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Out on the Dodgers

April 11th, 2012 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Baseball, Dodgers, Fantasy Baseball

This was how it was supposed to work: That weasel Frank McCourt would sell the Dodgers and I would immediately resume a powerful interest in the club. I would again know the identities of every man on the roster, with opinions on all of them, and my moods could be least be slightly brightened or darkened by the most recent result on the field.

Hasn’t happened.

I still don’t care about the Dodgers.

What’s going on?

Well, if I am an example of a generic Dodgers fan (and I may not be, considering that I have lived in Abu Dhabi for nearly 2.5 years), I now would have to suggest that complete alienation from a sporting enterprise … may not be easily reversible.

I didn’t flip the “off” switch when my loathing of the McCourts reached a certain deep, black depth. It was a process. The schemes to squeeze more money out of fans, the spiraling parking fees and, the big one, the appalling revelations of club funds being used to fund grotesque personal spending. The various Malibu homes, the fur-lined sinks and electric dog polishers (nod to Let’s Get Small) …

The bonds of 50 years of fandom (even through decades of knowing the team too well, as a reporter) were broken.

And it turns out, you can’t patch that up right away.

I wrote on this blog that I was pleased when McCourt’s controlling interest in the team was bought by the group fronted by Magic Johnson.

But several aspects of that deal, and some events thereafter, have done nothing to hasten my return to Dodger Blue.

McCourt was massively overpaid … he still has his fingers if the club’s operations … and then Magic Johnson sat next to Frank McCourt for the whole of the opening game, and when I read about that I threw up a little. How could Magic be so out of touch?

Maybe that was decisive, this sense of McCourt Still Here.

Or maybe not. Maybe you can’t walk away from a team, and mean it and live it for two full seasons … and resurrect any sense of caring.

I can barely name the Dodgers’ preferred starting lineup. (Talking management here, not fans.) Actually, I can’t name them in order. I can name the nine names, I think.

(Well, let’s try this. And no peeking. Dee Gordon ss, Jose Uribe 3b, Matt Kemp cf, Andre Ethier rf, Juan Rivera lf, James Loney 1b, Aaron (is it?) Hill 2b, Somebody Ellis c, Clayton Kershaw p.

(Am I close? Maybe swap Hill and Uribe, since the latter has a career OBP of about .290? And maybe Rivera and Loney, because even though the former is thoroughly washed up, the latter has never done enough to warrant washing-up.)

Anyway, I don’t care. Is that clear? Not interested. Which surprises me a little. But not in a sad way. I plumb my consciousness, looking for Dodgers interest … and it’s just a dead zone. It was, and now it is not, and no self-recriminations.

The curious thing is … I remain very much a baseball fan. I would go to a minor-league game in any random U.S. city. I follow the big-league boxes daily. I remain an avid enthusiast of my own fantasy team. (No Dodgers on it, btw.) I find that I am interested by the bad teams who may be getting better (Royals, Pirates) and by the intelligently run teams that somehow contend on modest payrolls (Rays, Reds).

I like the Rays a lot. I am OK with the Angels, though they never were “my” team and never will be. I don’t mind the Padres.

But the Dodgers? Nope.

Maybe it will come back some day.  Maybe this will be a long process. If/when I am back in the market (or even in the U.S.) and can see the team on TV all the time …

And maybe not. I thought I would resume being a fan instantly. I didn’t, and I haven’t, and I’m not sure I ever will be again.

Frank McCourt’s legacy may be much darker than millions of dollars siphoned off from the club.


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