|Scanned copy of letter Daly sent to my son, congratulating him for receiving his Eagle Scout award|
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Daly's Comments to T.J. Simers - Well He Didn't Hold Back Anything
I always liked Bob Daly and thought he was a stand up guy during a tumultuous time in Dodger history.
I liked Bob because he told the Giants to stick it in 2001 when they asked the Dodgers to wear throwback Brooklyn jerseys at Pac Bell Park to commemorate the ’51 Bobby Thompson homer. You know, “the shot heard round the world because they cheated and used a telescope to tip off pitches for the last six weeks of the season?” That home run. Yes, the San Francisco Giants had the audacity to ask Daly to cooperate and have the Dodgers wear the old duds. “To relive one of the darkest days in franchise history...it was like, ‘Are you kidding?’” said Daly. “
(Note: Bill Plascke retells the story of the ’51 penant race controversy linked here. )
On a personal note, In 2003 when the Dodgers were on the verge of being sold and Daly was on his way out, I mailed him an invitation to my son’s Eagle Scout Court of honor. Not only did he respond, but he got Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully to send him congratualtory letters too. I thought that was real classy of him and something that he actually made an effort to respond to above and beyond his daily responsibilities with the team.
Daly was a Dodger fan, and a good one too. He recalls the torture of dealing with the 1951 pennant collapse while he was in High School back in Brooklyn. His passion for the Dodgers was palpable and he certainly deserved a better fate than that of having to deal with the foibles of the Fox ownership. I thought he did a respectable job of attempting to right the ship. If you remember, he inherited Kevin Malone as his general Manager. Yesterday’s quotes from Daly lead us to believe that he thinks he failed when he turned the stewardship of the team over to McCourt. If you read T.J. Simers' article L.A. Times article yesterday, you'll see that he really let Frank have it.
Daly expressed regret that he didn’t ever get to celebrate in a Dodger champagne doused locker room. He also thinks he overvalued the farm system and should have traded some prospects for a bat in 2002 and he has his regrets about McCourt. Daly, a Dodger fan until this day had mixed feelings, wanting McCourt to fail but his Dodgers to win. It is something that many of us are familiar with the past few years.
He expressed anger at McCourt for letting people go who were Dodger employees for decades telling them that “they’ve been like a family as so if he he wanted to make changes, do so with respect.”
We all know that McCourt released lifetime dodger employees with the subtlety of a freight train going through a glass house. Daly says, “I told him off,” regarding the way McCourt dismissed so many employees unceremoniously. I wonder if the Ross Porter dismissal is what the was referring to. Porter and Tommy Hawkins were two of the higher profile names that left early in the McCourt regime, but there were many that were hurt by his slash and burn management style. Others like Derrick Hall abandoned ship when he saw the writing on the wall. Some weren’t lucky enough to get out earlier.
Daly had an ability to reach out and mend fences. This was exemplified by the stormy contract negotiation sessions with Gary Sheffield prior to the 2001 season. When Sheffield decided to take their differences to the media spotlight, it was Daly that reasoned with him and who Sheffield publicly said he preferred to negotiate with and not G.M. Kevin Malone. Daly had opened up his home to Sheffield and invited his fiance, an up an coming singer to meet Daly’s wife, singer/song writer Carole Bayer-Sager, to provide counsel and assistance to her career. Ironically, when Sheffield pinned the Dodgers in a corner and demanded a trade following the ’02 season, it was Daly that demanded he be moved. Sheff had criticized his teammates and management for spending money foolishly. You didn’t turn on the organization with Daly at the helm. He was loyal to you, but if you blind sided him, you were toast.
Out of all the points made in Simers' piece yesterday, one factoid that I found Interesting was that Daly’s invested more cash into the Dodgers during the Fox tenure than McCourt when he bought the team, and Daly only owned a 10% share. It gives us all an idea how highly leveraged the McCourt purchase was.
Bob was a stand up guy and Dodger executive that probably deserved to see some Dodger success. He hired Dan Evans to replace Kevin Malone and most fans these days would say that it was Evans that started to turn things around. Logan White joined the organization during the Daly years and I think we'd all agree how valuable he is. Unfortunately, both Evans and Daly would not be around to celebrate some of the successes that they were responsible in creating.