Ned Colletti was on KABC radio in Los Angeles yesterday, and seemed to question the legitimacy of some Dodgers’ players recent trips to the disabled list:
“Sometimes you wonder what the thought process is too. The disabled list used to be some place a player never wanted to go. And now it might be a safe haven, it might be a couple of weeks’ vacation. You just hope everybody is doing everything they can to get back and play.”
He walked the comments back in the Los Angeles times, saying that, however those words came out, it wasn’t his intent to call anyone out.
I suppose tone mattered here: Colletti said the comment was made in jest, and if there was in fact some comic exasperation at the Dodgers’ injury woes here, it’s a pretty nothing comment. If he was a bit more serious, maybe it’s one of those Kinsley gaffes where a public figure actually — accidentally! — revealed what he was thinking instead of providing the politically or corporately-approved line. Which we simply cannot have.
Of course, Colletti isn’t the first person to suggest that players need and/or use the disabled list for simple rest. You’ll recall that Jayson Stark spoke to an anonymous general manager a few weeks ago who suggested that “players just couldn’t handle” the 162-game season and used the disabled list as a means of escape.
So: is Ned Colletti the anonymous GM, or is he simply saying here what a lot of people inside baseball think about the disabled list?
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.