Thursday, November 19, 2009

Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

The Times' Bill Shaikin, among many others, passes along Grand Poobah Commissioner Selig's reaction to questions about the McCourt divorce:
[He] sidestepped the question of what he would say to fans concerned that the Dodgers' long-term future could echo the San Diego Padres' recent history -- an ownership divorce, followed by a sale, management turnover, payroll cuts and the cost-driven departure of popular players.

"There's no reason to get into any debate about what's going to happen," Selig said. "The Dodgers will be in Los Angeles for as long as we're alive and for many generations to come."

Well, off the bat, I think we can all see right through that last line. In fact, judging by the e-mails and comments I get, not a word of what's reported above will fool any of you for a second. Will the Dodgers be in Los Angeles for our lifetimes and many generations to come? Probably, unless Rob Neyer's fears prove justified (fourth bullet down). But can't the same thing be said for the Padres? They just built one of the cooler stadiums (stadia?) in baseball. They're not going anywhere.

Now you probably know this little corner of the internet's thoughts on the Padres-Dodgers divorce comparison: apples and oranges. In the courtroom, on the field, and in the front office--just a completely different situation. The Dodgers are talented and young enough that they will compete for a playoff spot next season without spending a ton on the free agent market. And, while angst abounds among Dodger fans at the moment--$15 parking stings when your owner and his ex-wife co-owners are working out their differences at Spago--nothing puts butts in the seats like winning. And these Dodgers will win.

But that doesn't make debate and discussion about the McCourt divorce unjustified. Selig's comments are really just a microcosm of his approach in general. The umpiring is fine; expansion of replay is unnecessary. The All Star Game is working out just great. November is the new October (maybe). The randomness of a multi-tiered playoff system masks the Yankees' overwhelming advantage over the rest of the league.

Just a couple days ago, Zack Greinke won the American League Cy Young Award with 16 victories. Why? Because, in the most general sense, our baseball world is getting smarter and embracing debate. Wins don't make a pitcher good. Runs batted in don't make a hitter good. High fielding percentages don't make fielders good.

Yes, the Dodgers are staying in Los Angeles. That doesn't mean everything's just fine.

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