Though I’ve already suggested that slow-witted Bill Plasckhe could rightfully take credit for Paul DePodesta’s departure in Los Angeles, Matt Welch, in an LA Times guest editorial, is far more damning in his condemnation of the former (along his colleague, the Dangle-baiting TJ Simers).
The two have had it in for DePodesta since his first day on the job. Plaschke greeted the new GM by calling him a “computer nerd,” “webmaster,” “General Manager.com,” “Bill Gates,” a “kid who relies on equations” and “speaks in megabytes” ¦ and that was just in his first column. Simers immediately declared that the “Dodgers Come Up Short on New General Manager,” and he has spent the time since vacillating between “Google Boy” and “Computer Boy” for a nickname. (The Times’ Sports section, apparently, is still produced via typewriter and carrier pigeon.)
Reading Plaschke, you’d be convinced that DePodesta’s only baseball knowledge came from playing computer games in his underwear. “[J.D. Drew] was the double sixes in Paul DePodesta’s giant game of Strat-O-Matic, the scroll wheel on his baseball iPod,” Plaschke mused on June 24 (yes, he actually writes like this). “He was the ideal player for those who study the sport at a keyboard and play it in a basement.”
Actually, DePodesta played baseball in college. Plaschke? He wrote for his campus newspaper.
The worst part isn’t that the columnists’ complaints about DePodesta are wrong, it’s that they’re often right. (Or at least, that I agree with them.) The young GM was painfully lacking in people-management skills and made a bunch of questionable moves. But if Southern Californians want an intelligent discussion of these issues, one where the truth matters more than either clumsy insults about “spreadsheets” or smooching Tommy Lasorda’s behind, they know where to go: the Web. Maybe that’s why Plaschke hates the Internet so much: People there are doing his job, only better.