The Tales Of William Plaschke Shakespeare: Part I

Folks, meet William Plaschke Shakespeare.

William Plaschke Shakespeare, the younger, less talented and evil twin brother of the great William Shakespeare, has struck the world with more blithering non-sense in his latest column. Being prepared for this moment, I must first provide you with some background…

Growing up together, William Plaschke Shakespeare was always envious of his older brother’s work. After the elder William’s triumphant successes with “Romeo & Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “Lady MacBeth,” and more, William-Plaschke killed his older brother and immediately ran away to what became California. After awaiting the next 425 years to find work, he was hired by the L.A. Times in 1987. Since then, he has been extracting revenge on the audience that supported his brother through his miserable, one line at a time columns which try to mock his elder brother. For this, thy shall comment and knap upon Mr. Plaschke’s fustian article regarding the status of Grady Little, which cogs and deceits upon readers.

Take it away, William…

As announcements go, it shouldn’t be necessary.

As points go, it should be moot.

But there’s been enough screaming around this, that somebody needs to stick a sock in it, so allow me.

Grady Little will manage the Dodgers next season.

Period. End of story. End of screaming. Please.

“Yes, he’s back,” said Ned Colletti when I questioned the Dodgers’ general manager early Thursday evening.

I love how he starts out this article, building it all up with anticipation… and then all he goes by is a quote from Ned. What the hell is Ned going to say? I mean, imagine if it were the other way around:

(In the voice of the guy who does the movie commercials)

“In a world, where announcements aren’t necessary…

(tension builds)

As points go, they are all moot.

(orchestra builds into crescendo)

Where civilians scream in suspense, awaiting with anticipation…

(orchestra reaches climax)

Grady Little is going to get fired next season!

Period. End of story. End of screaming. Please.

“Yeah, I’m going to fire his candy ass at the end of the season! You heard it here first, I’m through with that bitch!” said Ned Colletti when I questioned the Dodgers’ general manager early Thursday evening.”

While we were talking, James Loney was working over San Diego’s Greg Maddux for five pitches that became an RBI double.

While I was typing out this sentence, I was working over the possibilities on what to eat for dinner. Hmm… should I go out and get something or, on this Saturday night, order a pizza? Dilemma!

Soon after we finished, Russell Martin was grabbing a 2-and-0 pitch and gunning it down to first base to pick off the Padres’ Scott Hairston.

And then, as I moved into this sentence, I went to change tracks on my iTunes playlist. Much to my chagrin, as I put the finishing period on the first sentence of this paragraph, I couldn’t decide to put on either “Innervisions” by Stevie Wonder or The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead.” but after thinking out every possible outcome and weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to take the Higher Ground and be adventurous, so I went with “Innervisions” as I finished the paragraph.

His team is in a race with an opening-day projected middle lineup — Jeff Kent, Luis Gonzalez and Nomar Garciaparra — which has combined for exactly as many home runs as Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena (39).

It’s silly to lump Kent into that. Kent has 20 HR’s and hasn’t been the team’s problem… in fact, he’s had a very good year. Gonzo is exactly what you’d expect and, yes, that falls on Ned. However, here’s what does fall on Grady: if the lineup is that worthless in the middle of the order, then you go with the alternatives that are at your disposal. By May, everyone and their Mother knew that Nomar was done, yet he continued to hit in the 3 hole (260 at-bats), while the team’s best hitter throughout the first half, Russell Martin, was regulated to hitting sixth. Grady also controlled putting Andre Ethier, the team’s best hitter from about late June-August, in the lineup regularly by about July, once Gonzo began to tank and fall back to earth. Instead, Ethier had to fight for playing time and when he did get in the lineup, he would be hitting 8th.

The point is this: yes, some things Grady isn’t necessarily responsible for and he has had some bad luck, but while he couldn’t control Nomar’s unexpected rapid decline or Gonzo’s second half slide, what he COULD control was instead playing the younger and superior alternatives that were available. Yet the better choices either sat on the bench or, when played, hit at the bottom of the lineup.

