DAFT DODGER: Tom Friend of ESPN.com profiles …

DAFT DODGER: Tom Friend of ESPN.com profiles the man behind the on-field renaissance of the Dodgers: Eric Gagne.

Excerpt: "The face of the Los Angeles Dodgers wears a Brillo pad on his chin, prescription goggles and a hat full of bacteria. He cusses in French, perfects his English watching Seinfeld and eats Japanese food almost every night.

"He has a headbanger theme song, pants that need to be let out at the thighs and a bobblehead of himself giving the finger above his locker. Other than that, he’s harmless.

"A once-pristine franchise is now playing with its jerseys untucked, and it’s all because of a 28-year-old relief pitcher who answers to B.D.A. (Big Dumb Animal)." (login/pass)

It’s about damn time the Dodgers grew some personality. I still harken back to last summer, when I stood next to Gagne at a Pasadena nightclub for two full hours and not one person approached him for an autograph or to say hello. Not one.

Meanwhile, months later I observed Laker benchwarmers Devean George and Brian Shaw being mobbed at a similar establishment in Hermosa Beach.

I have a feeling those scenarios would be very, very different now.

Along with stumbling onto an unexpected vein of on-field success this season, nobody will benefit more from Shaq’s departure than Los Chicos En Azul.