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Thursday, May 9, 2013
Patience is what Dodgers need most

By Ramona Shelburne

LOS ANGELES -- Stop me if you've heard this one before:

Big market, glamour franchise makes a series of trades and free-agent signings that turn the rest of the league on its head, create outsized expectations to win, and it all falls apart in the first month of the season with a series of freakish, random injuries.

The Los Angeles Lakers just got done living that movie.

Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have dealt with plenty of adversity this season already, but the team has been far from healthy since Opening Day.
So forgive the locals if they're not exactly lining up to see the sequel play out at Dodger Stadium, where poor Don Mattingly is about this close to putting on some spikes and taking grounders at first base while his 25-man roster ambles gingerly through the clubhouse trying not to get hurt again.

So far, the Los Angeles Dodgers haven't had to deal with the same noxious chemistry the Lakers struggled with. And management has at least let Mattingly get through the first month of the season before pulling the rip cord like the Lakers did to Mike Brown.

But the longer things go badly, you have to start wondering if management will lose its patience and start making changes to see if that's enough to snap this team out of its funk.

You wonder, until you remember this is the sequel.

There are lessons to be learned from the Lakers' belly-flop. And yes, lessons to be learned from the second half of the Dodgers season last year as well, when all those rich imports from Boston didn't fit in very well right away.

Change isn't always a good thing. Sometimes stability is what a team really needs. New players need time to bond. Teams need time to gel. A manager needs time to figure it out.

Right now the Dodgers just need to get healthy, so they can see what they've actually got.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Dodgers' management is frustrated and disappointed by how this season has gone so far, but they want to see how the team performs once they get back to some level of good health.

Evaluating the team, its players or Mattingly under these circumstances isn't fair and management is understanding of that, the source told ESPNLA.com.

This bit of patience might seem incongruous with the vigor the Dodgers' new owners have shown in tackling the issues facing the franchise since they purchased it for a record $2 billion last year.

Everything these new owners have done has been meant to shock and awe both the baseball world, and the team's beleaguered fans, who needed a reason to believe in the franchise again after Frank McCourt's disastrous tenure.

But remember, these new guys made their money by being very good at picking the right investments. And sometimes, when the market is unstable, the best thing to do is buy and hold.