Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Congrats, You Theiving, Soulless Bastard
2008-07-28 09:12
by Emma Span

Well, yesterday was Hall of Fame Induction Day, and as a Brooklyn resident I’d just like to take the opportunity, on this touching and historic occasion, to say:

WALTER !@#&^?! O’MALLEY?! Are you !@*^$! kidding me?!?

What the hell is wrong with these people? What kind of organization inducts Walter O'Malley and not Buck O'Neil -- or, for that matter, Bowie Kuhn and not Marvin Miller -- and what do they take to help themselves sleep at night?

Kevin Kennedy and Mark Grace were blathering on in praise of this beady-eyed* backstabber on FOX yesterday, before the Sox game. “Oh, he was so influential,” they droned.

Sure he was. So was Arnold Rothstein. So were the rats who carried bubonic plague across Europe, but I don’t see anyone making any speeches or plaques for them.

...Okay, look, it's possible I'm overreacting just slightly. I know all about the revisionist history that paints Robert Moses as the real villain of the Dodgers' story, and I'm sure there's at least a few shreds of truth to that. So I hope no L.A. Dodgers fans will take any offense. After all, it’s not your fault that your team was built on a pile of pilfered bones, blood, and tears. Enjoy Casey Blake!
*When I say beady-eyed I’m not kidding. Look at him. And this is the presumably flattering photo they picked for PR purposes. Look deep into these eyes and tell me if you see any trace of genuine emotion or a human soul in there. You don’t, do you? They’re flat, like a doll’s eyes. I’m just saying.

2008-07-28 09:17:21
1.   Alex Belth
What are you talking about Tom Yawkey is in the Hall of Fame. No, wait---
2008-07-28 09:38:36
2.   Jon Weisman
Emma, I feel like people sometimes use the term "revisionist history" in a dismissive way - as if they're not buying into it. But there are more than shreds of truth to it. O'Malley pursued a New York solution to his Ebbets Field problem for a decade. Moses would not budge, and his rigidity had nothing to do with what was best for the people of New York.

The Los Angeles option was initiated by the city leaders here and implemented long after Chavez Ravine had been taken over. O'Malley had nothing to do with the eviction of that area's tenants. He could have stayed in Brooklyn forever, and those people weren't getting their homes back.

Once the decision was made to move to Los Angeles, that could have gone in any number of ways. As it turned out, during the Dodgers' first 30 years in Los Angeles - 20 of them under O'Malley, the rest under his son - were a model for baseball in almost every way. Competitive teams playing in a hallmark stadium without ticket prices being raised more than a dollar in three decades. I don't think that should be taken for granted.

O'Malley was a businessman, no doubt about it. Miller should be in the Hall, no doubt about it. And I know your post is all in good fun, but the revisionist history is worth giving more than lip service.

2008-07-28 09:40:59
3.   Raf
What kind of organization inducts Walter O'Malley and not Buck O'Neil
I have a pretty big issue with the O'Neil situation. Especially since they unveiled a statue of the man.

As for O'Malley, my stance has softened a bit WRT the move west. Dodger Thoughts has a lot of good info on O'Malley.

Would it have been awesome if the Dodgers stayed? Sure, of course. But it appears that the city tried to call his bluff, and failed.

2008-07-28 09:46:18
4.   Ian Capilouto
Well it looks as if us Dodger fans share the commonality with Yankee fans of ownership being ungraceful. But at least O'Malley expanded the landscape of baseball, whereas the Steinbrenner's at best are thug-like, criminals that exhibit the worst traits of the game.
2008-07-28 09:48:02
5.   Raf
4 But at least O'Malley expanded the landscape of baseball, whereas the Steinbrenner's at best are thug-like, criminals that exhibit the worst traits of the game.

FWIW, Steinbrenner almost expanded the landscape to NJ or Manhattan or Yonkers on several occasions :)

2008-07-28 09:50:11
6.   Alex Belth
"Moses would not budge, and his rigidity had nothing to do with what was best for the people of New York"

Moses never did anything with the best interests of the people of New York first and foremost in his mind.

