Here's what we know so far about the new Dodger general manager.
The former PR guy talks a good game, as you might expect, so instead of Ned Colletti being fired after two years or so, he might make it three before the McCourts sour on him.
Several of the town's top media types, Vic the Brick and Plaschke, already have pronounced the new Dodger GM a good hire because Colletti is "old school," which means he isn't Paul DePodesta.
I should point out at this time that Colletti's old school is Northern Illinois University, where he graduated in 1976 with a degree in journalism. I also went to NIU about the same time, but apparently he wasn't on the same party circuit, which might explain why I never graduated and he did.
Colletti began his career as a sportswriter covering hockey, which explains why our paths probably never crossed. He worked for a newspaper in Philadelphia, which went out of business, and the way things are going around here, we might have something in common after all.
He worked for the Cubs as a PR guy, and apparently the Cubs didn't fire their PR guys as often as the McCourts, so he hung in there. He wrote a gushing book about Cub broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, and then another gushing book, "You Gotta Have Heart: Dallas Green's Rebuilding of the Cubs." The Cubs never made it to the World Series under Green, but obviously Colletti was impressed.
I'd imagine it won't be long before we see Colletti's next book: "The Screaming Meanie: A Dodger Legend in the Making."
AT THE news conference, Colletti sounded as if he's going to be in charge, but I'm sure that's what the Screaming Meanie told him he could say.
He said he couldn't talk specifically about the amount of money McCourt will make available in terms of a payroll, and couldn't be specific in potential managerial candidates, or specifically what he intends to do with Milton Bradley, but he said he loves his mother and father and that seemed to go over well with everyone.
He said his father had him go to the local Italian deli every Sunday and buy five pieces of boiled ham so he could have one piece a day while going to school. You notice how specific he can be when he wants to be.
"I come from humble beginnings," he said, and wait until he sees what kind of operating budget McCourt gives him to work with.
He talked about the garage the family lived in, the airplanes flying over his front porch, and getting up at midnight, and then again at 3 a.m. to turn on the family car and warm up the engine in the Chicago cold. It was a sad story, and I'm not sure I've ever seen Plaschke write things down faster.
"He's got such a great story to tell," McCourt said, and with a nudge from McCourt, Colletti began, "When I was 5
I'm sure his time in kindergarten was fascinating, and I recall hearing something about him going to the same high school as a bunch of people who aren't really that famous by Hollywood standards, but he'll learn.
He talked about his devotion to his father and his father dying, his mother learning how to drive a car late in life, and taking a pay cut to work for the Cubs so he could move back home to take care of his mother. No question, listening to him talk about himself, he's a great guy. I have no idea if he will be a good general manager, but he's come to the right place if he wants to sell a movie-of-the-week screenplay.
"This guy is a born leader I believe," McCourt said, and a second banana pretty much his entire baseball career, which raised the question — and you can guess who asked it — why has he been passed over so much?
Colletti said he has had his chances to become a GM, naming Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but when asked if either offered him a job, he said no. He said he'd never go anywhere that didn't offer the chance to win, which makes you wonder why he agreed to work for the McCourts.
He said the San Francisco owner went out of his way to keep him every time he had a chance to leave — although he never really had a chance to leave — putting in writing he'd one day replace Giant GM Brian Sabean if Sabean ever left. I guess he couldn't wait for Sabean to leave, or took a look at the ancient team he and Sabean put together, and decided to start fresh.
"This guy has been affiliated with winners, consistent winners all his life," McCourt said, and if winning in baseball is measured in World Series titles, well, he has been consistent in not winning one of them.
He wears his Giants' ring proudly, though, the one identifying the Giants as World Series losers against the Angels. You've got to give McCourt credit for that — finding someone who at least got close to winning a World Series.
There's no way to know now if this is the right hire. Colletti said all the right things and seems to be a great guy, but let's see how long he lasts.
Several members of the media here go back a long way with Colletti, so he will get the benefit of the doubt — certainly longer than DePodesta.
I'll say this, I like his chances of lasting around Dodger Stadium longer than Shannen Doherty.
T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.
The Party's Already Over for an Old School Buddy
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