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For Dodger Flashback, Visit Bronx

April 01, 2001|MIKE PENNER

Fear not, Dodger faithful. There still remains a team out there upholding all the Dodger traditions of yore.

This team builds from within. The starting shortstop, center fielder and catcher all came through the farm system. So did the bullpen stopper and 40% of the starting rotation.

This team emphasizes fundamentals. A playoff perennial, this team won last season without having any batter hit more than 30 home runs or any pitcher win as many as 20 games because its players know how to hit-and-run, hit the cutoff man and hit behind the runner.

This team has separated itself from the rest of baseball through its scouting and development of Latin talent. The starting catcher was born in Puerto Rico, the bullpen stopper in Panama, the No. 3 starter in Cuba.

This team is steeped in tradition. Its all-time roster is glutted with Hall of Famers. Its uniform is among the most distinctive in the game. Its stadium is regarded by many as a baseball cathedral.

This team is owned by an individual, not a corporation.

This team is managed by a popular Italian.

This team has a New York heritage.

This team is synonymous with success, winning six World Series in the '50s, two in the '60s, two in the '70s and four during the last five years.

This team even has a second baseman with a mental block about throwing to first, shades of Steve Sax, which is why the team has decided to move him to left field.

The new Dodgers?

The New York Yankees.

The eastern-most in quality and the western-most in flavor?

Somehow, it sounded more palatable when Vin Scully was talking about sausages.

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