Results tagged ‘ Los Angeles Dodgers ’

Could the “Entourage” Group Help the Dodgers Situation?

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In this current roller-coaster economic
climate, it is not unusual for some of us to need a little help, or
possibly a ” hand-up” to get ourselves on a solid footing again.
Maybe it is time for Los Angeles Dodger primary owner Frank McCourt
to embrace his current situation with open arms.


With McCourt already mired down by an
overcoming storm of “questionable moves and finally drawing the
attention of the Internal Revenue Service to his storied franchise,
did he think he was untouchable?


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I have heard more than a few tales
whispered to me recently of a huge house of cards built up by McCourt
that finally might be shaking and ready to come tumbling down around
him. The possibility of McCourt even thinking about ” borrowing”
against his Fox Sports Network future baseball television rights
revenues to float the team for even a few seasons would eventually
send him to the bottom with nothing.


I even heard of a loan default and a
California banking institution basically foreclosing on the parking
lots around his stadium effectively circling the financial wagons
with an impending doom looming just over those picturesque California
mountains. Maybe, a ” hand-up” right now might be better than MLB
taking over the club.


McCourt currently has the “Lion’s
share” of the overall ownership stake in the storied Dodgers, and
possibly parting with a small slice of that monopoly, it might
actually get McCourt the secure financial footing and keep the team
from leaving his hands and possibly being put “in trust” by Major
League Baseball in the near future.


I understand the reasoning of McCourt
to do everything possible to keep MLB out of the fray, but when the
IRS sneaks into a organization, it sends immediate red flags and
warning whistles throughout baseball. McCourt should not take this
action so personally. But then again the wordage coming from MLB
Commissioner Bud Selig never sounds like a positive thing.


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With the recent announcement by Major
League Baseball to possibly take on the daily duties of the Los
Angeles Dodgers, you have to wonder if the MLB brass might have
already done a primary search for a few well known names, or
prospective ownership groups who might take on a small stake of the
ownership of the lovable “Boys in Blue”.


I have a solution. It might be a bit
out there, and might need both MLB and McCourt to actively pursue
with vigor, but in the end it could satisfy two different goals. We
all know that in the past when New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and
Sam Katz were seeking some minority ownership infused money a group,
or “Entourage” of investors made their desires
known to MLB and the Mets.


That’s right, a few of the popular
stars of the HBO highly acclaimed series want to throw their New Era
caps into the MLB ring as minority owners. “Entourage
executive producer Doug Ellin as well as three of the series stars,
Kevin Connolly ( E ), Ed Burns and Kevin Dillon ( Johnny Drama ) want to
pursue a chance to own a historic franchise.


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And that phrase “historic franchise”
caught my eye. The Entourage series is based on a group of guys who
follow their friend actor Vinny Chase to Los Angeles after his
success in a ficticous Indie film called “Queens Blvd.” Interestingly
enough, Queens Blvd which runs 12-lanes wide at times runs from
Midtown Manhattan to Jamaica just north of the Dodgers old home of
Brooklyn,New York. Sure the guys might want to retrace their NY roots
and become a piece of the ownership group of one of their old sports
favorites, but they also now have a chance to possibly help preserve
a franchise most in New York city portray as ” dead to them”.


How fitting would it be for a bunch of
Long Island and New York natives who now work on a series based in
the LA region could come to the rescue of an old expatriate NYC
franchise. With the series possibly starting production soon on their
last season, the added storyline of possibly getting some
post-“Entourage” good karma by helping out McCourt could go a
long way.


But the problem is first McCourt has to
publicly admit there is a fiscal problem beyond his current means.
Denial is a vain and confusing human condition that engulfs us whole
and sometimes is bitter to let us go, even with the truth.


The possible infusion of outside money
and a solid investment group could keep the banking hounds at bay,
and MLB out of McCourt’s offices for now. The “Entourage” group
could invite McCourt into their little social circle and make him
again see the light at the end of the tunnel and keep his grip on his
baseball team.


There is no clear indication that this
will ever happen, but it is feasible and could be beneficial to both
parties. Maybe MLB hasn’t connected these dots yet, but they should.
Even if the “Entourage” group just takes a temporary ownership
stake until the ground settles and firm for McCourt, some help is
better than seeing your dream fade away into the abyss.


