Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fickle Frank McCourt Sacrifices Little for New Flavor of the Month

Well, there you have it, it's done. Grady Little is gone as the Dodgers manager, as announced on the Dodgers' own website, and in his place it is assumed (though not yet locked) comes former Yankees manager Joe Torre. I wasn't a fan of Grady, both on the field (for his ridiculous and often momentum-killing lineups) as well as off the field (for letting the veterans-versus-rookies clubhouse dissent spillover into a media circus).

The best I could say about Grady as a manager is that he's an even-keeled leader, which has its value at times. But when your team slips from first to fourth place in the division and you don't make any significant or lasting roster or lineup changes to address the month-long freefall, it looks less like even-keeled nature and more like utter complacency. It would be nice to have a manager with a sense of excitement, with a sense of urgency, with a pulse.

And so that leaves us with Joe Torre, recently deposed Yankees manager whose latest stint in New York brought four titles in twelve years. His lifetime managerial record is solid, he seems like a nice and classy guy, he brings with him a real hitting coach in Don Mattingly (which the Dodgers desperately need), and he probably is one of the few people fit to run this team from a "star power" perspective.

And I keep thinking: Why the hell would he want to join Frank McCourt's crazy team? Frank McCourt is exactly the type of mercurial, back-stabbing owner that would drive any team manager nuts. Didn't Torre just leave that situation in New York, amazingly leaving with his pride and dignity intact? Then why would he join up again with a guy with half the brains and half the wallet and none of the pennants?

McCourt's firing of Little makes this the third manager in his four seasons as the Dodgers owner. He's basically like the freshman frat boy walking along the Manhattan Beach strand; a new beauty comes along, and he bails on his current girl like she's the plague. Jamie McCourt would normally be worried, except for the fact that she probably runs the team anyway. But Frank is the kind of boss for which you would hate to work.

I've already taken the time to list the litany of poor decisions and executional miscues that Frank McCourt has made as Dodgers owner. But now we can add to the list "backstabbing your employees," since he's fired the person that he publicly supported less than one month ago. He is as fickle as the wind.

Since McCourt's public announcement of support for Little, the Dodgers have played exactly ZERO games. They've made ZERO off-season moves (short of letting Shea Hillenbrand and Olmedo Saenz go, only the latter of whih frees up any significant space in the lineup (rim shot!)). And yet McCourt, busy ripping up the field level concessions, has decided to take his sledgehammer to the pillars of the team that he just reinforced 30 days ago.

Well done, Frank. Under your management, nothing is logical and no one is safe. Even the HR moves that should make sense are executed like a Keystone Kops routine. I'm sure morale around Chavez Ravine is a an all-time high--that is, if anyone still wants to work for you anymore.

(I guess this means SoSG won't take over the Inside the Dodgers blog space next year.)


Orel said...

Just as the Dodgers have become the Red Sox Lite (sans championship), McCourt has become Steinbrenner Lite. Torre has nothing to fear from McCourt. We'll see how he and Ned get along.

tad swifty said...

"And I keep thinking: Why the hell would he want to join Frank McCourt's crazy team? Frank McCourt is exactly the type of mercurial, back-stabbing owner that would drive any team manager nuts. Didn't Torre just leave that situation in New York, amazingly leaving with his pride and dignity intact? "

exactly. i think torre is going to regret this seemingly reboundish type of jumping into a new job just to prove to your ex employer you can get another job.

I believe Torre will be safe in L.A. as long as he's willing to manage here because...who ya gonna upgrade to? The steinbrenner sons wanted everyone to know like that one gm we used to have, that there is a new sherriff in town and view him as overpaid, which he was.

tad swifty said...


Orel said...

Yeah, and don't expect any muffin baskets from Josh Rawitch anytime soon.

bobmac said...

Well I expected a post exactly like what SS delivered. While I enjoy your blog, do we believe you or Grady Little? On the conference call this afternoon, Grady said the decision was his. Now if McCourt and Colletti are as bad as Sax says, why not say so...after all he is not employed anymore? Last week Sax dumped all over Little, now it is McCourt. Take a quick STAB at Colletti and then let's get back to supporting the Dodgers. Enough is really enough.

Steve Sax said...

Bobmac: First of all, for all his faults as a manager, Grady Little seems to be a class guy. Which is why I am not surprised he took the classy way out at today's press conference and didn't disparage the Judases around him.

As for why I haven't opened a can of criticism whupass on Colletti: believe me, I feel your pain...every time I see Juan Pierre (whom I tried very, very hard to support this year--until I was forced to give up thanks to never getting on base, his penchant for weak fly outs, and shoddy defensive play).

And finally, you should know me well enough to know that I support the Dodgers with everything I've got. It kills me to see the team once again acting like a three-ring circus, just as we did after the 2005 offseason. I highly doubt that these moves are part of McCourt's "master five-year plan" (the only thing I do know is part of McCourt's five-year plan is increasing ticket prices at every possible opportunity). But if all of this pain brings us a championship team in 2008--believe me, we'll be cheering, right along with you.

Thanks for reading, btw. Are you related to bigmac by any chance?

Steve Sax said...

Orel, I just got a muffin basket from Rawitch. It appears to be ticking, however...

Steve Sax said...

...and by the way, I'm cool with Josh Rawitch, save his DodgerTalk freakout incident. We all have days with bad judgment.

Frank McCourt just has more of them.

bobmac said...

Not related to bigmac. I do understand your frustration and feel it as well. While I am not a McCourt fan, he is better than the previous corporation owner. I was disappointed when someone from SoCal wasn't interested in ownership of the Dodgers. It seems to be the same reasons why LA can't get a replacement for the Rams...lack of interest I guess.

Steve Sax said...

It just makes me sad that the Dodgers have gone from baseball's royalty to a laughing stock organization. When we aren't a desirable destination, something is very wrong.

Steve Sax said...

Bobmac: ESPN.com has jumped on the "McCourts are Crazy" bandwagon...we'll post on it later today.