FROM DAVE STRUMPF, FORMER WCAV SPORTSCASTER AND CURRENT RESIDENT LOST ANGELINO GUEST SPORTS CONTRIBUTER. ENJOY:
Jeff Kent Isn’t as Cold and Emotionless as I Thought he Was, But He’s Still a Prick.Even clubhouse-killers, racists (ask Milton Bradley) and homophobes (link) can cry. All you needed to do was watch Jeff Kent’s retirement speech yesterday morning on ESPNNews. I must admit he’s one of the greatest second basemen of all time and has legitimate HofF creds. But as a man who bleeds Dodger Blue, I say, “so long, Jeff. You will not be missed.”A few quotes from El Mustachio’s press conference:“I treated this game with respect….I treated it’s legacy with respect.” Hmmmm. Well you seemed real respectful when you took a shot at Vin Scully.“I’m tired. I’m tired of coming back from roadtrips and seeing my kids have grown half-an-inch. I’m tired of living out of a suitcase.” Well, Jeff, we’re tired of you. Consider it mutual.Watching the press conference made me realize that Kent’s exodus is one of the few positive things the Dodgers have done this offseason. They did bring back Raphael Furcal, and recently gave raises (deserved) to Russell Martin and Jonathan Broxton. But just months after going to the NLCS for the first time in 20 years, the franchise has refused to build on that momentum and commit itself to winning a championship…LAYMANS TERMS: signing Manny.Thursday, July 31. 1:30pm: Ned Colletti announces he’s Baseball Jesus. He walked on water, turned water into wine, and somehow convinced the Boston Red Sox to pay for a first-ballot Hall of Famer (a mentally unstable one) to play in a Dodgers uniform in exchange for two no-names. I have no idea how he pulled off this crazy magic trick. This was Kwami-for-Gasol on steroids.The results were undeniable. Manny completely transfixed and reenergized Dodger fans. Over the course of only two months, Manny became one of the most iconic Dodgers over the past 20 years. Let be honest, Nomo-mania was just a phenomenon. Eric Gagne’s “Game Over” pursuit of the consecutive saves record was a neat way to keep fans in their seats late in games. But Manny Ramirez actually got fans to Dodger Stadium EARLY. He gave baseball fans like me a baseball boner (yup). He single-handedly raised excitement and optimism of the Dodgers to levels unknown for a long time.Dodger fans have been incredibly loyal to their franchise, and the Frank McCourt has yet to prove that he is loyal in return. I saw about seven Dodger games post-Manny trade, three of them in the playoffs. I didn’t miss a game on TV. I had tremendous appreciation and fascination for what Manny was doing to Dodgers culture, but when a friend asked me if we should buy #99 Ramirez T-shirts, I declined. I told him I wasn’t going to buy a t-shirt of a part-time Dodger. I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to wear the t-shirt next season….which shows the level of faith I have in the Dodgers front office.Frank, I get it. $65-$100 millions dollars is a crap-load of money. And in these economic times, its tough to justify large expenses like that. But with something as simple as your signature on a check made out to one Manuel Aristides Ramírez Onelcida, you can restore that faith and pride that most Dodger fans have lacked and hopefully get the Doyers into the World Series.Do the right thing.