More than a Little wrong with this bunch
What an embarrassment, what a disgrace. What a bunch of losers, so short on collective wherewithal down the stretch that the Dogs won't even be in the position to choke with a week still to play.
September 22, 2007
PHOENIX -- What an embarrassment, what a disgrace.
What a bunch of losers, so short on collective wherewithal down the stretch that the Dogs won't even be in the position to choke with a week still to play.
How appropriate that they will return Tuesday to Dodger Stadium for "Fleece Night," ah, "Fleece Blanket Night," ripping off the fans once again who Think Blue, believe in preseason expectations and buy so many tickets.
Take a look around the clubhouse here in Arizona, and it appears as if your heroes are just fine with their present plight, yucking it up and having a grand old time, the guaranteed contract money apparently just the right salve for any feelings that might've been hurt.
The pressure is off, and the guys looked just fine with that, because there's no need to worry any longer about pitching matchups, injuries or anything else to do with the playoffs.
Those are the Angels' problems now.
"The season is over and I'm mad," said the exception, Jeff Kent, still steaming. "Look around this clubhouse -- is there any sense of loss? They don't get it. There's no sense of failure in here."
The only game remaining for the Dodgers now is the blame game, some of these guys playing it pretty darn well.
The other day in Colorado, A Martinez, who covers every home and away game for radio, went on TV, telling the KCAL Think Blue pregame audience the manager of the Dodgers has lost his grip on the team.
"The sentiment is that Grady [Little] is starting to lose some of these guys and may have been losing them for a couple of weeks now," Martinez said on TV, while indicating that he was getting this from a number of unnamed Dodger players.
Martinez, who goes by A with no period although his real name is George and he thinks the Dodgers have problems, then told his KFWB "Dodger Talk" audience the same thing.
Martinez said it's the toughest criticism he's offered on the air in his seven years working for the Dodgers' flagship radio station, and when the conductor of the Coca Cola Fan Challenge at all Dodgers home games starts zinging the team's manager -- what next, Nancy Bea Hefley letting him have it on the organ?
"This wasn't one bad day, one disgruntled guy, or one ticked off player saying this," Martinez said.
No, it appears the Dodgers have a whole bunch of gutless players short on accountability, showing no desire to take the blame for falling short of expectations, while instead pointing to Forrest Gump over there in the dugout.
"I have never lost a clubhouse in my life," Little said. "That hurts, putting that out there with so many people listening and believing what he has to say."
And there's no question a good number of fans will believe it, many already coming to the conclusion that Little has no idea what he's doing when he writes out the lineup.
He's a very easy target, all right, but what an embarrassment, what a disgrace. What losers to point to their own manager as the failed leader while failing individually to produce with everything on the line.
Has Little lost some of the Dodgers because they've lost some playing time?
"I was 21 years old and playing in Fort Lauderdale for a manager by the name of Bobby Cox,"Little said. "A player might have a bad season, and suddenly Fort Lauderdale was a bad place, the ballpark was bad and the manager was no good. The same player has a great season, and all of a sudden he has a totally different opinion of the manager."
Little has a .556 winning percentage in four years with Boston and Los Angeles. Mike Scioscia has a .544 winning percentage with the Angels. Scioscia was 157-167 in his first two years with the Angels, Little 167-149 so far with the Dodgers.
Scioscia played catcher for the Dodgers, a gutsy performer standing his ground at home plate, making it easy to understand how competitive he must be as a manager.
Little never played in the big leagues, and comes across like a preacher with a bunch of marbles in his mouth. There's no reason for anyone in L.A. to feel any allegiance for the guy, who already has a history of being second-guessed out of a job.
But was this horrible letdown season Little's fault?
He was given one-armed pitchers in Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf, Juan Pierre to make the jump from Little League to the majors in center, Wilson Betemit to start at third and his choice of Brett Tomko or Mark Hendrickson to round out the rotation. Then, when things got really tough, he was given Shea Hillenbrand.
His team had more wins than any other in the National League in mid-July. But rather than go for it all, he was given the edict at the trading deadline to play on with the youngsters so that they might learn on the job, the mistakes piling up as expected, and ultimately bringing out the worst in some of the team's sniping veterans.
Little had little chance of succeeding this season, trying to satisfy the players who are about to leave the Dodgers, those who are about to begin their careers here and an ownership group that had already sold its 3.5 million tickets and seemed just fine with blowing off the rest of the season.
"I accept all responsibility," said Little, who said he has been unable to sleep at night in recent weeks. "I did the best I could, but if I was a fan, I wouldn't blame them for being really upset, what with all the expectations here coming into this season."
Anyone who singles out Little is ignoring the obvious, the clubhouse that now appears so woefully weak on character, and just maybe talent. Hard to say which should frighten Dodgers fans more.
Friday night Little took on the Diamondbacks with Esteban Loaiza, GM Ned Colletti's latest blunder, and youngster Tony Abreu's mental error igniting a Diamondbacks' rally and eventually an Arizona win.
Now tell me again that Grady Little is the Dodgers' problem.
T.J. Simers can be reached
(Here is my response to T.J. Simers ludicrous editorial in today's LA Times Sports section in defense of Grady Little. What an embarrassment indeed!)
Hello Senor Simers,
My goodness, between you and Bill Plaschke, the spin around is making me dizzy. ("There's more than a Little wrong with this bunch". Saturday, September 22, LA Times, Sports). Sorry sir, there's no way to get out of the "Little is not the problem" angle anymore. This is now a national story. The good people who watch EVERY SINGLE GAME, and have virtually no life, cannot be fooled. While Ned Colletti has made personnel mistakes, Grady Little's "Merkle Boner" incompetence has been the signature disaster of the 2007 season, and the LA Times recent PR campaign/collaboration with the organization to sugar coat this reality is transparent to say the least. The Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf losses are insignificant, as the pitching staff until recently was the second best in the NL. The core group of kids have been the most consistent and dependable Dodgers all season long, with apologies to our whining anti-leader Jeff Kent. The waiver wire pickups were basically lousy, but David Wells was not. Rafael Furcal was atrociously alcoholic as usual, and Nomar HGH'd himself right out of baseball.
No Senor Simers, the lack of pride down the stretch is due to the recognition that Grady has had his finger all season long on the red button, and has always had the trump card to press it at his discretion. HE, and no one else, is the toxic dysfunction allowed to roam free, his wet brain sloshing back and forth in his bonce as he tries to repair whatever childhood issues he has not resolved with his father or anybody else associated with his family of origin/inner child brutalizers. He is a sick individual and has used the Dodgers as his canvas of destruction. For that may he rot in the minor leagues for eternity.
Bring us the head of Tony LaRussa.