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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

Dodgers' Malone Needs Face-Saving Plan of Attack

October 15, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

If you're the general manager of a major major league team like the Dodgers in a major media market like Los Angeles, you'd better have a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C and all three had better be good.

Kevin Malone had an excellent Plan A, to hire Felipe Alou as manager. The fact that it didn't materialize had virtually nothing to do with the Dodgers and virtually everything to do with Alou's Quebec ties. Vive la difference.

Now for Plan B.

What is it?

If it was to hire Jim Leyland, that's another good one. But Malone's call to Leyland wasn't part of a plan as much as it was a precaution. Malone was almost certain Leyland didn't want to move to the West Coast but could be absolutely certain only by hearing it from him personally. There's no embarrassment in that.

There is embarrassment, however, when Dusty Baker on Tuesday says he doesn't want the Dodgers to call and Tom Kelly on Wednesday says the Dodgers called, but he isn't interested.

Who will dis the Dodgers today? Phil Garner?

Malone is frustrated but said Wednesday night that the perception is worse than the reality. No matter what has been reported, the Dodger general manager said he hasn't extended his search to any team's manager other than Alou.

But Malone should never have put the organization in a position to be rejected by numerous candidates, especially if they aren't really candidates. As soon as Alou turned him down, Malone should have been prepared to make his next move.

In fact, he has two solid choices in Davey Johnson and Kevin Kennedy. Neither is perfect, but both have proven they can win with talent.

Malone will interview both this weekend in New York.

Unless he learns something new about them, my advice to him is to bring one back to Los Angeles as the manager, preferably Kennedy.

The longer Malone waits, the more it looks like whichever one he hires was Plan D.

*

Malone said media speculation that he might ask the Angels if he can contact Terry Collins is merely that. . . .

But if he did, it should be a short phone call. The Angels should hang up even faster than they did when the Dodgers tried to send them Ismael Valdes for Jim Edmonds. . . .

A headline this week in the Daily Bruin, UCLA's student newspaper, referred to Cade McNown as "McNone." . . .

Based on my experience, you should have at least a couple of decades in the newspaper business before becoming that cynical. . . .

Actually, I agree with Bob Toledo when he says there's no college football player he'd rather have this season than McNown. . . .

No Dan Marino when throwing the ball, McNown will have to settle for comparisons to Joe Montana. . . .

Which would you rather have on your team? I'll take the rings. . . .

In ESPN magazine's college preview edition, Lee Corso seemed to prefer Kentucky's Tim Couch over McNown for the Heisman. . . .

I wonder what Corso and his colleagues will say when ESPN's "Game Day" is shown from outside the Rose Bowl before the UCLA-Oregon game Saturday? . . .

The Ducks are averaging almost 51 points a game. They've scored fewer than that four times against UCLA in basketball, not all of them in the peach-basket era. . . .

The top-ranked player in women's college golf is not the more celebrated Jenny Chuasiriporn of Duke or Grace Park of Arizona State. It's USC's Jennifer Rosales, the defending NCAA champion. . . .

I see Kevin Garnett's name mentioned often in connection with the lockout, as if it's his fault the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to pay him $126 million. . . .

As in most labor disputes involving professional sports leagues, David Stern wants a new bargaining agreement not so much to restrict the players as to protect the owners from themselves. . . .

He'll find out it's not possible. The minute the NFL adopted a hard salary cap, creative owners such as Jerry Jones and Eddie DeBartolo were devising methods to get around it. . . .

It's impossible to sympathize with either side. But remember that it's not the players who are preventing games from being played. . . .

Trivia: This will be the first time the Super Bowl and World Series have been played in the same stadium in the same calendar year. . . .

That makes me even sadder that it's not still called Jack Murphy Stadium.

*

While wondering who needs Kevin Brown when you have Sterling Hitchcock, I was thinking: No one will second-guess Bruce Bochy again until his next game, never has a team of achievers underachieved so often as the Braves, I'll take New York's pinstripes in six.

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