Fire Jim Tracy

Friday, January 07, 2005

Just Once...

A train wreck in newsprint. Plaschke's repeated efforts at dime-store demagoguery read like a cut-and-paste junior high newspaper story. To wit, Mark Grudzielanek was just signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. That's Mark Grudzielanek. The one who is turning 35 and only played 80 games last year. Alex Cora's next stop is probably Tampa Bay. You know, Bill, there is an active free-agent market out there, and the light-hitting Cora isn't exactly getting his door beaten down by the other 29 now, is he? But that goes into the same file as Mota's 6 ERA and LoDuca's .200 in September.

On May 27th, Shawn Green was hitting .215. Perspective, please.

Why do L.A. sportswriters seem to think they are doing the $84 million man huge favors by whining about DePodesta? Yes, none of this is Shawn Green's doing. But at his salary, all he can really do is shut up and play ball. I don't think we need Bill Plaschke stepping in for some sort of Whiner Intervention.

Something tells me the guy who did "Game Over" will get a job. I don't know. Just a guess. But thanks for bringing his plight to our attention.

To my monthly Plaschke fisking:

"It was back, and maybe it was a bit lucky, maybe it wouldn't last, but, it was back."

Herein, Bill Plaschke endorses the "They're losers, but they're OUR losers" position, otherwise known as the FOX Corollary, or the Eric Karros Project.

Just in time to be blown to all Beltre by a naïve owner and an over-his-skis general manager who don't understand the market and don't have the humble patience to learn.

Being condescended to by Bill Plaschke must be the worst feeling in the world. Like getting singing lessons from Ashley Simpson. In any case, it seems that McCourt is not that naive and DePodesta understands the market perfectly -- after all, they didn't return Boras's phone call. This is an example of Trev Alberts analysis, using a cliche combined with evidence that directly refutes the cliche.

Those who say that the loss of Adrian Beltre is offset by the acquisition of J.D. Drew aren't doing the Dodger math.

What exactly is the "Dodger math?" Is that like new math? Tom Lehrer! You can't take three from two, two is less than three so you look at the four in the eighths place. Now that's really four eights, so you make it three eights, regroup, then you change the eight to eight ones, and you add them to the two and you get one-two base eight, which is ten base ten, and you take away three...that's seven! And so on.

In short, the idea that there is some sort of "Dodger math" is facile.

And, really, who needs an aging center fielder and light-hitting second baseman who helped give the Dodgers a strong up-the-middle presence?

Ummm...none of us, thanks. We're actually replacing the aging centerfielder with a 29-year-old. But you covered that already. See Alex Cora above, with the added caveat that if your argument revolves around Alex Cora, it's not a very good one by definition.

DePodesta knows better, instead giving the money to a questionable fielder who hits home runs.

Tom Meagher, have at him!

Don't say that Steve Finley and Alex Cora add up to Jeff Kent. Not in Dodger Stadium, they don't.

More "Dodger math." Is there a Dodger exchange rate where one Dodger salary dollar is equal to 75 American cents? What do Steve Finley and Alex Cora add up to? What about Jeff Kent and Jayson Werth's future development? Werth made a great catch last year after all! Remember that! WOW! Clearly worth a three-year extension right there.

Green had a .900 OPS and 18 homers in the second half of last season. Choi batted .194 with one home run in the second half … and it's too early to tell?

See, if Choi had an .850 OPS and 14 homers in the first half of last season, and Shawn Green was hitting .215 with a .700 OPS on May 27th, then for the first half of the season you might assume that it was smarter to play Choi in the first half! Plaschke's logic turned against him! Sort of like idiot Ju-jit-su.

Of course, Green also had one of the biggest homers of the season against Colorado, but DePodesta didn't look at that any more than he looked at Finley's title-clinching homer or Jose Lima's playoff victory or the runs Cora saved with his glove.

Since we're talking about key plays, "those runs Cora saved with his glove" must be the ones in Game 2 where he stopped that smash hit right at him and deftly turned the double play. That didn't happen? Well, he did homer off of Matt Clement in May. (And good luck, Red Sox, with all of that.)

Did he ever watch Beltre hit a homer on one foot? Did he ever study how Paul Lo Duca called a game? Did he ever sit behind home plate when Guillermo Mota pitched?

One of the all time comedy moments would be Bill Plaschke trying to explain how Paul Lo Duca calls a game. This would be completely priceless.

I don't know about DePodesta, but I sat in behind home plate on June 26 and watched Mota throw nothing but off-speed pitches in the dirt, then throw a fat meatball to Garrett Anderson. I believe both I and DePodesta missed the four games he lost in September down the stretch for the "playoff-contending" Marlins (not to mention the two additional blown saves in games the Marlins went on to lose -- but that trade went really well for Florida, because they did get Encarnacion).

It's apparent that the only place DePodesta and McCourt have been looking is the mirror.They are remodeling a team in their image, not a Dodger image, and maybe it will work, and maybe Dodger fans are even willing to bet the huge ticket increases on it.

