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DePodesta's Computer Must Have a Bad Virus

The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

January 04, 2005|T.J. Simers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — I've still got some business and partying to do down here with Mike Garrett & Co., so I'd appreciate it if someone would make a point of pulling the plug on Google Boy's computer until I get home.

I might be thousands of miles away, but even down here it's apparent that the Dodgers are becoming a national embarrassment. In fact, do we have to keep referring to them as the Los Angeles Dodgers?

(Anaheim might be interested in a small-market team.)

When I read in a New York newspaper that minor league catcher Dioner Navarro had fallen out of favor in the Yankee organization because executives questioned his work ethic and his ability to hit, I knew the Dodgers would do everything they could to land him.

As you know, the Dodgers love to play catchers who aren't any good.

And now we're being told that the Dodgers are going to send Shawn Green, probably the nicest athlete in town, a guy who set the Dodger record for most home runs in a season, who also unselfishly made the switch from outfield to first base, to Arizona so they can secure Navarro -- who will arrive via New York in the Randy Johnson swap.

(Remember when Google Boy made a point of saying he wasn't trying to trade Green? I did a Google search for Pinocchio and DePodesta and found 21 matches.)

It's going to take a few days to make it official, the Diamondbacks taking the time to redo Green's contract while the Dodgers urge Navarro to work hard (or just show up) if he wants to replace Brent Mayne and David Ross.

But hey, the next time someone says you have to go to college to get ahead in life, I suggest pointing to Google Boy, and reminding everyone just what a Harvard education can do to a baseball team.

It shouldn't be a surprise, of course. That was the media concern raised when the Parking Lot Attendant went cheap and hired a young man who has always been plugged into his computer. Now it has become clear, as the Dodgers make over their roster, that Google Boy's computer makes no allowances for intangibles.

Paul Lo Duca cried when he heard he could no longer play for his beloved Dodgers. Throw in team cheerleader Jose Lima, hero and all-time good guy Steve Finley, a home-reared Adrian Beltre, team players Alex Cora and Dave Roberts, and you've got one Hee-Seop Choi on your hands.

It seems as if every player that I've ever gotten along with in Dodger Blue has been sent packing.

"What about Kevin Brown?" said a Dodger spokesman.

Like I said, Google Boy's computer doesn't take into account intangibles -- such as being grumpy all the time.

The Dodgers maintained to a man last season that they made it all the way to the playoffs because of team chemistry. It certainly wasn't because of the brilliant moves made by Google Boy. The players even rallied around Milton Bradley -- even though they were smart enough not to get too close to him -- when Bradley flipped out.

We know this after watching Finley and Lima bring excitement back to Dodger Stadium, that Google Boy obviously doesn't put much stock in team camaraderie, or he wouldn't have added Jeff Kent to the roster.

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I WAS kind of happy every time Brown got pounded while he was with the Dodgers, because he was pretty much a jerk, and everyone cheers when the jerk gets pounded in the movies, so why should baseball be any different?

I was thrilled to see Finley hit that dramatic grand slam, although I'll deny it if it's ever brought up again. I had teased Finley about being too old, dismissed his ability to hit home runs anymore, lost a bet as a result, and he not only found it amusing, but played along and came off as a regular guy, which is hard to find in professional sports these days.

They also don't come any more cooperative than Green, or Beltre or Cora, and I can say I wasn't unhappy when the Dodgers made the playoffs.

And isn't that the point that Google Boy is missing?

I would think you would agree that it's a lot more enjoyable rooting for players who are likable, and yet the Dodgers seem to be making the point that you'd better not invest too much in your heroes, because as soon as they make too much money or don't measure up on Google Boy's computer, they're outta here.

This year, you'll be rooting for 35-year-old Jose Valentin at third base, who can't catch or hit. You'll have Kent at second, and if your kids are interested in getting autographs, be careful, he bites.

At first you will have Choi, and oy vey.

In the outfield you have Jayson Werth, and if they remake "Animal House" and need someone to portray your typical, immature, cloddish jock, there'll be no need for anyone else to audition. In right you'll have J.D. Drew, who already made a point of saying he'd be better suited to playing center, knowing that would irritate Bradley, maybe send him to jail again and free up center for Drew.

How do you like your Dodgers so far?

On the mound you'll have Jeff Weaver, who walks around as if he were in a daze. You'll also have Kaz Ishii (stop laughing) and Brad Penny, although it might be necessary to cover the eyes of your youngsters if his arm falls off. I almost forgot Elmer Dessens (stop laughing).

I hesitate to mention that two great guys remain, Cesar Izturis and Eric Gagne, because I worry now that Google Boy will program that into his computer.

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WE HAVE the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. And now we have the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.

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