Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nulla dies sine linea

Well that hasn't been my motto lately, has it. But now that the play-offs are over and any team I might have had an interest in has gone down for the third time and I am recovering nicely perhaps a few more posts may appear here. Or not.

I mean, the World Series is, after all, the World Series. Just possibly it may eat up a few evenings. But how do you drum up interest in the Astros vs. the White Sox? My wife insists that because my mother's people were all Chicago folks that my natural allegiances should kick in here. But she doesn't understand. They were - and so far as I know still are - Cubs fans. One of my grandfather's best friends was Joe Tinker, "Uncle Joe" in the family. The very first professional baseball game I ever attended was a Cubs game in Wrigley Field. I couldn't have been more than five. My grandmother was babysitting and she took me. Comiskey Park wasn't on my family's radar screen. I doubt if Cellphone Field, or whatever it's called, would be either.

I would've like to see Davey Eckstein get to play in another Series, but alas, the Cards folded last night. So we'll see what happens with the Angels come springtime. Washburn may be gone, which may not be a bad thing. Especially if they can get a good left-hander in his place. And Alfred E. "What-me-worry?" Santana will have a whole winter to focus and, maybe, worry just a little. A play-off game isn't just another baseball game, my friend. And whole lot of folks can re-familiarize themselves with the baseball bat. People getting lebenty-leben million dollars a year really ought to hit better than .050 in the post season.

And the Dodgers? Alas, the poor Dodgers -- the sojourn in the land of Egypt continues. After the O'Malleys, a new pharoah arose in Egypt who knew not baseball. And as if the Fox corporation and Rupert Murdoch weren't bad enough, the McCourts are now extracting the last bit of life out of them. How bad is it? This bit from the Times may not be the worst aspect, but nothing could exemplify more perfectly the treatment of a wonderful old ball club at the hands of these people:

THE DODGERS have dismissed John Olguin, the VP of public relations, and replaced him with Camille Johnston, who among other things had been the Midwest communications director for the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign.

Great — a new spin-control expert to break in.

The announcement came from "Dodger Vice Chairman and President Jamie McCourt," or better known on Page 2 as "Size 0." In looking at Johnston's resume, I'd imagine her political background and work as director of communications for Tipper Gore swung it for Size 0.

The fact that the woman who hired the woman who knows nothing about baseball knows nothing about baseball is in keeping with the McCourt in-over-your-head strategy for success that has worked so well already with the hiring of GM Paul DePodesta.

Johnston holds a degree in political science from UCLA, which should really help her in dealing with local sportswriters.

She worked recently for the publishing company that put out Pete Rose's memoir, "My Prison Without Bars," which she'll understand better after working for the Dodgers.

A check of the Internet revealed some of her past work. When it was reported that Al Gore might be spending his last week in office vacationing in Aspen, Johnston "would neither confirm or deny reports." That's the kind of communication you'd expect from someone being hired by the McCourts.

Tipper and Johnston worked together on a story for USA Today disclosing Tipper's treatment for depression, and according to Johnston's published remarks, they were passing the manuscript "from my bra to hers, and back again."

For some reason I don't think we'll be hearing the same thing when it comes to working closely with Jeff Kent.

I've lost count of the number of Dodger PR employees already let go by the McCourts in their flailing effort to control the media here, but in addition to Olguin, assistants Chris Gutierrez and Paul Gomez were added to the list.

Olguin was a 14-year Dodger employee and highly regarded by the media, which probably doomed him. "I'll always be a Dodger fan and I wish them nothing but the best," he said in offering a classy farewell.

The Dodgers also announced they will be ending their relationship with the crisis manager hired six months ago to make the McCourts look better — even though her work isn't done.

And now after Jim Tracey's firing (or liberation, depending upon how you look at it) the McCourts and DePodesta are deep in their search for a new manager who will fall in with their "ideas" and, of greatest importance, work cheap. The poor man. Whoever manages the Dodgers in 2006 will be the archetypal maker of bricks without straw.