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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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7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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2005-10-24 09:08
by Jon Weisman

There's usually a moment, about three seconds into a conversation about the Dodgers, when you discern whether you are talking to a receptive listener. You could be generally supportive of general manager Paul DePodesta or not. Either way, you're going to find passionate opponents.

In those three seconds, on the occasions when I realize the person is not receptive, I cannot end the conversation fast enough.

It's depressing because there are a lot of people whom I like, and whom I like talking baseball with, and whom I have long talked baseball with, that I can't currently talk about the Dodgers with, because it's too exhausting and fruitless.

As long as there has been baseball there have been debates about baseball, but I can't remember one that so resembled the divide between Democrats and Republicans - where each side was so sure that the other side was not only wrong but blindly jeopardizing the future - as the debate over the state of the Dodgers. It's one reason I don't allow political debate on this site, because it's just more than I can take.

When I write something that I'm trying to sell, my philosophy is that I have to make it bulletproof. It's not enough for me to be personally satisfied. I can't allow others any reason to want to make changes or reject the work completely. If I fail to make my writing bulletproof, it doesn't mean I'm not a good writer. But it could mean writing that is A-minus quality will ultimately be no more successful than writing that is D-minus.

DePodesta has written some great pieces for the Dodgers, but he hasn't been bulletproof. Of course, few general managers are, but that's beside the point for a lot of folks. So some see a promising future for the Dodgers and some see a dire one. Not because they are by nature optimists or pessimists - it's just all that they see in this case.

I can't talk to those people who see things so differently from me - in such an entrenched fashion - except at a place where if someone disagrees with me, I can take the time to say what I want to say, the way I want to say it.

I can only talk to those people here.

Even the best filmmakers have had box-office flops, and DePodesta is weathering his. And so am I.

Comments (88)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-10-24 10:01:49
1.   Bob Timmermann
Of course now, you've made the Google ads on the site into one for "Anti-Bush Shirts and Gear".

And also one for "Republican Singles". I should go check it out to see if Harriet Miers has her picture posted.

I look at the Dodgers as if the glass is half full, but it would be easy for someone to knock it over and spill everything out.

2005-10-24 10:20:40
2.   fawnkyj
I know what you mean Jon.

A couple of months back i invited a friend over to my place and he brought a friend of his to my house.
He said he was studying to be a major league umpire. Long story-short, by the end of the night we were both having a dodgers discussion about were the team was headed. He was against all the stuff Depo and Mccourt were doing. I was trying to reason with him and have an intellectual conversation about it and he was just trying to out shout me.

He was trying to talk over me in MY HOME.

That was the last time ive seen that guy.

After 30 minutes of debating i just gave up and walked away because no matter what i wouldve said I wouldve been wrong in his eyes.

And this is why i hate the LA Times and sports radio, because they keep feeding these clowns misinformation or not the whole info and they past it off as truths.

2005-10-24 10:27:08
3.   dzzrtRatt
I guess my experience is different from your, Jon. Most of the people in my world:

a) Root for the Giants, Angels or some other team, and just aren't that interested in the Dodgers or actively hate them. When I tell them good things, they don't challenge me. They just plug their ears;

b) If they are Dodger fans, expended so much energy hating the Fox regime, Kevin Malone and the various other characters of that time that this era seems like glasnost. Their worries, if any, are about McCourt's financial standing.

I mean, let's face it. There's not much for McCourt and DePodesta to ruin. We're at the "15 Years of Lousy Football is Enough" stage. The team has wavered from mediocrity to crappiness for most of the past 17 seasons, with a few exceptions that seem, in retrospect, to have not meant much. We're not "contenders" like the Giants or Angels. We occasionally fall upward near the top, but no one's been fooled in a long time. This organization was cast adrift in the wake of Campanis' departure.

DePodesta, Logan White, the legacy of Dan Evans and the Jacksonville Suns give me hope that the Dodger storyline is about to change. So that makes me a member of your party, Jon. But I don't think voter turnout is very high either way.

2005-10-24 10:31:49
4.   SMY
I'm writing a paper about Barthes' definition of myth. Maybe I should use the Dodgers as an example.
2005-10-24 10:35:28
5.   Jon Weisman
3 - Interesting perspective. My experience is that most people's memories now omit everything between 1989 and 2003.
2005-10-24 10:35:36
6.   fanerman
In a nutshell, what is Barthes' definition of myth?
2005-10-24 10:43:16
7.   Bob Timmermann
The ads for "Republican Singles" are gone now.

My sister-in-law doesn't like DePodesta and she adored Paul Lo Duca, but I'm not much in the mood to argue with her because she's family and a nice person and a longtime Dodgers fan.

But if you read the BTF thread on the Tim Brown column, there is a deep division between those who think DePodesta is horrible and those who think that you can't judge. (I'm in the latter category).

And while Frank McCourt doesn't seem like the easiest boss to work for, I really don't see him as a man bent on the destruction of the franchise as some speculated yesterday. McCourt may do it out of incompetence rather than direct action.

And remember that other franchises with horrible owners have been winners (such as the Marlins, TWICE!)

