The Times, They Need A-Changin'
Bob Keisser of the (Long Beach) Press-Telegram is perhaps the only writer in the Los Angeles market that understands and appreciates the Dodgers hiring Paul DePodesta as the team's new general manager. Keisser, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) for more than a decade, wrote a column (Dodgers figure on some changes) in Wednesday's newspaper.
Unlike Bill Plaschke and Larry Stewart of The Los Angeles Times, Keisser "gets it":
Now that is highly refreshing in comparison to his counterparts at The L.A. Times.
Stewart, in DePodesta's Theories Aren't That Relative, writes:
Stewart fails to mention that DePodesta actually has an extremely impressive resume. After playing football and baseball at Harvard (and graduating cum laude), DePodesta worked in the Canadian Football League and the American Hockey League. DePodesta then joined the Cleveland Indians as an intern in player development before becoming an advance scout for the major league team and eventually special assistant to the general manager.
DePodesta was hired by the Oakland A's as an assistant general manager in 1999. The team went on to experience its first winning season in seven years and has made the playoffs every year since, including three A.L. West Division titles. The A's, with a record of 479-339 during DePodesta's stay, won more games than every time in baseball except the Atlanta Braves (488) and the New York Yankees (484).
DePodesta was so well thought of that the Toronto Blue Jays offered him the franchise's GM job more than two years ago. He turned it down, and Toronto hired another Oakland A's assistant, J.P. Ricciardi (who led the Blue Jays to their second-highest win total in ten years last year).
Plaschke, in With Luck, The Dodgers Won't Crash, matches his fellow columnist by making a similarly ignorant comment:
Plaschke's column is full of jabs about DePodesta's age and inexperience, using such words as "nerd" and "kid" to describe the new GM of the Dodgers. Aaron Gleeman, another baseball writer who "gets it", wrote an outstanding critique of Plaschke's comments. I recommend that you read Gleeman's take on this subject as well as another article he uncovered searching the columnist's archives.
To Keisser's credit, he later adds:
Rickey's article in Life magazine should be required reading for all baseball executives, analysts, commentators, and writers.
For those skeptics who don't think DePodesta is ready to take over the reins of the Dodgers, I suggest reading an insightful interview conducted by Rob Neyer last March.
Whether the Dodgers GM position is the right job for DePodesta remains to be seen but by no means--are you listening Plaschke and Stewart?--is it his first job.