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T.J. SIMERS

Dodgers have been anything but satisfactory

There's no way this team should have been given a passing grade at the All-Star break.

July 12, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier reacts after striking out as San Francsico Giants Buster Posey during a game against the Giants on May 18.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier reacts after striking out as San Francsico… (Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire )

I read the most ridiculous, outrageous, off-base pile of rubbish lacking even a scintilla of sense that I have ever read in this newspaper the other day.

And neither Plaschke nor Dwyre wrote it.

The fella who did write it is Kevin Baxter.

Maybe Baxter was just trying to write like Plaschke or Dwyre. By all accounts he has been a fine sort most every other day of his life, leading one to presume that when he sat down to grade the Dodgers at the All-Star break he must not have been himself.

Or, Tom Lasorda had a lamb chop to his head and told him it was a gun.

Whatever, Baxter/Lasorda gave the stumbling, bumbling Dodgers a "C" for compiling a 41-51 record to date.

A "C"' is acceptable to most people and considered a gift from God by those of us who remember what it was like to get through chemistry or physics.

But do Baxter/Lasorda really find the Dodgers' work to date acceptable? Or, pleasing to God?

A "C" is satisfactory work, isn't it? Is Baxter/Lasorda saying they find the Dodgers' fourth-place standing satisfactory?

How did this get past the editors as satisfactory work? And I don't mean this column.

A "C" is maybe a team playing .500 baseball. The last time the Dodgers were .500 was 71 days ago.

If it's just Baxter at work here, he must have put a lot of stock in that spine-tingling battle for fourth place with the Padres just before the break.

By the way, the fourth letter in the alphabet is "D."

My wife is a fifth-grade teacher, so I asked her what she might give a student taking a 92-question test and getting 41 answers correct.

She thought it a stupid question. "An 'F,' of course," she said.

If only Baxter had been a professor back at Northern Illinois in my day; I might have graduated.

For that matter, if only my wife hadn't been a student and such a distraction back at Northern Illinois in my day, I might have graduated.

Anyway, the Dodgers have 70 games remaining and to hit Baxter's standard for a "C" they need only win 30 to go 30-40 over the second half.

That would make the Dodgers 71-91 for the season, so as you might imagine, I e-mailed Baxter to make sure he was all right.

"Overworked?" I asked. "Make a mistake you would like to correct now?"

He replied: "I work for The Times so of course I'm overworked. But I'm also an easy grader. No child left behind and all that."

The Parking Lot Attendant picks up the paper and a day later he's giving a vote of confidence to GM Ned Colletti because how can you fire a guy who is getting passing grades from Kevin Baxter?

I wonder what a vote of confidence from Frank McCourt is worth these days. Whatever it is, I'm sure Jamie will want half.

We certainly don't want to forget the Screaming Meanie in all this, the Dodgers just not the same since she left with the chauffeur.

The Dodgers were 54 games over .500 while she and Frank were all hugs for the crowd, but now 12 games under .500 the last two years with just Frank & Ned together. Makes you wonder if the wrong person got the vote of confidence.

My grades, of course, are a little different from Baxter's. The Angels are eight games over .500, one game out of first, and Baxter has them getting a "B."

There is an 18-game swing between the Angels and Dodgers, but Baxter has the Angels just a notch above the Dodgers. The Angels have a great shot to make the playoffs; the Dodgers no longer do.

I'd be giving the Angels, my new most favorite team, a "B plus," and the Dodgers a "D minus." Only a win at the break kept them out of last place and getting a "F."

How do the Dodgers get a "C" when they will be trying their ninth starting left fielder in Juan Rivera, the latest riff-raff to be added to the roster?

It seems like only yesterday when there was a national blogging and tweeting outcry because I didn't like the Dodgers' opting to start a certified defensive clown, Marcus Thames, in left.

Now Tims/Tems has been asked to leave town, and before he gets the chance to nudge his batting average over .200.

Left field really tells the whole Dodgers story on the field, as good a reason as any why the Dodgers should be D-rated at best.

How could the Dodgers go through an entire off-season with plans to platoon a steroid rehab in Jay Gibbons and a major league defensive liability in Thames in left? Talk about not giving the fans in a major market the goods they deserve.

But that's become the Dodgers way the last few years, hoping to strike it lucky with no-cost acquisitions like Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez, while knowing no matter what the fans would line up to come into Dodger Stadium.

Aren't they surprised?

From the very start of spring training the Dodgers have been a flat-out failure, but the organization reacted as if it were counting on fans not to notice.

"We really like our left-field situation," Don Mattingly said in spring training, either taking fans for fools or he's that clueless as a manager.

They also liked the free agents they signed, prompting an interesting question: Who has squandered more Dodgers money? The McCourts or Colletti?

No, there is nothing acceptable or satisfactory about the Dodgers' performance to date. The highest marks go to the fans who have stayed away from the stadium, for whatever reason, demanding so much more.

I wonder how they would grade the team.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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