2005-10-24 10:46:44
8.   SMY
Basically it's that myth is a constructed reality used to maintain the interests of the dominant powers in society, which is presented as "natural" and glosses over all the complex history that goes into it.

So in the case of the Dodgers, there's the apparently dominant idea that DePo and Moneyball are destroying the proud history of the franchise, which the media keeps going on and on about with the "right way to play" and "Dodger tradition", etc., despite any stats, arguments, or anecdotes about Branch Rickey using sabermetrics to the contrary.

2005-10-24 10:47:54
9.   Brian Y
I agree DePo needs the benefit of the doubt. I am still wondering why Dan Evans isn't a viable GM Candidate these days when you look at the pieces he put in place and the players he aquired during his term with us. Look at Logan White and Kim Ng for enough proof of the impact he had with us.

I still may be the only one who loved the Milton Bradley deal and I still feel Bradley can contribute on the field as well as the community. Jeff Kent has 1 year left and I would be willing to give Bradley the same time frame and hopefully they can work things out on a personal standpoint.

I think we all felt this team was not as strong character wise as 2004's but now DePo has learned his lesson that the make-up of a team is another big part of the process along with OPS and OBP. I think he will make great strides this offseason if given the resources to pursue who he needs to.

2005-10-24 10:50:44
10.   Dave
3 b) I really like the way you said what you said. I've just recently started reading and trying to understand the SABRE approach, but I have to be honest that I enjoy Mr. Enders' books on the World Series and Ballparks much more than Bill James' abstracts. Not that Mr. James' writings are not full of information, they're just more work for me than fun.

Anyway, the thing that really puzzles me is why people are so impatient with DePodesta. The last 17 years have been pretty awful. I DO NOT want another manager or GM that evaluates talent and assembles a team like the ones we've had the last 17 years have done. I hope DePodesta gets a fair amount of time to put a program together and 3 years won't do it.

I also don't want another owner that is willing to let the team slide because he's afraid it MAY cut into his family fortune. I kinda like the maverick that is risking his neck and trying to make a place for himself. I hope he sticks with what he's started. Vindication will be won by staying the course, not by flopping from one philosophy to another because the dolts in MSM have a megaphone in their hands they haven't earned.

DePodesta's plan may not work, but I want different results than the Dodgers have been getting, so it is obviously going to take a different plan than the one they've been using.

2005-10-24 10:55:13
11.   dzzrtRatt
9 brings up a good point. Part of the Dodger storyline is going "The Education of Paul DePodesta." He's gifted, I believe, but he's also a work in progress. I don't get the feeling he's an arrogant know-it-all. Instead, I think he's a guy who consciously wants to learn more and evolve into something greater than he is right now. I don't think, in the end, he's going to be a clone of Billy Beane, and I think he will depart from or transcend (depending on your p.o.v.) mere sabremetrics in his pursuit of a winning team. Perhaps along the way, he will discover...heart and soul!
2005-10-24 10:58:03
12.   Marty
Most of my friends assume the Dodgers are being run by a bunch of drunken sailors with no clue as to what day it is, much less how to put a team together. I find I'm in the situation most of the time where I just don't talk about them.
2005-10-24 10:58:07
13.   bigcpa
At a party recently I sat down next to a guy who played Little League with Paul LoDuca. I said I liked LoDuca a lot and it's too bad he's been reduced to a political beach ball. He was obviously distraught when LoDuca got traded. Then he asks "have you read Moneyball? I don't believe you can build a team on statistics." Time for a little evangelizing! The guy was nice enough to allow me to breakdown the LoDuca trade and the Green/Navarro trade. I'm sure he had never heard a calm, detailed explanation for DePo's moves. I feel like we all have to do the work that the media should at least attempt.
2005-10-24 11:04:03
14.   jasonungar05
2004 was almost the worst thing that could have happened.

If we would have just come in 2nd or 3rd place as we always had then all this change, tough change, would be viewed at as a good thing.

2005-10-24 11:07:40
15.   Bob Timmermann
Just to clarify the language here, people attribute to GMs like Depodesta and Beane, a sabermetric approach.

This refers to the concept of sabermetrics which is merely the interpretation of baseball statistics in a different way from the traditional counting and rate statistics. There is no one sabermetric way. Bill James coined the term (or at least popularized it) because many of the statistics developed in the field came from people who were members of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research (the organization rarely spells out the name anymore for a variety of reason.)

However, not all members of SABR are particularly experts in statistical analysis. I would say about nearly half aren't. Many are baseball historians, as Eric Enders would likely describe himself. I would fall into that category too. However the statistical analysis people and the historical people are not disjoint sets.

Unfortunately, this site won't allow me to enter my really cool Venn diagram of the membership of SABR.

2005-10-24 11:09:09
16.   TheDictator
8- So how is Roland Barthes' "myth" any different from Marx's definition of Capitalist ideology? They seem to function the same.

I am a Levinas fan myself.

