Introducing LAist's New Baseball Guy
See all those entries down there that say "Tony Pierce" at the bottom? Uh huh, and the poor guy wanted to add coverage of the city's real baseball team — the Dodgers — and that AL one that lives in the Anaheim of Los Angeles, and only shows up on your teevee sets. That's where I come in. My name's Rob McMillin, and I've been operating a dual-purpose blog over the last three years covering both local baseball teams at a particularly interesting time in their respective histories. The Angels won a World Series title a few years ago, they've goth a highly-regarded farm system, a rich owner willing to spend money aggressively (but generally not foolishly) on free agents, and they're in the second-largest media market in the country. In short, they no longer look like the "jinx-plagued doormats" they had been for most of their existence.
The Dodgers are equally intriguing. Out from under the idiotic corporate thumb of News Corp., the same people who traded future Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza — twice — the team in blue found itself out of one frying pan and seemingly into another, as hypersensitive new owners Frank and Jamie McCourt hired and fired employees with every perceived criticism in the press, or every stumble in the standings. Early reports of their lack of financial wherewithal had many Dodger fans understandably nervous.
Despite that handicap, the Dodgers won a division title in 2004, but crash-landed to an injury-laden fourth-place finish last year. After firing virtually everybody in the front office and coaching staff, the Dodgers rebounded this year with a mix of still-productive veterans and exciting rookies. It's all happened on the watch of a new GM, Ned Colletti, who so far has placed sensible, short-term bets on aging free agents who still had something left. At the same time, he doesn't seem inclined to trade away the farm for the earthly remains of Gary Sheffield or some other meretricious, aging player, another encouraging sign.
My plan is to show up every three days or so and post a kind of "that was the series that was" review for both clubs. So that you know, I hereby confess my present biases, so that no one will be confused, subject to change as the evidence presents itself:
- Mickey Hatcher is a disaster as a hitting coach, but represents only one head of the evil Hydra that is the Angels' alleged offensive philosophy; unless your name is Vlad Guerrero, aggressively swinging at everything only results in strikeouts and weak tappers to short. Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.
- Earl Weaver is God, i.e., the sacrifice bunt is a waste of resources, and the "productive out" is not.
- High-dollar, long-term contracts given to players in their 30's for performance in their 20's are a time bomb.
- Arte Moreno is a better owner than the McCourts, but that may not matter.
Anyway, take me out to the ballgame — I'll be seeing you guys after the seventh inning stretch.[Editor's note: by "new baseball guy" of course he means new to the lineup. Anyone can write about baseball in LA on LAist, particularily those who have previously written about it here, and are currently writing about it here. But yes we warmly welcome Rob to the big club]photo via Flickr's FoxKat