Less than 24 hours after the much-ballyhooed signing of Brad Ausmus, Dodger Stadium began to see the full effects of Ausmus-mania take hold. Legions--nay, hordes--of ravenous Dodger fans, hungry to secure any sort of free-agent signing whatsoever, descended upon Dodger Stadium to celebrate what is arguably the biggest backup veteran catcher signing in General Manager Ned Colletti's career.
"Ausmus comes to us in the fine tradition of Danny Ardoin, Gary Bennett, Mike Lieberthal, and Toby Hall," said Colletti. "I remember when I looked back at 2008's statistics and saw Bennett's .190 batting average staring at me, I said to myself, 'how can I find someone better than that?' And sure enough, here's Brad, a solid .218 hitter, even at 39 years old (Ausmus will be 40 next season)."
(Ardoin, six years junior, hit .235 last year for the Dodgers, playing in 33 games. Ausmus had three times as many home runs (three, versus Ardoin's one) and admittedly a better OBP over 81 games for the 'Stros. But who's counting?)
"The offseason free agent market is like a big game of 'hangman,'" further explained Colletti, "and I've now successfully eliminated the Z, J, X, Q, V, and G. Sure, I only have half of the right letters in the target word. But I'm sleeping easy knowing those six letters aren't in it, either."
Dodger owner Frank McCourt, on hand for any press conference signing (despite disappearing from the public eye for unsavory events like Andruw Jones' recent dismissal), also cited that he saw "at least one, maybe two people" in line at the ticket box office windows this morning. "One can directly attribute those sales to the Ausmus signing," said McCourt. "At least, that's what Brad tells me. Since he's a Dartmouth grad, I take his word for it."
McCourt also suggested that Ausmus, who has announced that he will wear number 12 next year in honor of retiring Dodger Jeff Kent, must have seen brisk jersey sales at the Top of the Park Store, as his uniform was not in stock. "We have plenty of Jeff Kent jerseys on sale, though--cheap!", added McCourt.
No word to whether Ausmus wigs will be sold at concession stands during the 2009 season.
"I'm delighted that the Dodgers finally signed a big name, even if his big-name years are almost a decade removed," said one anonymous Dodger fan. "This, from the same team that's bringing me Mark Loretta next year? Shit, I'm renewing my season tickets right now."