from that.

2005-10-07 11:36:36
129.   SMY
It's really not so much the reporting of problems, it's that the school of thought seems to be "The Dodgers have a terrible clubhouse" when it seems to me that their clubhouse isn't any different than 95% of the clubhouses. Yet we rarely (well, I rarely) see "The Mets/Marlins/Nationals/Royals/Rangers/White Sox/Red Sox/Mariners/Whoever have a terrible clubhouse". I don't know, maybe it's just me.
2005-10-07 11:38:32
130.   popup
Regarding Gagne, I am sure he wants McCourt to spend money on players. In fact I am sure every player wants owners to spend money on players. The owners are responsible for this mess. As a fan, I am getting more than a little tired of spending large sums of money for seats that are not all that good to attend a major league baseball game. As painful as it might be, I almost think that baseball would be better off going through what hockey has been through. I am not nor have I ever been a NHL fan, but from what I understand ticket prices and salaries are down throughout the league. I would welcome the same development in baseball.

Gagne should not be the field manager or the GM. I am sure he and the other players gripe about management among themselves as does any other employee in any line of work. He should not take his case to the press any more than Milton Bradley should have done so this year. If he wants to gripe about management outside the clubhouse, he should think up a clever screen name and post comments here.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-10-07 11:39:07
131.   blue22
121 - I'm not sure he'd take it. It would impact his time spent in the Stadium Club.

Everytime I'm in there, he's there. Is he currently employed by the organization?

2005-10-07 11:39:07
132.   regfairfield
129 The White Sox obviously don't have a terrible clubhouse, look how much they win.
2005-10-07 11:42:40
133.   Eric Enders
132 - And their manager publicly called his former best player "a piece of ----" this year!
2005-10-07 11:42:50
134.   Adam M
117 - Chemistry issues happen on other teams. If you believe Bill Plaschke, bad chemistry on the Mariners (which Mariners? Beltre?) so bummed out Scott Spiezio he could scarcely muster the will to hit over .060. Florida, meanwhile, supposedly had great chemistry, until the whole team imploded.

On the East Coast, Chicago and a lot of other places, it's not viewed as a bad thing for people to butt heads when they're both trying to win. The NY tabloids eat it up because it sells papers. The LAT pretends players not getting along is the worst thing in the world, but only because they have a vendetta against the Dodgers and will publish anything that could onceivably reflect badly on the team. Shaq and Kobe's bad chemistry never seemed to hurt the Lakers that much, and I don't recall Lactose weeping over the Laker tradition that was paradise lost.

2005-10-07 11:43:17
135.   Bob Timmermann
I watched part of the Kings game last night.

The AVERAGE price of a ticket in the NHL, according to Bob Miller, is a little over $41.

I really don't want to pay $41 every time I go see the Dodgers.

2005-10-07 11:45:05
136.   molokai
I think most losing teams in baseball will end up with a bad clubhouse atomosphere by the end of the season. It is such a long season that if you don't have winning to bond around you just have a lot of unsatisfied finger pointers.

I wonder how much Paul LaDuca is still enjoying catching all those "great" arms in Florida? He didn't seem to help Mota sort himself out this year.

2005-10-07 11:45:06
137.   Eric Enders
The nice thing about being a baseball fan is that the ticket supply is infinitely greater than football, basketball, and hockey, which keeps the prices lower.
2005-10-07 11:53:20
138.   popup
Remembering Sandy:

Sandy Koufax suffered the first loss of his major league career against Cincinnati at Crosley Field on September 11, 1955. Sandy started and ran into serious trouble in the 5th inning. Roy McMillan doubled, Sam Mele walked, Johnny Temple singled and Smoky Burgess doubled in the frame. The Dodgers ended up losing the game 5-3. Sandy's pitching line was 6 1/3 innings, 4 runs (one of which was unearned), 7 hits, 6 walks and 1 strikeout.

Thanks to the New York Times, the book Koufax, written by Sandy and Ed Linn, and retrosheet;

Stan from Tacoma

2005-10-07 11:54:34
139.   dzzrtRatt
On chemistry: What a bogus issue!

We have an image from movies and Ken Burns of teams of guys who played together, drank together, brawled together, complained together, and won together. If that was ever true, it's over. The players have so little in common with each other now. Most clubhouses have some players who can't even communicate with each other without a translator. There are also vast economic differences between millionaires like Penny and Kent, who are juggling calls from money managers and TV actresses, and career minor leaguers like Edwards and Repko, who will probably top out at the major league minimum. Most clubhouses have their share of the highly religious working alongside guys who flaunt an orgiastic life style of chicks, fast cars and bling bling. And finally, baseball is not like being a salesman, or a foreman, or a lawyer. No people skills are required, and thus many players never bothered to develop them.

No way you can expect "chemistry" in a setting like that--unless everybody's happy because they're winning, which if nothing else breeds mutual respect. Even then, you have players who hate each other. But since every other clubhouse confronts the exact same issues, the chemistry issue is a complete wash, irrelevant, overrated and stupid to focus on.

