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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

A Look at Prerequisites for Managing Dodgers

September 20, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

I can't prove he's already been hired to manage the Dodgers, but I know this, Kevin Kennedy is already acting like the Dodger manager.

He's not talking to me.

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LAST WEEK EVERYONE in the Dodger organization denied having already come to the decision not to bring back catcher Todd Hundley next season.

We didn't think to ask Kennedy.

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THE DODGERS TRIED a squeeze bunt last week, and those watching at the time wondered if someone besides Johnson was managing the Dodgers.

Now we know.

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I AM NOT surprised that Kevin Malone defied his superiors and called Kevin Kennedy frequently to discuss the Dodgers' managerial post, but I'm stunned Kennedy talked so often to Malone. Now what does that tell us about Kennedy?

He didn't hang up, which means he should be fired right now before he's officially hired to replace Davey Johnson.

If Kennedy isn't perceptive enough to see how far Malone has slipped in recent weeks, what makes you think he has the ability to think two or three batters ahead of the opposition?

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IF YOU BELIEVE the Dodger brass, of course, no one has made the decision to terminate Johnson, which makes most everything the Dodger brass has to say after that rather unbelievable.

Why is Malone talking to anyone about managing the Dodgers if the Dodgers haven't decided they need a new manager?

"Kevin Malone has denied that as far as I know," said Bob Daly, the Dodgers' chairman.

Daly should have made it his business to know Tuesday, and because of the potentially embarrassing ramifications of having a replacement ready for someone who has yet to be fired, he should have talked to baseball people and run a polygraph check on Malone.

"I can only tell you what he's told me," Daly said, "and I'm saying Kevin Malone has had no conversations with me about Kevin Kennedy."

Let's stop right here. Even if you haven't decided to fire Johnson, wouldn't you expect the team's boss and its general manager to bump into each other once in awhile and kick around ideas on how to improve the team--one being a new manager--and by the way, Bob, what do you think of my old pal, Kevin Kennedy?

Instead we get total denial.

"[Monday] night's game was pretty good," said Daly, who apparently also resides in denial.

No one cares, I countered.

"Kevin Brown cares, I care, 30,000 people, who came to the game, care, Kevin Elster cares," said Daly, and if you include Kevin Malone and Kevin Kennedy, it appears you must have "Kevin" as a first name to gain Daly's favor.

That would leave Davey Johnson out--even though the team has yet to make that decision.

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LENNY KRAYZELBURG'S WIN in the 100-meter backstroke extended USC's streak of having a Trojan win a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912.

UCLA's Dot Richardson, meanwhile, made two errors to allow Japan to put a stop to the U.S. softball team's 112-game winning streak.

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SO FAR THE highlight of the Games has been watching a 13-year-old girl hang by guy wires high over Olympic Stadium as part of the opening ceremony. Now if NBC had been on its game--in David Letterman fashion--it would have insisted that Nikki Webster remain dangling high above the ground throughout the Games with nightly checks from Bob Costas.

They could have made a running show out of it, called it "Survivor," and while the closing ceremony usually draws a nice crowd to view the Olympic torch being extinguished, imagine the world-wide audience the lowering of that little girl would draw after she spent two weeks screaming high above the stadium.

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WORD HAS JUST come in that the 13-year-old girl, who was hanging by guy wires, will make an encore performance at the closing ceremony. There's no indication at this time what role she will play. To top her opening act, I would think organizers might want to insert her into a cannon and shoot her over the stadium walls, a symbolic gesture indicating the Games are over.

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THERE'S NO TRUTH to the rumor that Bela Karolyi suggested hanging his disappointing whiny pixie gymnasts from guy wires above Olympic Stadium. He'd never do that--he knows they'd fall.

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DALLAS HAD ONE of its scouts pay $10 like other spectators to watch the Redskins work every day in training camp, and call it a coincidence, but it seemed to be one step ahead of Dan Snyder's $100-million poor team all night.

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AN L.A. JUDGE Tuesday set a March 7 trial date for the Raiders to make their case against the NFL. The Raiders contend the league's owners had a fiduciary responsibility to help them seal a stadium deal at Hollywood Park. They also say they own the L.A. football market.

A Raider victory will not bring the team or the ex-cons who follow it back to L.A., but it would allow the team to collect monetary damages.

If the NFL is really serious about beating Al Davis, however, all it has to do is add Denver Coach Mike Shanahan to its team.

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OREGON IS NOT ranked in the AP Top 25, but in the past few days the public has wagered so much on the Ducks, Las Vegas oddsmakers have moved sixth-ranked UCLA from a one-point underdog to 2 1/2-point underdog to encourage more bettors to go with the Bruins.

I know from experience the public doesn't know what it's talking about.

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TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from NJD123@aol.com

"If you died tomorrow the world would be a better place, and certainly The Times a better paper. You are supposed to report, not comment, and not try and provide insight. We don't want your opinions."

Thanks for giving me 24 hours.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address: t.j.simers@latimes.com

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