November 29, 2014

Dodgers Hire Meltown Poster Boy Lee Elia as Special Assistant to GM

Diamond Leung at The Long Beach Press-Telegram is reporting that Lee Elia has joined the Dodgers as special assistant to the General Manager.  Per Diamond’s story:

Elia, 71, is best known his profanity-laced tirade as Cubs manager, taking issue with fans at Wrigley Field after a 1983 loss to the Dodgers. Colletti worked in the Cubs’ media relations department at the time.

Elia was not retained by new Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu after serving in 2008 as a special assistant, hitting coach and bench coach. He is also a former manager of the Phillies.

For those of you that want to relive the tirade, click here.  To truly enjoy this meltdown of all baseball meltdowns, you have to remember that back in 1983, Wrigley Field did not have lights so all games were played in the afternoon.

What’s fascinating to learn is that fans still ask Elia about the tirade literally every single day.  ESPN wrote a story on the 25th anniversary of the meltdown in April of 2008:

Elia said he had no idea he was being taped. He had no idea about the firestorm his words would cause. But Chicago reporter Les Grobstein recorded the entire thing. Afterward, before putting the clip on the air, Grobstein shared the tape with Cubs PR man Bob Ibach, who took the tape to Cubs general manager Dallas Green, who summoned Elia to Green’s office.

“I was completely oblivious,” he said. “With God as my witness, when Dallas called me to his office, I told him I had to get to Park Ridge to umpire my daughter’s softball game. And he told me, ‘If you don’t get up here, you can start packing your bags.’ Then, when I finally heard the recording, I surprised myself. I didn’t realize half of what I had said. I was like, ‘Where in the world did I come up with that?'”

But what’s perhaps the most astounding is to learn that there is an autographed Lee Elia baseball that’s for sale and it comes with a sound chip with a 20-second excerpt from when Elia went off….I kid you not…and it could be yours for just $89.95!

Financial Meltdown Strikes Dodgers – now Down 0-2

photo: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters

photo: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters

OK, so the 2008 NLCS isn’t tied to the financial meltdown in any way…except that the Dodgers seem to be in freefall right now, just like the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

Financial metaphors aside, Billingsley was the big problem in Game 2 – he gave up four runs in the 2nd inning with two outs already on the board. He then escaped to the third inning where, after securing one out, he gave up four more runs before Torre yanked him from the game.

What happened?

“Up to that point, he was throwing the ball well,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “It’s hard to say what happened because it happened pretty quickly.”

By this time, the Dodgers were staring at a 8-2 deficit and couldn’t dig their way out. Perrennial hitter Manny Ramirez did his part with a three-run homer to make it 8-5, but that was all the Dodgers could muster.

I’m not sure where the bailout for this crisis is going to come from – Torre is talking about bringing Lowe back to start in game 4, but what will that accomplish? Manny has certainly been contributing, but where is the rest of the Dodger offense? could Philadelphia just be too solid for the boys in blue?

I sure hope not – but I am one of a select few that is still bullish on L.A. right now.

Dodger Fan Hal McRae and My Favorite Baseball Meltdown EVER

I was perusing the Sons of Steve Garvey blog today and always enjoy their wittier posts. Today was no exception with a post on a rough exchange between Will Clark and Jeff Pearlman.

As I read through Delino’s comments on the aftermath, I thought back to a famous blowup from the early 1990s featuring Hal McRae when he was managing the Royals. I actually remember the SportsCenter story on this and the video that was played on every broadcast that fateful evening. I was living in a fraternity house and my suitemates came and grabbed me from my bedroom to see the carnage in all its glory.

My favorite moments include:
1. McRae’s 360 degree spin as he hurls the phone across the room (unfortunately, it hit a reporter and drew blood).
2. The reporters leaving the room, a staff member closing the door, and McRae’s appearance out in the hall to continue berating reporters.
3. McRae’s last stand – his triumphant stament of “put that in your %#?! pipe and smoke it!” before storming back into his office and slamming the door.

In an interview with the St Petersburg Times in 2002, McRae shared his boyhood love for the Dodgers:

We were all Dodgers fans,” McRae said. “Everybody in Avon Park was a Dodgers fan. When the Dodgers were in the World Series, at my grade school when the game was on school was out. They felt we needed some heroes, and [Jackie Robinson] was the guy.