Friday, March 19, 2004

A note on the Lakers, and Yet More on McCourt

I watched the Laker game a couple nights ago against the Clippers. The Clippers are a terrible team, no surprise there, but terrible in that even their good players suck. Maggette is good solely because he is the only good player on the team, and thus he is able to take a lot of shots, and pad his stats. If he were to be traded to a good team, his stats would immediately drop to mediocre levels.

And yet the Lakers barely won. They laughed as they made clumsy turnovers, they kidded around in general. It's shit playing like that that is going to result in the apocalypse: aka a Kings championship. Webber is back, and if he's healthy I'd say he's about 85 percent the player Shaq is. The Kings are the team to beat, and if the Lakers don't play up to their potential, they're finished. The Kings want this championship better than we do.

Now to the Dodgers. McCourt raised parking prices by two dollars. He also is raising concessions. Immediately the other Dodger blogs, 6-4-2, and Dodger Thoughts labelled him the anti-christ.

I love all the other blogs out there, they're all more eloquent than I am, and I have linked to all of them, even though several of them, who shall remain nameless, do not link to me because I use curse words. I respectfully disagree with their assessment of McCourt. Before he hired DePodesta, I hated McCourt. But then he made every sabermetric follower have a wet dream by hiring the assistant GM of the A's, the nerd in the book Moneyball, who was a master of stats. To me, this guarantees a Dodger playoff berth in the near future, for an indefinite period of time.

Here is in PDF format the official Dodger sales agreement McCourt signed. 6-4-2 blog has stated McCourt is a pauper time and time again, as well as TJ Simers. Actually if you read the agreement, McCourt has bought about half the team with assets of his parking lots worth almost 200 million dollars. So as much as we like to joke that McCourt bought the team on credit, and we could have as well, actually only if you own 200 million dollars in land would you be considered. Banks don't loan money based on the fact that you're a cool guy. They loan it based on assets they evaluate in value. So I respectfully ask those who bag on McCourt to look at the fine print. It's something I've seen a lot of by the LA Times and other blogs; sports people writing about something they don't know anything about: FINANCE.

Finally, I'd like to take to task those people who think Evans was a good GM. Evans was an incompetent GM. Baseball Prospectus and I are in total agreement on this. If you haven't bought the 2004 Baseball Prospectus, please do. It's incredible and the chapter on how incompetent Evans was is very eye opening. Here are some quotes:

"Any baseball executive worth his salt should have been able to look at the Dodgers' roster and immediately recognize its needs: league-average production up the middle and a .300 EqA at one of [the] corners. Evans has done little to address this problem since taking charge.

Here's another one:

"...Evans has struggled since taking the Dodger helm, unable to address the weaknesses of a team with clearly identifiable flaws...when Evans assumed control of the organization...the Dodgers were eighth in the National League in offense..."

When he left they were 16th. The chapter goes on and on. The other bloggers have screamed at McCourt for the way he fired Evans; I feel someone this incompetent must be fired IMMEDIATELY. By the way, the BP entry on Evans was written BEFORE he was fired, so it is written with foresight, not with hindsight. The only reason Evans stuck around for a few weeks was to allow for the team to make a semblance of a transaction, and not make it look like McCourt wanted DePodesta all along. The firing wasn't classy, I agree, but totally necessary.

I think the other Dodger bloggers need to wake up and realize the point of ownership is to win games, not be eloquent and gentle. Hiring DePodesta was brilliant, plain and simple. If you don't subscribe to the sabermetric philosophy in baseball, then as far as I'm concerned, you don't understand the game of baseball. Yes, analysis of scouting tools makes sense, and is important for analyzing young players, TO AN EXTENT. DePodesta knows this, and that's why he didn't fire Logan White, the Dodgers' scout head. But the Oakland A's, and Toronto Blue Jays are proof over and over again, that a small budget with heavy use of a sabermetric budget will make for a playoff capable team. The only reason the Blue Jays will never make the playoffs is because they can't compete in their unfair division with the Red Sox and Yankees. But if you put the Blue Jays in any other division, I think they'd have a fighting chance.

So I say give the McCourts a chance. The accusations against them are largely groundless. Yes they are annoying. So is Steinbrenner, and Larry Lucchino, the respective heads of the Yankees and Red Sox. They say stupid things in the press every day; Steinbrenner has been doing it for decades. Steinbrenner also has publicly fired managers and front office staff. At one time he fired his manager Billy Martin at a press conference to Billy Martin's face. Has McCourt done anything like this? NO. The game of baseball is competitive, if you lose, you get the shaft. The Dodgers ran with the belief that if you lost, you should be given a contract extension.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Plaschke the Moron

I hate Bill Plaschke. He obviously has a vendetta, and that vendetta is against the McCourts. Yes they are loud, and obnoxious, but they aren't stupid. The only stupid one is Plaschke.