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Think about the show production value
of possibly spinning this into the series. We all know that Ari Gold
(Jeremy Pivin) was actively trying to get an NFL franchise for Los
Angeles. What if the storyline could be evolved to provide a Dodger
backspin that his passion and drive could produce a ownership stake
in the team. Would be a PR ” win-win” for both “Entourage
and McCourt.


Sure Connolly, Dillon and Burns might
want to own a piece of the Mets, but shouldn’t the added fact that
being a part of the Los Angeles scene as sports team investors they
could finally get Turtle to stop wearing his New York Yankees gear on
screen and sporting his new home team cap along with the rest of the
Entourage” of the “Dodger Blue”. Just a thought……….

“Rickey” Sprints into the Hall of Fame

 

 
 

 

For the next few days people all over the country, including sportswriters will be writing about their favorite Rickey Henderson moments either in stories or in his wild quotes.  Henderson along with former Red Sox Jim Rice were selected today for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Now I will not be there, but you can bet I will as close to a television set as possible during the Induction Ceremonies to hear the speech that might either shock or amuse baseball for the rest of the year. the biggest surprise to me is the fact that he did not garner more than 94.8 percent of the vote. Now I did not think he was going to challenge Tom Seavers 98.8 percent, but thought he might hit the 96 plateau without a hitch.
 

 
So why did some people not put him on their ballot? didn’t this guy change the way we look at fast hitters and basestealers in the MLB? Come on people the guy who is the career leader in runs scored and stolen bases by a huge margin is nothing more than a scrub to some BBWAA voters. Maybe some of the voices are right, maybe we need to tweak this system a bit and weed out some of the naysayers who look more at off the field actions than on the highlights accomplished on the field.

 



 

 
Is there any argument that Henderson  because of his power and ability to get on base ,could change a games complexity with a  single hit or a walk? Do you think that this one guy could be responsible for the induction of speed demons in the lead-off spot and not buried down in the 7,8, or 9 slots in a lineup? And do you think that Henderson might have viewed himself like a cartoon character to actually not be bothered by the critics and naysayers who thought he was a destroyer of the game?
 

The answer to all three questions is  a huge YES.


Henderson did change a pitchers’ mind when he was on base. It brought  into the pitchers’ mind that he could steal a base on any pitch. I did not matter if it was a 100 mph Fastball, change-up, curve, it made no difference to Henderson, any pitch was a good pitch to steal a base.  His power made you respect his plate discipline enough to not try and finesse a pitch up there, or you would be getting a fresh ball from the umpire.   Henderson went to the plate 10,961 times in his career. 

 

 

 


During his career from 1979 to 2003, Henderson had 3,055 hits, which in its own right should be a good consideration for the Hall of Fame. He hit 510 doubles and  66 triples. I think those numbers might have been a lot higher if he did not have a great thrill in running and stealing bases on any pitcher that took the mound. I could see him pull up at first or second base just so he could play that cat and mouse game with a pitcher then steal the base on him and give him that grin from the bag.

 
In his career he got 4,588 total bases.  He stole a grand total of 1,406 bases, and only got caught 335 times during his career. That seems like a low mark to be caught stealing, but Henderson made the act of stealing a base into an art form during his career. Think of the totals he would have left with if he had been active in the MLB, even at his advanced age. 
 

 

 


From 2000 on, he only appeared in over 100 games with one club. While he was with the San Diego Padres in 2000, he appeared in 123 and still stole 25 bases. But during his last year in the MLB, Henderson was mostly a bench player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and only made it into the game 30 times during the season. He did however steal 3 bases that year in his limited role.  But have to remember, not just did he have a few gray hairs by then, but defenses were setting up for him knowing he was in the game to get into scoring position and maybe score the winning run for his team.

 


 

 

I truly feel that the arrogance of stealing a base, along with is knack for sliding around the tags is the reason players like current Tampa Bay Rays speed demons Carl Crawford owe their careers to Henderson. Before Henderson made it an offensive weapon to truly steal a base with gusto, Lou Brock was the only other base stealer to command as much attention when on base.  But Henderson did something none of the other base stealers ever did, he tried to bait pitchers into balks and mis-throws to the plate based on his ability to steal and to take an edge off the team’s pitching game.

