Out With The Crowd: "Even Giants fans felt bad for us"
With the Dodgers still in the lead at the beginning of June, it seemed like a good time to talk to a Bums fan about Kemp's DL stint, the end of the McCourt era, and Mattingly's undue attachment to bunting. (Heh.) I talked to Amanda C. late last week.
Sarah D. Bunting: So, who's your favorite new Dodger in the 2012 season?
Amanda C.: Probably Abreu, in that he's actually got talent. That's one of Ned's surprisingly good yet typically elderly pickups right there. And with Kemp suddenly re-injuring his leg, very handy. None of the offseason pickups were that interesting, sadly.
So you don't have a least favorite acquisition since last year?
Not really. I'm not wild about Todd Coffey, for instance, but it's not as if he's been promoted to us by the team as anything more than he is. I'm more annoyed that Uribe is still there.
Yeah, there's always that one guy. You can derive some comfort from the "…he's still alive?" joke for a while, but then…he's still alive. Anyone you were glad to see go during the offseason?
Just the usual useless extra pieces, I guess, like Jon Garland or Vicente Padilla. There wasn't that everyday kind of guy who I was relieved to see go or anything like that.
I think the closest thing to that is I wasn't sad to see Broxton go. I'm not per se glad he's gone, but he just wasn't working out, either. I'm sure whoever puts out the postgame spread was glad to see him go, too. Ha. Haaa ha.
Hee! Ponson West.
And we still have Uribe. Feast mode.
Hee hee. Anyone you miss who left during the offseason?
Kuroda! I know he's not exactly lighting the world on fire in New York, but I always just really liked him, in that reliable, not-great, not-terrible, solid-six-innings starter role.
I also miss Furcal a little bit but I'm hoping Dee Gordon makes me forget about him.
What's your biggest worry for the team in 2012? (And is it the same as it was before the season started, now that they're playing so well?)
I actually was less worried before the season than I am now. Expectations are suddenly through the roof for these guys. In a way, I like that. But before the season, we kind of expected nothing of them, sort of a repeat of 2011.
Right. I feel like there's a mirror season happening with the Mets (although I think they will definitely return to mean, and the Dodgers may not).
Well, with the sudden re-injury to Kemp's leg… Right now I guess my biggest worry is just that the overblown expectations will lead to an inevitable, not collapse, but kind of evening-out? And that will put a different shine on what the front office chooses to do at the end of the season.
In short, I think Ned is always my biggest worry. I keep thinking he's going to trade away Nate Eovaldi or, like, accidentally fire Vin Scully.
You must be thrilled to be shut of McCourt Madness at last, though.
YES. That's my alternate response to that point, as opposed to banging on my keyboard repeatedly.
Feel free to elaborate…unless it's too painful.
The players all did their best not to comment on the state of things during the divorce or in the aftermath, like when they almost didn't make payroll last year at the end of May, I think it was. But when the sale happened, many of them were openly gleeful. I think they're relieved to be playing for someone who cares.
That was nuts.
I know it really doesn't matter and great teams perform under horrible people all the time, but I can't imagine it's not, in some tiny way, a factor.
Well, there's horrible, and then there's horrible.
When the fanbase is to the point that they want not to make payroll so that maybe MLB will forcibly remove the team from the owner's hands…enough said.
Other fanbases were like that! It was painful.
I think even Giants fans felt bad for us. Some of them. A few. Here and there.
It's such a storied franchise; you kind of can't believe this is going on. I mean, I remember Steve Garvey, so…not to be too Rockwell-painting about it, obvs. But still.
Oh, definitely. That caused some overreaction in the other direction, though. Not that I don't love/want the storied past or anything, but we actually had people saying Peter O'Malley didn't deserve the team back because he sold them in the first place. Say what?
Girl, I live in Brooklyn. There are older dudes around here who are still pissed about the team going to L.A. This is part of why I switched back to Mets fandom, honestly. The catalog of secular saints was getting unwieldy up in the Bronx.
There is a fab book by Michael D'Antonio called Forever Blue that's about Walter O'Malley and the Dodgers/the move to L.A., if I may be so bold as to recommend it.
I've heard good things.
I remember your piece about switching back. I live in Red Sox country and I do like the Red Sox, I really do, but the whole thing makes you want to barf sometimes. A lot of times. So I sympathize on that front.
Yeah, it's tough. I'm all for the storied past too, but there are games being played right now — can we talk honestly about those? Maybe tell some jokes? …No? Okay, see you in Flushing.
And moving on to those games…elegant segue…
That's what I love about Vin Scully, he is both at the same time, in the perfect mix.
Wait, let me sidebar again. What is the story with Scully vis-à-vis continuing? Does he have an end date? I can't remember. I mean, talk about a public trust.
He's year-to-year. He says it's up to his wife. He loves it and you can tell he's still enthralled by it. We'll take him missing a name here or there over the clowns we'd get otherwise, it's no contest.
This year he's stopped doing the Colorado road games. I'd rather see him scale back than leave entirely, which is I hope what he's doing. Even if he only does home games.
Our TV booth has some arrangement like that where Ron Darling is only on for road games, but as long as he doesn't ditch us for TBS, I'm okay with it.
