Thursday, April 29, 2010

Boys will be boys, and Bums will be Bums.

Dodger GM Ned Colletti caught in compromising position.

Dodger homeboy Matt Kemp with party Posse.

The flack surrounding Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp and GM Ned Colletti is not without precedence. Remember Gary Sheffield? Remember Bobby Bonilla? Charles Johnson? How about a guy by the name of Orlando Hudson? Hmmmm. Is it possible that the perception held by African Americans, namely that they have historically maligned Black players in the organization, actually be true? Tell me it's not, Al Campanis.

The reality is that all of the criticisms leveled at Matt Kemp are correct. On this nine game road trip that ended with the team going a woeful 2-7, Mr. Kemp, one of the premier offensive talents in the game, was forced to hit in the four hole after prospering in the two hole with Manny in the lineup. Since he was no longer seeing a steady diet of fastballs, being protected on both sides by Furcal and Ethier, he now could see his old fashioned nemesis rear its ugly head again with those delectable, delicious curve balls on the outside part of the plate. This is obviously Kemp's Achilles heal, one which he has yet to figure out. He was outright dreadful at the plate the entire road trip.

But his defense and base running have absolutely evaporated. Granted, Dave Stewart is correct in his claim that Matt is still learning. He is indeed. He came to the game late, has a Basketball player's mentality, and no one questions his effort. Unfortunately, Baseball is a game that requires total devotion. It is simply too difficult to divide one's mind into other sporting areas, such as football or Basketball. As talented as Deion and Bo were, they couldn't last. One has to be a Baseball player utterly and completely. When becoming a man, I gave up foolish things, says the proverb. In Baseball, that is tacit. I fear that Mr. Kemp's mind is weakened by the split. His Baseball IQ is already somewhat low, in my opinion. For someone like him to thrive, there must be no distractions. Do you hear that Rihanna?

However, Mr. Colletti's decision to call out Kemp in the media is unprecedented by a GM, let alone ill timed. Wasn't Colletti's reason for hiring Joe Torre to avoid such public chatter? Why Kemp? Is it the contract? I guess blaming someone like Jamey Carroll wouldn't have the cache. But what about Billingsley? Or Sherrill? Or any of the myriad of Bullpen failures who have been a disaster. Or what of the defensive lapses by all of the other players on the team? Furcal, leading the league in errors at shortstop for the umpteenth time, has had his bacon saved for his entire Dodger career by a sure handed James Loney. And are we forgetting perhaps the biggest criminal of all: Mr. Steroid cheat himself, Manny Ramirez? All of this, and it is Kemp alone who has been blamed and is the scapegoat.

Obviously this is a calculated choice that Ned Colletti has invented to divert attention away from his incompetent general management decisions. And yet, I don't even blame Ned Colletti. He has no power over the purse strings. No, my friends, the answer is blowing in the wind. The man behind the curtain is to blame for the entire debacle called the Dodgers. Frank McCourt, who demanded a reduction in payroll to make the team fit for its inevitable sale after his likely divorce case loss, Mr. McCourt is the sole and final stop on the blame train. Whether he has ordered Colletti to attack Kemp in order to facilitate a trade and further lower payroll is yet to be determined. The Dodgers have built their current franchise on "the kids". But the entire philosophy of having kids with veterans is a joke as far as this team goes. Ancient veterans, minor leaguers and young prodigies together equals rushing brilliance up too fast and, as in the case of Bills and now more than likely Kemp, we see the consequences of their greed and cheapness. Or should I say, Frank McCourt's greed and cheapness.

While the team's performance is a bad situation, Mr. Colletti's truculent comments have made a bad situation far, far worse. To right the ship, he must publicly apologize to Kemp at once, make reparations for his comments, and begin the ugly process of righting this ship, which is just about to vanish under the iceberg.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I woke up this morning God.

After viewing a documentary about famed Science Fiction guru Harlan Ellison last night, I awoke this morning with an absolute certainty in the non-existence of God. I experienced the exact same perspective after watching Bill Maher's film "Religulous". And when I mean "no God", understand that I am not referring to agnosticism. I mean zilcho, nada, nadir, NO-THING. Now, as a recovering addict, understand that this kind of spiritual diaspora can be rather enervating. In fact, in can be downright lethal. I have based the numinous nature of my sobriety on a personal relationship with a Higher Power of my own understanding, whatever that may be. So far, at least up to this morning, that has been a fait accompli. Without reservation, I have devoted myself to the admonition that "either God is everything, or he is nothing". That last unequivocal statement may, in fact, be more than meets the eye. It may, in fact, be a Zen Koan, not an admonition at all.

Follow me here: By limiting me to a black or white-"Lady or the Tiger"-approach to God, having to chose one door to live and the either to die, I experienced an epiphany,an "A HA" moment. The floor that dropped out from under me after watching these two rather brilliant but sycophantic atheists was actually the undergirding foundation of a new psychodynamic interpretation/revelation or postulation of a "God" that had fallen off the shelf, as it were. A three dimensional/poly dimensional dual consciousness which catapulted my "I" into a spiral quantum mechanical world, a world in which events observed occupied the same "space", which can be interpreted as being BOTH and NEITHER simultaneously depending on who is the "observer" of the event. To put it more succinctly, is it at all possible that God is AND is not? By Jove, I think he's got it.

Of course, this is not a new concept. Non dual consciousness has been the basis of the Hindu school of Vedanta for centuries (Advaita). It lies at the root of Taoist thought, of Zen Buddhism, and of the teachings of such avathars as Gautama Buddha, Lao Tze, most it not all of the Rinpoche's, and the more modern equivalents such as Krishnamurti, Sri Auribindo, Ramakrishna, and in the west Allan Watts and, more recently, Eckhart Tolle. Only those from a stringent Judeo/Christian/Islamist paradigm rigidify themselves under this either/or phenomenon. I thank them for this too strict a viewpoint. It has allowed me to surrender to a possibility beyond the narrow confines of my lovely Cartesian weltanschaung.
Oh, by the way, I think this is what LOST is about.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grace and Grief

One of the most moving and heartbreaking documentaries I have ever seen, Cheetahs:Fast Track to Freedom, from the BBC 2004 Nature series, is a love poem to the heart of mother Africa. Simon King raises two orphaned cheetah cubs, Toki and Sambu, slowly and lovingly preparing them for the brutal and awesome adventure of being reintroduced to the wild, from their first kill, to crossing a body of water. He spent two years of his life filming and following them, bonding in a way that is unimaginable to most of us. From the sublimely haunting moments of mystery that is life in the wild, to the devastating loss of Sambu by lions while sleeping, it reminds us of the very meaningful truth that the most tragic thing for a human being to do is fall in love with a wild animal. Unforgettable.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? (Sonnet XIII)

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dodger 25 man roster almost complete

The Dodgers have roughly one more spot on their 25 man roster to fill. It will probably be either Nick Green or Russ Ortiz. Both of them have to approve any reassignment to Albuquerque, with Nick Green's contract stipulating that he must be on the 25 man roster by April 4th or he can opt out.