Tracy Ringolsby Gives Me A Headache

With the Angels trade for Mark Teixeira, yesterday, I’ve just been waiting for someone to write an article comparing the Angels with the Dodgers and how the Angels “do what it takes to win,” while the Dodgers are content with fading into oblivion, blah, blah, freaking blah.  All due to a trade deadline deal, of course.

Well, today, T.J. Simers sort of did it, and it’s just as boneheady, but this one takes the cake.

Take it away, Tracy Ringolsby!:

When Arte Moreno purchased the Angels after their run to the franchise’s first world championship in 2002, he became intent on having the team create an identity of its own and break out of the shadow of the Dodgers.

First step to doing that?  Changing the team’s name to… Los Angeles!

Moreno wants to win a title, and unlike the Dodgers, who spend plenty of time talking about what they want to do and rely on history — make that ancient history — to support their claim of greatness, Moreno backs up his statements with his actions.

Yes, he sure does.  He’s just been full of deadline deals since he’s been owner.  In fact, let’s play a game.  Let’s play “Guess The Notable Trade Deadline Deals The Angels Have Made Since Arte Took Over!”  The catch is… you can’t count this one.  O.K.?  Ready, set… go!

(crickets chirp)

O.K., I’m sorry, I admit, I tricked you.  Why?  Because there have been NONE before this move.

If anything, it’s been the Dodgers who have made notable deadline deals over the past 4-5 years.  From 2004′s Penny and Finley deals to getting Maddux and Lugo in 2006, this move is barely the first notable deadline move since Moreno has taken over.  Before yesterday, the biggest name the Angels had traded for at the deadline since Arte’s been owner was, what, Jeff Kennard?

And, believe it or not, that also extends to free agency.  Other than his big splash during the first offseason Moreno was owner (Vlad, Colon, Escobar, Guillen), the Dodgers have consistently signed notable FA’s every year such as Kent, Drew, Lowe, Nomar, Mueller, Lofton, Schmidt, Pierre, Gonzo, Jones, etc.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying that all of those are good signings; in fact, most of them are horrible, and we’ve made our position quite clear on many of those players and deals here at MSTI.  But if you want to accuse the Dodgers of anything, accuse them of making bad decisions.  Not for being cheap, not for an inability of being proactive: spending money they have, proactive they’ve been, and more than the Angels.  In fact, wasn’t that the criticism of Bill Stoneman?  Holding on to the kids too long, not making the big deal and hindering his team from taking that big step?

Was that an earthquake that struck Southern California on Tuesday afternoon or was it the aftershock over at Dodger Stadium?

You mean the earthquake that happened hours before the trade went down?

The Angels, already having their division under control, took the bold step to acquire Teixeira. The Dodgers, scrambling to get to .500 and overtake Arizona in the NL West, settle for the likes of Casey Blake. That says it all.

The Dodgers fall all over themselves trying to be the Yankees of the NL.

O.K., this is funny.  Let’s define the possible ways he meant the Dodgers are “trying to be the Yankees of the NL.”

1.  Perhaps Tracy means that we spend a lot of money and buy up talent.  If we were trying to be the Yankees, then, if anything, wouldn’t that INCREASE our chances of getting Teixiera?  If the Dodgers were all about just throwing money at players, then why would we settle for Casey Blake?  And, by the way, speaking of the Yankees, I seem to remember their big move at the deadline in 2003 was “settling” for a third baseman named Aaron Boone.  Yeah, didn’t really work out for them so well, that year, though… Tim Wakefield would totally agree.

2.  Or perhaps he is referring to our coaching staff, which include four former Yankees (Torre, Mattingly, Bowa, and Duncan).  Because of this, then somehow the Dodgers are trying to become the Yankees.  O.K., but if this is his definition, then do I REALLY have to go to the obvious place regarding the Angels’ coaching staff?  Come on, do I really have to?  And, for the record, if this is Ringolsby’s logic, then his earlier assertion of the Angels trying to “create an identity of its own” just went right out the window.

Earlier this season when former Dodger Eric Karros was in Denver in his role as a FOX analyst, the discussions turned to Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday and the fact he can be a free agent after next season. A Denver broadcaster mentioned that it would seem logical for Holliday to take a bit less to stay in Colorado rather than move to Los Angeles. Karros didn’t buy that idea.

Karros, in 11 years with the Dodgers, never played in a World Series game. Fact is the Dodgers haven’t been to a World Series in 20 years now. Heck, they have only won one postseason game in the last two decades. The Rockies won seven postseason games last October alone.

Oh really? Let’s see, Holliday, in his sixth year with Colorado, has already played in a World Series.

I would respond to this, but I played 9 years of Little League as a kid.  During my career, I was an All-Star, the star power hitter, and led my team to the District 23 Finals.

Tracy Ringolsby, on the other hand, only played 4 years in Little League.  Being regulated to a bench player, Tracy’s teams always finished last.  Therefore, his opinion is utter crap.

Yeah, see how nice that argument is?

They are frustrated they haven’t won a world championship in the first five years of Moreno’s ownership. They are frustrated that in making the postseason three of the last five years they have only won four October games.