The Dictator

2005-10-24 11:10:17
17.   fanerman
15 - Feel free to link to a picture.
2005-10-24 11:11:10
18.   TheDictator
As I am out of market, I don't seem to see this debate or argument a whole lot. It would really seem premature to fire DePo. I know the media wants it. But when the Dodgers start winning like the A's they will love both DePo and McCourt for it, but they will not give them the credit, at least in print.
2005-10-24 11:16:41
19.   Bob Timmermann
OK, the emperor has no clothes. There is no Venn diagram. I've never been able to accurately draw how the people in the Negro Leagues Committee of SARB always seem to be arguing with each other.
2005-10-24 11:17:37
20.   SMY
16 -- There isn't much difference.
2005-10-24 11:27:24
21.   TheDictator
20- OK so I am reading your comment correctly then. If you write the paper, I would love to read it!

"The point isn't to play baseball, the point is to change it!" -Marx and Engels as baseball fans

"Join together you sabermetrics, the time is at hand!" -Marx and Engels again

"Throw off the oppressive baseball tradtionalists (besides they are all republicans!)" -Marx and Engels again

Just having some fun! Please don't blacklist me for my political statements.

The Dictator

2005-10-24 11:42:38
22.   bigcpa
Per Rotoworld-
The Pirates have reportedly been turned down by Tim Wallach and Robin Ventura as they look to hire a hitting coach.
2005-10-24 11:42:58
23.   Bob Timmermann
Dodger Thoughts is not subject to the terms of the McCarran Act.
2005-10-24 12:01:42
24.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
10 It's been a long time since I've read the Abstracts, but I remember them being laugh-out-loud funny as well as extremely enlightening. Maybe, given that they were largely about the performance of current teams and players, they lose some timeliness if you read them so many years after they were created?
2005-10-24 12:05:49
25.   Bob Timmermann
I doubt that the joke "Signing Ellis Valentine is God's way of telling you that you have too much money" makes sense in this day and age.
2005-10-24 12:09:10
26.   Blue Thrue and Thrue
Thanks Bob, that's a great example.
2005-10-24 12:23:16
27.   Curtis Lowe
I dont understand why Olney and everyone else for that matter thats been covering the Dodger managerial hunt feel inclined to say that Collins is the favorite, has Depo said or done anything to make this a relevant statement? Or is it just heresay? If Collins gets the job what happens to Orel? If Collins doesnt get the job does he takes his dissapointment out by sabatoging the minors? Sorry for all the questions but its monday.
2005-10-24 12:29:26
28.   Bob Timmermann
Somebody should tell that the idea of having an ad take over your screen every time you click on a link in the Buster Olney blog is quite annoying. It's not a popup. It's a complete takeover and then you go to the link.
2005-10-24 12:30:06
29.   SMY
27 -- Probably because he's a Proven Manager and already part of the organization. I think it mostly comes from the ever-popular "unnamed sources". I don't think he'd sabotage the minors if he didn't get the job -- if he was that upset, I assume he would just look to join another organization.
2005-10-24 12:31:27
30.   Bob Timmermann

Not everybody who gets turned down for a promotion takes it out on the company by destroying all the good work that he had done before. It's not a good way to get another job.

If Collins gets so upset over not getting the manager's job, his best recourse would be to look elsewhere for a job.

2005-10-24 12:36:23
31.   Curtis Lowe
29- I'm not sure I'm getting the whole proven manager arguement, he was Fired twice, thats 2 strikes do we really want the third to happen while he's in a Dodger uniform? He seems to be doing good things in our Minor leagues, why change that?
2005-10-24 12:36:39
32.   LAT
Bob, thanks I never knew where SABR eminated from.

I have stopped arguing with prople. I can't win for two reasons. One, I am not as sold on the Sabr approach as I am on the idea that we need to try something new and if we are going to try something new we should give it our all. The second reason is those who object to Depo's approach have the ultimite trump card; results, losing 91 games, we had the 6th worst record in MLB.
Just wait a year or two and we will see if we are right or wrong. All you can do is agree to disagree.

Finally, I don't get the push for Orel. Big deal he's a former Dodger great. So what? It might make us feel all warm and cozy but is he qualified? That's all I care about.

2005-10-24 12:38:11
33.   Bob Timmermann
The "SABR approach" to the Dodgers would be to get a lot of old guys in a room and have them whine about Walter O'Malley.

The sabermetric approach would be a lot different.

2005-10-24 12:43:58
34.   scareduck
Sure, DePodesta needs a break here. There's no denying that the injuries had a huge say in the Dodgers' 2005. But that said, at the same time it's also true that DePodesta, for whatever his merits as a GM may have been or may be, has never been a GM before. Hiring him, therefore, was an act of faith and not, despite numerous loud "Moneyball" fans, a sabermetric act in and of itself. We have no track record to rely upon when assessing DePodesta's fitness or unfitness as a general manager. He may be great. He may be awful.

It would entirely be possible to blame the GM if the team's injuries were foreseeable. J.D. Drew's hit-by-pitch was an injury that couldn't have been foreseen, certainly. Milton Bradley's fragility was, but then you have to ask yourself the question, would the team have been better off keeping Franklin Gutierrez (the main part of the trade)? Would they have been better with Andrew Brown, who posted a 10.46 K/9 with Buffalo this year?

