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There’s No Rationale for One Dodger Firing

Of all the moves the Dodgers have made, only one can’t be rationally explained.

Why did they fire Mark Cresse, their bullpen coach?

Despite his title, he wasn’t responsible for the performances of the pitchers in the bullpen.

“I’m kind of bewildered,” he said this week during a break from his Huntington Beach instructional baseball camp, one of four he operates for players from the ages of 5 to 16 in Orange County.

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So were the players, who know Cresse as the coach who for the last 22 seasons has cheerfully done the jobs no one else wants--coordinating pregame workouts, pitching batting practice, hitting ground balls to infielders and supervising the bullpen.

He even pitched to sponsors and their children before games if they wanted to experience action on the field at Dodger Stadium.

Cresse, 46, wasn’t much of a player. His claim to fame during three years in St. Louis’ minor league system is that he was the roommate of Randy “Macho Man” Savage. But Cresse was a team player.

Still is.

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“They did the right thing by letting Glenn Hoffman pick his own coaching staff,” Cresse said. “My wife, Jean Ann, was upset, but I told her it’s only bad because I wasn’t one he picked.”

The first person to console him was interim General Manager Tom Lasorda, the godfather of Cresse’s son, Brad.

“He told me he was floored that Glenn didn’t pick me,” Cresse said. “But he said he had to let the manager have the people he wants to work with.”

Lasorda offered Cresse the manager’s job at Class-A San Bernardino.

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But Cresse said he might take next year off from organized baseball. That would enable him to travel more often to Baton Rouge, La., where Brad, a catcher, probably will be playing his final season at Louisiana State before he’s drafted.

“The only question I have is about the guy who took my place as the bullpen coach,” Cresse said.

“I like John Shelby. He’s a nice man, a family man. I can’t say anything bad about him. But I can’t figure out why he’s sitting in the dugout. How can you have a bullpen coach sitting in the dugout?”

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Rupert Murdoch’s plans to take over every pro team in Los Angeles are on hold. . . .

The NHL Board of Governors amended its constitution, limiting ownership in more than one team. . . .

That means Murdoch can’t exercise his option to buy 40% of the Kings unless he restructures his Madison Square Garden deal that gives him a minority interest in the New York Rangers. . . .

He’ll probably figure it out. Forbes magazine recently listed Murdoch and Philip Anschutz, the King co-owner, among the world’s “smartest entrepreneurs.” . . .

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NHL teams could begin negotiating with free agents as of

9 p.m. PDT Tuesday, which, not coincidentally, was the time King President Tim Leiweke and General Manager Dave Taylor were scheduled to meet. . . .

Because they’re smart guys, you can assume one free agent they discussed was St. Louis defenseman Steve Duchesne. . . .

Needing another pitcher to remain on top in the AL West, the Angels made a call about Pete Harnisch. The Reds wanted too much in return. . . .

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All too rare in boxing, promoter Dan Goossen’s billing for his July 11 card in San Antonio--Festival of Champions--is not merely hype. . . .

Five of seven former world champions scheduled to fight there sparred before Sunday’s Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. . . .

“What stiffs do you have lined up for these guys?” a spectator asked Goossen. . . .

“There are no stiffs,” Goossen said. “They’re fighting each other.” . . .

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The three featured events are Azumah Nelson vs. James Leija, Gabriel Ruelas vs. Troy Dorsey and Goya Vargas vs. Tracy Harris Patterson. . . .

Michelle Kwan stars in the Lake Arrowhead Ice Castle’s five-show summer series, beginning on July 4 with “Star Spangled Ice.” . . .

Champions on Ice comes to the Long Beach Arena, the Arrowhead Pond and the Sports Arena on July 9, 10 and 12 without the Costa Mesa pair of Jenni Meno and Todd Sand. He has a knee injury. . . .

Jockey Jack Kaenel returns to Hollywood Park in the fourth race today after a long absence. . . .

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His mount: Jack’s Back.

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While wondering if England has to give back the Falkland Islands, I was thinking: Argentina didn’t need the hand of God, or Maradona, with a referee like that, something’s wrong when the Yankees and Angels have no All-Star starters, the NBA should lock in negotiators until they make a deal.


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