Fire Jim Tracy

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Where's Waldo?

As I put away the computer and the redistricting research for the night, on the heels of a thirty million dollar investment in Cesar Izturis and Eric Gagne, the only question that can be asked is, to paraphrase Ted Kennedy, "Where was Bill?" Writing some boring nonsense about UCLA Basketball -- three days ago, he slobbered all over himself because they beat Washington -- at home. Yeah, it was just like the Walton Days. (Rolls eyes, despairs at the state of Los Angeles Sportswriting). It was typical Plaschke blather. Then there was that brave, brave piece about Matt Leinart not going pro. Let me tell you. He's going to get hate mail for that piece big time. Next week's article on cute puppies and the six year olds who love them could rent the city in twain. And then there was that brave, brave piece about Hank Aaron. Did you know that Aaron was persecuted on his way to 715? That baseball's current drug-coddling culture and the Bonds-protecting media is an embarrassment when compared to how Aaron was ignored by both baseball and the media? You did?

Simers is hilarious by the way. Yesterday, he was complaining "The Dodgers are following the age-old Clipper formula: stockpiling young, cheap players, developing them and then letting them go when it comes time to pay them the big bucks." Then in come Izturis and Gagne, and he's left making cheap and unintelligible sneers at Kim Ng. Those with Asian surnames -- beware the Times.

Well, I don't have to go to bed quite yet. Shall we analyze Simers' claim? Who, exactly on this team, is young and cheap?

Not Young or Cheap

Derek Lowe
Jeff Kent
Darren Dreifort (what, you think I'd forget?)
Kaz Ishii (for what you get)

Not Cheap

Odalis Perez
Eric Gagne
Cesar Izturis
J.D. Drew
Jeff Weaver

Not Young

Paul Bako
Wilson Alvarez
Jose Valentin
Elmer Dessens
Olmedo Saenz
Giovanni Carrara
Ricky Ledee

Young and Cheap

Yhency Brazoban (who ate Mota's lunch in September)
Edwin Jackson
Duaner Sanchez
Dave Ross
Hee Seop Choi
Antonio Perez
Milton Bradley
Jayson Werth
Jason Grabowski (in the interest of full disclosure)

Keep in mind of course, that in Simers-world, and Plaschke-world, talent is irrelevant. It's all about dollar signs and irrational, emotional appeal.

Put aside that nonsense about stockpiling players and letting them go. First, to a certain extent, all good baseball teams do that, because baseball teams carry four to five minor league teams. NBA teams only have twelve players, only eight of whom generally play in a regular rotation, so there is no opportunity for on-the-job training. But besides that quibble, DePodesta just shot his argument to hell. So here's my question, putting aside DePodesta's signings of the last two days. Giving you Grabowski (no way he's going to make the team way), Ross, and Choi, in case you are a Times reader, and therefore irrationally hate him, which of those others 1) would you not currently put on the 25-man roster and 2) would you feel comfortable giving a Simers-approved (except in the case of J.D. Drew or Odalis Perez or anyone not named Adrian) contract to? The answer to the first question is none of them (Jackson may not make the roster right away, but only because he needs to be starting every five days instead of languishing in the bullpen waiting for Ishii to fall apart.) and the second question is none of them. So what's he talking about? Hmmmm...could it be a simplistic, lazy meme which is quickly, and without analysis, designed to ignore reality and simply, that's right, manipulate reader emotions by the very use of the word "Clipper?" And even if I gave you Grabowski and Ross, would you want them? How could we give them away? What exactly are we supposed to do with Antonio Perez? Is he really ready for the Beverly Hills lifestyle? I'm sure Simers would be all for a six year, sixty million dollar contract for Milton Bradley.

And if you rewrite the sentence and say "The Dodgers are following the newfangled A's formula: stockpiling young, cheap players, developing them and then letting them go when it comes time to pay them the big bucks" you would probably get bobbleheaded agreement from the type of people who hate the idea of competing for the playoffs every year, but you would lose the emotional impact of that amazing word -- "Clipper." Of course, you might get a sentence that might have been intellectually honest, since the Dodgers won the pennant despite adhering to the "Clipper" way of doing business. Or you could have written the sentence "Thank God the Dodgers finally have enough talent to let go of some of it without paying through the nose for it. They haven't been in that position for twenty-five years." But that's like third grade journalism. Simers and Plaschke have several years to go before reaching that level of analysis.

Plaschke and Simers and the Los Angeles Times are not going to get away with this lazy, ridiculous tripe. It is not enough to explain that everyone does it. Their junk writing does not hold up to the most routine of analysis (that would be mine), not to mention more nuanced analysis, assuming that there is analysis to be done and Plaschke isn't singing the praises of firemen who save babies from flaming houses and the endangered California Condor.

But enough. You get the idea.


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