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T.J. SIMERS

Colletti as baseball's top GM is no-brainer

September 03, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

Sat down with Ned Colletti before Tuesday's Dodgers game to discuss the details of his acceptance speech once he's officially named Major League Baseball's executive of the year.

"Huh?" said Colletti, and now you know why he needs a speech writer.

It's over, of course, the Dodgers playing minor league outfits now, and a lock to win the division title on the strength of Colletti's wizardry -- Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

"Help me out here, Manny," Colletti shouted, while trying to divert attention from his genius.

"What do you need?" said Ramirez, later hitting his 10th homer as a Dodger.

"Don't you think Ned is baseball's executive of the year?" I asked.

"Yeah," Ramirez said, "for having me here for free."

CAN'T REALLY call it the resurrection, because while he's good, he's not that good. But as GMs go, Colletti looked like a goner before Blake and Ramirez arrived.

"I didn't feel it," Colletti said, and as a general rule -- dead men don't feel anything.

Desperate times, desperate measures and Colletti improved the Dodgers without it costing the owner a penny. That makes him the best GM in baseball in the minds of most owners.

"Do you think there are other teams out there saying, 'Ned's desperate, let's help Ned out?' " Colletti said, while proving the point, I guess, that he's just smarter than all the other GMs in somehow stealing Ramirez and Blake.

No doubt, he fooled them all. Oldest trick in the book, too, luring your opponents to sleep, which explains why early on he signed Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre -- everyone figuring the Dodgers were finished with such a cast of misfits.

Then the Dodgers passed on David Eckstein, on the recommendation of scouts, Colletti said, even though the Dodgers needed a second baseman. Whatever it takes to make Arizona overconfident.

The Dodgers even allowed Arizona to claim him, another genius move by Colletti, the Diamondbacks probably thinking now they have added just the right missing piece to the puzzle. So how come they got drilled by St. Louis on Tuesday night?

So many things go into the making of baseball's executive of the year, one day kids everywhere hoping to be just as cunning and famous as the Schmoozer, the former Cubs' PR guy who went on to become the great GM of the Dodgers.

"Stop the madness," Colletti said.

"It's over; Dodgers win the division," I said.

"We just lost eight straight," Colletti said.

And the Diamondbacks, who have 14 games left against challenging opponents to the Dodgers' six, completely fell for the feint.

"Stop it," said Colletti, "it's not over."

Like an Academy Award nominee, I'm sure, he doesn't want to think about the baseball award until he actually hears his name called.

"I'm done winning awards," said Colletti, and you can just imagine how cluttered his office and home must be with all the awards won over the years.

FINALLY FIGURED out why Dodgers fans arrive late. Ever listen to the annoying pregame commercials and tedious announcements? That leads into the ceremonial first pitch, second pitch and . . .

The Dodgers honored Step Up 4 Vets' Patricia Kennedy, who raises money for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They sent out a batboy to catch her ceremonial toss.

Then the Dodgers honored Geri Halliwell, better known as Ginger Spice, who has obviously done more for mankind, prompting Mark Sweeney to come out and catch her pitch.

THE PADRES are an embarrassment to professional baseball, Colletti a Hall of Famer by way of comparison to San Diego's duo of dolts, Kevin Towers and Sandy Alderson.

I told Manager Joe Torre he could name the final score against the Padres they're so bad, and Monday night he said, "6-2." The Dodgers won, 5-2.

On Tuesday he said, "8-6," then winning, 8-4. And I thought he knew his baseball.

TODAY'S LAST word comes from Sara Baron-Recalde: "I was an athlete at Berkeley playing field hockey. When I was a sophomore my coach called me to her office. She said this may sound a little weird, but you are getting a scholarship from Jeff Kent. Up until that point in time the only scholarship a field hockey player was getting was for books, but from that point on half of my tuition was paid for by Kent. He paid for others as well. I graduated and have my parents and Jeff Kent to thank for not having to repay any student loans. He gave me a break, maybe you all should give him one."

And tick off Kent -- are you crazy?

--

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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