Reporters notice what they think is "chemistry" because they have to go into the clubhouse to conduct interviews, but their impressions are highly biased by whether a given player will cooperate in an interview. The manager has to be able to clearly communicate his and the club's policies so the players can relax and just do their job. It's not up to the manager to bring an incredibly diverse group of individuals into hand-holding harmony. It's not even possible.

2005-10-07 11:55:14
140.   alex 7
It's a shame that Gagne suffered that injury otherwise I think he would be the one being traded for said hitters. Sanchez as a closer, along with Braz, Broxton, Kuo, and maybe Edwin would have Depo's confidence. Quite the PR hit though.
2005-10-07 11:55:50
141.   blue22
139 - What team was known as the "25 guys, 25 cabs" clubhouse? Must've been a winner, or it wouldn't have been such a big deal.
2005-10-07 11:59:20
142.   molokai
Sure but if you want to sit between the bases you will pay the price that Bob doesn't want to.

That is the advantage of the Dodgers being out of a pennant race in Sept. You can buy a cheap seat next to the bullpen and then sit between the bases. Course rooting for a crappy team is not quite as satisfying as staying in your purchased seat and watching a playoff bound team.

2005-10-07 11:59:43
143.   Bob Timmermann
"25 guys, 25 cabs" was used to describe the Red Sox teams of the late 70s.
2005-10-07 12:02:27
144.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
I've read before that there hasn't been much correlation historically between player salaries and ticket prices. The owners charge what the market will bear, whether they have a high payroll or not.
2005-10-07 12:02:51
145.   Jon Weisman
New thread for playoff chat open up top.
2005-10-07 12:04:35
146.   Bob Timmermann
But $41 fetches you a seat toward the top of Staples Center.
2005-10-07 12:05:04
147.   blue22
143 - Oh well, so much for the "winners" part. Thought it was the Yankees from that time.
2005-10-07 12:05:48
148.   dzzrtRatt
I heard it used to describe the Dodgers of the Karros/Piazza/Nomo era. Reading 143that it was used to describe another team makes me think it's just another tired sportswriters' cliche.
2005-10-07 12:06:49
149.   Colorado Blue
118 - It does not seem like he's good with confrontation or adversity though.

Exactly why he seeked an extension. IMO JT does not manage adversity AT ALL. Rather, he attempts to deflect blame upon others when the going gets tough.

If he actually had any self-confidence and perserverance he would have shared in the blame (although I really blame just injuries and JT), otherwise kept his mouth shut, and rolled on through '06 trying to make lemonade.

Thank goodness he has neither. I'm not sure I could have handled another season of bewilderment. He was so lucky to have the media on his side to hide is ineptitude with adversity.

If he HAD decided to stay for '06 I wonder if DePo would have canned him anyway... thank goodness it did not have to transpire in that manner.

2005-10-07 12:08:32
150.   molokai
What a cynic. Your description might be the norm but I expect that there are still exceptions with winning being the key ingredient. "We are family" would disagree. Lee Lacy told me that was a close unit, course that was 26 years ago.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2005-10-07 12:09:36
151.   Colorado Blue
123 - In fact its one thing i've never understood about Depo/McCourt they always do that ^, they never defend themselves and i feel they should.

I think they're taking the high road... they'll let future results speak for them (at least I want to believe this).

2005-10-07 12:11:26
152.   Adam M
136 - It isn't about Lo Duca's wheels falling off for the 4th consecutive year and Mota's arm dissolving as widely predicted there, it's about those things happening here.
2005-10-07 12:14:42
153.   crazy dumbsaint
67: "I have heard great things about (Lovullo) as both a player and a manager," Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Hmm, I guess Paul's computer is down. I wonder what he's heard that makes .224/.301/.335 look great. Must be the year he stole 7 bases in 13 attempts while hitting a robust .251.

I know Lovullo played for the Dodgers but he has no ABs in his playing record. Did he never make the team? Or am I completely delusional?

Speaking of potential managers, should I just get over my irrational hope that the unnamed employee of a team not in the playoffs is Orel Hershiser? Is there anything better Depo could do to fix his reputation in this town than to hire Bulldog? I have no idea of his credentials or his thoughts on Moneyball, I'm just more salivating at the thought of seeing my childhood hero in the dugout again. If for no other reason than to make Giovanni Cararra give up #55 (shudder).

2005-10-07 12:15:42
154.   gcrl
there were media reports about "friction" (note: i will not use the "c" word here anymore) in the red sox clubhouse earlier this year, some of which centered on the schilling as closer decision. also, it was noted by some members of the media how few (zero) teammates came to arod's defense during his preseason rant against taking your kids to school instead of training in the himalayas or whatever; this being an indicator of "friction" in the yankees clubhouse. most recently, i would point to the bonds/jason christiansen story.

it has been said many times that winning cures poor team "friction", which may be why these instances are not continuously reported on.

