Dodgers Change History As Character Now Key

The lowest point in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers occurred in early 1975, when the team signed juan marichal. This was a spit in the face to every Dodgers’ player, employee and fan, who had for 18 seasons stood faithfully by the team, through horrid seasons and great seasons, supporting stars and mediocre players alike. But to bring this unindicted felon who committed the worst, most disgusting and criminal act to date ever occurring on a major league baseball field, and for 14 years one of the faces of the hated

San Francisco Giants, to the Dodgers, was unthinkable, despicable, and for those of us who watched the events of August 22, 1965, unimaginable.

For you youngsters who were not around in 1965 and for those of you who are not well-versed in Dodgers’, or major league baseball, history, this is what happened on that Sunday afternoon as the Dodgers played in San Francisco, with all of Los Angeles fandom watching on TV: Marichal was pitching for the Giants,
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against the Dodgers, and Sandy Koufax. Marichal was the most hated member of the then ultra-rival Giants, and unlike Koufax who NEVER threw, and never had to throw, at batters, that was a marichal trademark, and after he had thrown at, and barely missed, the head of star shortstop Maury Wills on two pitches, when marichal batted in the third inning, Dodgers’ catcher John Roseboro supposedly then threw a ball back to Koufax that marichal claimed had been close to his head. As words were exchanged between the two, Roseboro chose to take off his catcher’s maks, and after he did, marichal then hit Roseboro in the head, with his bat, twice, causing blood to pour down Roseboro’s face.

This was an unprecedented event, never before happening in a major league game. The reaction of the Commissioner and major league baseball was perhaps as disgusting as the actual act itself. Marichal was suspended eight games, missing all of two starts, and fined $1,750.00. First and foremost, marichal should have been banned from baseball for life, and he should have been fined 1965’s equivalent of $5 Million.

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It was an event the Dodgers’ fans have never forgotten, and his signing and becoming a member of the Dodgers was an unforgivable act. For the record, marichal lasted two games with the 1975 Dodgers, being released after posting a 0-1 record and 13.50 ERA.

In years since, it never crossed the
minds of Dodgers’ management to question the employment of other criminals, sleazeballs and jerks such as milton bradley, gary sheffield, darryl strawberry and manny ramirez.

But, it is a new era today, with commissioners in all professional sports now enforcing new rules and imposing new and stronger punishments for actions, some not even being prosecuted as crimes, that previously were ignored or swept under the rug. Teams now are FINALLY reluctant to bring in players with questionable pasts and current investigations. And thus we have the predicament that Dodger’s management has created by the ill-advised attempted trade for Aroldis Chapman.

The Dodgers have been blessed with one of the game’s best closers in Kenley Jansen. For most of four seasons now, Jansen has been close to invincible, with only injury and illness in the way of record-breaking stats. Over the last four years, he’s saved 133 games and has complied a lifetime ERA of 2.38 and WHIP of 0.94, while striking out a tick under 14 batters per nine innings.

The Dodgers’ bullpen has overall been awful for several years, but that has been due to the lack of adequate long men and set-up men, not at all due to the lack of a great closer, which they have had in Jansen. And yet, the team attempted to bring in not an experienced and successful set-up guy, but rather another closer, and one of the few in baseball as good or better than Jansen.

And it blew up in their face when first it significantly angered Jansen, and second when it blew up with the revelations that Chapman is being investigated for spousal abuse and other possible crimes. Even if he escapes criminal prosecution, he has still been shown to be of unsavory character and quite liable to have a suspension from playing for what could be a significant period of time.

Now, with the trade dead in the water, they are stuck with a disappointed and
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aggravated Jansen, without whom they cannot possibly improve upon last season. And, they have their own character problem with Yasiel Puig, who is rumored to have been offered in various trades, but whose return to the Dodgers and value in any potential trade has been significantly diminished by his own abuse incident for which he is currently under investigation by baseball if not also in the criminal justice system.

It took baseball and the Dodgers, as well as the rest of the world of sports, a long time to learn this important lesson, but they are struggling on how to proceed without shooting themselves in the foot.

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