Breakup the Dodgers: A Mixtape for the McCourts
There is a chunk of the population that is disturbed that a classic franchise like the Los Angeles Dodgers has filed for bankruptcy. There are people who are saddened that the blue jerseys worn by Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Duke Snyder are being soiled by Frank McCourt. There are fans who might just shed a tear for the Bums that formerly resided in Brooklyn.
Let me assure you, I am not one of those people.
I was raised in San Francisco and taught to hate the Dodgers like paper cuts, math tests and chafing. The despicable franchise has made me avoid buying blue shirts and hats. And after signing with the Dodgers, I have committed to adding a “B” to the start of any “Uuuuuu-Ribe!” chant from this moment forward.
So in celebration of the splendid McCourt divorce that has led to all this madness for the duckin’ Fodgers, I wanted to share a few break-up songs with my favorite couple.
Nobody writes a breakup song like Bob Dylan — his songs perfectly mirror that last comment uttered right as you leave the room that will continue to sting hours later.
My brother Max said when he hears “Positively 4th Street,” he can picture Suze Rotolo screaming at a silent, grinning Dylan who just knows whatever she says, his song is going to win the argument. I couldn’t agree more.
The song is ruthless, underhanded and easy to sing along with; it paints her as a truly miserable young lady. I can imagine that Frank McCourt would love to tell his estranged wife Jamie, “I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, so you’d know what a drag it is to see you.”
With “It Ain’t Me Babe”, Dylan appears to write within the “it’s not you, it’s me” frame. But as only Dylan can do, a closer investigation of the lyrics shows that the whole song is a backhanded way to call his ex-girlfriend needy.
The genius of Dylan is in his ability to be understated while being cruel.
One can easily picture a hardcore track that tells an ex-girlfriend to go fuck herself and jump off a building. But Bobby D manages to slip in the same message with the tactful flip of a poetic quill. He tells her, “Go lightly from the ledge, babe / Go lightly on the ground / I’m not the one you want, babe / I will only let you down.”
Yes, Dylan is asking this girl to jump off a roof because he ultimately will do her wrong. But the reason it is such a great breakup song is because we don’t blame him for saying it. He’s framed his hatred in such a way that we can’t help but side with the seemingly considerate narrator who is warning the woman of eventual heartbreak.
The breakup song closest to my heart, the one I listened to on repeat after my first real relationship ended, is “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”
Dylan pretends to be unbothered by all the failings of his woman, passive-aggressively listing them and then telling her “don’t think twice, it’s alright.” Dylan pitilessly paints a woman who never called out his name, who wanted his soul, who never showed him her light, and who finally forced him to leave her.
At the end of a dysfunctional relationship, it is easy to nod along as Dylan sings lyrics that might as well be about your own ex. Sadly, the song continues to resonate for far too often.
After filing for bankruptcy, Frank McCourt must be travelin’ on away from the Dodgers family. And I’m sure a lot of Dodgers fans would love to say to him, “Goodbye is too good a word, gal, so I’ll just say fare the well.”
But Mr. McCourt, as a Giants fan, I can’t tell you enough to keep on doing what you’re doing. Ignore all those feelings of shame. Cast aside any desire to protect the sanctity of a once-proud franchise. Follow your gut, that’s what got you to the top in the first place.
When Bud Selig and all the talking heads on ESPN tell you that you’re stomping a bastion of baseball history into indecipherable mush, remember what a wise man once said: “Don’t think twice, it’s alright.”
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