2005-10-07 12:27:54
155.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
154 Not to mention all the friction last year in Boston surrounding Nomar, Manny, etc. Maybe with better clubhouse chemistry they would have played better. Oh, wait...
2005-10-07 12:33:29
156.   Eric Enders
Some of the Red Sox also expressed to the media (anonymously) their growing annoyance with Kevin Millar's antics, especially as his poor performance made those antics less bearable.
2005-10-07 12:33:55
157.   blue22
155 - Manny reportedly requested a trade at the deadline b/c of a personality conflict with Curt Schilling. It was David Ortiz who calmed Manny down. Of course this isn't "chemistry", it's "Manny being Manny".
2005-10-07 12:35:14
158.   Eric Enders
In Game 1, Schilling could be seen disgustedly shaking his head in the dugout after Manny did his "look at me, I am the greatest human being ever" home run stare & trot.
2005-10-07 12:39:52
159.   popup
#135, Bob, neither do I. I am not a NHL fan and have never been to a game. I do go to baseball games and I am astounded by the cost. I sit in the top deck of Safeco and pay $17 to do so. Parking near the stadium is another $20. Concessions for me are another $15 on average.

If owners would lower the cost of attending a game I would be happy. It does not add to my enjoyment to know that a player is making 20 million a year to perform. I think that is an excessive amount of money to pay a player just as I think the money I shell out to attend a major league game is excessive.

I stopped going to NBA and NFL games years ago. Not that much of a loss for me since I am not much of a fan of either sport. I am a baseball fan though, and while I am able to pay the price to attend a game, I am sure there are many fans who are not.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-10-07 12:45:53
160.   Icaros
I'd like to be able to buy a nice house in California for less than $750,000.
2005-10-07 12:51:59
161.   Bob Timmermann
Have you ever been to the bustling metropolis of Phelan, California?

I think Twentynine Palms would work for you to.

2005-10-07 12:52:30
162.   Eric Enders
"Parking near the stadium is another $20."

This strikes me as pretty abusive, especially for a place like Seattle. Most parks charge $8-12, which is still pretty bad. The most I've ever paid at a ballpark was $20, but that was to park about 15 feet from Fenway Park.

The Devil Rays recently announced that in 2006 they will drop their parking charge from $10 to $0.

2005-10-07 13:05:39
163.   Colorado Blue
159 - I'm surprised the Mariners don't have a "we are lousy" discount program like the Rockies. The local grocery store here offers the receipt holder the chance to buy 4 Rockies tickets for $5 each. These, of course, are limited to certain sections. However, I can get lower reserved seats (basically the lower level of the upper deck)between 1st and 3rd base. The seats are not bad (and, along the 3rd base side, shaded)... especially for $5.

My problem is is that there is 5 of us so I need 2 receipts...

2005-10-07 13:06:58
164.   Icaros
Bob, no thanks. I'm also not interested in Modesto or Weed.
2005-10-07 13:18:02
165.   popup
Eric, the $20 is a $5 increase; it was $15 a year ago or so. I don't pay the $20. I usually take an express bus from Tacoma that costs me $6 round trip.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-10-07 13:24:52
166.   molokai
A big reason why I've changed my sox and rooting for the white pair. When the Dodgers are not involved the only way I can pick teams is by player personalities and I can't stand the Red Sox anymore.
2005-10-07 13:35:56
167.   Icaros
It takes some pretty big character flaws to get molokai to change his sox.
2005-10-07 14:09:57
168.   Adam M
159, 163 - I can second that Safeco parking is atrocious - expensive and impossible to navigate swiftly. It will make you pine for Chavez. The Mariners will probably not institute a "lemon" discount anytime soon, because they've attracted a huge new fanbase that comes to the ballpark for the ballpark, whether the team wins or loses.

But Stan, why go all the way to Seattle to watch inferior product when you've got a gorgeous stadium and a playoff team right in your hometown? Heck, I might even prefer to drive down to Portland, that ballpark seems like a great place to watch a game.

2005-10-07 14:35:49
169.   crazy dumbsaint
I'd go to more Beavers games if they weren't a Padres affiliate. As it is I only go when the 51s are in town. I need to tell myself I'm going as an impartial observer, there to see prospects in action, though I feel odd if I'm not cheering for someone.

Definitely a good place to see a game, though the beer prices certainly are not minor league.

2005-10-07 15:30:42
170.   popup
Adam, I do go to Cheney Stadium, quite often in fact. Great place to watch a game as I am sure you know. I have been to Portland both before and after the renovations. It is a bit far to travel and I don't like artifical turf. I do like Powell's bookstore in Portland, so if all the young Jacksonville kids are in Vegas next year perhaps I will take in a game when Vegas is in town along with a trip to Powell's.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-10-07 16:28:43
171.   EricN
Wilkinsin spoke to my AP US History class my Junior year of high school (Culver City High School for the West LA folk out there). He was actually a pretty interesting guy, but he definitley had a chip on his shoulder. Though maybe he was frustrated that I asked him more about Chavez Ravine than about his experience being blacklisted.

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