 

Henderson changed the lead-off position. Here was a guy who had 2,190 base on balls during his career, and could bring a new dimension to the game with four pitched balls. Every walk he was ever issued looked more like a doubler to him because he could steal a base and get into scoring position at any moment. Henderson also could hit the long ball. Lost in a lot of the translation into his base stealing is the fact he did hit 297 home runs in his career, mostly from the lead-off position. So as you can see, New York Met’s shortstop, Jose Reyes also owes a big round of applause to Henderson in making it fashionable to get dirty stealing bases in the MLB.




 

 

Now for why Henderson always talked about himself in the third-person. Some people have commented that it was a defense mechanism devised by someone for Henderson because it made his character on the field different than the man in the clubhouse after the game. It left him into a secondary world to rant, rave and just be “Rickey” while he wore the team’s colors. This might or might not be true, but if you really think about the image of being able to put your work suit on and take the punishments and the abuse while you are working, then shed those insults, opinions and wild lies when you toss them in the clothes hamper to be washed, it make a bit of sense.
 


Who among us would not relish a secondary personality or a persona that we could use at work and toss aside and forget the troubles and strife in a moments notice. This might not be the true reason for his third-person antics, but it does make good conversation for the next few months. But the antics and the stories concerning Henderson are many and both base in legend and in folly. 
 


But one of the best ones I ever heard was from a Oakland area sports story that told the story about the Oakland A’s front office finding a financial mistake in their bookkeeping. It was  showing that the team had a million dollars more than it was suppose to have in it’s coffers. After a series of check and double checks, it was concluded that they had only one conclusion to this error. A member of the Athletics management went down into the locker room and found Henderson and asked what he did with the $ 1 million dollar check the team had issued to him. Henderson remarked that he put the check under glass. Never cashed it, never even thought of the down the road consequences of the actions, just did what “Rickey” would do. 

 


 

 

I have a story of my own about Henderson based in 1984. I was a newly drafted snot nosed kid who came out to see a friend, Scott Hemond who was catching for the Oakland A’s at the time. I was in the locker room after a game and saw Henderson right before he left for the night. He was dressed to the nines, and I strolled up and introduced myself as a friend of Hemond’s and just wanted to tell him what a joy it was to watch him play baseball. 
 


He remarked how ” Rickey was happy he liked his personal style of play, but that Rickey did not like  to associate with friends of catchers’.”  It took me a second before I started to laugh and then remarked that was why I like “Ricky”, he was wihtout a doubt not predictable or even in the same league as the rest of us.   I saw him a few hours later when we went out to dinner, and Henderson came over and finally shook my hand and sat for a few moments talking to Hemond and some other players’ at the table. 
 


He finally got up and remarked to me, ” I hear you are fast?” I told him I could hold my own between the hash marks and on a  440 yard track. And then Henderson remarked,  ” Guess you never tried to push the bases around.” I only remarked that I played baseball from about 6 years old to college, but was never a demon on the base paths like him. Henderson in perfect “Rickey” form just muttered, ” There is only one Rickey, and he is leaving the building.”  I let out a huge belly laugh and pointed to him acknowledging his comment.

 


 


He was right, there is only one “Rickey.” No matter if you loved the way he played, or hated him for the flamboyant personality. The ability of this guy to get into a team’s head mentally made for a really exclusive career.  Thank goodness he is not the only one getting inducted on that Summer day. After his speech we will all need time to collect ourselves and get serious again. I do not know who will introduce him at the podium, but maybe he should research his stolen bases and find the pitcher he stole the most bases off of in his career.
 


The moment that guy steps to the mic, I will be glued to the television set watching him. Not since Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr gave their speeches when inducted have I waited for such a moment to happen. Those two men gave memorable speeches for different reasons. But you know that the world, and the entire baseball community are awaiting the final appearance of “Rickey” in all his glory and gruff. It will be an historical event that you do not want to miss.  Got to remember to TIVO that introduction.



 

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