The Times greets the baseball season with a Sunday front-pager by business writer Thomas S. Mulligan on how Frank McCourt managed to buy the Dodgers without any money, then made a bit of a profit last season. Monday's part two looks at the 32-year-old, Harvard-trained general manager Paul DePodesta (in photo) who is re-defining the team. Last week, McCourt responded to complaints about unanswered phone calls and bungled customer relations by firing two top executives, giving his wife Jamie responsibilty over all business operations and making son Drew director of marketing. This after McCourt brought in Sitrick and Co. to figure out why his image was going in the tank with fans despite an exciting first season.
Blog power: If you don't yet realize that blogs are creating a place for themselves in baseball journalism, some fine examples: Dodger Thoughts interviewed DePodesta last week, 6-4-2 critiques the McCourt story, up north Athletics Nation interviews players and DePodesta's Moneyball mentor, Billy Beane, and baseball knowledge innovator Bill James had a long, informative talk with a Red Sox blog called Sons of Sam Horn. Keep an eye also on The Baseball Analysts, a local blog (co-written by the son of the late Press-Telegram baseball writer George Lederer) that ran a three-part breakfast chat with James. The site offers lengthy "best-ofs" from James' twelve Baseball Abstracts, including the last one in 1988 where he posits a "what have I learned" list that has almost reached must read status for informed fans.
And a little hoops: The Press-Telegram's Frank Burlison gets inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame. His colleague Doug Krikorian did the honors in a column last week: "He is a guy who resides in basketball gyms, small, dingy ones found in high schools in the inner cities, modern ones found in high schools in the suburbs, aging ones found at small colleges and JCs, state-of-the-art ones found at big-time universities throughout the country."