I'm aghast that anyone who understands sabermetrics, the statistical study of baseball, would listen to anything Plaschke says. Plaschke was lambasted on baseballprimer.com for his absurd remarks against the hiring of DePodesta. He wanted experimentation to end with the Dodgers, stating that we should have hired a veteran GM like Pat Gillick, not a newbie like DePodesta. Plaschke needs to read stat books while he's getting a shake and bake tan at the salon, so he understands things better (if you've seen this lightly browned porpoise on the Southern California Sports Report on Fox or ESPN, you know what I'm talking about).

The Oakland A's are the most efficient team in the MLB. The Dodgers are the most inefficient. How do I calculate this? Wins per dollar spent. The Dodgers spend well over a 100 million dollars a year for an average of 85 wins, the A's spend less than 50 million a year for an average of 95 wins. People are ashamed that the McCourt's are going to lower payroll, I am happy they are. Because a lowered payroll with more wins means a more efficient, better team.

Yes, they didn't give Fernando a first class ticket. That was wrong. Yes, they didn't give Tracy an extension. He's had three years to get us to the playoffs, one year longer than Evans, you're damn right he doesn't get an extension. Maybe this will put a fire under his ass and get us some wins. Fans, and the media seem to have an insane fear of change. Even if that change is a change from mediocrity to success, they still fear it. The LA Times, specifically Newhan and Plaschke are never happy. Newhan wanted Evans fired, he was fired. What else do they want?

Of course the McCourts don't know how to work with the media. They've never owned a team. They aren't jump ship pirates like Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Marlins. Ask him what he did with the Expos before he destroyed them and moved to the next team. Currently he's trying to rip off the people of Miami into building him a stadium, and stating he can't afford to raise payroll, but he can afford to spend over a million dollars on team World Series rings. The McCourts are tightwads; what about Steinbrenner's efforts to take away the dental plans of their front office staff. What about the legendary Charlie O., owner of the Raiders and A's in the 70s and his efforts at cost cutting. He let go virtually every star on the A's in an effort to save money. But he won championships.

I don't mind getting rid of losers. The front office was full of them. So is the playing field. Let's get angry at the McCourts after they turn in their first full season, or after they go bankrupt. Until then, let's see where things head.

Monday, March 15, 2004

An Editorial by the DodgerKid

Jamie McCourt spouted off without hubby's permission to the media yesterday. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, when it comes to a woman's right to speak independently, I follow the Muslim school of thought, but she actually had a point.

We should be in the playoffs every year. Is it possible? Of course. Maybe not this year, but the next year, and the year after. Some will argue that Billy Beane/DePodesta rode three guys they drafted to the playoffs every year. So what's your fucking point? What team doesn't make use of draftees to win? Other than the Yankees? That's the way the game is played.

We've only sold 11 luxury suites. Jamie is right, that IS pathetic. All of them should be sold. The reason they're not sold is because this team is not winning. Part of it is because the stadium is rundown and old, but mostly it is because the team is not winning. What rich person wants tickets to the Dodgers when you have winners like the Lakers next door? There aren't that many Fortune 500 companies in LA, and subsequently less buyers. If you have a limited budget, you're going to go with the best to impress clients, and the Dodgers aren't the best. They have no real stars except for Gagne, and they don't have a tradition of winning. And to those people who think finishing above 500 is winning, they are morons. A tradition of winning, is a tradition of winning the World Series. We had that, but no longer.

I think the wave of "resignations" with the exception of Hall's, were firings. The McCourts have admitted to trying to keep Hall around, but so what. So he quit, there will be more than enough people to replace him; a six figure job, while hanging around professional athletes will have more than enough competent takers.

Should the Dodgers do more in the community? You bet. Jamie's right again. They built a ballpark in South Central with the RBI program. That's a step in the right direction, but most of the fanbase of the Dodgers is Mexican, not black. They should build one in East LA too. Yet the community director of affairs is black. The black team in LA is the Lakers, not the Dodgers. If you think I'm wrong, you haven't been to a Dodger game, or at least paid less than 80 dollars for your seats.