2008-07-28 09:51:49
7.   Raf
FWIW, Vin Scully mentioned yesterday, that when O'Malley took over the team, he personally called Scully to tell him that he had a job. Apparently, this meant a lot to Scully. He was a bit surprised that a secretary didn't call him, he was also surprised that he got a call at all, seeing as he was the low guy on the totem pole.
2008-07-28 09:54:41
8.   Chyll Will
Robert "The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is A Four-Lane Expressway Through Your Living Room" Moses vs. Walter "Ooh, What's That Shiny Thing WAYYYY Over There?" O'Malley... hmm, whom to pick, hmm...

Can't imagine how they never got along, considering that they both had the same favorite catch-phrases:

"Well, they're just gonna have to move!"
"Does it hurt when I do THIS?"

2008-07-28 09:54:50
9.   Bob Timmermann
My reaction to this:


2008-07-28 10:01:04
10.   Chyll Will
2 >;) All in fun, Jon. I'm on Alex's side 6 !

Wouldn't it be something if Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller went into the HoF at the same time? Not that I would care to wait that long for either one, but...

2008-07-28 10:01:36
11.   Bob Timmermann
If you read the "Power Broker" by Robert Caro, (Or in my case, just check the index) the discussion of building a new stadium for the Dodgers is summed up with one line toward the end of the book.

Which is 1246 pages long.

2008-07-28 10:03:19
12.   Raf
Something that always has amused me about both teams moving west is that the Giants seem to be the forgotten team in this. Stoneham announced his move first, didn't he? Did Moses make any offers towards him, or was he set on moving the team to Minnesota?
2008-07-28 10:10:55
13.   Alex Belth
The Giants are the forgotten ones. Nobody ever mentioned the Polo Grounds or the Giants in a World War II movie.
2008-07-28 10:16:00
14.   Bob Timmermann
Stoneham wanted to move independently of O'Malley, but he was in poor financial shape. He wanted to move to Minneapolis since the Giants had a farm team there.

The Giants were almost operating as a vassal to the Dodgers in the late 1950s. Stoneham kept trying to get invited to the O'Malley-Moses sitdowns and the principals sort of blew him off.

O'Malley convinced Stoneham that the West Coast was the place to be and Stoneham received what appeared to be a sweetheart deal from San Francisco. The city built him a new stadium and got it done very quickly. Candlestick opened in 1960, two years before Dodger Stadium.

But Stoneham didn't own Candlestick. And he didn't realize that it was going to be one of the least commodious stadiums ever constructed.

2008-07-28 10:19:26
15.   Simone
I actually can't get over Bowie Kuhn over Marvin Miller. Unf'ingbelievable, I say.
2008-07-28 10:21:13
16.   Chyll Will
11 Here's a ringing endorsement of ol' Moses from the very wikipedia page about that book:

"In the 21st Century, as many have decried the inability of American public institutions to construct and maintain infrastructure projects, a more positive view of Moses' career has emerged. In a 2006 speech to the Regional Plan Association on downstate transportation needs, Eliot Spitzer, who would be overwhelmingly elected governor later that year, said a biography of Moses written today might be called At Least He Got It Built. "That's what we need today. A real commitment to get things done"."

You can say that again, Gov! >;)

2008-07-28 10:39:52
17.   Disabled List
Re: the Passion of the Brooklyn Dodgers

You want some revisionist history? This article from New York Magazine last year slaughters a few sacred cows.

2008-07-28 10:48:09
18.   Emma Span
2 , 4 , 7 You make good points, but were you aware that O'Malley drank the blood of adorable puppies for breakfast every morning?
2008-07-28 10:52:37
19.   Bob Timmermann
They were actually kittens.
2008-07-28 10:54:07
20.   Emma Span
19 Revisionist!
2008-07-28 11:01:41
21.   Ian Capilouto
18 That said, there is a part of me that wishes the Steinbrenner's owned the Dodgers. The bloodthirsty, win at all costs side of me. Must learn to control these earth-like emotions.
2008-07-28 11:03:01
22.   tommyl
21 Welcome to the dark side Ian. Let the desire to win flow through you.

Say what you want about Steinbrenner, but he's always had the fans interest foremost in his mind.