Not to compare him to Vin, but after years of Michael Kay…
Oh, no, I hear you, believe me. Our not-Vin TV crew is Eric Collins and Steve Lyons, and they're horrible. Compared to them, I've warmed up to Rick Monday and Charley Steiner. Though if I don't have a headache, I listen to the Spanish radio crew instead.
Charley Steiner used to call Yankee games on the radio. He's quite good.
Steiner has these moments where you kind of literally face-palm, but he's really not bad. And he's gotten better over the last couple of years.
When he's sharing a booth with John Sterling, he sounds like a marvel of coherence, so grading on a curve helps. Heh.
Ha! It really does.
So: where do you see the Dodgers finishing in the standings this season? This would have been an easy call for me before the season, but for various reasons I have no idea now how the NL West is going to shake out.
Because the rest of the division is so bad, I'm hoping second is as low as they go — I'm never really convinced the Giants are out of it, not the last few years. But the Dodgers may surprise me, as they are wont to do. They tend to slide in the summer, and they've had the advantage of playing a lot of games at home. They're almost embarrassingly bad on the road.
Still, when you've got a lineup made of Isotopes bench players and Andre Ethier and you still don't lose any ground in the division…not bad at
Who do you think goes to the World Series this year? Another one that looked easy to me in March and now I have no clue. (As Tigers fans sigh heavily…)
You and me both. I would be surprised if the AL doesn't go to the Rangers. I am so confused by the NL. I really want it to be the Dodgers, but even if they make the playoffs, I expect one of their usual nemeses will oust them before the big dance. St. Louis, likely.
It's mostly that the standings have stayed like this for so long, people aren't sure what to think. It's not at the "give it some time" stage — we're past that, we gave it time, Baltimore's still in first place. And the irrational side of me doesn't want to jinx my team, natch.
True — but we had this conversation about Cleveland last year and they finished under .500. That's why they play the games, I guess.
Which could still win them the Central this year.
Right? Brutal. …Any pleasant surprises this year so far? Could be Dodger-related, or just generally.
I am inordinately pleased to see Washington playing so well. Speaking of things that might right themselves. It's like a movie, in a good, soppy sort of way. Dodgers-wise, it's not that him being good is at all surprising, but Matt Kemp's April was a thrill.
I've enjoyed seeing him fight a DL stint like a cat fights the carrier.
He's really the best. I know I'm biased, but he was not pleased recently that he had to watch the Dodgers game on MLB Gameday. We got a lot of mileage out of that on Twitter.
Hee. Any un-pleasant surprises? (We know how Kemp would answer. Snick.)
Pujols! I am glad he's back. I'm supposed to hate him because he's an Angel now, but I don't, and was really surprised/mildly worried when he wasn't hitting.
It was getting kind of upsetting.
It was. He's the kind of guy anyone can love to watch.
No matter what his age. …If you could tell your manager one thing, what would it be?
You'll like this one: stop bunting.
Yeah, I hear that one a lot. Usually about AL skippers, however.
He's doing it in the weirdest situations. I do not for the life of me understand it. I know you can rationalize it to an extent, but [the other] night he bunts with Kemp on second base. Dude can run, why do you need to give him another base? Your team can't hit. Why are you giving up an out? GAHHH.
Yeah, get ready to hear even more mewling about it when interleague is back.
I actually generally really like Mattingly, I just want him to stop doing that. And stop batting Loney ahead of Ellis. But that's two things and you only asked for one.
Oh, God, interleague, nooo, he'll have Loney DHing. I would rather have Kershaw hitting, I honestly would.
Anything bugging you baseball-wise? Stories? Players? I'm sad that Jamie Moyer got DFA'd. (Also interleague bugs me, but that's a different rant.)
There's an increasing call for the team to trade Billingsley and I wish those people would shut up. That is what is chiefly annoying me. It requires elaboration, I guess, but in short, he's not Kershaw, we know that, he's fine, leave him alone.
He's just kind of the same pitcher he's always been, which is good, reliable, versatile, never outstanding. Lots of baserunners, lots of strikeouts, middling ERA. I'm honestly surprised by the amount of vitriol he's been getting this season, when it's no different from any other. There's better analysis elsewhere on the internet, so I don't want to belabor the point. In the end, it just makes me sad that people are so hard on someone who's taken everything that's been thrown at him and overcome it, whether it's the team using him in relief early in his career or breaking his own leg on his own front step (idiot).
But that's about it. I am surprisingly unannoyed thus far.
Tags: AJ Ellis Albert Pujols Andre Ethier bad baseball announcing Bobby Abreu bunting Chad Billingsley Charley Steiner Clayton Kershaw Dee Gordon Don Mattingly Eric Collins Frank McCourt Hiroki Kuroda James Loney John Sterling Jon Garland Jonathan Broxton Juan Uribe Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp Michael D'Antonio Michael Kay Nate Eovaldi Ned Colletti Out With The Crowd Peter O'Malley Rafael Furcal Rick Monday Ron Darling Sidney Ponson Steve Garvey Steve Lyons Todd Coffey Vicente Padilla Vin Scully