I think the McCourts are hardasses to work for. I wouldn't want to work for them. Do I think they're incompetent? To be able to pull the stunt they did to get the team, that's not incompetence. That's cleverness. They used as much money as your average orange street corner seller to buy the team, and they did it. Do I fear they'll go bankrupt? Do I fear they're morons? Not after the DePodesta signing. I believe in stats, and I believe he was the best man for the job, outside of Billy Beane. This team won't go bankrupt if it starts winning, considering how popular they are just by losing. The McCourts know they have a winning franchise on their hands. Now if Frank could just shut his woman up things would be complete.
Sent in my resume

I sent in my resume to the McCourts, because I hear they're hiring. I'm going for President, or Stadium Banterer/Workplace Watercooler Storyteller. Whichever has higher pay. If you're as inexperienced as I am, don't hesitate to send in a resume as well; McCourt's kid has never seen a girl's pair of undies, and he's about to get a six figure income from daddy.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

On Today's Show

Today the DodgerKid will be taking your phone calls. First caller is Jim, from Tustin.

Jim: Hey Dodgerkid what's up?

DK: Ask your question.

Jim: Are you worried about all these guys in the front office getting fired Dodgerkid? Doesn't that mean something?

DK: Jim, it means nothing. The front office guys, though they may pretend otherwise, have a combined batting average of .000, with 0 homeruns, and 0 hits. They have succeeded in trading away several players, like Gary Sheffield, and Mike Piazza. And don't forget they helped offend Sandy Koufax, our greatest living legend. If you care about them, or their incompetence, you've got problems. Fire all of them, we sucked in case you forgot.

DK: Here's another call from Ted, in Fresno. How's the town after that big scary black dude murdered his incest laden family?

Ted: Doing good DK. Incest is pretty big up in these parts, our big problem was with the murder. Here's my question: Why did they fire Dan Evans? Wasn't he a good GM?

DK: If you define "good" as incompetent, then yes he was "good". He procured a totally over the hill first baseman in Fred McGriff, and oversaw the trading of Eric Karros and Grudzielanek for Todd Hundley, everyone's favorite alcoholic, chain smoking, non-playing backup catcher, to the tune of over 10 million. That would have been forgivable if he had merely traded Karros, but Grudz, was a much better hitter than our current Cora. Instead Evans saw fit to move Cora to second, and give the starting shortstop spot to Izturis. The result was the worst hitting middle infield since the 1910s. After one season of this you'd think he learned his lesson, but no. He gave both guys a raise. You mean you couldn't find anywhere in baseball a million dollar second baseman with an OPS over 650? Please. And continuing on with this trend he finds another strong defending, weak hitting player in Encarnacion. Thank God he's gone. Next should be Lasorda.

Ted: Yeah but he presided over such great pitching...

DK: That's true, but a lot of that was luck. Who knew Nomo was going to pitch that well? Not only that, a lot of the starting staff has had off season surgery, so whatever window of opportunity we had with that great pitching is about to closed. Danno was great at trading away our crap, but he never capitalized on the opportunity. There were always grumblings that he was hamstrung by his budget, yet he signed Beltre to five million, Encarnacion to 8 mil over two years, and re-signed Cora, Izturis, and Roberts for over three million. There weren't better hitting options out there? Of course there were. He just didn't look. Our next caller is a woman believe it or not, Wanda, from Rowland Heights. Wanda, thanks for calling, it's rare for a woman to call into a sports show. You must be pretty fat and ugly right?

Wanda: Is this why Dodgerkid you aren't getting laid? Because you're so mean too women?

DK: Oooh, harsh Wanda. Ask your question before I hang up on you.

Wanda: This Depodesta guy is an idiot. He hasn't made any moves yet. What's his deal?

DK: Wanda I have no idea. I'd like him to make a move. But you know what? He doesn't really have to. He's signed for five years, at 800k a year. This year, if we suck, he'll just blame the last GM. Next year, we'll be dropping Hundley, Brian Jordan's pay off, and Cora, Beltre, Izturis, Nomo, Roberts, and a host of others will be up for renewal. After the 2005 season, Green and Dreifort will be up for renewal too. This is a team that's still cutting out the cancer from years of FOX ownership, and it's a great excuse to mask failure. It's also a great way not to be under the gun. People in LA are going to go to games even if there's a gunfight in the seats. We'll be ok. We might not go to the playoffs for a bit, but we sure as hell weren't going under Evans any time soon.

DK: And that's it for this week. Next week, I interview everyone's favorite sociopath, Bubba Trammell. We'll get to the bottom of his walking off the Yankee's team last season, and find out if the rumors of his ex-wife sleeping around and driving him into a psychotic rage are true! Tune in, same time, same station, same old shit, EVERY SUNDAY!!

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