Ratto: Be careful about cheering Dodgers' demise

Ratto: Be careful about cheering Dodgers' demise
June 27, 2011, 4:46 pm
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June 27, 2011

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Follow @RattoCSNRay Ratto
CSNBayArea.com

Were I you (and lets all agree what a bad idea that would be), I wouldnt be quite so smug about the Dodgers filing for bankruptcy, as they did today.Sure, it may make Giant fans feel good, and it might inspire in As fans that There but for the grace of God . . . feeling. But thats not what the Dodgers going Chapter 11 is about at all.
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This is about Frank McCourt wanting another 150 million to operate the team while he shakes his bare behind at Bud Selig and says, Hey, Buddy, better get some more lawyers, and make sure they bring their lunches. Its on now, Giggles.And it is. The Dodgers are about to become the St. Louis Browns in ways the As never have been. In fact, when As fans think of Frank McCourt, they should hit their knees and thank the God that killed Cain and squashed Samson that they have Johnny-Boy Fisher and Lew Wolff. At least theyre not actually looting the team through shell companies to pay for messy divorces.
Worse than that, though, the Dodgers hold down a job in your brains that nobody else does -- as The Team You Can Mindlessly Hate For No Better Reason Than The Fact They Exist.NEWS: Dodgers file for bankruptcy in battle with MLB
Every fan base should have one, in fact, and those that dont have to scramble about trying to find a cheap substitute. The Giants have the Dodgers, and the As have the Giants, and beyond that ... you got squat. Bupkiss. Nada. The null set.The 150 million that the bankruptcy filing frees up is ostensibly for the care and upkeep of the team, which is on the verge of missing payroll. It isnt going to suddenly turn into Prince Fielder, so calm down.But the weak, pathetic, small-minded Dodgers, run by a carpet-bagging lamprey who is trying to loot the team to pay for his hideous divorce and still make eight or nine figures for his continued personal enjoyment, are not in your best interest.You need the Dodgers as big and as bad and as imperious as possible, because you are invested in them being big and bad and imperious. Those characteristics feed your scorn, and it salts and spices your mindless chants of Beat-L-A. The fourth-place Dodgers, winning 73 games and wearing barrels with shoulder straps where the uniform used to go just doesnt cut it. You know it, we know it, they know it.This isnt about hating the Dodgers, or hating anything. This is about taking comfort in the caricature of the Dodgers (or in the case of As fans, the caricature of the Giants). Mocking these Dodgers has a bit of the running-over-the-dead-squirrel feel to it.And it also serves as a reminder that every team in the world is a bad owner away from destruction. Tradition, history, the beauty of the game, the shared experience, the passing of one generation to the next ... its all one small-minded rich guy away from going to hell.Between the owners principal goal of buying high and selling higher, the way that produces owners who buy with debt rather than with cash (see Frank McCourt again), and the way they demand that cities build them playing palaces on their own dimes and then let the owners take the profits from those buildings ... were all one venal thought away from hating the teams we grew up loving.Dodger fans didnt ask for Frank McCourt. Frank McCourt was thrust upon them like a lien against their property. They were fine with the OMalleys, and didnt mind them owning the team in perpetuity. Now theyre stuck looking at the Giants, the ones they mocked for the Bonds years, and saying, Man, wouldnt it be cool to be them?And you would look at them and say, with your usual magnanimousness, Take a hike. Live with the shame of your team. Go watch Tommy Lasorda begging for money by freeway on-ramps. No room here at this inn for you.Then you feel bad for looking like the fan you have always hated. Yes you do. Dont try to pass that off.So dont get too happy about the Dodgers latest shame-fest. You get no enjoyment in beating the weakened, you need the strong rivalry, you know this could be your team in five years, and youd want them to let you up when it happens to you.And dont try to pass that off, either. Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.