Monday, March 17, 2008

Why One Shouldn't Read The Last Paragraphs First

Coming across another piece of "syrupy journalism", I scanned the AP article on headlined, "Dodgers say goodbye to famed minor league complex". And when I got to the end of the article, I read these words and feared for Tommy Lasorda's life:

Lasorda managed the Dodgers for a week while Joe Torre took the team to China, and went 1-6 in his stint.

He did everything to try to win his last game, putting runners in motion and calling for a suicide squeeze. Like his players, he wore a lucky green hat on St. Patrick's Day.

David Newhan hit one of Houston's five home runs. As a boy, he sometimes came to Dodgertown with his dad, longtime Los Angeles Times writer and Hall honoree Ross Newhan.

"It was a day in history," Newhan said after homering. [The Astros won, 12-10.]

When it was over, Lasorda walked toward the clubhouse and the Dodgers waited with their bats. The tradition is older than the manager himself and mostly reserved for minor leaguers getting married and movies like "Bull Durham."

Oh my gosh, I thought, the Dodgers finally had enough of Lasorda's 1-6 record and decided to beat the heck out of them a la Al Capone in The Untouchables. "Part of a team. Teamwork.... Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team...." Yikes! Visions of angry Dodgers filled my head. "I'll show you a suicide squeeze, Tommy," said Nomar Garciaparra. "If you're gonna make me ride the pine next year, you're going to feel that pine--on your skull," said Andre Ethier. "This is how we wash our trucks in San Francisco," said Jeff Kent.

But then I went back and read the lead that I'd skipped:

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- His eyes red, his steps slow, Tom Lasorda waved to the fans for the final time at Dodgertown. Down in the right-field corner, his players and coaches silently gathered and formed two lines.

They had their own way of helping him say goodbye to an old friend.


Crossing bats overhead in a sacred baseball tradition, they formed an arch to let Lasorda close this special place the Dodgers called their spring home for 60 years.

"These guys want me to cry," the Hall of Fame manager said.

Whew! Tommy's safe! Pass the syrup, and pass the marinara sauce!