Sully Baseball Salutes… Matty Alou

Matty Alou, the middle brother of the famed Alou brothers of San Francisco Giants lore, passed away. He began the 1962 pennant winning rally for the Giants and played well in the World Series.

But it was his time in Pittsburgh where he flourished. He won a batting title with the 1966 Pirates, played in the 1970 NLCS and made two All Star teams. He was dealt away before the 1971 season and missed his chance to win a World Series title in Pittsburgh.

But in 1972, he was dealt back to the Bay Area just before the September cut off. This time he was with the Oakland A’s. He knocked in a key run in the A’s Game 2 win over Detroit in the ALCS, hit a 10th inning double that looked like it would win the pennant. (The Tigers would tie and win the game.)

He would be the starting right fielder for the World Champion A’s. His brother Jesus would join the A’s for the 1973 and 1974 title teams.

Later Matty would finish his career in Japan.

The Alous are a regal baseball dynasty.
Not only were his brothers Felipe and Jesus big leaguers as well and his nephew Moises, but also his nephew Mel Rojas and cousin Jose Sosa all played in the show.

14+ years in the majors… a batting title… a World Series title… multiple All Star selections… and being a pioneer for Dominican players.

Matty Alou lived a life worth celebrating.

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Don’t buy the Dodgers, Mark Cuban. BUY THE PADRES!

Frank McCourt is out as Dodgers owner and people are longing for days when Fox was running the team into the ground.

There are lots of rumors of who should take over the Dodgers. A group led by Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser is making their intentions known. I like that. It’s kind of like Mario Lemieux taking over the Penguins and making them champs again. Or Nolan Ryan bringing the Rangers to the brink.

Who understands what it means to be a Dodger more than Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser. (Oddly they BOTH won post season MVPs for the Dodgers AND for other teams, but that is neither here nor there.)

There are other people who think that Mark Cuban should take over the Dodgers.
I understand their reasoning. He’s a visionary owner who took a moribund NBA franchise in an indifferent market and turned them into perennial contenders and finally a World Champion.

If I were a Dodger fan, I’d rather have a visionary and passionate owner hell bent on putting a winner on the field rather than Fox or the McCourts.

But as a baseball fan, let me say that I’d rather Cuban not run the Dodgers. I don’t think it takes much vision or talent to make the Dodgers winners.

Don’t believe me? The McCourts treated the Dodgers like their personal ATM machine and ran one of the great glamorous and successful teams in baseball history into bankruptcy court. And they STILL went to the playoffs in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and had a winning season in 2011!

Four playoff appearances in six years and leaving a winning product on the field with an MVP and Cy Young front runner? All that with an incompetent crook running the team!

So putting Cuban in the role of “Savior of the Dodgers” seems like overkill.

It would be like a producer saying “We need an actress to deliver 3 lines in this episode of Dexter” and having the casting director say “How about Meryl Streep?”

Yeah she can do it. But Meryl should have a role worthy of her talents.

Think about what Cuban did.
The Mavericks used to be just another team filling up the schedule.

They may have had a decent year or two, but were they ever a FACTOR? Was there ever a buzz about the Mavericks?

They were like the Timberwolves or the Washington Wizards or Golden State Warriors are now. Another team to play while you wait for your club to go to Los Angeles, Miami, Boston or some real contender.

And he turned the culture around… under his leadership and aggressiveness they became an exciting team. A non existent fan base waiting for the Cowboys season to start became basketball fans.

He needs a bigger challenge than the Dodgers.

Which brings me to the San Diego Padres.

The Padres have had some good teams recently. They were back to back division champs in 2005 and 2006. And they were a pair of Trevor Hoffman meltdowns from making the 2007 playoffs (and probably winning the pennant that year.)

And in 2010 they were a game away from the NL West title (and probably would have made it to the NLCS.)

There are talented players on the team. And they have a BEAUTIFUL stadium in the middle of a wonderful section of town.

And they don’t draw flies.

They are handicapped.
To the North is Los Angeles and Orange County… the domain of the Dodgers and Angels.
To the East is the desert.
To the South is Mexico.
To the West is the Pacific Ocean.

Not the greatest pool which to draw fans.

Yet San Diego is a larger metropolitan area than St. Louis… than Baltimore… than Denver… than Pittsburgh… than Tampa… than Cleveland… than Cincinnati…

So we’re not talking about a team that is in a suburb.

And with some imagination and aggressiveness they can become THE team of San Diego. And maybe they can tap into the Riverside and San Bernadino TV markets (13th biggest market in the country.)

Maybe under Cuban’s leadership, PetCo could become filled and be a St. Louis of the west… a baseball haven. An underdog city that loves their team, fills their park, watches the games on TV, buys the merchandise.

Free agents could come to San Diego (a BEAUTIFUL city.) And the team could be a super fun club.

How is that less likely than the Dallas Mavericks becoming an elite basketball team?

It would take a visionary owner to do that… like Cuban.

Who CAN’T make the Dodgers winners?
Even McCourt couldn’t keep them from the playoffs or below .500.

Come to Southern California, Mr. Cuban.
Just go a little more south.

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