The Los Angeles Dodgers are truly one of my first loves. I know that I can be so ridiculously critical of them that it makes no sense. They are that cherished heirloom that holds great sentimental value.
As the Boys in Blue prepare for their 2014 post-season run I am trying to balance being a fan and a realist.
The fan in me says that once you get into the post-season you have a chance to be World Champion. The realist looks at the Dodgers injury-depleted rotation and knows a deep run will be hard.
The fan in me says that the Dodgers are the best road team in baseball with a 49-32 record away from The Ravine and that their veteran leadership will serve them well in October. The realist looks at the Dodgers defensive and base-running deficiencies and sees a club that is apt to boot a grounder or run themselves out of an inning at the most inopportune of times.
The fan in me sees a team tearing the cover off the ball and sees Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke sitting at the top of the rotation ready to lead the Dodgers into the Fall Classic. The realist looks at the most horrific bullpen in the 2014 post-season. A collection of has-beens that has been bad all year-long. What makes me think anything will change in October ?
The fan in me sees a battle-tested group that came back from 10 games last year and 9.5 games this year to most-likely capture their second straight division crown. The realist in me sees a manager in Don Mattingly making decisions at critical times that could directly influence the game and as much as I have supported this guy through the noise of an impatient fan-base, well, the thought of Donnie pushing buttons to try to help this team win, scares the hell out of me.
In closing, 26 years is a long long time. It’s not the 56 years Giants fans had to wait. It’s not the 86 years Red Sox fans waited. And, it’s not even close to the misery the Cubs have put their fans through. As much as I want it to happen, sadly I can’t bring myself to think that this is the team that ends the Dodgers World Championship drought. They have too many weaknesses, and good teams will take advantage of them and make it hurt.
So, I will celebrate this week’s divisional title. I will whoop it up with the rest of Dodgers Nation. But, unlike past trips to the post-season, I will temper my enthusiasm, knowing full well that in that must-win 3-3 game in the 7th Donnie will look to the pen and all he will see is Brian Wilson and Brandon League warming up.