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*Now* Plaschke finally gets it

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by poindexter, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. JohnnyChan

    JohnnyChan Member

    Say what you want about what Bill's opinion was Then; I applaud him for the mea culpa, and I wish it's something we would do more. One of the most difficult columns I've ever written was at the Giants/Pats Super Bowl; a year earlier, I'd been the first columnist in New York (followed by others) to say Coughlin's time had come and gone, he had to be fired. Fourteen months later, two days before the Super Bowl, I wrote the hardest words a columnist can write: "I was wrong."

    I'm glad I did it. I think Bill's probably pretty happy he did this, too.

    -- Mike Vaccaro
  2. Dave Kindred does this annually, No?
  3. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    More of Bill's brilliance:

    Andrew Jones was a smart signing...
    oh, and trade Matt Kemp for Erik Bedard.

  4. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    "He is a left-handed version of John Lackey, only five months younger."

    I remember when they were kicking around Kemp for Cano, hoping that the change of scenery would get each young, talented player to take the next step.
  5. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    You don't like Plaschke. Got it.
  6. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    Wow, I read that whole column as basically a backhanded slap to DePodesta. He took his name off the project partially because he didn't like the portrayal of himself. And Mr. Plaschke says, "No Paul, that portrayal is exactly you."

    This column seems kind of awful actually. Talking about Paul LoDuca, Guillermo Mota and Hee-Seop Choi without mentioning Brad Penny? Really?
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I'm glad someone got the same impression I did. Horrible, horrible column. Insulting, particularly since, as I linked to earlier, no one else seems to think the movie did DePodesta justice at all.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    "What now?"--T. Verducci
  9. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    In 2009. a writer at LA Observed noted Plashke's Mariotti-like flip flopping on Kemp:

    On July 26, 2006, Plaschke wrote a column headlined "Colletti Should Choose Sacrifice Over Surrender" in which he advocated the Dodgers trade a prospect for help at the deadline. Still he valued Matt Kemp and wrote: "I'm not talking about trading the Russell-Martin-Andre-Ethier- Jonathan-Broxton-Matt-Kemp kind of kids."

    A few months later, Plaschke decided he was talking about trading those kind of kids. In a December 10, 2006 column headlined "With power low, Colletti must work the phones" claiming the Dodgers should trade for a power hitter, Plaschke wrote:

    The combination of [Brad] Penny and one of the Dodgers' prospects would fetch a hitter like Toronto's Vernon Wells or Atlanta's Andruw Jones. ...

    Or, what's wrong with packaging Penny with Matt Kemp?

    After Kemp's initial power surge last summer, he looked lost against the curveball and is still clearly a year away from making a regular impact. Considering he may never field the position well enough to play center field, why not take advantage of his potential in a trade right now?

    In fairness, no one expected Andruw Jones to collapse the way he did, but both him and Wells have been signed to two of the worst contracts in MLB history. Despite Penny's ups and downs, it's a good thing that Ned Colletti didn't take Plaschke's advice.

    By the middle of next season, Plaschke had changed his mind again. He suddenly liked Kemp, and all of the Dodger young players. In a June 22, 2007 column headlined "Colletti should blaze trail by just staying the course" Plaschke advised Colletti: "Stay put. Hold fast. Don't do anything crazy. [Colletti's] youngsters are fun." He later added:

    But Colletti should politely refuse again, and hand the phone to a fan, who will tell him that these kids are just too much fun to give up.

    With the Dodgers games blaring in the background of my life in the last couple of weeks, I have stopped to watch James Loney hit. I have dropped everything to watch Matt Kemp swing. I'm almost always sitting down when Russell Martin is coming up.

    Plaschke further echoed this point in an August 2, 2007 column headlined: "Dodgers wise not to trade future for present". He wrote:

    For the first time in a decade, they are no longer the kind of team that needs to do calisthenics every July to be strong for many Octobers.

    They have a nucleus. They have a surplus. They have a clue.

    What they may not eventually have this season is a spot in the playoffs, but -- and I can't believe I'm writing this -- maybe that can wait.

    Maybe they have to sacrifice a September for James Loney, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to learn how to play in the heat.

    Maybe they have to lose a division for Jonathon Broxton to learn how to pitch under the glare.

    Maybe Dodgers fans, just this once, will agree to pay for two months of soaring, skidding fun with an October of silence.

    Having finally collected enough good players to contend for several years, the Dodgers smartly refused to break them up for the sake of this one.

    Maybe, by taking no big steps, they have actually taken a giant one.

    Two weeks later, Plaschke's patience was already starting to wear thin in a column titled "This is going to hurt for a while", he wrote:

    The ball bounced under Matt Kemp's glove and rolled toward the right-field wall, a shiny white mistake in an embarrassing sea of green.


    The ball flew off Matt Kemp's bat and drifted over the center- field fence, a shiny white souvenir in a triumphant sky of blue.


    In a span of about six minutes Tuesday, the Dodgers gave their fans a snapshot of the next six weeks, and the picture is clear.

    If you want to cheer, you must first groan.

    If you want to enjoy, you must first endure.

    If you want to eventually celebrate the successes of the best collection of young Dodgers talent in the last decade, you must first watch them go splat.