Bradley was a key part of the 2004 squad, but the old demons of injury and temprament came back to bite him -- and the Dodgers. I don't honestly know how to grade DePodesta just yet -- and I keep waffling on several topics, the amount of blame to assign to him over injuries being one of them -- but, as with Dan Evans when he was in the GM's chair, I see the same pernicious tendency in the media to hurl javelins even though the supporting arguments are rather flimsy.

2005-10-24 12:45:26
35.   Curtis Lowe
32-Why wouldnt he be qualified? He's been involved with baseball probably 90% of his life, he was a great pitcher and he's a Dodger hero.
2005-10-24 12:51:24
36.   SMY
31 -- I don't really disagree with you, but when your pool of candidates consist of a bunch of relative unknowns, the Proven Manager is going to stand out to the Olneys of the world. Particularly considering the perception that the Dodgers need to go with a sure thing (although I wouldn't consider Collins or Trammell sure things).
2005-10-24 12:54:30
37.   Curtis Lowe
How does being fired twice make you a proven manager? To me that shows the complete opposite. Maybe it shows he's proven problem with upper mgmt.
2005-10-24 12:55:39
38.   DougS
32, 35 Remember, Bill Russell became manager with some warm and fuzzy feeling, too, because he had been a popular player associated with past glory. He, too, had been a major league-level coach and had some credibility in that regard. And it did not end well for him. So as much as I would like to see Orel return to the organization for sentimental reasons, I also think some caution is in order.
2005-10-24 12:56:51
39.   DougS
37 Yes, exactly so. But SMY's point is that to the press, the name with the track record gives them more of a paper trail to work with when writing about the guy.
2005-10-24 13:00:56
40.   Bob Timmermann
I don't think Bill Russell was nearly as popular as Orel Hershiser. A lot of people wanted to get rid of Russell and find a better shortstop. One that could do things like hit AND field. Russell got to stick around longer than Lopes, Cey and Garvey because he really didn't have any value to any other franchise. And Russell was willing to become a parttimer and a utility man.
2005-10-24 13:02:03
41.   Marty
25 I still think it's a bad idea to sign Ellis Valentine.
2005-10-24 13:05:08
42.   Marty
But they won't hire Orel because Frank wants to destroy the team, because that makes him more money. Or so the argument went yesterday.
2005-10-24 13:05:58
43.   Bob Timmermann
I hope we're not going down that road again today.

I kept wanting to shout "ANTITRUST EXEMPTION!"

2005-10-24 13:09:57
44.   SMY
Yeah, what 39 said.
2005-10-24 13:10:37
45.   DougS
40 True, he wasn't as popular as Orel, but I don't recall him being quite that unpopular. Certainly, he benefitted from association with a very successful era in the team's history. And he got a pretty decent honeymoon as manager.

I guess there's a little something in the back of my brain that worries me about a hero coming back to a place of past glory in a high-pressure position. His return is billed as the solution to all ills, if not the Second Coming, with the expectations all out of joint. Maybe Alan Trammell is a better example?

2005-10-24 13:11:56
46.   LAT
35. Being a Dodger hero and a great pitcher doesn't make him qualified. What may make him qualified is being in baseball 90% of his life but that is true of the other canidates as well. I am not saying he is not qualified. I am just saying his Dodger experience shouldn't garner him extra points. I find myself pulling for Lovullo or Royster. A minor league coach or a bench coach should have a broader range of in-game management experience, than a pitching coach. Of the two I pull a little more for Lovello becasue he comes from Clev. which isnt all that diffrent than what the Dodgers are trying to build. I can't get behind Collins because he has been unable to get along with players on two teams. And I can't go with Wotus, because anyone working under Alou I just can't support.
In the end I think the manager issue is not that important (which isn't to say we shouldn't go with the best canidate) becasue I assume Depo learned his lesson and will be calling the shots.
2005-10-24 13:13:22
47.   Marty
45 Good point, Trammell was the Prodigal Son returning to Detroit. That didn't work out so well. We (the universal we) could be setting up Orel for a fall too.
2005-10-24 13:18:40
48.   Curtis Lowe
45,47- When Trammell first came in they won 29 more games, if Orel can get that out of the Dodgers then that'd be amazing.
46- How are being a teams Hero and great pitcher not qualifications?
2005-10-24 13:21:09
49.   Dave
24 & 25. Yes, I remember the name, Ellis Valentine, but not much about the player. So, I suppose that is some of it.

However, though I guess I don't express it well, my real point is:

Take the time to work out a different approach that works and ignore people who think 20 years of bad management can be fixed overnight.

Let's be honest. Even the '88 victory was more good fortune than astute planning.

I can't tell you that Paul DePodesta is the "right man for this job (thus my reference to not being up-to-speed on the statistical approach to baseball or whatever it should be called), but I am almost certain that the right person to develop an improved approach is NOT SOME RETREAD TRADITIONALIST.

Personally, I thought Dan Evans might be the right guy. I liked what he was doing. But, watching DePodesta is fun too. His GM years have been just as successful as Malone's, Lasorda's (brief, thank goodness), and even Clare's for my money and he is only just getting started.

