Friday, November 11, 2011

Dodgers' Future Shouldn't Echo The Distant Past

Those halcyon days of Fred Claire and Peter O'Malley should be left in the past, as baseball (and what it takes to succeed in baseball) has moved on, says Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com:

At long last Frank McCourt has opened up the path for the Los Angeles Dodgers to move out of the purgatory his destructive divorce and financial mismanagement subjected the team to these past two years. Away from the scandal, embarrassment and uncertainty he created by pursuing his best interests instead of the teams'.

But moving on is different than moving forward. Changing hands is different than changing directions.

While it's worthwhile to consider Peter O'Malley's offer to lead the Dodgers, L.A. needs to look forward, not necessarily turn back the clock. It might sound like a subtle point, but if baseball misses the distinction, the Dodgers miss out on their best chance to become relevant again in both this city and this sport.

It's easy to forget all these years later, and after all that has happened, how things really were in sunnier days. Before the McCourts, before Fox, before Peter O'Malley and his family decided to put the Dodgers up for sale.

Time seems to squeeze out the unremarkable, unsavory parts of our memories and embellish the people and places we were fondest of. Emotion resonates through the years, details blur.

But the Dodgers were not a healthy team when O'Malley sold them on Jan. 6, 1997. Their way of life was becoming extinct.

"I think family ownership of sports today is probably a dying breed," O'Malley said at a news conference that day. "I think if you look at all sports, it's a high-risk business. ... I think you need a broader base than an individual family to carry you through the storms. I think that groups and corporations are probably the wave of the future."

Glory days, man. They'll pass you by.

13 comments:

Greg Hao said...

I pretty much agree with that. As I mentioned over at Chad Moriyama's blog, Peter O'Malley had the good fortune of being born with that last name and having two really shitty subsequent owners. Those facts should not qualify him to be the next owner of the Dodgers. Even if he's just the front man.

Dusty Baker said...

True, but if he use his name and history to bring together a good group of people (incl both baseball experience and money), then there is some use in that.

Greg Hao said...

Undoubtedly, but I'm just very tired of the lazy journalism that one generally sees being trafficked, which usually goes something like this:

1. Peter O'Malley's last name is O'Malley
2. The Dodgers were good once upon a time
3. ???
4. Just filled my three inch column!
5. Happy hour!

Jason said...

Did someone say happy hour?

Greg Hao said...

I've been drunk for hours!

Dusty Baker said...

There's some funny stuff up in this thread today. Nice take on journalism, Greg.

Mr. Customer said...

There's a 3-inch column joke in here somewhere, but I just can't find it.

Mr. Customer said...

(That's what she said)

Greg Hao said...

I'll give that a B for effort.

Dusty Baker said...

I was wanting to go that comedic direction, Mr. C, but I was hoping someone else would do it first.

Mr. Customer said...

Good thing I'm here to cater to the lowest common denominator.

Dusty Baker said...

Thank you for catering to me, by the way.

Steve Sax said...

Happy hour AND catering?! I'm so there!