This week the Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy amid accusations of mismanagement by owner Frank McCourt, who evidently learned nothing from his childhood of poverty and hunger in the slums of Limerick. Wait, different Frank McCourt. The author's deceased; the desperate businessman who borrowed against the team until they went bankrupt is now in a court battle to keep the Dodgers under his control.
Giving McCourt a helping hand now would only be extending the Dodgers' suffering. Rockies fans can get behind that. So here are four ways McCourt can save the Dodgers.
Make Manny the mascot: The Dodgers owe Manny Ramirez $21 million. That's a lot, sure, but the Rockies are paying Tulo $157 mil over 10 years and Todd Helton $141 mil over nine, so it's not unheard of. Problem is, Ramirez hasn't exactly been performing up to expectations. Seems his production dropped off quite a bit this year when he retired April 8 after steroid issues popped up (again). But he'll still be collecting from the Dodgers all season.
The solution? Put him to work. If he's retired, get him on the field any way you can -- including as the team's newly minted mascot. The Dodgers don't have one now, so the team can pick the name and persona and start fresh. My suggestions, tailored especially to Manny's smiley, spacey personality, are Slappy the Smile Man, Chuckles the Dreadlock Clown, Goofy (Also Coincidentally a Registered Trademark of the Walt Disney Corp.) and Steroid Steve. Let Manny's fun-loving personality define the team as a mascot the way he used to as a left-fielder. Just don't expect him to show up before the sixth inning.
Actually dodge something for once: The Dodgers brought their name from Brooklyn, where it had something to do with "trolley cars" in the 1890s. Like lorries, rickshaws and steamboats, there is no evidence these ever really existed, which might be why they're so easy to dodge. Brooklyn was supposedly covered in trolley cars, so all Brooklynites were called trolley-dodgers, a nickname Jay-Z has tried unsuccessfully to resurrect.
So they've never actually dodged anything. It's as disappointing as the time I went to a Brewers game hoping to try the latest microbrew beers they'd concocted. Or the massive disappointment that was the Senators-Kings hockey matchup last year, in which all the players appeared to be commoners who held neither elected nor appointed office. Liars, all of them. Relocate to a huge city with a reliable baseball following: I mean, this one's kind of a no-brainer. Want your baseball team to flourish? Maybe head to a top-two-in-the-nation-by-population, warm-weather, dedicated-to-baseball city with very little sports competition after basketball's over. Maybe build on a long-established tradition with a widely loved, historically significant team that broke the color barrier and boasts nearly 50 Hall-of-Famers. I don't know, just a thought.
Give up on stadium security, hold monthly "Beatdown Giveaway Days": Some say the Dodgers' woes started with Opening Day this year, when a small group of Dodgers fans beat the crap out of a visiting Giants fan. The crime's still unsolved, the victim's still in the hospital and the shattered sense of safety at Dodger Stadium still hasn't been repaired.
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So, work with what ya got. Your fans are unfriendly, violent and uncontrollable, so why not market it? Let fans come down for a beautiful day at the ballpark and a beautiful fight in the parking lot. Anyone wearing the visiting team's colors is fair game! Monthly Beatdown Giveaway Days would boost ticket sales and give fans a much-needed outlet for their anger. And parking lot beatings would provide a nice counterbalance for all the losing happening on the field.
The Rockies won't get a shot to prey on the hapless Dodgers for about a month, and by then Beatdown Giveaway days will be in full swing, so watch your back.