2008-07-28 11:13:01
23.   williamnyy23
4 Ridiculous comment. I am glad you don't like the Steinbrenners though because I am more than happy to keep them.
2008-07-28 11:44:08
24.   JL25and3
17 Let me see if I understand this article correctly. If the Dodgers hadn't moved West, Brooklyn would have remained a largely white immigrant community with a sense of pride and spirit. People would still be drinking egg creams at the corner drugstore while they talked about their love for Dem Bums. There would have been no projects, no white flight to Long Island, no gentrification, because no one would ever have wanted to leave.

Apparently the Dodgers were the unique glue that held all this together.

2008-07-28 12:01:42
25.   JoeInRI
No baseball owner is a saint and some are indeed miserable bastards. The worst result of O'Malley's and Stoneham's exodus, though, was the creation of the Mets. Unforgivable.
2008-07-28 12:03:57
26.   Ian Capilouto
22 23 I compare Yankee fandome to Laker fandome in a way. I love the Lakers, but had a hard time rooting for them this year because, one, Kobe Bryant is a first class jerk to the point that I question my morality if I do root for him. I would enjoy the Yankees winning ways, but it would be hard for me to ignore Stenbrenner's two suspensions from MLB and criminal record in politics and in gambling. Maybe I am weaksauce because of this attitude?....Also, are there any pro sports teams that are run in a completely honorable way?
2008-07-28 12:06:31
27.   Raf
26 The Rockies?
2008-07-28 12:12:16
28.   JL25and3
27 Yeah, I hear they're so nice they'll even allow Jews on their team, as long as they embrace good Christian values.
2008-07-28 12:13:11
29.   Ian Capilouto
Too much Jesus for me.
2008-07-28 12:30:35
30.   rbj
Well if the Dodgers were all that important to Brooklyn, why did people stop going to their games.
2008-07-28 12:44:42
31.   Chyll Will
29 There's always the other option:

30 Because they tore down the stadium, duh! >;)

2008-07-28 12:55:16
32.   JL25and3
31 Well played, sir.
2008-07-28 13:00:54
33.   Shaun P
26 Just wondering . . . what did you do when Rupert Murdoch and FOX owned the Dodgers?

Steinbrenner is just something you accept as a Yankees fan. You may not like it, you may wish it wasn't that way - but what cha gonna do?

2008-07-28 13:05:45
34.   underdog
33 "what did you do when Rupert Murdoch and FOX owned the Dodgers?" For me personally, while I continued to root for the team, I also created a small shrine dedicated to doing various rituals that were designed to bring about the complete and utter destruction of the Fox Ownership™
2008-07-28 13:06:06
35.   Emma Span
30 Yankee Stadium was often half empty 15 years ago, but aren't you glad they didn't pick up and move to New Mexico or someplace?

I know it'll never, ever, EVER happen, but I fantasize about having a team in Brooklyn again one day. There are 3 million people here, more than any other US city besides the rest of NY, LA, and maybe Chicago. We could totally support a team. The Cyclones sell out on a regular basis, and they're an A ball team 90 minutes from midtown.

Yeah, this is a minor obsession of mine... but that's another post for another time.

31 Nice.

2008-07-28 13:11:43
36.   rbj
35 Oh yes indeed. I'm glad they didn't pick up and move to Jersey. My point is that there didn't seem to be much fan support for the Dodgers, (and Robert Moses was blocking attempts to increase support) so why shouldn't O'Malley go where he thought he could make more money.
2008-07-28 13:12:54
37.   Bama Yankee
31 Good one, Chyll.
2008-07-28 13:18:26
38.   Ian Capilouto
31 Satan is much more fun than Jesus.
33 Yeah that was hard to stomach, as much because of their dismantling of a historically great franchise as for that fact that Murdoch and his company are sumbitches and stand for a lot of stuff I am against. To put it into perspective, I sometimes ponder my Dodger fandom when I read the differing viewpoints on their Brooklyn departure and what happened to Chavez Ravine. More so than ever, I feel apathetic to outcomes of my fav teams anymore.
2008-07-28 14:33:11
39.   Max Nomad
My favorite quote from O'Malley's wikipedia:

"If a Brooklyn man finds himself in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and O'Malley, but has only two bullets, what does he do? Shoot O'Malley twice."

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