I love seeing guys we drafted come up out of the minors and succeed at the major league level. Much more satisfying to me than signing big-time free agents, even on the rare occasion that they turn out to be worth the contract.

And, never forget, I don't claim to be a subject matter expert. I just have my opinions and preferences.

2005-10-24 13:24:38
50.   Bob Timmermann
Actually in Trammell's first year in Detroit, he inherited a 55-win team and it became a 43-win team. Then he improved by 29 games.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-10-24 13:26:00
51.   Curtis Lowe
50-Thanks for the clarification, I dont really have time to luck up exact numbers here at work.
2005-10-24 13:26:49
52.   Marty
51 get your priorities straight :)
2005-10-24 13:28:51
53.   brandesh
I just hope DePodesta's choice as manager is the best leader of the bunch. Presumably, whoever is considered will share the same tactical approach as DePodesta. The team just needs the best leader to get everybody on the same page. The irony of this whole situation is where DePodesta seems to fail is getting his message across to those he is over. His ideas are genius. His message is sometimes unclear.
2005-10-24 13:30:47
54.   Curtis Lowe
52- Looking up numbers or Work? :)
2005-10-24 13:37:46
55.   D4P
I'm not doubting you, but I'm curious to know which of Depo's ideas you think are "genius."
2005-10-24 13:38:56
56.   SMY
53 -- I wonder how much of it is DePodesta's message being unclear, and how much of it is people willfully ignoring it or disagreeing with it. I don't think we know aside from the media speculation, and we know how reliable they are.
2005-10-24 13:40:19
57.   Eric L
37 Joe Torre was out of a job 3 times before he became the manager of the Yankees. Just to set it straight, I'm not sure that he is a great manager, but he has won. He has also been lucky enough to manage some really good teams during his Yankee run.

On to other matters, it is interesting that the MSM and alot of Dodger fans have selective memories from 89-03. When DePo was hired (I was already familiar with him from Moneyball), I told all my friends and family to stop pretending that the Dodgers have been a great team and to give this new guy a chance. The old approach wasn't working.

Really, when was the last time a Dodger team was put together using the "Dodger Way" or whatever Plaschke and his minions keep harping on?

2005-10-24 13:43:32
58.   SMY
I believe the term was "Dodger Math". One of my personal favorite Plaschkeisms.
2005-10-24 13:47:50
59.   Improbable88
57 - 2003
2005-10-24 13:49:22
60.   Bob Timmermann
Really, when was the last time a Dodger team was put together using the "Dodger Way" or whatever Plaschke and his minions keep harping on?

Perhaps they want to go back to the days when Branch Rickey ran the team. Rickey, a man who liked to use statistical analysis and keep a low payroll.

Once baseball's economic picture changed forever in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the advent of cable, the Dodgers, among large media market teams, have shown themselves singularly inept at being able to exploit their advantages. The 1970s Dodgers model won't work today. It can't. It's impossible.

The good Brooklyn teams had many traits that are found among good teams today: they hit lots of homers and drew lots of walks. And they had one or two guys who could steal bases and some solid pitching.

Once the Dodgers moved to L.A. and moved into Dodger Stadium, the team adapted to its new environment. Pitching was emphasized and the ability to generate one or two runs. That's what would work.

In the 1970s, while speed was still a big thing, the Dodgers realized that they could hit home runs in Dodger Stadium and players like Reggie Smith and Rick Monday were aquired.

But since 1981, with the exception of the 1988 aberration, the Dodgers front office had no clue about what to do, who to give free agent contracts to, whom to draft. It's all been very disheartening.

Some people want the Dodgers problem fixed by using a time machine. Personally, I would rather have someone who can just try to work with the assets available while keeping an eye on the future. I'll let Bill Plaschke go on sentimental journeys to a period that never existed.

2005-10-24 13:50:24
61.   deburns
I completely emphathize with your point of view, and share it. Also, I am firmly in the pro-Depo camp, and think that canning him after a season that proved nothing (other than the value of having a manager and a GM on the same page) is ridiculous. As far as Orel as manager is concerned, based on a five minute conversation with him over a decade ago at a Dodger media event, he seemed very bright and focused. How is that for small sample analysis?
2005-10-24 13:50:26
62.   Improbable88
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find another "DODGER WAY" team pre-2003. You might find yourself going all the way back to 1988 to find it successfully working..and as someone mentioned, even '88 was remarkable in a fate sorta way (not to mention often forgotten career years from Belcher and Leary)
2005-10-24 13:50:40
63.   brandesh
55 - Forgive the gratuitous use of the word genius but I do think it was smart to sign Kent and not Beltre considering the cost. I think the fact that the farm system has not been routed is a big plus. I actually like the Lowe signing. As far as I can tell, the 2005 team performed better in 2005 than they would have with the players from 2004.
2005-10-24 13:56:57
64.   Marty
aberration A perfect way to describe the 1988 season.
2005-10-24 14:08:00
65.   Marty
There is a great entry from "Joe Morgan" over at Yard Work. The first paragraph is priceless:

People call the World Series the "Fall Classic" and classics like the first two games of this "Fall Classic" make it clear why they call it the "Fall Classic." We have seen great fundamental baseball by the Chicago White Sox, maybe the best bunting team in the American League since the early '60s. But the White Sox don't need to bunt to score which is the difference between them and the Houston Astros who don't play fundamental baseball and who are now down two games as a result.

