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Category: Dennis Mannion

Potential Dodgers owners already reaching out to Derrick Hall

Dodgersbig1Could Derrick Hall, the Dodgers’ former vice president of communications and the Arizona Diamondbacks' current president and chief executive officer, return as the Dodgers’ next team president?

Yahoo Sports’ Steven Henson said several groups in the running to purchase the team from Frank McCourt have already approached Hall about becoming the Dodgers’ lead executive should they prove to have the winning bid.

Henson wrote a terrific piece about Hall, 43, and his recent battle with prostate cancer. Hall had surgery two months ago and received great news after a recent follow-up test.

Hall is one of the most likable, intelligent and dynamic individuals you could ever meet. He is a huge reason the Diamondbacks were selected as the best sports organization in the world to work for by the United Nations. You know, the kind of honors that used to go to the bankrupt Dodgers.

Hall was the first to figure out what Frank and Jamie McCourt were about and tender his resignation. He is such a bright star in baseball circles that many see him as a leading contender to replace Commissioner Bud Selig when he retires. Should that ever actually happen.

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Dodgers Web musings: Don Mattingly doubts big bat is coming

Don3Say this for Don Mattingly: He usually does not try to snow you. He might, understandably, favor the company line, but he is a straight shooter.

That was on display again this week during a radio interview with 710 AM's "Mason and Ireland," when Mattingly first stated the obvious -– that the Dodgers most need an impact bat -- but then acknowledged he was not counting on that happening.

"I can't say I'm confident that we're going to be able to do it," he said. "We've talked about different things. ... You hear Prince [Fielder], you hear Albert [Pujols]. Those are nice thoughts; there's a lot of teams talking about those type of guys ... but you got to have a Plan B, a Plan C. How do we put offense together if we can't do something like that? That's the biggest thing.

"And obviously, I don't know where we're going to be as far as what we're going to be able to do. Are we going to go backward with the budget, are we going to go forward? ... It's hard to know right now."

Got that right. Hard to know the budget when you can’t be sure who will own the team come next spring.

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Ex-Dodgers President Dennis Mannion hired by Pistons

Dennis-mannion_175 Departed Dodgers executives don’t fade into oblivion, they just reappear somewhere else. Preferably with a boss who actually cares about being successful.

Dennis Mannion (pictured at right) is part of the carousel of changing upper management for the Dodgers that started almost from the moment Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the team and has continued unabated, almost unbelievably, ever since.

Mannion succeeded Jamie as team president when she was fired at the end of the 2009 season by her hubby, Frank, over some dispute you may have heard about. Mannion has a business and marketing background in all three major professional sports.

He lasted one year, which must be about the average for a Dodgers executive, before he was fired without explanation. Mannion, as no doubt required as part of his exit package, never did comment on the reasons for his sudden dismissal.

Now, however, Mannion has re-emerged -– as ex-Dodgers executives tend to -– and is expected to be introduced next week as the chief executive of Sports Palace and Entertainment, parent company of the Detroit Pistons.

Just to make it more fun, the Pistons were purchased in June by Tom Gores of Los Angeles, who along with brother Alec was one of the many billionaires rumored to be interested in purchasing the Dodgers. For what it’s worth, Tom Gores has denied any such interest.

In a deposition, Mannion ripped Jamie McCourt’s contributions to the Dodgers, so it’s not like he was one of the herd of Jamie loyalists fired by Frank. That crowd, of course, included vice president of marketing Dr. Charles Steinberg.

Steinberg, curiously, is now the senior advisor for public affairs to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Anyway, I bet Frank finds it curious.

When Frank fired the likable Mannion, he claimed he was going to take over the day-to-day operations of the club. That never happened. That sort of fell on Chief Operating Officer Geoffrey Wharton, who, you will be shocked to know, disappeared from the club this season, again without explanation.

Still more shocking, no one seems to have a clue who’s in charge of the team's day-to-day operations these days. Although for job security, that’s probably a very good idea.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Surprise, surprise: Steve Soboroff trying the low-key approach?

L15g36nc The Dodgers return Friday night to open a brief six-game homestand, which seems a perfect time to mention who was all but invisible during the last homestand:

"Bulldog" Steve Soboroff.

Seems Frank McCourt actually did put a leash on his wild hair vice chairman of something or another.

During the Last seven games at Dodger Stadium, Soboroff was nowhere to be seen, which naturally had me wondering if he had been fired after McCourt had to apologize to Major League Baseball after Soboroff’s latest verbal attack.

But, no, I was assured he was still in the fold, if just less publicly prominent. Seems McCourt finally understood that if you’re trying to get the commissioner of baseball to approve a TV deal to save your ownership, it probably isn’t the best idea to have your latest lackey trying to take a bite out of us butt every other day.

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How scary is this: Pushed into a corner, a desperate Frank McCourt vows to fight on

Frank6 "I have just begun to fight,’’ said "Irish’’ Frank McCourt.

Scarier words have been spoken, just not recently. I guess we’ve known for some time now this was not going to end well, but just how deep into the muck do we have to delve?

