About time Dodgers show fans some fight

first_img Now they know how the fans feel. This was supposed to be a bad thing, an altercation between two such important members of what passes for the batting order, stoking the doubts about whether the front office cares enough about clubhouse chemistry. Presumably, the Dodgers are as upset as their fans, and it’s nice to see one or two of them show it. There’s a sign of life even as the chances of catching San Diego and Arizona are dying. Why wouldn’t somebody boil over Saturday? It’s Miami. It’s afternoon. It’s 90 degrees. In Florida, 90 degrees feels like 290. It’s the kind of day when even Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes would be snapping at each other. It’s the day after the Dodgers fell five games behind the Padres again after losing to the Marlins on a two-run single by (of all hearts and souls) Paul Lo Duca. Why shouldn’t somebody boil over? The Dodgers should be as disappointed as anybody in baseball about what’s happened to their season. They started out as division-championship contenders after a 93-win, division-title year and all kinds of roster changes. Then they opened with 12 wins in 14 games. After what’s gone on since that 10-games-over-.500 start, the Dodgers should be fighting mad. Mad at the winter moves that didn’t work out. Mad at the trade-deadline moves that weren’t made. Mad at the injuries that took Eric Gagne away from them, cost them several weeks’ worth of Bradley and Jose Valentin and Jayson Werth, and still leaves them without J.D. what’s-his-name, you know, the right fielder. Mad at being third in the National League West, a division that’s sitting there for them or anybody else who could get to (and stay at) .500. About a month ago, Odalis Perez’s complaint that he’d been singled out for criticism in a team meeting seemed as if it might get people’s blood pumping, but things quieted down all too soon. Maybe it’s just the nature of the individuals on the coaching staff and the roster, but everybody’s been copacetic when somebody should be jumping up on a table. After losing to Florida again Monday, the Dodgers are going to have to go 25-13 the rest of the way just to finish 81-81. No matter what manager Jim Tracy says, that’s quite a stretch, seeing that their best 38-game stretch so far this season was 22-16. Saturday’s confrontation came after a game in which Bradley didn’t score from first base after Hee-Seop Choi came home from second on Kent’s seventh-inning double. Bradley ended up scoring the winning run on a bases-loaded walk by Werth in what became an 11-6 victory. Kent told reporters the blowup didn’t stem from “one incident” and was the result of “a buildup of frustration of our season.” Good. Dodgers-watchers, knowing the personalities, have been predicting a Kent-Bradley run-in since spring training. If this is the form it took, the club not only got off cheaply, it should welcome the display of passion. By the next day, the clubhouse mood must have been back to normal. The Miami Herald reported that Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny bet a batboy $500 Sunday that he couldn’t drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour without getting sick. Other Dodgers players put up money, pumping up the wager to more than $1,000. The batboy got the milk down, but he couldn’t keep it down. “I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time,” Penny was quoted as saying. I don’t know what Kirk Gibson would say about clubhouse pranks when the Dodgers are clinging to a pennant race. I say I liked it better when they were fighting. Kevin Modesti’s column appears in the Daily News three days a week. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It remains unclear exactly what happened between Jeff Kent and Milton Bradley after the Dodgers’ victory Saturday over the Florida Marlins. From the sound of things, somebody got mad at somebody, and then the second somebody got mad at the first somebody, and so everybody on the team had to sit through a meeting. Imagine that, Dodgers getting angry. center_img So why does it feel like the best thing to happen to this team since the giveaway caps arrived with “LA” spelled correctly? Because it was about time somebody got mad, creating a stir too serious to be contained by the normal walls of secrecy. In the absence of details, let’s assume the Bradley-Kent confrontation began with a baseball argument and didn’t get physical or racial or inappropriately personal. Assuming that, if there’s anger in the air, well, what took so long? For months, a controlled rage has hung in the air around Dodgers fans, who rank No. 2 (behind the Yankees’) in the major leagues in ticket-purchasing this season and have been rewarded with the No. 24 won-lost record. last_img read more