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Out with Thome, in with the Dodgers

by Ricky O'Donnell on September 2, 2009 at 11:58AM

Jim Thome strikes out too much. He's too slow. He's too old. He hits, like, .240! In conclusion: shoulda kept Rowand.

For all those reasons, and plenty more, I love Jim Thome. Always will. Who doesn't love Jim Thome? He's baseball's Mother Teresa. To call him "nice" just feels lazy. But that's exactly what he is. He's the nicest professional athlete this world has seen in a long time. After Pacman Jones makes it rain, Thome finds an old lady and helps her walk across the street without stepping in one of the ensuing puddles. That's just the kind of guy he is.

I loved how you could use Thome as a barometer by which to judge the baseball intelligence of others. Find someone who only focuses only on the flaws listed above, and you know you've found someone who would rather have David Eckstein on his team than Adam Dunn. Someone who, clearly, does not own a Jack Cust j-shirt. This is a clear signal to change the conversation to football immediately. Keep talking about baseball, and you will hear about how A-Rod is a choker, how Billy Beane has never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Jim Thome may be the nicest human in the world, but he also helps identify idiots. For that, he has to be thanked.

When the Sox traded Thome to the Dodgers Monday night, it wasn't another white flag deal, as some dummies have suggested ("Is a six-game deficit on Aug. 31 similar to a bad OPS, OBP or Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da?" /smacks forehead with palm). It was more of a thank you.

At 39, Thome is running out of a chances to grab a World Series ring. He wasn't going to get one if he stayed on the Sox through the rest of this season. Maybe he has a chance in LA, even if he's nothing more than a pinch-hitter.

After the trade, Stompy asked me if we should endorse the Dodgers to win the World Series. Hmmm, interesting. I know only one way to make up my mind on things like this: a breakdown of pros and cons.

Rooting for the Dodgers to win the World Series: Cons

-  The National League. I don't have any Eastern Conference pride from the Bulls, or NFC pride from the Bears. But I have American League pride. My opinion of the N.L. could not possibly be lower. To call it Quadruple-A would be an insult to Triple-A. Comparing the AL and NL is like comparing the East and West in the NBA, if the best team in the East was the Atlanta Hawks.

- LA is one of the biggest cities in the country, yet they can't support an NFL team. For that reason alone, these have to be the worst sports fans in America.

- Rapper 'The Game' has the Dodgers' logo tattooed on his face, which always struck me as very stupid.

- The Dodgers beat the Sox in a World Series that was played 29 years before I was born. Chicago sports fans don't forget.

Rooting for the Dodgers to win the World Series: Pros

- Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez. Two of the coolest baseball players ever. No explanation needed.

- As someone who values the knuckleball, it's impossible not to root for Charlie Haeger. The former Sox farmhand has found a home with the Dodgers, and pitched pretty well in his first three starts. Haeger will be coming out of the bullpen now - imagine seeing a 97 MPH fastball from Chad Billingsley for seven innings then having to face Haeger - because Thome wasn't the only player the Dodgers acquired on Monday: they got Jon Garland, too. Members of the '05 Sox are always a plus in my book.

- About 95 percent of the time, I think chicks who are crazy about sports are annoying, but Alyssa Milano actually seems pretty legit. Roughly 50 percent of her tweets are about the Dodgers, and she even RT's Dodgers blogs. It seems like she genuinely cares. You have to respect that.

- Maybe the most important reason on this list, and something none of us should lose sight of anytime soon: The Dodgers knocked the '08 Cubs out of the playoffs! Hahaha. Without the Dodgers, we'd never get to see pictures like this one.

And that would just be unfortunate.

Final ruling: Yeah, sure, I'm cool with the Dodgers winning the World Series. Thome deserves it. Vin Scully deserves it, too. Manny probably doesn't deserve it, but I want to see him win regardless.

Dodgers in '09? Dodgers in '09.

12 Comments | Leave a comment

I will admit that I am a mediocre writer at best. But that line Morrissey wrote may be the worst line in the history of sport columns. I actually cringed....

Anywho, I am a bit shocked that a Dodgers tattoo on a rapper's face would not be in your "Pros" section. That seems very "Ricky" in the little-short-insecure-white-guy making fun of the successful-yet-ridiculous-black-guy sense that helps define you as a person. Thought it odd.

As the race to the playoffs heats up, don't forget to root on Jose Contreras' Rockies, Aaron Rowand's Giants, Ross Gload's Marlins! And don't forget the chief Cubs' rival St Louis Cardinals! Oh yeah, and the whole AL, so you can keep wearing that badge of honor you received for being in the same league as the Red Sox and Yankees.

It's about small victories at this point, Brendan.

More importantly: Oh my God, SI just predicted a Bears-Pats Super Bowl! Why are we talking about baseball again?

baseball season ended 2 weeks ago in my book. i'm ready for winter sports, and i'm actually pretty optimistic about all of my favorite winter sports teams.

i was really surprised SI has the bears in the SB. seems like chicago's writers have been really high on the bears, while the national media has hesitated to give the bears much praise over the offseason.

since 2001, the World Series is split at 4 apiece between the AL and NL...just saying

Since 2001, The AL is 1209-1046 against the NL in interleague play while the NL has won the yearly matchup just three times...just saying.

Interleaugue play will ALWAYS be won by the AL over time. It is set up for them. Most NL teams bench is set up for flexibility. Players that can play multiple positions, allowing for double switching and such.

This means that the AL automatically has an offensive advantage with the DH. I mean, what NL team is going to pay for two big hitting first basemen and sit one just for a pinch hitting shot in the 9th inning? NOT ONE. Say what you want, but that is not a fair assessment.

Dude, I think it's the other way around. In the AL, you often times build your order around the DH. You sacrifice having a great hitter at another position because you know you have a great hitter at DH. Then, when an AL team goes to an NL park, the DH has to come out of the lineup and the team is much worse. When an NL team goes to the AL, they're just adding a guy, not taking one away.

Not that I think Interleague play, or the World Series for that matter, is a good judge of which league is better. I'm just sayin'.

Wait, you follow Alyssa Milano?

I see your point, I just think that having a guy like Thome vs a guy Aaron Miles (just to keep it local) in the lineup is a HUGE advantage for the AL at AL parks vs two pitchers, which are probably about the same, in an NL park. Plus, the stud DH can be used in critical spots late in games.

I think that is the bigger advantage, honestly. But then again, it can be argued either way, so nothing will get solved.

Great article, I think you covered everything there. . . I would say freelancing is quite hard especially if you are not used to working on your own, can be quite hard to motivate yourself also. . . we all know what it is like to stare at the monitor.

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