The Los Angeles Dodgers are among baseball’s oldest and most storied franchises. Unfortunately, this season, no one seems to like them.
You may remember that back in April the team had a bench clearing brawl with the San Diego Padres after Dodgers’ Pitcher Zach Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch. Then, a week ago, players and coaches came to fisticuffs with the Arizona Diamondbacks after Greinke was beaned with a fastball, high and inside.
Sure, these are divisional opponents, and things between teams that see each other that often can get testy, but this isn’t the Giants we are talking about, it’s the Diamondbacks and Padres. How heated can it possibly get playing a team whose players are pretty much motivated to play well only so they can sign with a better team next year?
In fact, Diamondbacks and Padres fans should probably save those fights on their DVRs because that might be the most passion either team has shown all season. That is, at least, until the next time they play the Dodgers, because players from all three teams seem to indicate that the fighting and bad feelings haven’t cooled all that much after the games ended.
The poor Dodgers are in a two-sided war, all while trying to ride Puig-Mania to relevance in the National League. That’s just too much for this roster to deal with. They need help. With that in mind, I’ve got a few ideas to help the Dodgers survive the hate this season.
Trade for and start Carlos Zambrano
On May 15, 2013 Carlos Zambrano signed a one-year minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then, he has been saying that he is ready to come up to the major league squad, but Philadelphia doesn’t seem to have any interest in doing so. His numbers have been good, and the Phillies haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire, so why no Zambrano?
Well, if I had to guess, it’s probably the same reason he didn’t have a job until May. Big-Z is bat-shit crazy. We are talking about a guy who got in a fight with teammates, got in a fight with a Gatorade cooler, and got in a fight in a game he wasn’t even playing in. Oh, and in that fight, he started whipping people with his belt. I’m going to guess that the Phillies would be willing to unload him for a couple of Cheese Stakes. Once he’s in Dodger blue, no one is going to mess with them anymore.
Trade Zach Greinke
Did you notice the common link in both fights? Zach Greinke was the Dodgers’ pitcher. This is not the first time that he has pissed off opponents (Quentin even said that their fight was a result of several years of issues with the pitcher), and his continued presence will insure that it isn’t the last. Greinke is just a totally unlikable irritant. He has the attitude of the captain of a football team, and the body of the captain of a chess club. No one is afraid of him and no one seems to like him.
While I don’t necessarily have an issue with unlikable irritants in sports (see Kevin Garnett, AJ Pierzynski, and the wide-receiver formerly known as Ochocinco), one thing is clear: Greinke is kind of a dick, and if the Dodgers want to stop fighting, they need to get rid of him.
I have always been sort of jealous of middle relievers. What a life. They work about a half hour every other day and get the full lifestyle of a Major League player. Some of the guys out there don’t even work that much, only coming in to eat some innings during a blowout. Do teams really need the mop-up guys taking up space on the roster? What if one of those guys is removed and replaced with a hockey-style enforcer? Just a big dude that really isn’t that good at baseball, but is instead there to protect his scrawny, much more talented teammates from angry batters. When the next fight breaks out, he can come charging onto the field and take care of business. He’ll get suspended, but no one will care.
Note: Batting Coach Mark McGuire might already hold this position.
Three-Team Battle Royal
Sometimes, the best way to work through bad feelings towards another is to try to beat that person’s brains in. In the off-season (or once each team is mathematically eliminated in a few weeks), put all three teams into a steel cage, and let them go at it. Tag Team Rules, no holds barred. I suspect that the D’Backs and Padres will team-up on the Dodgers, but when the dust settles hopefully everyone can get over their issues and go back to actually playing baseball. The winning team can get a championship belt. It will be the only thing any of those teams has a chance to win this season.
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