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McCourts killed the joy of watching the Dodgers play

Fans of the team have the embattled owners to thank for ruining what once was a great experience.

June 20, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Ever since Frank, above, and Jamie McCourt announced their separation in 2009, the focus on Dodgers baseball has shifted to the errors the McCourts have made.
Ever since Frank, above, and Jamie McCourt announced their separation… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

He says it with a voice so near and dear, Vin Scully meaning so much to so many while the team no longer does.

"It's time for Dodger baseball," and yet Monday was dedicated to the battle looming between Bud Selig and Frank McCourt.

Friday belonged to Judge Scott Gordon, Jamie and Frank McCourt, and a whole lot of lawyers.

PHOTOS: TheDodgers and the McCourts

Ever since the McCourts announced their separation during the team's 2009 playoff run against Philadelphia, the focus onDodgers baseball has shifted to the errors the McCourts have made.

The Dodgers finished below .500 a year ago, are on track to do so again, and a summer of baseball in Dodger Stadium now looks as if it's going to appeal only to circling vultures.

Now batting for the Dodgers, well, who cares?

I didn't think Frank and the Mrs. were right for this place before they arrived in town as owners of the Dodgers, but who is to say the next owner won't be worse?

The most damning thing that can be said about the McCourts, and so far we've written or heard them all, is what they have done to ruin the Dodgers experience.

None of this ownership stuff really matters to most folks. It's the product on the field that grabs their attention, which currently is unwatchable.

ESPN.com's Tony Jackson suggested in a column recently it's time to play the Dodgers' kids the rest of the season — like this is Kansas City or Pittsburgh?

Have the Dodgers dropped so far off the baseball map it's now considered a good idea to give up with more than half the season to play?

Have you noticed who the Dodgers have been playing in left field this season? The Dodgers gave up before the season began.

A summer just isn't as much fun without an occasional glance to the stadium, but unless someone is really interested in following the up-and-down career of A.J. Ellis, why bother?

"He's a winner," says Manager Don Mattingly. I guess that explains why the Dodgers had him playing in Albuquerque until Monday. Now he's with the losers.

Charley Steiner is screaming on the radio the other day, "Where would the Dodgers be without Jamey Carroll?"

The Dodgers finished in fourth place, 12 games behind the division winners, with Carroll a year ago. They are in fourth place this season with Carroll, 7 games back.

Maybe if they got rid of Carroll, the Dodgers might have the chance to advance to third place. I've got a feeling that's not what Steiner was trying to say, while making the point the Dodgers could really be worse off.

But could they really be worse off? No one seems interested in the team anymore, and with the Dodgers meaning so much for so many reasons to folks who grew up here, how bad must they be?

Say what you want about Manny Ramirez now, but he demonstrated it is possible to have a good time here.

As faithful as Dodgers fans have been — the adage that 3 million will show up if you turn the lights on — they might very well have sped up the McCourts' demise by not turning up this season. They apparently expect better.

But right now it's tough to make the case the stadium will rock again any time soon. There's more attention being given to June 30 and McCourt's ability to make payroll than the trading deadline that might make the team better.

The Rangers went to the World Series a year ago after being without an owner for most of the season. How about something more from Mattingly and the riff-raff who can't hit?

It's not a money issue but one of accountability. General Manager Ned Colletti more than anyone else is not getting the job done. He has two legitimate players in his lineup, the remainder filled with bad decisions.

The story here is no longer the McCourts and their peccadilloes; they are going, going … but when will the attention return to what counts the most around here?

It's time for Dodger baseball.

QUESTION: HOW would the people of Los Angeles feel about the McCourts if the Dodgers were in first place, 10 games ahead right now?

THE DODGERS won, 1-0, Sunday and the fans were understandably giddy with the one-game winning streak. When I tuned in to the postgame radio show, the first caller was saying, "We've got a good team; we've got everything."

My first thought: I hope this guy isn't living next door to me.

Broadcaster Joe Block's reply to the caller: "Thanks for the good call." Sounds as if the Dodgers have a replacement for Steiner someday.

The next caller wanted to know, "What are the top three things the Dodgers can do to make the playoffs?"

The two radio hosts seemed stumped, the answer obvious: Kidnap the Rockies, Giants and Diamondbacks and hope the Dodgers stay close enough to San Diego for a wild-card spot.

IT DOESN'T happen very often around here anymore, but a TV star showed up for Monday night's game. J.K. Simmons of "The Closer" made an appearance on the field before the game — wearing a Tigers hat.

SINCE I'M partial to granddaughters, especially those going out of their way to let everyone know their grandfather is just the best, here's to Mia, who just wanted me to know Gene Rubin is a Dodgers fan. "Totally," Mia said.

Photos: The Dodgers and the McCourts

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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