    There's a reason they don't call it growing joys.

    Plaschke still had a grasp for the player development process, but it didn't last long. Just over a month later, he wrote in a Sept. 21 column:

    This youth movement has officially gotten old.

    I thought it would work, I really did, but I admit today that I am wrong.

    This was around the time that the petulant Jeff Kent was feuding with Matt Kemp, and the aging Luis Gonzalez was complaining that the 22-year old rookie was cutting into his playing time. Plaschke appeared to side with "the veterans" and wrote a column with the headline "Don't write Kemp's name in ink in the lineup".

    Times blogger Jon Weisman reflects on this column in a post yesterday, but I wanted to bring up a few other lines. Plaschke wrote then:

    The kids are no longer untouchable.

    At least one of those kids could be the centerpiece in a winter trade that could bring the team a badly needed veteran star.

    That kid could be Matt Kemp.

    And he later added:

    Matt Kemp's breathtaking ability makes him attractive. But his constant struggles to embrace the little things that turn talent into championships make him expendable.

    By November 2, 2007, Plaschke had a Kemp trade in his mind. In writing about Joe Torre's hiring, he said:

    Who knows what he will do with Matt Kemp? If he and his veteran coaching staff can reach this marvelously talented but tough-to-coach kid, maybe he can stay. But if Kemp is the one piece who can bring in the big hitter, he's gone.

    Then on December 7, Plaschke said the Dodgers should trade for Erik Bedard or Johan Santana, claiming:

    Either pitcher would cost them Matt Kemp. But either would put them in the playoffs. And, as Jose Lima would tell you, who knows what could happen then?

    Ironically, Matt Kemp helped put the Dodgers in the playoffs in 2008 and they're in good position with him in 2009. Neither Bedard nor Santana have reached the playoffs with the Mariners or Mets since that writing. Both pitchers have suffered serious injuries, which have further illustrated the risk associated with trading for an ace pitcher. I'm sure Seattle wishes it hadn't traded Bedard for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, and several other prospects. Santana though is one of the five-best pitchers in baseball, but I don't think that Kemp alone could have brought him here.

    Plaschke's criticism of Kemp had gotten to be well-known in some baseball circles, and the columnist felt motivated to visit the outfielder in Phoenix where he did his offseason workouts. In a piece titled "Dodgers' Kemp works to improve his image", Plaschke defended himself saying:

    The veterans quietly complained about everything from late clubhouse arrivals to dumb baserunning errors to smiles after losses.

    Those complaints reached the ears of Dodgers management, whose thoughts reached me, so I wrote a column about the possibility that Kemp would be traded.

    It wasn't my idea, it was the Dodgers' idea, yet judging from the angry responses I received, you would have thought I put a "For Sale" sign in front of Kemp's locker.

    So all along Plaschke was saying that he wasn't stating his opinion in his opinion column. He was merely reporting that a few people in the Dodgers front office wanted him gone. Just like on July 4, 2008 when he wrote:

    It may be time to trade some of that flashy talent for somebody who understands the fundamentals. And, yes, once again, Matt Kemp's name is being whispered through Dodgers offices.

    Players such as Kemp and Andre Ethier and James Loney have been more highly touted than guys such as Casey Kotchman, Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar.

    But it is those Angels who have a better understanding of winning.

    For a guy who is just reporting what other people think about Matt Kemp, Plaschke sure sounds like someone who agrees with them.

    Plaschke's critiques of Kemp continued all the way through September 19, 2008, when in a column called "There's a lot that can go wrong", he listed "Matt Kemp's mind" as one those things. He called out Kemp's "blunders on the bases" and criticized him for striking out too much.

    But after the Dodgers won a playoff series and lost in the NLCS, Plaschke changed his mind again. This time he liked Kemp, writing on October 16, 2008:

    First, keep the kids together, build next season around Ethier, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton and, yes, Billingsley and DeWitt.

    I know, I never thought I'd say that, I'm the last one in town to see the light, but at times it has been delightfully blinding. The scars of this series will disappear. Their incredible growth during the second half of this season will not.

    He "never thought [he'd] say that" except for the August 2, 2007 column when he also said "I can't believe I'm writing this" in reference to keeping the Dodgers young players together.

    Now he's comparing Kemp to Kobe Bryant and saying:

    His tires have been kicked so much by folks in town, they forget he's still only 24, two years younger than Ethier.

    Yet it's Plaschke who has kicked Kemp's tires as much anyone in this town.

    I don't necessarily intend to bash Plaschke here, but he wields as much influence as any sports scribe in Los Angeles. Someone in his position shouldn't be able to change his mind this often and get away with it.

  10. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    I'll just stick with the obvious:

    Jonah Hill (when he filmed Moneyball) was 150 pounds heavier than DePodesta. That alone makes it impossible to follow Plaschke's argument.

    And I say that as an unapologetic Plaschke fanboi.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Threadjack: Anyone seen Jonah Hill lately? He looks like Justin Timberlake. Wonder if he'll still be funny.
  12. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Yes ! Verducci lost his baseball credibility by selling his soul to

    Only way to clear the deck is for him to do a "Plaschke".
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