Thursday, May 6, 2010

Around Town: Tired of all the McCourt bullpen

I know that the McCourts’ divorce is really none of my business and it is simply rude to mention it, but the sad fact remains: The Dodgers need the money for the bullpen.

The bullpen, of course, is where the relief pitchers warm up during a baseball game. Meanwhile, Frank and Jamie McCourt continue to litigate whether the Dodgers franchise is community or separate property. It is estimated that Jamie’s lawyers have billed $9 million, and that lawyers for Frank are in the same ballpark. That’s $20 million on divorce lawyers.

The only team not in the ballpark are the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The point is this: The McCourts could spend less money on lawyers and more money on pitchers.

There’s always mediation.

Yeah. Right.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Why did the mediator cross the road? I’m sorry. That’s confidential. I can’t share that information, unless the chicken authorizes me to do so.

I know. I know. It is none of our business whether the McCourts will agree to mediation in order to save the franchise, but last Sunday’s game is proof positive of the Dodgers’ dire straits.

At the end of the eighth inning, the Dodgers were ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-1, thanks to Hiroki Kuroda’s outstanding pitching for the first eight innings and two home runs by Andre Ethier.

The ninth inning, however, was a different story. The eight-run spread began to melt away. The resurgence of the Pirates was not due to the skill of the Pittsburgh batters. No, the spread began to shrink due to the Dodgers’ pitching issues.

One after the other, Pirates players got on base. There were walks. There were weak pitches. Finally, the Pirates scored two runs. The Dodgers were a grand slam or so away from a historic loss. The game finally ended with the Dodgers winning, 9-3.

Sportswriters called it a victory for the Dodgers. Right.

The Dodgers won. The ninth inning, however, was perilous. Once again, the Dodgers got in trouble due to a weak bullpen.

For the last few years, Dodger pitching has been erratic. Ethier can hit. Kemp can hit. When Manny gets off the disabled list, he’ll hit. One weak pitcher, however, can erase the hard work of the entire roster.

The solution to this problem is to throw some money at it. The Dodgers need to sign a dynamite pitcher.

Juan Pierre is gone, traded to the Chicago White Sox for two pitching “prospects.”

Orlando Hudson is gone. He plays for the Minnesota Twins.

Two years ago, the New York Yankees signed pitcher A.J. Burnett for a five-year, $82-million contract. The Dodgers just don’t spend that kind of money. Not on pitchers, anyway.

Meanwhile the McCourts keep spending money on lawyers.

Too bad for the Dodgers.

Too bad for us.

Like they say, “This is OUR Town.”

La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California

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