07 October 2008

Kick 'Em When They're Up

I was at Saturday's game when the Dodgers swept the Cubs. I was one of the people waving one of those stupid yet fun rally dishcloths. I was holding my breath when Loney launched his bullet down the line and cheering when it landed fair, standing all those times Kuroda had two strikes but couldn't quite close the deal with a K, and yelling and screaming when Broxton had two strikes on Soriano. I was astonished when Martin was almost thrown out at third, nervous when it seemed that Saito might pitch the ninth, and delirious when Broxton ended the ninth. I experienced that game, the tense moments, the highs, the roars, the swirling white, the love for LA.

Not once did I think about Ned Freaking Colletti.

Not once in the days since the game have I thought about Ned Colletti. The Dodgers are in the playoffs, have advanced to the LCS. Who is thinking or writing about the Dodgers GM at a time like this? It's about the players and the coaches now, the chances of the club, the dreams of fans and players, the matchup with the Phillies, the hope for one more series, then a really serious series win, then the trophy with all the flags on it.

I would have thought it would be about that for everyone associated with the Dodgers right now, but not for team beat writer Ken Gurnick. He goes and writes an article in which he uses the Dodgers' sweep of the Cubs as a bludgeon on critics of Ned Colletti. Seriously? That's a story that important to tell right now?

So why bother even responding to this crap? I guess it's because the story itself is so obnoxious, so wrong. Even the title gets it wrong.

Colletti silencing critics with success

No. The critics are silent because you don't worry about the GM while your team is in the playoffs. Does it really make sense that three games against the Cubs would change the reality of Colletti's tenure with the Dodgers up to this point? Colletti has brought good and bad to the Dodgers this year, but the single biggest factor which got the Dodgers to the postseason this year is playing in a weak division. That has nothing to do with Colletti.

The subtitle of the article is just as loose with the truth:

GM builds team to win now without sacrificing young talent

Wrong. Young talent has been sacrificed. Santana, Watt, and LaRoche are gone. Maybe it was worth it. Maybe some of the deals were worth it but others weren't. ( That would be my position. ) But it is incorrect to say that no young talent was sacrificed.

But the worst part of the article is the first sentence of it, as obnoxious characterization of one's foes as you will ever see in a puff piece written by a beat writer:

The deeper the Dodgers go into this postseason, the greater the angst for the critics of Ned Colletti.

I am a critic of Ned Colletti, and the advancement of the Dodgers into this postseason gives me zero angst. It takes away angst. No Dodger fan is upset at the team advancing. We've waited 20 years for this! But we critics of Colletti are so petty that we'd wish to see the team fail just so that he can be fired? No. Your lead sentence is a disgrace, Ken Gurnick.

Further down the article:

The former assistant general manager of the San Francisco Giants was hired to replace Paul DePodesta on Nov. 16, 2005, taking over a 91-loss club six weeks into the offseason. There was no manager and the small group of healthy stars he could count on for the following season consisted of Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew. Among the position players he inherited that finished in the top eight for team at-bats the previous year were catcher Jason Phillips, first baseman Hee-Seop Choi, injured shortstop Cesar Izturis, utilityman Olmedo Saenz, injured outfielder Jayson Werth and infielder Oscar Robles.

Interesting that Gurnick doesn't mention what else Colletti inherited: Martin, Kemp, Loney, Billingsley, Broxton, and Dewitt. As I've said I have little interest in criticizing Colletti right now, but I would prefer that the entire truth be told. Later in the article Gurnick mentions that Colletti got the Indians and Red Sox to pay the rest of Manny and Blake's salaries, but he doesn't mention what the Dodgers had to give up to make that happen, or how the team even got into a position where it couldn't take on more payroll.

It's the timing of this article that pissed me off at first, but I realize now that no matter when this article was written it would be poor. It's not that defending Colletti is wrong. But you've got to tell the truth, the entire truth, when you do so. ( This goes for critics of Colletti as well. ) No shading of the facts, no convenient omissions. But most important, no mischaracterizations or petty slams of your opponents.

1 comment:

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