2005-10-24 14:10:31
66.   Curtis Lowe
65-Well that settles it, Joe Morgan is a genius.
2005-10-24 14:18:17
67.   Marty
66You probably already know this, but Yard Work is a joke site with no real posts. Just beautiful parodies.
2005-10-24 14:21:49
68.   Curtis Lowe
67- I didnt know that, Ill have to check it out.
2005-10-24 14:29:10
69.   King of the Hobos
It seems as if Loney is no longer on the taxi squad (maybe Hoorelbeke is?). He's batting 3rd on a Monday, which isn't a taxi day. He's hit a homer, so...

Loney- 3 HRs, 20 ABs
Laroche, Kemp, Abreu- 0 HRs, 145 ABs

2005-10-24 14:55:57
70.   Steelyeri
Great post today jon. It hits so close to home I just had to comment on it, even in the midst of this darn midterm paper I have to get through.

I know exactly what you mean. None of my friends who are fellow Dodger fans agree with Depodesta's philosophy (except you guys, of course).That just kills me. You say you can't talk with your friends about this, well, once we get just a tiny bit of alcohol in us it has led to some very heated debates.

I have gotten some to agree on certain things and I even got one of my friends to read moneyball. But for the most part I have reffered everyone to this site, I figure maybe some intelligent conversation will get rid of some of their ignorance on the subject. :)

2005-10-24 15:47:16
71.   Howard Fox
Jon, I too agree with your post.

I find I spend a lot of time telling other Dodger fans in these conversations to "be patient".

2005-10-24 17:00:05
72.   molokai
I was exhausted defending Depo last winter, now I just don't care. At this point I have seen nothing that makes him stand out from the crappy GM world. I was very excited after Depo was hired and expected him to ruffle some feathers to get the franchise out of it's moribund mediocrity.

This is what I expected of him:
1.Trade Gagne for a young power hitting outfielder/infielder while he was at peak value.
2. Replace Gagne with someone like a Jenk/Turnbow or someone like that. Every year they are available just the names change. I had hoped that Depo was going to be smarter then the other GM's and those pitchers would end up Dodgers. Don't tell me these are flukes. EVERY year some pitcher who is not on anyone's radar becomes a savior of a bullpen. Todd Jones / Dempsey / Turnbow / Jenks / Politte / M Batista , I could go on and on. None of them are Gagne, but I'll take an average closer and a kick butt hitter any day over a 10 million-dollar closer and I'd hoped that Depo felt the same. I know it would have been hard to trade Gagne considering he's the face of the franchise but come on. He traded LaDuca. He let Beltre go. He traded Green. He should have gone the whole way. It is not like the media and fans could hate him anymore then they currently do. Only winning is going to change that.
3. Trade Izzy after 2005 during his peak value.
4. Make trades where he wins a little each time.
5. Make smart free agent signings.

Instead he signs Gagne to a 2 year deal and Izzy to a 3 year deal. Now they are worthless as trade material. He should have known better. He could not have predicted the injury to Izzy but with Gagne, history shows that most closers have very small life spans. Maybe Gagne could have pulled a Mariano but the odds are higher that he would pull a Robb Nenn. I expected Depo's numbers to tell him such things and I'm sure they did but he ignored them.
I've liked all his trades I just wish he had done more of them. He has proven by acquiring Werth/M Bradley/Penny/Navarro/A Perez that he can make a deal that usually comes out on our side.

His free agent pickups have not inspired me. He spent a lot of money on Kent/Drew/Lowe/OP but the results are mixed. I've been on record as saying the OP signing was ill-advised and I'm not surprised how it has turned out. I know that JD Drew is a favorite here and his wrist injury was a fluke but all the other surgery they had to do on him this fall were not flukes. This man has to many physical problems to have that much money spent on him. I'm not saying that JD Drew isn't a solid ballplayer, I'm saying he's the type of player that no one other then the Yankee's should be giving a 5 year deal to. I would have said the same thing about Kirk Gibson in 1987. At the time I thought the Kent signing was great and statistically it turned out great. I don't know if he did more damage to the team with his clubhouse behavior or not. I do know he earned his money. I hope he earns his money next year somewhere else.
On the surface the D Lowe contract looks crazy. Everyone who likes Depo tried to defend it and we all hoped he knew more then everyone else did. Turns out he didn't. When the deal doesn't pay out in the 1st year that is not a good sign for a long-term deal.
Depodesta's actions this summer did nothing to convince me that he is the answer. Depo did what was needed to be done in 2004 and this team was every bit as close in July of 2005 and he did nothing. He let a manager ruin this team in August and basically pull a mutiny and did nothing. If were not going to be buyers then at least let us be sellers. We did neither.
Games lost in April mean just as much at the end of the year. Eric Karros never understood that but I hoped that Depo did. If Scott Erickson was on a Major League roster in 2005 it should have been on the KC Royals and not the Los Angeles Dodgers. That more then anything leaves me leery of the future.
I'm not off his bandwagon but I'm no longer tooting the horn.

