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SPECIAL SECTION / BASEBALL 2001 | VOICE OF THE FAN

Supporters List Errors of a Franchise Gone Awry

April 01, 2001|MIKE PENNER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dodger fans are nothing if not opinionated about what's gone wrong with the home team. A (very) short list of their most pressing complaints:

KEVIN MALONE: Seth Swirsky, Beverly Hills: "I think Kevin Malone is to blame. Because his job is basically to be a stockbroker--he looks at stocks for the company and recommends which ones to buy. You can't be behind the curve if you're a GM. You've got to be on it, or ahead of the curve. . . .

"Kevin Malone should have known what was coming with Gary Sheffield. It's easy to Monday-morning quarterback from where I'm sitting, but here was a guy with a history. The Dodgers weren't going anywhere last year. It was a perfect time to unload him and restock the farm system. I just think that there hasn't been that kind of really on-the-ball thinking, like Billy Beane has in Oakland."

FARM SYSTEM: Lewis Leader, Agoura Hills: "You look now at some of the spring training games, you don't see a lot of young prospects playing. There seems to be a lot of players who have been around awhile, or maybe some journeyman infielders and outfielders. They have to rely now more, apparently, on acquiring players from other teams or going down the waiver list.

"The Dodgers in their heyday, 24 of the 25 guys would come up through the farm system. And now you look at it and you've got [Eric] Karros and you've got [Darren] Dreifort and you've got Chan Ho Park and a few others. I think they're going back [to relying on the farm system], but it's going to take some time. The farm system was drained."

FIELDING: Don Sveen, Studio City: "I think the emphasis should be back on defense up the middle. They always say you can't win with poor defense up the middle. Well, what have they had the last few years? [Todd] Hundley, Kevin Elster, [Mark] Grudzielanek at shortstop, or Grudzielanek at second base now. And the center fielder was Devo [Devon White], who wouldn't even dive. Who else? [Todd] Hollandsworth, who I hated. . . .

"I'd like to see what Alex Cora can do for a full season hitting, because he seems pretty good in the field. But I wish they would've kept Juan Castro--that guy could play defense. I'm not entirely sold on Karros. Even though I have his jersey. That jersey is a curse. As soon as I got his jersey, he turned into a statue."

CHANGES BY FOX: Eric Spotts, Redondo Beach: "I used to laugh at Anaheim Stadium when I would rarely go there, because they'd have Disney characters and cheerleaders and stupid stuff. Now the Dodgers are just like them--'trying to entertain the fans.' The game's not enough, apparently.

"That's what gets me. The entertainment factor--where when Sheffield comes to bat, you hear rap music, and when Karros comes up, you hear Van Halen or something. When Grudzielanek comes up, you hear AC/DC. Because it's their music. Well, that's just stupid. It's baseball.

"I don't know why they do that. I don't know why they think they need to do that. I guess they're trying for 'the younger crowd.' Well, somebody has to drive that younger crowd to the game. And they don't want to listen to that music."

*

No. 1 pipe dream among Dodger fans?

James Fujita of Rancho Palos Verdes has it pegged:

"Bring back Mike Piazza in a miraculous Mike Piazza-for-Kevin Malone trade."

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