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Stewart Talks a Blue Streak

Former Dodger isn't a GM candidate, but he says the team can regain its former glory.

November 11, 2005|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Dave Stewart, the former assistant general manager, former pitching coach, and former Dodger, has not been considered for the Dodger general manager position, and he wonders why.

"I'm more qualified than all of the people they've marched in there," he said Thursday afternoon as the GM meetings in Indian Wells were breaking up.

Since leaving the Toronto Blue Jays, where he served as Gord Ash's assistant, in 2001, Stewart has become an agent, representing such players as Ricardo Rincon and Abraham Nunez. He lives and practices in San Diego, where he said he is content. He is beginning to consider returning to baseball after a difficult departure from Toronto, however, and believes the Dodgers ought to get back to being the Dodgers, and that he could help.

"Tradition and history are always close enough," he said. "You may lose it for a little while, but it won't take long to reclaim it. They may be in a little disarray right now, but they'll find it."

The known general manager candidates are Ned Colletti, John Hart, Theo Epstein, Kim Ng and Dennis Gilbert. Colletti is expected to interview today. He declined to comment Thursday.

The Dodgers believe Hart remains interested. Hart and Dodger owner Frank McCourt already have spoken twice by telephone, and McCourt probably is comfortable enough with Hart to not require a formal interview. Epstein is in Boston taking calls from within and outside baseball, at 31 considering his future, and whether a formal candidacy with the Dodgers is in it.

A friend of Epstein's said Thursday, "I don't think he's going to eliminate anything, or jump at anything right now. But, that may change in a day or two."

Stewart has watched with interest as the Dodgers fired and hired and fired general managers, and are now looking to hire again, in less than two years. He saw a division title followed by 91 losses, and has considered the possibilities.

"Let's put it like this," he said. "In the right situation, I might think about it. ... I left baseball in a real bad mood. I'm still not real optimistic about the game. But there are a lot of guys in these positions that I'm better than."

His strongest qualification, he said, is that he remembers what it was like to be a Dodger, which he was as a minor leaguer, and then in the big leagues from the end of 1978 until being traded in August 1983. His richest memories are of Dodgertown, and of the people there, the likes of Campy, Newk, Sandy and Duke.

"Being second, it wasn't even a thought with the Dodgers," Stewart said. "You knew a Dodger player on the road. You knew a Dodger player just by looking at him.

"Stability needs to be brought back. The Dodgers had stability. As a person who's been there, you see all the things that are not characteristic of the Dodgers. Shoot, man, they were the cream of the crop. Other teams didn't hate us. They envied us. They aspired to be us. Can they be that again? You're doggone right they can. They gotta get back to who they were. I mean, we had a book ["The Dodger Way to Play Baseball"]! Where's that book now?"

*

Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman said he "probably" would make his initial offers to some free agents today, a list that presumably includes Paul Konerko. "We've got ideas and we're really not the types to mess around a lot," Stoneman said. "We really get right into it." ... The Angels already have submitted an offer to free-agent pitcher Paul Byrd. If Byrd signs elsewhere, Stoneman said, the Angels would be unlikely to consider Scot Shields for a place in the rotation. ... Were the Angels to sign Konerko, or another high-end free agent, they would be unlikely to add another high-priced player, Stoneman said. But, he added, he said the same thing two off-seasons ago, and the club stacked Vladimir Guerrero on top of Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar. "It probably would rule out a lot," he said, "but if the big one becomes available, maybe you change your mind."

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