Skip to content

Why the Dodgers' mystic energy man matters

Jun 10, 2010, 10:28 AM EDT

Rasputin.gifI got an email a few minutes ago that reflects a sentiment I’ve seen numerous times since the Dodgers’ Svengali story came out last night:

Do you ever write anything positive about
the
Dodgers? That’s the first place Dodgers. They are currently getting
terrific
pitching and playing solid baseball. I believe they have the best record
in
baseball for the past month and just swept the Cards. You are missing
some fun
baseball.

I get it: don’t beat up on the McCourts because the Dodgers have played good baseball for a couple of years. What’s a couple hundred thousand dollars to a quack if the team is winning?

I suppose that’s fair, but only to a point. And the point is this: the Dodgers have totally out-sized revenue streams compared to their divisional rivals in San Francisco, San Diego, Colorado and Arizona.  Imagine how big their lead would be — year-in, year-out — if those resources were channeled into smart baseball decisions instead of energy-channeling physicists and the never ending parade of extravagance we’ve heard about since the McCourt divorce kicked off.

The Dodgers do OK. But if the McCourts wanted to focus on running a tight baseball ship instead of entertaining fantasies of NFL stadiums in the parking lot, buying soccer teams and pursing whatever whim their copious amounts of money and apparent lack of sense sets them upon, they could be the West Coast Yankees, dominating the division. 

  1. The Common Man - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Forget realignment, then, let’s introduce John Henry and Hank Steinbrenner to some Russian mystics!

  2. think blue - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Well said, Craig. There is absolutely no excuse for the management and owners of the LOS ANGELES Dodgers to be spending like they’re a new expansion team in North Dakota. I was shocked at the six figures that the McCourt’s paid their good vibes guru… SIX FIGURES!!!! That represents so many free agents, draft signings, team improvements, trainers, and it could be argued… any number of World Series rings.
    On another note, I’ve been following your site for a while now, and it’s really coming together as a solid baseball news site with great commentary and writing. I used to get all my info from MLBTR (which is still a great site for trade news) but it’s rather slow going when it’s not the offseason or the trade deadline. Way to find a need and fill it!

  3. Ross - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Well, it could be easily argued that the Dodgers have had some good years recently in spite of the McCourt(s)’ ownership. Bash away.

  4. Craig - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Sell the team, Frank. Dodger fans deserve better. Dennis Gilbert will buy them tomorrow.

  5. Professor Longnose - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    I think you were right the first time: Rasputin,not Svengali.

  6. YankeesfanLen - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Jeez, I thought they WERE the West Coast Yankees. We gave them their manager and everything…..

  7. Joey B - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    “Well, it could be easily argued that the Dodgers have had some good years recently in spite of the McCourt(s)’ ownership. Bash away.”
    Sure, bashing is always a lot of fun. If one wants to divide LAD history into the 7 years of McCourt ownership and the 7 year of pre-McCourt, the 7 years of pre-McCourt resulted in -0- PO appearances, to repeat, -0-. Since McCourt, they finished 1st 3 times, in the WC once, and are currently in 1st place.
    And attendance is up 600,000.
    I’m not an LAD fan, but they’ve certainly done a lot better.

  8. Joey B - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    “But Bert Fields, an attorney for Jamie, said the Dodgers paid Shpunt a stipend, plus a bonus of “certainly six figures and even higher” depending on whether the Dodgers won the National League West title and how far the team advanced in the playoffs.”
    1-As you alluded to, 6 figures, unless it was one dollar short of a $1M, is unlikely to buy a lot of FAs. Seriously, if this guy is paid $100k a year, that’s beer vendor money at Yankee Stadium.
    2-The quote from the original article strikes me as though they are making it up as they go along. If the attorney for the co-owner doesn’t put a number out there, I suspect the number is not large. It would take all of 5 minutes to find out how much they paid the guy over the years, if Jamie really wanted the information known.

  9. Andy H - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    I agree – no reason the Dodgers can’t be the Yankees of the NL, and the Cubs and Mets ought to be vying for the title of Red Sox of the NL. I think that’s the real reason the AL has been dominant lately. Their top market teams have had very good management.

  10. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Damn you and your “facts” and “reasoning”, let us carry our pitchforks in peace and continue with the burnings!

  11. Ann - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    You are right…I don’t think it is anywhere near 1M…And don’t tell me Jamie does not know the numbers…IF Frank didn’t pay from his own pocket…

  12. JBerardi - Jun 10, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    “1-As you alluded to, 6 figures, unless it was one dollar short of a $1M, is unlikely to buy a lot of FAs. Seriously, if this guy is paid $100k a year, that’s beer vendor money at Yankee Stadium.”

    I think you’re missing the point here. The problem isn’t the amount of money they spent on this guy. The fact that they spent any money is kind of a warning sign that these folks may not, in fact, know their asses from a hole in the ground.

