SAN DIEGO — The Times has sent a team here to document the Dodgers' collapse, a few minutes to eat before interrogating Casey Blake -- only to have Charley Steiner and Rick Monday sit down.
Nobody else in the room makes the mistake of sitting at a table with two empty chairs.
Right away Steiner starts chattering, and this probably doesn't come as a surprise to most of you. He's trying to explain to this lady, he says, like any of us know what lady he's talking about, that he's not going to be driving the train. What train?
Monday interrupts to say he recalls Engineer Bill's moment of truth before going on to discuss the rabbit's funeral.
This public breakdown comes moments before Tuesday night's game here, the Dodgers' miserable season taking its toll on so many, but the team's radio announcers the first to apparently just lose it.
Steiner explains he was going to take a train from Union Station in L.A. to San Diego to broadcast Monday night's game. Fascinating.
But I don't recall anyone saying, "Please, tell us more."
Before Steiner can continue, Monday starts pulling on an imaginary cord while yelling, "whoo, whoo," and you should have seen the look of concern and horror on the face of Jaime Jarrin sitting at a nearby table. It's the same look given, I would imagine, every time Jonathan Broxton is called on to pitch.
Monday explains that Engineer Bill is wearing overalls, a hat and is supposed to ring a bell whenever an Oakland A hits a home run. He rings an imaginary bell. I'm guessing he also has imaginary friends.
Monday is actually excited as he speaks, and I know you find that hard to believe. He says one day Bill has to decide between getting the home run ball or ringing the bell.
Bill makes the wrong decision, Monday says with great delight, and Charles Finley fires him. Most of you have never heard of Charles Finley. Most of you are not as old as Monday.
Steiner is talking again, although it's unclear if he ever stopped. There's a very good reason why folks don't sit at dinner tables before Dodgers games with two available empty seats. Steiner says he's given his driver's license to a lady to buy a train ticket and she won't sell him one because his license expired on his birthday. How quickly 68 years can go by.
Steiner says he hires a driver to take him to San Diego, and just imagine how you would have felt had he missed the game.
Two minutes out from the hotel he asks what it will cost and is told it will be $300. Frank McCourt asks to stop at a bank and apply for a loan. But Steiner pays and includes an $80 tip.
It's unclear if he told the driver he will be getting an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Bradley University in December, but then he would be the only one Steiner hasn't told.
"So they have this funeral for the rabbit," Monday interjects, and the Dodgers are so dead any talk about a dead rabbit right now is going to hit a little too close to home.
But talk about dead, as in no life -- welcome to the Dodgers' clubhouse. Hard to say whether these guys care anymore, they are so lifeless, or just prefer peace and quiet while going through the motions.
Why should they be any different than the McCourts?
Frank McCourt says he was focused only on the trial and would not discuss the Dodgers, although he's trying to prove he owns the team. Jamie hasn't been to a Dodgers game in so long, John Ely came, left, returned, left again and is back, probably all news to her.
Just who is running the Dodgers these days?
The clubhouse is loaded with dead weight, and that's still after the departure of Ronnie Belliard.
Someone suggests starting over, the Jacksonville Fab 5 of Andy LaRoche, Joel Guzman, Russell Martin, Broxton and Chad Billingsley never amounting to as much as the Dodgers promised, and go ahead and throw in Matt Kemp.
But who makes such decisions? Who is going to be manager? Is everything dependent on a bank approving a loan?
The Padres lost 10 straight, and the Dodgers sit 10 back.
This is the way it was for those who forget before Manny arrived, the Dodgers nothing much for almost two decades and not much happening in Dodger Stadium.
Manny made the Dodgers relevant again late in 2008 and early in 2009 before the drugs wore off, but now what?
The McCourts earned an extra $13.3 million because of the last two playoff runs, but get nothing now. The poor people just never seem to catch a break.
So many questions. The middle of the lineup with Ethier & Kemp went bust too often. Will they ever consistently deliver? Someone in the organization says the team must add a hitter better than Ethier and Kemp to be successful, but if it costs money, then what?
The current state of the Dodgers and chances for future success ought to scare the heck out of anyone who finds great pleasure in rooting for this team.
It has certainly taken its toll on Steiner & Monday, and as boring, lifeless and inept as this team is, that means they will have more air time to kill.
Speaking of the dead rabbit, and believe me, Monday will be.