Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Re-writing Dodger history

When did Sports Illustrated become a home for Ayn Rand worshippers?

Sports Illustrated has a fairly disgraceful article out in the March 9 issue by Michael D'Antonio that is a bunch of condescending nonsense. It's not online on the mag's web site. It's excerpted from D'Antonio's upcoming book "Forever Blue." I strongly suggest you not buy the book.
The reportage in the SI article is adequate, I suppose, although it only serves as a means to the end -- an attempt to whitewash the reputation of Walter O'Malley for having stuck it to Brooklyn by leaving for Los Angeles at the end of the 1957 season. It attempts to portray O'Malley as a poor victim of the evil Robert Moses, who would not allow O'Malley to proceed with plans for a new stadium. It asserts that New Yorkers are wrong to villify O'Malley for reacting to the villainous behavior of Moses, an appointed New York city official. According to D'Anotnio, Moses had the temerity to want the Dodgers to move to Long Island. (I guess that's the ultimate crime)

"It's plain to see that O'Malley was right," he declares. "And the sons and daughters of Brooklyn have reason to let go of their old grudge. Truth is good for the soul. Forgive, and forget."

Give me a freaking break, Michael D'Antonio. Can you hear me? You must come off that mountain top.

In the first place, the Dodgers were still making plenty of money in Brooklyn so it's not like they were forced out. O'Malley just wanted to make more money. D'Anotonio fails to mention that O'Malley could have sold the team or renovated Ebbets Field. No, instead, according to his re-write of history, the move out of Brooklyn is ALL the fault of Robert Moses.

D'Antonio also fails to mention that the move by the Dodgers is unique in the annals of professional sports in that the Dodgers were drawing well. Most other franchise moves -- such as the St. Louis Browns moving to Baltimore after drawing less than 300,000 in 1953 -- were made by teams that were struggling. In 1955, the Dodgers won the World Series and drew 1 million people, followed by 1.2 million in in 1956 and 1.02 million in 1957, even though people knew the team was leaving. And by comparison, the Giants drew an NL-low 653,000 that year before they came to San Francisco.

But what really insulting about this stretching of the truth is the notion that people in Brooklyn are somehow wrong to dislike O'Malley. It even blames announcer Red Barber and New York writers like Roger Kahn, Arthur Daley and Dick Young for fanning the flames of hatred toward poor little Walter O'Malley, saying that the "Boys of Summer" portrayed O'Malley as a "cheerless, money-obsessed old man."

EARTH TO D'ANTONIO -- First off, you couldn't carry Roger Kahn's typewriter, so it would serve you well to think twice about criticizing him. Let me explain something to you in language you can perhaps understand -- O'Malley owned the Dodgers and he moved them to Los Angeles to get more money. And it wasn't Robert Moses who moved the team. It was Walter O'Malley. Got it? Probably not.

I can only guess that Sports Illustrated is pandering to Dodger fans in Los Angeles to somehow help them feel better about themselves for rooting for the Dodgers by publishing this revisionist claptrap. The magazine ought to be ashamed of itself. At a time when the world's economy has been tanking and everyone is worried about their job, why is it that the SI editors feel compelled to print this impassioned apology and justification of a very rich man's quest for still even more money? Why would they have the nerve to tell people who mourn the loss of the Brooklyn Dodgers that they're wrong to feel how they feel about the man who took away their team?


Anonymous Dan said...

A Brooklyn fan is in a room with a gun. The gun has two bullets. In the room with him are Hitler, Stalin, and O'Malley.

Q. Who does the Brooklyn fan shoot?

A. O'Malley, twice.

12:06 AM  

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