July 10th-Los Angeles
Frank McCourt has done plenty to ruin the storied history of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. And just when you thought the tradition coffin was nailed shut, McCourt is still using the hammer. This weekend, McCourt cut another tie to the past when he fired Dodgers icon Steve Garvey from his position in the team’s front office.
Garvey, who spent 14 seasons with the team as a player (1969-1982) and the last 16 years on the team’s payroll in a public relations capacity, has stated publicly he might be able to secure the resources necessary to purchase the Dodgers. Garvey is reportedly in tight with billionaire Ron Burkle and others who might be in a position to ante up the funds needed to buy the team. There is only one problem; McCourt still hasn’t put the team up for sale. To put it in perspective, imagine going into your happily employed boss’ office one morning and telling him to get out. Obviously, McCourt did not take too kindly to someone whose check he signs implying the team should be sold tomorrow.
If the Dodgers ever had a player who fit perfectly into Hollywood, it was Garvey. He became the Dodgers everyday first baseman in 1974 and was an integral reason the team went to four World Series between 1974 and 1981. His career included an “iron man” like consecutive game streak that saw him play in every Dodgers regular season game between 1976 and 1982. Women loved him and men ogled his beautiful wife Cyndy. They appeared to be a perfect couple and became celebrities as big as any movie star. Garvey was popular with fans for reasons that extended beyond the field, as this writer can attest to. After winning game four of the 1981 World Series at Dodger Stadium, Garvey stood next to his car signing just about anything put in front of him. Fans were outraged at Dodgers management when they allowed the 33-year old Garvey to sign as a free agent with the San Diego Padres after the 1982 season.
Sadly, Garvey’s “perfect” image was later dispelled by his activities away from the game. He went through a bitter divorce from Cyndy, who by that time was able to parlay her fame into a television career, was caught up in having three different women accuse him of fathering their children, lending his name to a company that was found guilty of illegal business practices, and suffered through his own financial struggles. In spite of this, Garvey remained popular with fans.
All-Star break wrap up
Factoid(s) of the week: The Dodgers enter the All-Star break on a four game winning streak; their longest of the season. The pitching staff has allowed a total of one run in those four games while the offense has averaged only 4.5 hits per game over that span.
Hard Luck stat of the week: In his last three starts, rookie pitcher Rubby De La Rosa has allowed only four runs in 20 innings and struck out 17. He is 0-2 in those starts namely because the Dodgers scored a total of two runs when he was on the mound.
Biggest Worry of the week: All-Star Matt Kemp has no home runs and only three RBI in July. He entered July batting .330 and enters the break at .315.
Trade talk: The name that has been bantered about the most in regards to the trading deadline is pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, 36, is only 6-10 this season but has a stingy 3.06 ERA. Until he was tagged for four runs in his last start Wednesday night, Kuroda had not given up more than two runs in his previous six starts. The Tigers have reportedly shown the most interest.
Saving the Dodgers
Stealing a page from Nestor Aparico’s 2006 attempt to organize a major protest against Orioles owner Peter Angelos, Dodgers fan Roger Arrieta tried to do the something along the same lines. He created a website to promote a planned protest at Dodger Stadium prior to last Saturday’s contest against the Padres. The turnout was way less than he hoped for; the crowd was estimated at between 75 and 100 people.
Arrieta might have had a few more show up if not for a scheduling “snafu” that led to some fans missing the game. The original schedule showed a July 9th start time of 7:10PM Recently, the Dodgers switched it to a 1PM start in order to accommodate the FOX game of the week. Although they promoted the change on Dodgers telecasts and other social media, several fans showed up in the evening. The Dodgers gave those that missed the party vouchers for tickets to a future game.
Speaking of a snafu, the announced attendance of more than 29,000 at Saturday’s rescheduled game seemed awfully generous. The actual number of those that showed up had to be far less. I was at last Tuesday’s game, July 6th, against the Mets where the crowd was announced at over 32,000. In my time as a Dodgers fan, I have never seen so many empty seats when a team as popular as the Mets were in town. Depressing.