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T.J. SIMERS

Dodgers' play is real joke for the McCourts

August 29, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

WASHINGTON -- The letter to all Dodgers season-ticket holders is signed by well-known comedians Frank & Jamie McCourt.

It went out this week, coinciding with the Dogs' trip to Philadelphia and Washington, which makes Sonny & Cher's routine even funnier.

"We bring you heart-felt greetings as these last days of August usher in baseball's most exciting time of year," the letter begins, and nothing is more exciting than a seven-game losing streak.

"As we watch our modern 'Boys of Summer' evolve, emerge and energize our city," the McCourts wax poetic, "we see a brand of civic enthusiasm families can only enjoy at the ballpark."

You know what's coming next -- an attempt to capitalize on that civic enthusiasm families can only enjoy at the ballpark if they buy their tickets, but not before Sonny & Cher do some tap dancing.

"The additions of Casey Blake, Manny Ramirez and now Greg Maddux," while no mention, of course, that they come here free of charge, "bring substantial October experience to a team whose blossoming youth are developing before our eyes."

Since Blake's arrival, the Dodgers are 15-17, 11-15 since Ramirez put on a Dodgers uniform, and 1-9 since acquiring Maddux, who we were told makes such a difference in the clubhouse.

But now for a really good belly laugh to begin the day.

"We are grateful that Ned Colletti and his baseball operations staff," the letter reads, "have been able to make such substantial improvements . . . "

No telling how badly the Nationals might have pummeled the Dogs had substantial improvements not been made.

"These kids," the letter goes on to say, "together with Russell Martin (equally young), Nomar Garciaparra, future Hall of Famer Jeff Kent (young at heart), and speedster Juan Pierre have helped keep us in the thick of the race . . . "

Amazingly, no mention of Arizona, which has done the best job of keeping the Dogs in the thick of the race.

The letter continues with a mention of just about everyone's name on the team because Andruw Jones is in Las Vegas.

"Such a 'fall ball' veteran as Mark Sweeney," and I wonder if that was a typo and it was supposed to read, "such a 'foul ball' veteran as Mark Sweeney, "is a wonderful influence on a supporting cast anticipating an extended season for the first time."

Sweeney is hitting .141, and he's having a tremendous influence on the supporting cast, which is hitting .100 with runners in scoring position during this losing streak.

"As we march through September in hopes of a long stay in October," Sonny & Cher coo, "we are filled with gratitude that these men have become a team . . . "

Stop, you're killing me. Pierre spends most of his time with the opposition before a game, while Kent spends most of his time with himself. There are old players on one side of the room, the others at the kiddies' table in the lunch room.

Before concluding that the McCourts are some kind of joke, the letter goes on to a second page with talk of community service, alumni appearances and autographs -- the McCourts declining to take credit for keeping the unwashed from mixing with the rich folk.

Then comes the big finish, the comic duo's thanks to everyone for being such a good audience while passing the hat at the same time.

"To help illustrate that appreciation, we are inviting you to renew your commitment and renew your faith without an increase in price," they write.

Apparently, it's not good enough to renew your faith in the Dogs after two decades of misery; it must also be your commitment.

"While we must continue to grow our revenues to compete with our opponents," the letter continues, which suggests a ticket increase for everyone else is in the making, "we are inviting you to renew your ticket plan for 2009 at 2008 prices."

There have been reports the McCourts are short on cash, and now comes word they want some money for 2009 season tickets before the 2008 season is over. OK, so right now it looks as if it's over.

A spokesman for the Dogs said ticket holders are being asked to put down as little as $250 a ticket by Sept. 5, so maybe the Screaming Meanie just needs a new dress.

As you know, they seem to get honored a lot at fancy dinners by organizations who apparently have run out of folks to honor.

"Whether you enjoy the warmth of sun-filled days or the majestic feel of enchanted evenings," Frank & Jamie conclude, and please, if you're going to be sick -- step outside, "we want to make this home your house of happiness."

Well, let me tell you about the majestic feel of this enchanted evening, Cristian Guzman hitting for the cycle against the Dogs, the Nationals winning, 11-2, in their house of happiness and the team with the worst record in baseball sweeping our modern Boys of Summer.

Badum-bum!

--

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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