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The McCourt consolation prizes

The subject is the Dodgers bizarre negotiating tactic of building youth fields around SoCal instead of risking signing great players to win a pennant.

On that subject, did anyone hear Jamie McCourt talking to Patt Morrison yesterday on KPCC, defending the idea? McCourt has a lot of subtle chutzpah, and she passes it off in gracious way (I noted she wasn't quite so egalitarian, though, as to offer to take calls directly from hoi polloi.)

McCourt invoked the name of Sandy Koufax as an exemplar of what a man can mean to a town. In that, she had a lot of nerve. She's obviously never read Koufax's biography, because Sandy went toe-to-toe with Dodger brass over salary three times, all before the era of free agency, and the kid from Brooklyn got just about everything he asked for all three times, though the struggles were Herculean and the O'Malley machine relentless. He was baseball's highest-paid bonus baby when he signed, and then he negotiated brilliantly against the Dodger front office in 1963 and again in 1965, when he and Don Drysdale both held out for more cash.

Increasingly, the tactic to give the people their lesser fields of dreams (rather than trimming the price of parking to, say, a mere $14 a car) sounds like an either-or: we're not signing Manram, so here's your consolation prize: parks that can be built with dollars spread out over the course of this young century, if need be, in a part of the country that already has a surfeit of green diamonds, and has a far higher need for soccer pitches anyway, especially in LA's own San Fernando Valley.

Most people I know are similarly outraged at the McCourts other notable consolation prize, to the churches of LA: the moving of the Marathon to an unrunnable weekend in late May, which will guarantee more cardiac arrests both in training and on race day.

Even among the religious, LA's Islamic, Jewish, Saturday-night Catholic communities especially didn't have a problem with Sunday morning. But the hardcore Sunday Morning Christians, especially that guy in the old Angeles Temple have been squawking for years about their one Sunday in which roads are blocked, and the McCourt's made the move to satisfy the few.

Beyond we heretical chronic churchskippers, there are also people in their fifties, sixties, seventies and even older who run marathons, and who will be severely challenged by the ten-degree temperature shift all through training and on race day. All thanks to the McCourts, who said nothing to these but "Let them eat smog."