2005-10-24 18:07:54
73.   overkill94
Oh how hard it has been defending DePo to my fellow Dodger fans who - while very loyal - have no idea who is coming up through the system or what the master plan is. I keep saying "be patient", but we all know how easy that is these days.

72 While I agree in theory with most of your statement, I have to disagree with your actual arguments.

- Gagne should not be traded, period. Every team has its face and Gagne is ours. Through thick or thin, we have to stick with him until he is virtually worthless. Luckily we only signed him for 2 years so if he's injured again next year we can at least get a discount for the future. There are some players that simply cannot be traded without the repercusion of lost revenue or total mutiny: Jeter, Big Papi, and Biggio/Bagwell are a few examples. Bagwell has been on the decline for a few years now, but trading him would be a PR nightmare and it would be tough to replace with someone who would come close to making it worth it.

- Lowe I still see as a good signing. If he had a better team around him he would have won 15 games and everyone would be saying how great of a signing it was. His durability was also key last year with everyone around him dropping like flies.

- OP and Drew seemed to be more like necessary risks than DePo's first choice as FAs. There were few good outfielders or pitchers available so he had to throw a little extra money to guys who are better than some journeyman or unproven rookie.

- Trading Izzy would have been tough last off-season with bigger names like Renteria, Cabrera, Eckstein, and Nomar on the block. Trading when someone's at the height of their value is only beneficiary when there is a viable back-up ready to step in and there is a market to match the peak. If he had produced this year like he did in 2004 then there would be a better market for him and I wouldn't be against trading him since Furcal is the only big name SS out there.

Alright, I'm tired of typing and I'm hungry, plus I'm holding judgement until the end of the offseason hoping that since the FA market is thin that DePo can swing some creative deals.

2005-10-24 18:52:36
74.   molokai
A team that has an overpaid closer as the face of the team is not in good shape. The Dodgers did diddly during Gagne's reign of terror. I don't agree that certain players are not tradeble. The goal is to win, letting PR get in the way is BS. Nothing sells tickets like winning and it doesn't matter who you are. If the DOdgers are losing do you think anyone is going to the games to watch Gagne sit on his butt? They sell 3 million every year, but every year that they are not in a pennant race costs them money that this family can ill afford to lose. For every game that had an announced attendance of 40,000 only about 20,000 were actually at the game costing them parking and concession revenue. I couldn't give away my season tickets in September. As soon as Theo feels that he can make his team better you can bet Pappi will be changing zip codes.

D Lowe is an average pitcher at best getting to much of the % of the team budget. If were going to spend 120 million then I don't have a problem with the Lowe contract. If were only going to have an 80 million budget I have a huge problem with the contract.

Just my way of saying that I no longer think my GM is bulletproof and if 2006 blows because our expensive pitching staff doesn't pitch like it's paid and JD Drew again misses significant time and he does nothing to repair the errors then I would have no problem with McCourt going a different direction. If McCourt is going to spend 80-90 million he deserves a team to be competitive in September and he has every right to be upset if they are not. JMO