Frank McCourt is a desperate man. It’s almost sad, McCourt trying to instantly reinvent himself only after Commissioner Bud Selig has stepped in and taken control of the team.

Now he wants to talk to the media? Now he wants to go out and mingle in the right-field pavilion? Now he wants to open up?

He is flailing in all directions, though I remain convinced he believes every word he utters. He’s like the teenager who’s come up with some wild excuse for a boneheaded move, repeating it until he actually begins to believe his own ramblings.

Let’s see here, the reason he did not talk to the media for the last 18 months was because his boys asked him not to discuss the divorce. Really? So don’t talk about the divorce. There were only about 99 other topics to discuss.

"Recently, my boys came to me and said it was OK for me to speak out and to defend myself,’’ he told The Times' Bill Shaikin. "I'm going to do that. I'm going to continue to do that. I love this team. I love this game. I love this community.’’

He could have been defending himself against his mismanagement of the team for the last 18 months without talking divorce. Now backed into a corner by MLB, he suddenly plays his divorce like a sympathy card.

And I’m getting real weary of his "love the team’’ and "love the community’’ routine. He’s not from our community and doesn’t know it. He's from Boston and now lives in one of the Southland’s most expensive hotels a block off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

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Frank McCourt takes control (again); new executive Steve Soboroff gives it a positive spin (again)

Mccourt Say this for Frank McCourt: If he hangs on and actually develops that baseball version of Universal City Walk out in the center-field parking lot, he won’t lack for in-house real estate development guys.

On Tuesday, McCourt held a staff meeting, essentially to introduce Steve Soboroff as his latest vice chairman, but also, a Dodgers source said, to announce he was going to fully re-engage himself in the day-to-day operations of the ballclub (supply own punchline).

McCourt said exactly the same thing in October when he severed ties with club President Dennis Mannion. Only this time, he really means it.

Soboroff is a real estate developer who becomes the seventh current club executive to report directly to McCourt.

Soboroff, 62, has long been a fixture in the Los Angeles community and ran for mayor in 2001, finishing third. He is charged with improving the "fan experience" and strengthening the team’s ties to the community.

Until Tuesday, I didn’t personally know Steve Soboroff from Steve Martin, though I do appreciate the effort of each to expand outside their areas of expertise.

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Those poor Dodgers, now even MLB is taking a shot at them

When your season has been a crashing disappointment, it’s not like you need offseason reminders.

Alas, that’s part of the deal. A not-so-sweet package. Darts and barbs and cynicism everywhere. Constant reminders of failures and shortcomings, from media and fans.

And did I mention … Major League Baseball?

Yep, good ol' MLB has given the Boys in Blue one little extra slap in the kisser.

Not intentionally, of course, but with the release of its This Year in Baseball Awards, the Dodgers have taken yet another blow.

This is the ninth year it’s sponsored a polling of fans to determine winners in 19 different categories. Because, you know, there can just never be enough fan-driven awards.

There are 10 nominations in each category -- which besides best hitter and closer, include such nifty awards as X-factor and oddity -- meaning, there are 190 nominations in all.

And out of 190 nominations, there is exactly one current Dodger nominated. Unless you count the ball boy who was nominated for best fan moment. Still awaiting word on whether the Dodgers are going to pick up his option.

The Dodgers received three total nominations, including Hong-Chih Kuo for best setup man, ex-Dodger Ronnie Belliard for best play and ball boy Francisco Herrera for best fan moment.

I’m pretty sure Dennis Mannion was going to nab a nomination for executive of the year, until Frank McCourt let it slip he was canning the team president. Sadly for McCourt, whom you may have heard also suffered a rough season, there is no award for owner of the year. I mean, they’d probably just have to name it after him anyway.

This Internet poll does earn a following. MLB claims more than 12 million people voted last season.

Kuo won the setup man award in 2008 and had an even better 2010, though the Dodgers are sort of fudging to nominate him here since he spent almost the final two months as their closer.

Belliard was nominated for making a play May 2 against Pittsburgh. Playing third base he made a running, over-the-shoulder catch in left field of a Bobby Crosby popup, then spun and made a strong throw to first baseman James Loney, who stretched out to make the catch and double up Andy LaRoche.

Otherwise, Belliard hit .216 and was released by the Dodgers Sept. 7.

Somehow four ball boys were nominated for best fan moment, including the Dodgers’ Herrera. Sitting in foul territory outside left field, he made a terrific backhanded catch of a slicing drive into the stands by Met Ike Davis. Then he handed the ball to a toddler.

And you thought the Dodgers had no highlights in 2010. Forgot all about the ball boy, and probably Belliard.

Nineteen different awards, 190 nominations, and that’s the best the Dodgers could do. If MLB was just a bit more creative, maybe the Dodgers could have scored a few more nominations.

Best first six weeks of the season (Andre Ethier), most creative hair use (Manny Ramirez), most creative use of a hair product (Vicente Padilla), best performance by a really small person (Jamey Carroll), best Matthew McConaughey look-a-like (John Ely), best performance by a 300-pound reliever, first-half division (Jonathan Broxton).