The Dodger Image? What in the world is a Dodger image? This is a topic for Jon Weisman. 1) What is the "Dodger Image?" and 2) How is what DePodesta is doing a violation of the "Dodger image?" I suspect the answer to 1) is that the Dodger image is overpaying their aging and over-rated players with huge, unwarranted contract extensions and that 2) then becomes self-explanatory. But the point here is that when Plaschke talks about a "Dodger image" and "Dodger math" he's describing phantoms and straw men.

For the first time in recent Dodger history, there will be no winter workouts.

You mean, like, FOX Dodger history? Nobody lied to the fans then.

The last thing I will say about this, in summary, is that DePodesta's moves have been analyzed smartly and logically, with support, at Dodger Thoughts, 6-4-2 and at the always entertaining Dodger Blues, with arguments falling on all sides. Then take Tom Meagher at the Fourth Outfielder, who has posted a year's worth of supporting evidence for DePodesta's moves just over the last three weeks. So what you have developing in the Dodger Blogosphere is a microcosm of what blogs are doing to mainstream media in every facet of human existence. You can get the news better, faster, and without strings attached. You get every side of an issue, if not from the blogger, then the readers who are watching his every move. One post, and Tom was already breathing down my neck. So if you like PECOTA, Rob is your guy. If you like UZR, you'll agree with Tom. If you don't, you can shout at Tom -- and Rob and Tom can even shout at each other. The Times is the only game in town -- if their two lead columnists happen to be hacks (Do they happen to be hacks? Oh, yeah, they do.), you have nowhere to go. Well, there's Hacksaw (there's irony for you). But seriously, you have nowhere to go. Can you believe Jim Murray wrote for the Times? Unbelievable. Rather than carrying on about nonsense like "Dodger Math," maybe Plaschke could write a column about his own plan to beat the hell out of Jim Murray's legacy for time and all eternity.

And those other two guys? We'll never know until Plaschke and Simers are gone, because while they are there, every single thing Henson and Brown turn out looks like Tolstoy.

So appreciate the Dodger blogosphere. Nurture it. Start your own. I did. It's terribly difficult. Don't worry who's reading it. Nobody is. Nobody's going to read this. But think about it this way. Is it better to spread lies to millions, or truth to no one? Then tell yourself you are a better person than Bill Plaschke and start writing. If what you write is wrong, we'll tell you about it later. Won't we ever.

UPDATE: LOOK! Real news. Credited to something called a "source." To the effect that Green turned down a deal two million (over three years) less than what he was asking for. I suppose you could attribute this sort of behavior to someone who is destined to end up in Arizona (this is Plaschke's view, and therefore, unlikely), but the weight of the evidence seems to be that Green wants to prove us all wrong. Well, as long as he's willing to bat sixth and not whine, I'll live.

UPDATE 2: Plaschke...endorsed...Jim...Tracy.... Will this ever hit home like it should with Dodger fans who ought to know better?

UPDATE 3: Bob Timmermann at Dodger Thoughts:

I found Plaschke's column to be typical of him when he tries to become a Serious Sports Analyst(TM).

He tries to mix together heart-tugging human interest stories (sniff, the graphic designer got laid off) with half-baked statistical analysis. And then he tosses in some stuff about player loyalty, which is so sadly out of date in this century.

That concept was out of date back in the 20th century.

It was out of date in the 19th century.

Not really half-baked; more like non-existent. Other than that, just so.

UPDATE 4: "gvette" on Dodger Thoughts:

It's absolutely terrible when a good employee loses his/her job due to economic issues beyond their job performance.

But how cynical is it for Plaschke to use that poor guy's unemployment as an excuse for another tiresome exercise in Dodger bashing, particularly when his own employer (LA Times) has, itself, eliminated so many positions that it is now forced to open its employee parking lots for public use to raise revenue? (LA Observed Jan 5, 2004) Did the Times give all those former employees a big thank you as they were escorted out of the Times Building?

Much like sportstalk radio hosts, a columnist like Plaschke can thrive only when his readers have collective amnesia about his past, ridiculous positions.

Otherwise, why should anyone take seriously the opinion of someone who previously 1)perpetuated a phony story about Piazza stiffing young autograph seekers;2)saluted the Piazza trade;3)publicly pushed for the Sheffield trade;and 4)last season denigrated the Dodger team that he now mourns as "magical".

It would be interesting to go back and see how many times Plaschke used the phrases "NFL retread", and "fallback choice" in his writings four years ago discussing (criticizing)the hiring of current reigning LA genius Pete Carroll.

(Just going through some of the old stuff, and realized that printing whole columns without fisking them is probably not kosher. It was 2 in the morning that night and Plaschke was annoying me more than usual. If you do some research, you can see for yourself that Plaschke was an idiot concerning Pete Carroll -- Steve, 4/13/05).

UPDATE 5: Why would the Yankees be concerned that Boras might shop their offer? That's crazy! Who would ever think such a thing?


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