OK, so the quote used in my title may not be entirely relevant to this post (I am not talking about hurting anyone or sending anyone to the morgue. However, “The Untouchables” is a great movie). I am here, again, to talk about the pitiful ownership of my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. In short, Frank, GET OUT OF LA (maybe I am talking about The Untouchables)!!!!!
When I was a Freshman at the UO, I took a class called Baseball Research. Our final project was to do a research paper about a specific baseball topic. I discussed the Rise and Fall (and Rise, and Fall) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. My researched focused around two key moments which altered the franchise (forever? I don’t know, but ever since 1987). 1) Al Campanis getting fired. 2) The sale of the Dodgers to FOX from the O’Malley family. But right now, I’m focusing on Campanis.
This post is about The Dodger Way. The Dodger Way To Play Baseball was a theory. A way of life. A style. It was created by Branch Rickey, passed down to Campanis, Alston, and Lasorda. However, Al Campanis was the true visionary. Campanis, the Dodgers General Manager, put the idea of The Dodger Way and wrote a book. The Dodger Way was taught to all players, minor leagues and major leagues. Even if they didn’t read the book, they knew the idea. It was how to play the game, both on the field and in the front office. It was a bible of sorts for everyone in the organization. When Campanis was fired, Lasorda and O’Malley were the last preachers. They two then left. The team was sold, a new manager came in, and The Dodger Way was forgotten.
Baseball Hall of Fame writer and former LA Times columnist Ross Newhan wrote in 2008:
“The figures don’t lie:
Whereas there was a single-family ownership for the first 40 years in Los Angeles, there have been two owners in the last 10 years alone — uninterested Rupert Murdoch and transplanted neophyte Frank McCourt.
Whereas there were four general managers (one of them, Fresco Thompson, died a few months after taking the job) and three field managers in the first 40 years, there has since been a revolving door on those offices.
Keeping the movers busy in that 10-year period, there have been six general managers (counting Tom Lasorda and Dave Wallace on an interim basis) and six field managers (counting Glenn Hoffman on an interim basis)… Lasorda he believes that it was when Campanis left the organization that the “Dodger Way” began to slip away.”
Peter O’Malley, former owner, said, “Al’s book was a cornerstone of our success, as fundamentals always are, and that continuity was also a cornerstone. I can’t think of any organization in baseball which had that continuity for as long as we did. There was stability throughout.” So why not stick with it?
Davey Lopes, current Dodger first base coach and former player under Lasorda and Campanis, is slowly teaching the way to the players again, a necessary move. But more is needed.
Whoever the new owner is, whenever he/she/they get here, the first thing that needs to be done (besides lower ticket prices, locking up young talent in the organization, and signing a big name free agent) is this…
The Dodger Way To Play Baseball by Al Campanis needs to be passed out to everyone in the organization and read cover to cover. The Way must be restored to Chavez Ravine. The Way will bring new life and thrills to the once golden organization. The Way will bring fans back to the seats. The Way will help the Dodgers be the Dodgers.