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.