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TRUE-BLUE SLOGANS.

Byline: KEVIN MODESTI

This week, when the Dodgers traded away Gary Sheffield, their most dynamic player, having already cut loose Chan Ho Park, their winningest pitcher, and bid farewell to Jeff Shaw, their best imitation of a bullpen ace, many fans probably wondered what the attraction will be this season at the local ballpark.

The third-place team doesn't seem to have got any better through its winter trades and signings. And the major acquisitions - Brian Jordan, Odalis Perez, Hideo Nomo, Paul Quantrill, Omar Daal - aren't the sort to brighten a stadium marquee.

How will the Dodgers sell 3 million tickets again this year?

As it happens, the Dodgers plan to unveil their 2002 marketing slogan soon. A club spokesman hinted it would be similar to last year's ``Being Here is Everything,'' putting an emphasis on the joys of an All-American evening of munching peanuts and ducking foul balls.

That could be the way to go.

These slogans could work:

Baseball's Fun, Even If the Home Team Stinks.

Best Entertainment Value in Town, Unless You'd Like a Good Seat.

It's Not As If You're Going to Stay for Nine Innings, Anyway.

Or even:

Being Here Is Everything, If There's Nothing on TV.

Then again, the Dodgers could push some other themes.

They could emphasize the quality of National League baseball with these slogans:

Barry Bonds Here April 2-3-4.

Come and Boo Gary Sheffield Aug. 23-24-25.

Every Opponent Will Be the Best Team You See This Week.

Understand, I'm just trying to be helpful.

Maybe they could emphasize the club's rich history:

Remember 1988! (If You're Too Young, Ask Your Grandpa.)

Do It for Brooklyn!

Devon White Slept Here.

Or they could try to turn Major League Baseball's current unsettled economic situation to their advantage:

It Could Be Worse, You Could Be a Twins Fan.

Give Us Your Money, or We Just Might Move to D.C.

Help Us to Spruce Up the Bottom Line, and Maybe Fox Can Sell the Franchise.

Or they could put modern twists on some old baseball phrases.

The pre-World War I Cubs had the double-play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance. The Dodgers could tout Izturis to Grudzielanek to Karros. It rolls right off the tongue.

The old Braves pitching lined up as Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain. The Dodgers have Brown and Ishii and Pray for ... for ... OK, this one needs work, too.

Leo Durocher said, ``Nice guys finish last.'' Well, the Dodgers won't finish last. How about, Nice Guys Finish Fourth?

It's true, these Dodgers do seem like nice guys, now that the prickly Sheffield has been shipped off to Atlanta. Of course, now that he's in Atlanta, he's not going to be as prickly anymore.

Anyway, the Dodgers could remind fans that the players and coaching staff are like family and that the season serves as a kind of reunion. The club can highlight the different personalities:

Eric Karros: There's One Dodger You've Heard Of.

Shawn Green: Come and See What That Wild and Crazy Guy Will Do Next.

Kevin Brown: He Won't Bite If You Don't Get Too Close to His Cage.

Jim Tracy: It's Not His Fault.

Just because a lot of experts think the Dodgers have fallen further behind Arizona and San Francisco in the National League West - and might even get passed by San Diego this season - they don't have to be sheepish about their chances.

So how about a slogan that reads like a courageous prediction:

We Might Win More Games Than the Lakers.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 20, 2002
Words:589
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