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NorCalCat
08-05-2003, 07:07 PM
Dodger fans....where have ya been?

August 3, 2003
Los Angeles Times

Ross Newhan:
Major League Baseball
Dodgers Not in Giants' League

The bellow of the Bay Area fog horns is accompanied by the beat of the
hammers nailing down the Dodger coffin.

Not only are the San Francisco Giants running away with the National
League West, compounding the misery of the Dodger summer, but they are
extending a period of dominance in which the rivalry has been turned
to dust.

With the exception of a game here, a series there, the Dodgers
basically haven't been in the same ballpark with the Giants for the
last decade.

In fact, the standings that now find the Dodgers closer to the San
Diego Padres in the division basement than San Francisco in the
penthouse provide an example.

Since 1993, when a group headed by Peter Magowan and Larry Baer bought
the Giants and foreclosed on the move to Tampa Bay, only the Atlanta
Braves, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians have a better record.

Since 1997, a period in which the Dodgers have finished second twice
and third four times, the Giants have never finished lower than
second, have twice won the division, once reached the playoffs and
World Series as the wild card and compiled a better record than every
team except the Yankees and Braves.

Now, with the Giants headed for a fourth consecutive season of 3.2
million attendance in Pacific Bell Park and having become what
Executive Vice President Baer calls "part of the Bay Area bloodstream"
as they once were in New York, with General Manager Brian Sabean
having again displayed a deft and aggressive deadline touch with his
acquisition of 14-game winner Sidney Ponson enhancing the Giants' goal
of winning the World Series they lost to the since-capitulating Angels
in seven games last year, with a new manager and remodeled lineup
extending the decade of success, it's hard to argue with Baer when he
says

"It's a great time to be a baseball fan in San Francisco."

Asked if it's that much of a greater time because of the ongoing
struggle of the rival Dodgers over the last decade, Baer took the high
road.

"We're having a great run, but we don't take any more delight or
pleasure in it because of the Dodgers' problems," he said. "Franchises
have their eras of success. I grew up in the Bay Area in the '60s when
the Giants always seemed to be just a day late. We know the Dodgers
are one of the great franchises in sports. It's important to us that
they remain a formidable rival. We have no illusions. We know we'll be
fighting it out with the Dodgers going forward."

How kind. Baer knows as well that it doesn't simply come down to
"outspending people," that "every year since '97 we've spent less than
two other teams in the division (the Dodgers always being one of them)
and sometimes three. We think of it as an art, not a science, and it
comes down to a matter of architecture, trusting the eyes of your
scouts and the instincts and judgment of your general manager and his
staff."

Within a framework of an upper-middle class payroll, Sabean has
established his credentials as one of baseball's best general
managers, annually making adjustments in the roster, often under the
pressure of the trade deadline.

This year?

He tabbed Felipe Alou to replace Dusty Baker as cynics said Alou had
become too old and dispassionate to be an effective manager.

He lost Jeff Kent, David Bell, Kenny Lofton and Reggie Sanders from
his World Series lineup. He replaced them with Edgardo Alfonzo, Jose
Cruz Jr., Ray Durham and Marquis Grissom as cynics said Grissom (who's
become another stain for the Dodgers' top decision makers) couldn't
play every day, Durham was strictly a DH and Alfonzo's best years were
behind him.

He lost closer Robb Nen for the season and showed faith in Tim Worrell
as cynics said the journeyman right-hander couldn't possibly pick up
Nen's load.

He had injuries in the rotation and showed faith in rookies Jerome
Williams and Jesse Foppert as cynics said a pennant-minded team
couldn't rely on unproven arms.

Well, the Giants are 26 games over .500, have a stranglehold on the
division and Sabean's instincts and judgment have been more right than
wrong.

Reflecting on the turnover after last year's loss in the World Series,
Baer said:

"I don't think anyone could have predicted we'd be 12 games ahead in
early August, but we were confident of remaining as competitive as we
had been.

"The general manager wasn't changing, the franchise player [Barry
Bonds] wasn't changing, the culture of a clubhouse in which players
come from other teams and sense a high level of confidence wasn't
changing, and neither was the foundation and ballpark.

"We lost an excellent manager and formidable presence in Dusty Baker
but gained an excellent manager and formidable presence in Alou. If I
had to give him a grade it would be A-plus. He's been incredibly good
on all fronts."

No question about it.

It's a great time for baseball fans in San Francisco and it has been
enhanced in another way, said Baer, as Bonds produces another "magical
year" and closes in on Willie Mays' total of 660 home runs third on
the all-time list rekindling memories and retrospectives of Mays and
Willie McCovey and the Giants early years in the city.

Of course, there is no comparing Candlestick Park to the wonderful Pac
Bell.

In four years, the new park will have attracted 12.8 million fans and
become a large part of the Giants' renaissance, in Baer's words a
"summer house" for Bay Area fans as the club has become an even larger
part of the "community and culture despite the competition" for
entertainment dollars.

"Nobody says there has to be a honeymoon period for a new park," Baer
said. "We believe that by trusting instincts and making good judgments
we can sustain this run we've produced."

The Dodgers are in no position to argue. The Giants are hammering down
a decade of dominance.

Auercat
08-05-2003, 09:34 PM
the Giants have been dominant over the Dodgers over last decade. It's sort of like how Stanford has been dominant over Washington. That and a box of cigars will get one...

0 Championships!!!

Enjoy the decade. Fox will be gone soon and so will that mental midget Dan Evans. :)

Bearing Down on Giving the Giants Props For Being Better Than A Franchise That's Been Mediocre/Underachieving

Auercat