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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

However You Subtract It, Math Works for Dodgers

November 07, 2001|T.J. Simers

I'd have to say this is the best thing to happen to the Dodgers in recent memory. On Tuesday baseball owners voted to fold two teams. Twenty-two or twenty-three more, and by golly I think the guys will have a real shot of seriously contending next season.

Just think if this had happened a few years ago when agent Scott Boras was telling the Dodgers there was a long line of suitors for Kevin Brown's services, the Dodgers eventually overpaying by something like $20 million or $30 million because their general manager just couldn't get around to calling that many teams to determine if Boras was fibbing.

Two fewer teams, and maybe The Grump is flying Southwest Airlines today like everyone else instead of conning the Dodgers into sweetening the pot and giving him his own private plane.

If he's this happy making $15 million a year--imagine what he'd be like making $12 million and taking the middle seat on a Southwest flight.

This also leaves two fewer teams to take Gary Sheffield, and I think that's good, because I get the feeling Bob Daly, a.k.a. The Movie Guy, has never gotten over being called out by Sheffield, and intends on trading him to make room for Marquis Grissom and Tom Goodwin in the same lineup.

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BASEBALL HASN'T decided yet which two teams will disappear, so I called Dan Evans, the Dodgers' new general manager, who hasn't done a thing since getting promoted, to see if he was lobbying to get rid of the Diamondbacks and the Giants.

I knew he was in Chicago for the owners' meetings, but I needed to get a message to him. Now if you call his office at Dodger Stadium you get this woman's recorded voice telling you to hit the pound key and then 285 followed by a tape of Dodger players thanking our military for protecting us. Then you get a recording of the GM's voice telling you to press zero and ask for extension 311 followed by a tape of Dodger players thanking our military for protecting us.

Then you get a woman's recorded voice telling you to leave a message or press zero for the operator followed by a tape of Dodger players thanking our military for protecting us. The operator sends you to public relations--and if Jason Giambi or his agent wants to make a deal with the Dodgers and they're trying to call the Dodgers' new GM, forget it, it looks as if we're stuck with Eric Karros because no one wants to answer a telephone at Dodger Stadium.

Public relations, however, answered with a live voice and said the person at extension 311 was out to lunch after putting me on hold to hear a tape of Dodger players thanking our military for protecting us. Now I never wanted to speak to the person at extension 311--I just wanted the Dodgers' new GM.

As far as I know--some five hours later--the person at extension 311 is still out to lunch, or major league baseball has already decided to close down the Dodgers and this is how we're going to learn about it.

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I DON'T know the Dodgers' new GM, never have spoken with him, and it appears never will. I know he has no power under The Movie Guy, but I thought it would be nice to humor him and make him feel as if someone cares what he's doing.

I know he tried to hire Lee Thomas because it's generally understood in baseball that the Dodgers' new GM is here to reduce the payroll and he doesn't have the qualifications to be a GM, which will require someone, who really knows baseball, whispering in his ear. Thomas turned that hand-holding job down.

I saw Evans quoted recently, saying, "I'm going to do whatever is in the best interest of the Dodgers," and I got to wondering if he had stayed up all night thinking of that and came to the conclusion he probably had. Beyond that, I can't think of a memorable thing he has said, and I'm pretty sure that's the way the Dodgers want it.

But here I am all excited Tuesday, two fewer teams to beat Jeff Shaw in the bottom of the ninth inning, and I don't know about you, but I get the feeling the Dodgers aren't really doing anything other than hoping the competition just folds.

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CHUCK REDDY suggested in an e-mail, "that as a longtime fan of the Trojans, I would like to submit Mike Garrett's name for consideration as UCLA's new athletic director." I love those Trojans--they're such kidders.

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THE USC football game won't be on TV Saturday. You would think with all the garbage Fox puts on the air, there would be a place for the Trojans.

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POLICE ARRESTED former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman Nate Newton and two women after finding 213 pounds of marijuana in their van, and charged them with possession with intent to distribute. Louisiana Trooper Willie Williams, while not identifying who was driving the van, said "the driver seemed nervous and gave consent to search the van."

I don't find that unusual. I think most people would appear nervous after giving consent to the police to search a van with cardboard boxes loaded with 213 pounds of marijuana.

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I'M SURE there a lot of NBA players disappointed to hear that much marijuana has been confiscated.

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LAMAR ODOM is a nice kid, so the Clippers have convinced themselves that a nice kid like this will straighten himself out.

It's the nice, easy way out, but history indicates it won't be a very nice ending to this story.

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ESPN.COM'S JIM Caple wrote, "if baseball votes to eliminate the Twins, it will be ownership's most despicable act in sports history."

I guess Caple is unaware what Fox has done to the Dodgers.

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TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Alex:

"I have to join the millions who think you are a waste of skin. You're pathetic for writing about Brian Shaw and his salary. And another thing, I'm a Raider fan and ... "

I had already guessed that.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com

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