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Graziano Back as Dodger President

December 03, 1999|DAVID WHARTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Dodgers made it official Thursday, rehiring Bob Graziano as president only two months after he was fired for a series of controversial moves.

The announcement was expected for two reasons. First, the Fox executives who dumped Graziano are no longer involved in day-to-day operations. Second, Graziano is close to new Dodger Chairman Bob Daly.

However, Daly said Graziano returns under slightly different circumstances.

"When it came time to sign Shawn Green, it was [general manager] Kevin [Malone] and I who sat in a room with him," Daly said. "Obviously, I'll spend a lot more time in doing those kinds of things."

Graziano will be called on for his years of experience in the business of the game. Daly cited Graziano's relationship with league officials and knowledge of everyday operations.

It was late September when Fox seemingly ended Graziano's tumultuous run as club president.

His two years at the helm included the trade of Mike Piazza, one of the most popular players in team history. It also included the firing of general manager Fred Claire and manager Bill Russell.

More recently, Graziano approved an $80-million payroll for a team that finished third in the National League West.

In firing Graziano, Rick Welts, president of Fox Sports Enterprises, said the front-office executive had "a different set of skills and experiences for what I want to accomplish long term."

But with Welts out of the way, Daly holds a different opinion of Graziano's qualifications.

"The fans really should not blame Bob for everything that happened because he came into a situation that was not easy," Daly said. "I feel I need someone like Bob so I can spend my time on the areas that need my help."

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