Dodger Game and Stadium Report

by journojames on March 3, 2012

Originally published Sept. 4, 2011

You can stop believin’.

The Dodgers beat the NL West cellar-dwelling San Diego Padres Monday night, 4-1, at Dodger Stadium behind Clayton Kerhaw’s complete game effort. The boys in blue have now won six of their last seven games.

Clayton Kershaw shuts down the Padres, Photo courtesy of Gambling Beat

Don’t be fooled. They may be playing better of late, but there are ominous signs. These signs indicate the Dodgers will continue to struggle for the foreseeable future before they truly get better and contend again for the playoffs.

It starts at the top. The current disastrous ownership dispute between owner Frank McCourt and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig continues. The silence and lack of news from both parties is deafening and worrisome. The longer this stalemate lasts, the more difficult it will be for this team to move forward and for the better.

Another troubling indication occurred back on July 31, right before baseball’s trading deadline. General Manager Ned Colletti traded away outfield prospect Trayvon Robinson to the Red Sox for three players, most notably, 24-year-old catching prospect Tim Federowicz.

Robinson, a 24-year-old outfield prospect, had hit 26 homers and driven in 71 runs this season at triple-A before he was traded.

Federowicz has hit 27 home runs over his entire four-year minor league career. During the same period, he has posted a .277 average and driven in 186 runs. That’s an average of about seven homers and 47 RBIs a season.

According to Colletti, the Dodgers need catchers and Federowicz has excellent defensive skills. Perhaps Federowicz could defend this move by Colletti.

GM Ned Colletti, Photo courtesy of Image of Sport

Like all prospects, Robinson has a good chance of never becoming a major league regular. In fact, he was considered third on the depth chart in the Dodgers’ minor league system. However, given the dire financial situation of the Dodgers, Robinson could have been a cheap, serviceable fourth outfielder for three to six years. This move represents a bigger issue: a lack of imagination and good judgment from the Dodgers’ front office.

Colletti and has team can’t afford to make personnel mistakes with their lack of funds and options with the roster. Their payroll will most likely reduce next year and beyond due to the ownership issue. They must be smarter and more creative if they want to compete, which will be challenging.

Don’t forget: despite their recent winning ways, this is still a poor performing team with an unimpressive 63-70 record. Aside from Kershaw and Matt Kemp, the roster lacks top-tier talent that can compete with premiere teams in the majors like the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. And there’s not much help on the way from their minor league affiliates.

In the past four seasons, Kershaw is just one of two homegrown Dodger players –the other one being Matt Kemp — who has made an impact in the big league. ESPN’s minor league baseball ranking this year had them at a weak No. 22.

The Dodgers produced five consecutive National League rookies of the year from 1992 to 1996. But currently, there seems to be an organizational failure to produce big league talent. This will not change if Colletti and his team continue to make questionable moves.

Josh Rawitch, Photo courtesy of Univ. of Indiana

A recent interview session with Josh Rawitch, the Dodger’s vice president of communications, only seemed to confirm the woeful direction of the Dodgers.

“We’re trying to tell people about the experience of the ballpark,” said Rawitch. “Whether the team stinks or not, we want you to still bring your family out because it’s a place where you can hang out and have fun. Like after games on Sundays, your kids can run around the bases.”

Seventh inning Moss entertainment, Photo courtesy of Fresnobeach

That does sound like fun. Too bad the kids will probably be running around the bases after a Dodgers loss. The public relations office seems to be focusing on distractions rather than on the game. And who can really blame them this year? It’s been a year full of crises at Chavez Ravine. But when the organization starts showcasing amazing give-aways and lunches with Tommy Lasorda, instead of upcoming talent and the future of the franchise, that’s not a good indication that winning baseball is on its way.

These are all ominous signs that point to a long Dodger dryspell. So, the next time during the middle of the 8th inning when Jameson Moss is rousing the dwindling Dodgers crowd by lip synching Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”, don’t be fooled. You know better.

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