2005-10-24 19:37:34
75.   bill cox
Nothing personal anyone,but firing Depodesta
would be asinine at this point.Since the Fox/Malone debacle,the team has been trying to find a way out of the wilderness.Do you really want to blow it up and start over again from scratch.Let's see what we can build on this winter(can some of the AAAA players),keep the keepers.The minors are starting to produce,give the guy a chance.
Very few teams can consistently be on top.It makes the Braves success pretty remarkable.The Yankees were kings for years before free agency,but even they are struggling now to stay at the top.
The Dodgers were exceptional from 1947-1966 or so,competitive in the late 70's and had two magical years in the 80's.Other than that its all myth as the man said.And that's why we're fans.
2005-10-24 19:47:07
76.   Izzy
Well, I myself don't care how they make a good team. When they had the great start in 2005 I was as happy to eat my words publicly and voraciously as anyone. But, honestly, some here seem to be SABR fans more than Dodger fans, which is fine I suppose. It seems a bit strange to me, but it's not my issue. What really bothers me with some statisticians though, is that they think they know. They are as self-confident about the OPS and OBP today, as people were about the batting average 40 years ago. It is that same self-confidence that I believe has led to some of Depodestas blunders. When he makes a statement like "The trade deadline was coming and I had to do something" as the reason for the LoDuca trade, then something is not right. You don't make any trade because you "have to do something." Further, Depo does not equal SABR. SABR doesn't rise or fall with him. I just want my money's worth with my Dodgers. We deserve an honest 100 million dollar payroll, well 120 million, without any any funny stuff. As Jamie and Frank have said so many times, the Dodgers are a business. And as I say, give me a good product, or I will shop somewhere else.
2005-10-24 19:57:39
77.   bill cox
Izzy,it ain't as easy as that for me.It may be a myth ,but its my myth.There is no other place to shop.
2005-10-24 20:15:58
78.   MikeB
Depodesta may not be a genius, but he is smart, and I believe that he has a strong desire to succeed.
I believe 2005 was an aberration for LA. All it could take for 2006 to be a better year is a sensible FA pickup here, a smart trade there, and a little bit of luck on the injury side - and we've got a pretty good shot at the NL West crown. And, if half the hype is true, then we should start to see some good young players being added to the big league roster over the next few years. I'm of the opinion that the rest of the division is in a lot weaker position than the Dodgers. I doubt SF, AZ, SD and COL are going to be measurably better than us in 2006 and beyond. I can look forward to any one of the six candidates being named manager, because I believe they will have the best team in their division to manage. That makes up for a lot of managerial shortcomings - be it experience, personality or the lack of a heroic Dodger pedigree.
2005-10-24 20:22:54
79.   bokonon42
76- I don't remember DePo giving, as justification for the LoDuca, et al. trade anything like the reason you attribute to him. Do you have a link? Google shows no hits for that quote, so I assume it's actually a paraphrase?
2005-10-24 20:26:19
80.   bokonon42
Colorado might be much better next year. They came on strong at the end of the year, and they have a deep farm system.
2005-10-24 20:39:29
81.   MikeB
80. Here are 4 reasons why I believe the Rockies will have a tough time being more successful than the Dodgers.
1. They must play at Coors field 50% of the time.
2. If they tailor their team to Coors field, what happens when they play the other 50% of their games away from Coors field?
3. Rockies management has yet to show they know how to build a team for that environment for long term success. Note: Their current GM has been in place since 1999.
4. They don't have the market and the huge economic base to match the Dodgers for FA's, overseas scouting, signing bonuses, payroll size, etc.
2005-10-24 21:03:26
82.   Louis in SF
Lots of good thoughts, instead of alot of bunk which has come across in DT over the past few days. Saying that, 60's comments hit the nail on the head and in my mind what few people will fess up to was the transition from the O'Malley regime to Fox was awful. MLB helped make it worse, but it was not handled well and in my mind paved the way for-a curse no one wants to talk about the trade of Piazza.

But you can't go back to the past and must start with a plan which reflects the new world. I too am optimistic, but where I think things have fallen is the way the plan for the Dodgers has been spelled out. In many ways when Tracy left, which most people believe was the best thing for all parties, McCourt has owner should have come out and backed his GM, thanked Tracy and made a real rah rah speech. He seemed to do little on any of these fronts, obviously anything DePodesta said was seen as self serving.

As far as the manager search goes, ironically an argument could be made to put the team together and then find the manager that would be the best fit to mold that team. Clearly this won't happen. We need a Manager who is a people person and can work effectively with DePodesta.

For putting together the team their has to be a clear vision, saying it is a moneyball approach or a sabermatic approach to me is almost as worthless as the term "liberal" It is one thing to use the moneyball approach to analyze players, but depending on budget or what you have coming up through the pipeline, your ballpark and even your division-those maybe more valuable variables-then just findinding players who have a certain vorp. What makes baseball great is that it is both an art and a science. I hope over the next few years the art and science cross on the upward flight!

2005-10-24 22:06:53
83.   popup
Good post Jon. Quite frankly the vocal proponents of the two camps seem more like religious zealots than baseball fans. I remember reading someone post that they were against the White Sox becuase the White Sox were not a SABR team. Give me a break. By and large the SABR crowd seems as dogmatic about their creed as the people they criticize as being "old school."

There is not a single way to succeed in baseball. I like pitching and defense, but there are teams who win with not much of either. There are teams loaded with power, such as the Texas Rangers, who don't win. Anyone who thinks that the game can be understood through a single lens, be it scouting, heart and soul intangibles, or statistical analysis, is bound to end up being dogmantic about a game that really does not reward people who are dogmatic.

One of these years a saber team will win the World Series. When a moneyball team does win, I am sure the true believers will be thumping their chest, just as some of the anti-moneyball people will be thumping their chest after this World Series, proclaiming their way the only way. Give me a break. Baseball deserves better fans than a bunch of camp followers.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-10-24 22:26:34
84.   molokai
Great post Stan.
2005-10-25 00:20:53
85.   Louis in SF
Wonderful post Stan..
2005-10-25 01:19:09
86.   coachjpark
Anyone buying a seat? $200 a good deal?
2005-10-25 08:24:52
87.   Jesse

great post. not to beat a dead horse, but...

"one of these years a saber team will win the World Series"


2005-10-25 18:29:39
88.   popup
Jesse, certainly with Bill James in the front office, the Red Sox are statistically oriented. Nothing wrong with that. I do remember when Theo traded Nomar in 04 lots of the Saber types yelled loud and long just like DePo's critics did for trading the Dodger heart and soul to Florida. It turns out both camps were wrong at least as far as 04 was concerned. The Dodgers won the NL West and went about as far in the playoffs as could be expected even if they had LoDuca and the Red Sox won the World Series.

Stan from Tacoma

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