The breaking news would be the election of Mike Piazza, not his selection of cap. He has made his preference clear for years, most bitingly in his 2013 autobiography.
"If the Hall came to me and said, 'We want you to go in as a Dodger,' I'd say, 'Well, then I'll go in as nothing,'" Piazza wrote. "I just wouldn't feel comfortable with LA stamped on my head for all of eternity."
There is no need to entirely rehash Piazza's grievances — against the Fox television executives who operated the team two decades ago and traded him rather than pay market price to keep him, against the team officials he believes portrayed him as greedy in trying to turn the fans against him — but there is a lesson in the disconnect between the Dodgers' current management and a large and discontented swath of the fan base.
There is a hunger for greatness here.
The Dodgers' management is not oblivious to that. This is how the team describes itself at the bottom of press releases: "The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, with six
The last of those pennants came 28 years ago. Every other team in the
The Dodgers raised Pedro Martinez, who entered the Hall of Fame last year, wearing the cap of the
If Piazza and
The Guggenheim Baseball ownership arrived four years ago.
But that hunger for greatness has only intensified among Dodgers fans weary of watching parades on television, an urgency fans do not see reciprocated in personnel decisions over the past year. The person who ran the "Dodger Blues" website gave up on the site a few years ago, but he keeps the clock ticking on the home page — "time since the last meaningful Dodger moment," second by second, next to a picture of
The Dodgers did not get Jon Lester or
This assessment appeared in a news article on the Dodgers' own website: "Nearly four years into the Guggenheim ownership, and the team hasn't done anything on the field that it didn't do when owned by
The Dodgers have not been shy with the game plan, transitioning from a high-paid, star-laden team to one packed with home-grown talent, assembled by some of the most renowned executives in the sport. The best chance to win that long-awaited World Series, they argue, is to field a good team every year rather than surrender prospects and go for the gold in any one particular year. The more financial flexibility they can maintain, the better their chance to keep the next Piazza or Beltre in Dodger blue for his entire career.
All of that amounts to "trust us" from the Dodgers. But the goodwill the Dodgers need for fans to buy in has been severely eroded by a television blackout that has lasted two seasons — and appears poised to enter a third season, since the FCC on Monday delayed the approval process for the proposed merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable. The coming season is the one Vin Scully says will be his last.
Dodgers President Stan Kasten declined to comment to The Times but he recently suggested to ESPN that DirecTV and other outlets not carrying SportsNet LA might not ever do so: "Are there some companies that after two years of not giving their customers the Dodgers, never will? At some point you might just have to accept that."
In this long and suddenly rainy winter, it was nice to hear someone affiliated with the Dodgers talk excitedly about the World Series. In an interview Monday on Yahoo Sports radio,
"I know what that's like in Kansas City," Kershaw said. "To magnify that, in a city like L.A., where we haven't won since 1988? I don't know. It might be just call it a career after that. It would be amazing."
Piazza had to leave the Dodgers to get to the World Series. Kershaw can opt out of his contract in 2018. Here's hoping the Dodgers get to the World Series before then.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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