As it is, the award nominations are what they are, much like the Dodgers’ season.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers' web musings: Logan White won't be taking GM job with Mets

Dodgers Assistant General Manager Logan White won’t be part of the recent front office exodus, as the Mets announced Friday that he is not one of their final two candidates for their open general manager position.

The Mets’ final candidates are Sandy Alderson, the former A’s general manager, and Josh Byrnes, the ex-Diamondbacks GM.

The is a bummer for White, who has GM aspirations, but good news for Dodgers fans.

On the heels of Frank McCourt firing Dennis Mannion as club president, Dodgers.com's Ken Gurnick said the Dodgers lost two club officials this week: Mark Weidemaier, a special assistant to General Manager Ned Colletti, who had been with the club for 13 years, and Tim Hallgren, the director of scouting who had with the team for nine years.

Both are seeking work elsewhere, which could indicate they weren’t exactly being welcomed back. The Dodgers had no comment.

Elsewhere on the Web:

-- Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth tells the interesting tale of how Johnny Podres was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1955, despite a losing record.

-- MikeSciosciasTragicIllness.com’s Mike Petriello takes a good look at possible Dodgers’ bench coach Trey Hillman.

-- Newhanonbaseball.com’s Ross Newhan thinks the Dodgers should consider bringing back Adrian Beltre at third, though isn’t optimistic McCourt will pony up.

-- MemoriesofKevinMalone.com’s Chad Moriyama has a different take from myself on the Dodgers' split with third-base coach Larry Bowa.

-- PaulOberjuergue.com’s namesake thinks given the bleak free-agent pool this winter, the Dodgers did right by signing Ted Lilly.

-- Steve Dilbeck


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss: Frank McCourt back running team -- see, he is the owner

Sound the trumpets, pop the champagne, cue the confetti … Frank McCourt is back in charge!

And here you thought this couldn't possibly get any more fun.

Those crazy Dodgers, it's always something. Unfortunately, just not on the field.

Upstairs, though, they are the best entertainment in sports.

The latest news is that Dennis Mannion is out as Dodgers president and that McCourt will resume overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club.

Makes you just want to throw your head back and sing to the heavens! Or is that scream?

McCourt running things is called going backward. This is sort of where McCourt came in, only then of course, wife Jamie McCourt was the team president. If Frank needs help, I understand she's currently available.

The Dodgers -- surprise -- gave no explanation for severing ties with Mannion. This is Frank, so naturally you wonder if somehow money's not involved.

Mannion handled the business operations of the club and was barely visible around the ballpark, but presumably did his job well enough, because the club claimed to be making money. Or at least the McCourts were.

Mannion was the guy everyone else ultimately reported to, or at least in the last year, after he replaced Jamie.

It was Mannion, of course, who absolutely trashed Jamie in a deposition in the McCourts' divorce proceedings, claiming she was frequently absent from executive meetings and not capable or interested in focusing on the team.

Frank thanked Mannion profusely for his support, and then showed him the door. What a workplace.

Since promoting Mannion, Frank had been working out of his office in Beverly Hills. Guess he’ll have to schlep back down to Dodger Stadium.

The manager is gone, the team president is gone, and the debt-ridden owner is back running things.

Just how much wacky fun can one team stand?

-- Steve Dilbeck

Cover boys Kemp and Ethier: An L.A. marketing story

So there is a new face(s) to the Dodgers this season?

Come on, what did you expect? This is called smart business. Dennis Mannion, the team president, is a marketing guy. He understands the lay of the land.

Manny Ramirez has already honestly stated -- you know, back in the days when he was still talking -- he doesn’t expect to be back next season.

Now why would the Dodgers center their marketing campaign around a player everyone figures will be gone after one more season?

That the Dodgers' new media guide features Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier on the cover and not Manny, as Dylan Hernandez reported here in The Times, is simply displaying a keen marketing sense.

Now Mannion may be a laugh riot when it comes to quotes -- "I am against using individual players as a platform to market your team," he said -- but he knows which wheel to grease.

Kemp and Ethier are on the way up. Manny’s star is fading and he’s practically a lame duck. Now, if you were the Dodgers, just whom would you promote?

Mannion needs to be a little more up front with fans, though, and give them some credit. No need to massage the message. And really, he told Hernandez that promoting one or two individuals could lead to jealousy-fueled rifts in the clubhouse that would compromise the team's ability to win?

Told you he was one funny guy. Mannion visits the clubhouse about as often as he does the moon. Hypocrisy aside -- by the way, that Mannywood section will return this season -- Los Angeles has always been a market that relishes superstars.

The best Dodgers teams had identifiable faces, stars such as Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Garvey, Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser. In L.A., stars sell tickets. Without Kobe, the Lakers are the Clippers. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

Now, there is a great difference between a club promoting you as the face of the team and being the man in the clubhouse.

Manny is still the lead dog. He still sets the tone, still has the respect, is still the one with a World Series ring.

But it’s also undeniable that Ethier and Kemp now walk through the clubhouse with a slightly different air about them. They carry themselves like players who have arrived, not the youngsters of great promise.

This Silver Slugger excuse for putting them on the media guide cover is highly convenient. Kemp and Ethier are the future. A torch is being passed and it’s only smart to market it that way.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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