Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Baseball Billy Club

Here is a rather unusual vintage item at Hunts Auctions. It's a billy club made by Louisville Slugger that was apparently made available to stadium security and police in the 1930's to 1940's. When I first saw this I was thinking that maybe the Dodgers should have some of these made to combat some of our more unruly fans. Then, I thought that maybe it should be used to hold back McCourt when he inevitable tries to crawl back into Dodger Stadium. I dunno. Does this make me crazy?

(Hunt Auction Link)

Back In Black

Kings fans know this story. The team heads into the playoffs with all of the promise in the world. Seemingly, we are prepared to take that next step, but when that time comes something always seems to go wrong.

Reverse to this past Tuesdays home playoff game against the Sharks. The Kings were in control from the first drop of the puck. On their very first two shots of the game they scored goals. By the end of the first period they commanded a 3 to 0 lead. At the outset of the second period they scored again. A 4 goal lead looked like a insurmountable obstacle- even for a veteran cup contending opponent like the San Jose Sharks. Then all hell broke lose. The Kings stopped playing "their" game. They started running around the ice like chickens with their heads chopped off. They chased. They missed assignments. Confusion reigned supreme. Before you could blink, the game was all tied up at the end of the second period, 5 to 5. We were rattled and an eventual loss in overtime was something everyone in the stands knew deep down would be the outcome.

I admit it. I felt demoralized. I screamed and rooted more than I ever had only to leave that evening sore and depressed.

Fortunately, this is sport. And in any game you have to accept the downs as easily as you reach for the stars. The team will have to learn to persevere, and fans will have to learn right along with them.

So, root on proud Kings fans. This ain't over yet.

Throwback Day!

Here is an early photo from this day.

Oh, and Alyssa Milano throws her two cents in.

I think she's on to something. No?

Give It Up Frank

Frank McCourt has made a short statement about yesterdays action against him.
"Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner's action today."
For those who keep a close eye on the Dodger, I don't think its too hard to understand. The team is over-leveraged with precious equity being spent on real estate instead of Baseball operations. The franchise deserves better, and no amount of crying or threats of an impending lawsuit against the league can stop what is already ongoing. Bud Selig has a large amount of control and aims to use it. And as Craig Calcaterra suggest at Hard Ball Talk it is doubtful McCourt will persevere.

Good luck. My understanding of the matter — and someone, please, tell me if I’m off base here — is that Selig can basically do anything with a team and its owner (i.e. approve his bid, kick him out, take control over his team, etc.) as long as he has the support of 3/4 of the other owners. Selig rarely does anything unless he has consensus. For him to have taken over the Dodgers means that he almost certainly has the backing of baseball’s other owners.

I’m guessing that the threat of legal action is bluster. And even if it isn’t bluster, it’s doomed to failure. Frank McCourt signed an agreement with Major League Baseball when he bought the Dodgers. I’m guessing what happened yesterday is provided for in its provisions.

I also understand that his ex-wife had something to say about the matter, but, frankly, I don't care. She's a fool who should have made a reasonable settlement way before this incident. At this point, the value of her proclaimed 50% ownership has diminished greatly. When Selig gets around to finally selling the team it will likely not go to the highest bidder- just to the bidder MLB believes would be a more viable owner of the team. On top of that, don't be surprised if the other owners have to chip in some cash in the meantime if the financials are as bad as Selig suggest. That would further degrade any equity that would eventually go to the McCourt's- they will still, nevertheless, walk away richer than when they first came in.

Ultimately, we are all losers in this mess. My hope is that a local group can come in, pay a reasonable value and operate the team the way it should be.

Auto Collection: Joe Thurston Diamond King

I remember Joe Thurston as being a very promising ballplayer when the Dodgers had him in their farm system some 10+ years ago. He was drafted by the team in the 4th round in 1999 and went on to become the organizations "Minor League Player of the Year" and California League All Star at short stop in 2000. He would continue to impress as he went up the ladder. In 2002 he again claimed the Dodgers "Minor League Player of the Year" honors, as well as, Baseball America's AAA "Player of the Year." A call-up was just around the corner.

Unfortunately, his stay was underwhelming. He was eventually shipped off to New York as part of a conditional deal. From there he has bounced around from the Phillies, Nationals, Cardinals, Red Sox, Braves and Marlins- where he is currently a part of their AAA team.

Here is a 2004 Donruss Diamond Kings autographed card from my collection.