His team is in a wild-card race when it is young enough to be in a sack race, infirmed enough to be in a bed race, and nutty enough to make it a very human race.

And that quote is an embarrassment to the human race.

He is coming back because, weird moves and wacky lineups and all, he has earned it.

So, no, he’s not getting fired for making in-game moves that have driven some fans crazy.

And, no, he’s not getting fired for filling out lineup cards which have driven some players crazy.

So, basically, he’s shitty at all of the above, yet somehow he has “earned” the right to keep being shitty at those things because…

The juggling of the lineup is nothing compared to the juggling in his office, where he has dealt with a procession of veterans complaining about playing time, rookies worried about getting cut, old guys trying to play through injuries, young guys afraid to aggravate those injuries.

The controversy he starts during games is nothing compared to the controversy he prevents during the three hours beforehand.

Sorry, no sympathy or admiration here. He’s getting paid the money to be a manager and handle these egos. If he’s letting their bitching impact his decisions, then he’s not doing his job. His primary focus should be on worrying about the best interest of the team and making sure that the best players go out there every day, not worrying about the best interests of washed up veterans’ precious egos, especially some who will be gone at the end of the year. If the veterans aren’t getting it done, then you say “Sorry, guys, but the numbers aren’t cutting it, we’re going to play the kids for a little bit,” or if Russell Martin keeps insisting that he play every inning, then you assert your authority and give him the rest. If he lets the players dictate and have influence, then he is spineless.

It is this communication upon which he should be judged.

Yeah, cause, you know… fuck all that actual managing stuff. Totally worthless. In fact, when I talk to Red Sox fans, they always say, even though Grady left Pedro in and helped blow the pennant for his team, they feel that’s irrelevant because you should have seen that kick ass communication he had with Pedro that night!

His hunch-playing from the bench will always make him a difficult manager to watch, particularly in the postseason when every move is magnified.

So, again, why do you keep defending him?

But Little is not about one game or one series. He’s a manager for all season.

You know, that’s so refreshing to hear, after all the managers we used to have that would only show up to the park once a week.

Thursday’s stars all benefited from Little’s strength.

Loney, with four runs batted in, was angrily in the minors until June 10. But Little helped him lose that anger in his swing.

So it has nothing to do with his sweet swing and Gold Glove defense. No, it’s because Grady Little gave him strength, he gave him passion, the will, the fight and the hunger and he gave him all of this as Loney was stuck in Triple-A for most of the first half. Then he provided even more strength once Loney was called up and kicked ass, only to still have to fight for playing time and then hit like 7th when he started. He also felt the strength when he was having to be regulated to try the outfield, because they had to keep precious Nomar at first base.

In reality, if I were James Loney, the only way I would take out that anger is to picture Grady’s or Ned’s face on the baseball every time I come up to the plate, after the way he and Ned completely fucked with him throughout this year. But, no, it’s all due to Grady’s Herculean strength.

Them, and him, a duo that deserves a chance to continue through next season, and will.

So the moral of this story? One, if you ever hear about the status of an organizational employee while that employee is still hired and the season isn’t over yet… always take it seriously.

And lastly: even if you suck at your job and can’t actually… I don’t know, perform it well, as long as you are an employee for all 52 weeks of the year and boost strength, then you’re on your way to CEO! Just picture your next job interview…

Interviewer: So, why should we at Johns Hopkins hire you to become our plastic surgeon?

Me: Well, because I think that based on my experience, I am fully qualified.

Interviewer: What is your experience in the medical field?

Me: Well, I used to be a plastic surgeon at UCLA, but I got involved in a lot of malpractice suits and my patients were never happy with my work; they thought I was a total incompetent. I was the guy who gave Michael Jackson all of his plastic surgery and I even accidentally gave one guy who just wanted a nose job a sex change… oh wait, that was Michael. But anyways, despite all of that, my colleagues always felt that their confidence and strength was increased around me with all the outings I used to invite them to. I showed up to work every day and I am good enough, smart enough and, doggone it, people like me!

Interviewer: You’re hired!

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