  13. SteinB - Jun 10, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    It seems you are always ragging on the Dodgers for one thing or another D-head. The Dodgers have the best record in the National League and the third best record in all of baseball. How can you say the Dodgers are not being smart when they are winning. Would you like it better if they blew their money on non performing free agents. Winning speaks for itself. Seattle spent tons of money on free agents and where are they. There are a few sports writers for the LA Times that have a reputation for writing make beleive garbage. Frank might have spent money on his kids and mystics and other things to make his wife happy. Some ex-presidents wife believed in horoscopes and things. That’s their right to believe in whatever vodoo garbage they want to, just as it’s your right to believe Atlanta is going to win this year.

  14. David M. - Jun 10, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    “the point is this: the Dodgers have totally out-sized revenue streams compared to their divisional rivals in San Francisco, San Diego, Colorado and Arizona. Imagine how big their lead would be — year-in, year-out — if those resources were channeled into smart baseball decisions”

    Part of the problem is that the spin seems unnecessarily negative – sure the McCourts are idiots; sure, spending money on a svengali is dumb and haha isn’t it funny. Granted. But why isn’t the attitude, “man, isn’t it crazy that despite the fact that this team is run by incompetents, they’re still winning the division practically every year recently.” I mean, you want to talk about real incompetence? The kind that actually fails on the field, where it matters? Take a look at the Mariners, who are spending twice the amount as two of their divisional rivals but have the 3rd-worst record in baseball. Maybe they don’t have a mystic to mock, but jesus, at this rate, maybe they could use one.

  15. KG - Jun 10, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    SteinB, the point is not that they are not winning, but they could be even better than they are now. When they draft an almost unsignable player in the 1st round, give away Carlos Santana to save money, etc., these are all moves that, if not taken, could have made the Dodgers a juggernaut, or something akin to that.
    Don’t let your Dodger fandom cloud your judgement. The Dodgers are good, and he mentions that. It’s just that they could be SO much better.

  16. SteinB - Jun 10, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Yes the Dodgers have made a lot of mistakes, don’t all the teams make mistakes. If the other teams didn’t make mistakes wouldn’t they be in first place. Along with all the mistakes they have made they also have made some great moves. If you want to talk about some bone head deals how about 1993, the Dodgers trade Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields, the 1998 Mike Piazza trade, Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw. The Dodgers before McCourt owned them made some crippling mistakes that devasted the team. I don’t want the Dodgers to go back to that idiot mentality they had before the McCourts arrived. Any team could be better, could make less mistakes, the Dodgers just happen to be that team that is making the fewest mistakes at this time. They may still screw up, but at the moment they are on top. I don’t care about team owners personal lifes, too much information, just win.

  17. Joey B - Jun 10, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    “I think you’re missing the point here. The problem isn’t the amount of money they spent on this guy. The fact that they spent any money is kind of a warning sign that these folks may not, in fact, know their asses from a hole in the ground.”
    I agree that it’s nuts, but I’ve worked long enough that I realize that companies are often run by people with not much more knowledge than their subordinates. A long. long time ago, I worked for a company that fired it’s CEO, hired another on a 2-year contract, re-convened the BOD, fired the second guy and rehired the 1st guy. $500k for one day’s work. And that’s back when $500k was real money.
    If I’m an LAD fan, I can only judge them on their record. And their record’s been pretty good. Judging them on Rumplestilskin is like judging Theo on SS turnover. A weakness for sure, but on balance, an immaterial weakness.

  18. Joey B - Jun 10, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    I’m not an LA fan, but I have to go with SteinB on this one. You mention the Santana trade, but LA won the division by 2 games and needed a 3B. Santana was too much, but you had to give up something. Nor can you examine the trade in isolation. They’ve made other trades that have worked out well. It sounds like you’re cherry-picking the moves that haven’t worked while ignoring the overall success of the team.
    Before McCourt came, LA had two PO appearsances in 15 years. This year will make it 5 PO apperances in 7 years. Just like some RS fans, you’ve forgotten about past ineptitudes, taken current success for granted, and basically blaming the current owner for his success.

  19. JohnandYoke - Jun 10, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    There is an old saying that it is better to be lucky than good. If it takes chicken bones and amulets, billy goats and unwashed uniforms, dirty filthy hats and tapping on home plate, not stepping on the foul lines and drawing in the batters box, eating chicken before every game, mystics and psychics, whatever it takes to win. Spending money on Rasputin there may not have been wise, but when your wife has you by the cojones she can pretty much get whatever she wants. The trick is to make sure Jamie gets Vlad there in the divorce. What’s that about out-sized revenue streams Craig, don’t the Dodgers give huge sums of money to other teams in the form of revenue sharing. Isn’t this a type of welfare where the well run teams have to give to the bad management, sloppy teams. The Dodgers do OK, bit of an understatement. Lack of sense?, maybe their just lucky.

  20. NotYanked - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Why exactly does it matter Craig, not following your reasoning.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Three legends off to Cooperstown
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3505)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (3248)
  3. C. Headley (2838)
  4. H. Ramirez (2723)
  5. Y. Puig (2719)
  1. R. Howard (2664)
  2. B. Belt (2571)
  3. C. Lee (2498)
  4. M. Trout (2323)
  5. J. Soria (2192)