Conspiracy theory lives in city that never sleeps

By Kyle Betts

Maybe I’m just paranoid, maybe I’m just suspicious or maybe it’s because I just watched Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” but I have a feeling there is something more to what’s been happening with Alex Rodriguez, Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Something doesn’t add up to me. Something doesn’t feel right. Something smells like a conspiracy.

While it is nothing more than pure speculation on my part, the recent chain of events has been raising eyebrows and questions from the Bronx to Beverly Hills.

The most intriguing characteristic of the whole ordeal is the way in which A-Rod and Torre left the Yankees. Both were offered contracts by the Steinbrenners to stay; both of them shoved it back in their faces. I haven’t seen anyone escape from New York with that much machismo since Kurt Russell.

Torre turned down a one-year offer worth about $5 million plus incentives, and Rodriguez denied a multi-year deal that was rumored to give him around $30 million a season. Who turns down that kind of money? Who says no to the infamous pinstripes? Who rejects The Boss? I’ll tell you who: People who know that there is someone else willing to give them what they want.

Perhaps then, before Torre sat down with the Yankees brass to discuss his status and before A-Rod had another outrageous deal put in front of him, they could have had knowledge that someone else wanted them and that someone else had more to offer.

This brings us to the Dodgers, a major-market team with money to spend that has been up to its own ambiguous moves lately. The recent “resignation” of manager Grady Little was less of a forced firing and more of a swift kick out the door to get the place ready for Torre, who is currently in contract talks with team officials.

The Dodgers also cleaned house at the third base position by trading away opening day starter Wilson Betemit to the Yankees in August, letting veteran Shea Hillenbrand go into free agency and leaving the position to be filled by an unproven Andy LaRoche or a struggling Nomar Garciaparra.

At this moment, arguably the two biggest needs for the Dodgers to fill this offseason are a manager and a third baseman. What a coincidence.

So why the Dodgers then? What makes them so much more appealing than any other team, particularly the Yankees? What is the motive for going there?

For A-Rod, playing in Los Angeles means he would get to maintain his national exposure – it is the second largest television market in the country – while also escaping the wrathful eye of the New York media that expected so much from him and put so much of the blame for the team’s failures on his back.

For Torre, instead of going to a team in the middle of rebuilding, he gets to go to a competitive club that is ready to win now. He will also get to manage a group of very skilled veterans mixed with youthful talent that has become increasingly experienced over the last few years.

For the Dodgers, they get the star power they need to win back the fans that they have been losing to the Angels. The once dominant franchise in Southern California can regain its No. 1 status with the addition of a guaranteed Hall of Fame manager and player that will bring back fans to their side.

The main motivation for everyone, though, is the championship potential. The Dodgers play in the lowly National League and in an NL West division that is annually up for grabs, and now is the time to strike.

Not only could A-Rod and Torre help the Dodgers become the most dominant team in the West for years to come, but they could make several runs at an NL pennant and a World Series title.

So were the Dodgers whispering in the ears of A-Rod and Torre, telling them to ditch the Yankees? Do they have the money to pull off such a coup d’etat that they can put themselves in place for NL success while also setting up the Yankees for a rebuilding period under the regime of Red Sox dominance?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Like I said, this is all speculation and there is no way to prove it. We’re not going to find a smoking gun or a Zapruder film.

I will always wonder, though, what was going through A-Rod and Torre’s minds when they were telling Steinbrenner “No, thanks.”

Maybe it was the simple idea of “quit and to the west, quit and to the west, quit and to the west.”

Kyle Betts is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]