The Dodgers have gone months and months without having a head of security in place. No one is quite sure why. They just fired the last one and still haven’t gotten around to hiring a replacement. No biggie, though. I mean, it’s not like a fan was friggin’ beat almost to death in the Dodger Stadium parking lot during the interim.
Now, a day after Major League Baseball announced that it was taking over the Dodgers, Frank McCourt’s media attack dog Steve Soboroff has the nerve to say that the takeover is irresponsible because it hinders the Dodgers’ ability to hire a security chief:
The Dodgers tried to make their point on Thursday by telling Selig’s office they were prepared to hire a full-time head of security, a position McCourt has left vacant for four months. If McCourt had his usual authority, he could have made a job offer on Thursday. Instead, the Dodgers had to submit the name of the unidentified candidate and wait for league approval.
“Where is the responsibility now? That’s not good management, from this perspective,” Soboroff said. “In four days, they’ll send somebody out to see if they want to hire our security guy?”
How effing convenient, Mr. Soboroff, that you found a security head the day after baseball took over the team. I’m sure the timing was a complete and utter coincidence, in no way connected with Frank McCourt’s need to demonstrate, as soon as possible, that he actually deserves to run the team he’s spent the past several years destroying. And yes, those four days far outweigh the four months your boss has sat on his butt on the subject, spurred to action only because Bryan Stow was almost killed.
I think the only thing he could say that would be more gobsmacking is that baseball’s receivership of the Dodgers is causing them to have to borrow money and that such a thing is a crying shame.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.