But instead of feeling sorry for themselves, the Angels were willing to make a move to change all that.

As opposed to the Dodgers, who sulk every day and will soon be making an appearance on “The Dr. Phil Show.”

Ned: Doc, I try SO hard every day to make this team a contender… but the past 20 years make me so depressed that I instead just go to bed and cry.

Dr. Phil: You see, Ned, the thing you need to realize is that you don’t need to think clearly to dance like an idiot until your toes fall off.  You see, your team is like a shoe… but without a shoe string?  A camera… but without film?

Ned:  Huh?

Even though Teixeira is represented by agent Scott Boras, and shunned a $140 million extension in Texas a year ago before turning a deaf ear in the spring on extension talks with Atlanta, the Angels gave up the promising Kotchman without even asking for a 72-hour window to explore contract talks on Teixeira.

The Angels aren’t worried about next year and beyond.

They want to win.

So, now, it’s a virtue for a team not to give a shit about its future and just trade and spend recklessly?  Wait… isn’t THAT trying to be the Yankees of old?  I’m not saying that’s what the Angels did, but Ringolsby’s mentality is something of that ilk.  Even with this deal, of course the Angels care about their future, but their team is in a position to where they can afford to make this type of “go for it” move.  The Dodgers, as currently constructed, are not.  With the flaws this team has, would it really have been worth giving up a James Loney for two months of Teixeira?  I wouldn’t have minded getting Teixeira, if it were contingent on an extension.  But with the way he scoffed at the $140 million Texas offered him and with the inability to negotiate with Atlanta, chances are, he would have been a rental.  And, if the deal went down, then who plays first base come 2009, while the young, productive, and cost controlled Loney is in Atlanta?  With the ultra competitive landscape that is the AL, it’s a move the Angels had to make.  Good for them, but I’m glad we didn’t make it.  Context matters when evaluating these things, people…

And that whole “not being worried about next year and beyond” and “winning at any cost” mentality is kinda why the Dodgers haven’t really been that successful over the last 20 years, by the way.  How soon we forget the Kevin Malone era…

The Dodgers may enjoy talkin’ the talk, the Angels are intent on proving that they can walk the walk.

The Dodgers like to talk about their history, which was built under the ownership of the O’Malley family, and act like that nothing has changed.

The Angels, meanwhile, are looking to create a history.

Which is fine, and they’ve done well over the past 6 years.  But what cracks me up is how, for as much as Dodgers fans get accused of grasping on to their history in these debates, which some do, I admit, that’s what’s become of many Angel fans (not ALL, but many), and, for that matter, the media, who continue to grasp on to 1 damn year out of their entire franchise history. Yes, it was a great run they made, fine… but get off your fucking high horse, now.

How many more of these “the Angels did something, therefore the Dodgers should do it too” articles must we endure?  I’m probably going to go on a long repressed rant, now, but, as we’re on the subject:

Can someone tell me why the Dodgers need to aspire to become a team that’s 4-12 in the postseason since 2002 and has only one playoff series victory in that span?  That, despite these failures, which tend to mostly be ignored, they’re somehow using “The Dodger Way,” whatever vaguery that means?  Even if you take that term as the success the Dodgers had, then, last I checked, the “Dodger Way” also included being successful in the postseason, something I’ve only seen the Angels do once in the past 22 years, or twice, if you include their ALDS victory in 2005.  So, we’re supposed to aspire to just winning division titles only to get bounced a week later?  Well, forget that.

Even for as pathetically run as the Dodgers have been, it’s not like they’ve been the freaking Pirates and finish a bazillion games below .500 every year.  Since 2002, the Dodgers only have one less playoff appearance than the Angels (Angels: 2004, 2005, 2007, Dodgers: 2004, 2006).  And, sure, you might say: “Yeah, but the Dodgers got so easily manhandled and swept out.”  And that’s the point!  Hasn’t that also been the Angels’ fate in two of those three years?  What, were those 3-0 beat downs by Boston somehow more aesthetically pleasing?

So, that’s my problem with the debates.  Sure, some Dodger fans might wrongly rely on history, but many an Angels fan and media member rely on revisionist history.  If you want to say that the Dodgers have been the inferior team this decade and, in particular, this year, fine, you would be right.  Inferior management, inferior GM, etc.?  Check, and check.  They’ve been quite dysfunctional.  I get that.  The Angels have had their crap together, while the Dodgers, collectively, have not.  I’m right with you.  But don’t use that as an excuse to overestimate the success the Angels have had and make it seem like they’ve been, say, the Red Sox over the past 6 years or that they always make these winning moves, every year.  Facts say otherwise.  It’s time to see the Angels for what they’ve been: a (sometimes very) good, solid, albeit somewhat overrated team who has managed to become one of the better teams in baseball, but not the best, as their playoff woes continue to show.  If anything, to paraphrase Ringolsby, we’re still waiting for them to walk the walk and playing well until October 1st doesn’t cut it.  Perhaps this deal can put them over the top and, if it does, good for them, but, until then, stop with these horrible “Why aren’t the Dodgers more like the Angels?” articles.  They’re pointless, and I can only afford so much Tylenol.

Thank You.

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg