Dodgers: Just when I was out they pull me back in

From the outset I haven’t really thought much of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ever since their despicable December in which the front office thought the status quo for the bullpen was acceptable I have not had much faith in the 2016 version of our beloved Boys in Blue.

With a keen eye toward the future I have enjoyed the season knowing the Dodgers were not in the same class as the San Francisco Giants and that AT BEST the Dodgers might garner a wild card berth.

But here I sit on July 22nd and something peculiar is happening. The Dodgers are playing much better than the sum of their parts and the Giants are going through a July Swoon, delaying the inevitable by one month.

With no Kershaw and a line-up that mirrors the days of Danny Heep and Tracy Woodson, the Dodgers are 11 games above .500 and sit at 53-42 playing fantastic baseball at The Ravine. Even without Kershaw the Dodgers starting rotation has been serviceable over the last few weeks. Justin Turner is on a roll and my man Corey Seager is showing why the Dodger faithful may have found their version of a Posey in San Francisco or a Jeter in New York. No, I am not talking about MVP’s and Championships yet, I am talking about a true “face of the franchise.”

The bullpen, which has been the bane of the Dodgers organization since 2013 has performed exceptionally well since the beginning of May. I can’t believe how well they have pitched. I am shocked, stunned, flummoxed etc…..I still don’t believe they can keep this up but so far so good.

The Giants appeared to be on the verge of running away with the division and were going to give the Cubs a run for the best record in the National League. But, suddenly the Giants rotation looks a little thin. Jeff Samardjiza has morphed into the guy that flirted with a near 6.00 ERA in Chicago last year. Peavy is old and inconsistent and Matt Cain’s best days are behind him. That leaves Madison Bumgarner who is a stud and the mercurial Johnny Cueto who started the season 13-1 but I can feel a second-half meltdown on the horizon. If this sounds delicious if you are a Dodger fan, wait until we go over their bullpen. The middle relief has been inconsistent over the last six weeks, showing a penchant for giving up the crooked number and with Santiago Casilla seemingly wanting to give the closer job away, the Giants have some real issues at the back-end of their pen.

The Giants every day starting line-up has been problematic as well. Their spiritual leader Hunter Pence has been out nearly two months with a torn hamstring and is a few weeks away from being back in a major league uniform. Free-agent signee Denard Span has not had a good year and perennial super-star Buster Posey is having a down year for him, take it from someone who has him on their fantasy baseball squad. The concussion symptoms of Joe Panik have kept him out for several weeks. If not for the Brandon’s, Belt and Crawford, the Giants would be in serious trouble.

I type this with the Dodgers have just beaten the Nationals 6-3 and having taken two-of-three from the Nats on the road to wrap up a rare successful road-trip. The Giants have lost 5-in-a-row and look like they are taking on water. The Dodgers sit only 4 games out of first in the National League West. Three weeks ago they were 8 back and I thought the Giants could have started counting down their magic number by August, not so fast.

The injury to Kershaw throws a wrench into the Dodgers division title hopes, but could this be the year where I expect NOTHING from my beloved Boys in Blue and they muster the guts and guile to give us something to remember ? Hmmmm, can’t wait to find out.

Embrace the hate DubNation

The vitriol is palpable. The criticisms are many and the jealousy runs deep. Mega-star Kevin Durant will be signing with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday throwing the Association into a tizzy. And, while analysts, players and executives are aghast at the power move by Durant, the DubNation rejoices in their good fortune.

Here’s the brass tax: Bring the hate. Long-standing Warrior fans know what the alternative is. We had to live in the trash bin of the NBA for roughly 35 of the last 40 years, so if you want to hate the Warriors for their embarrassment of riches, so be it.

Don’t act like you wouldn’t be relishing the Durant signing for your favorite squad. People acting is if this move is unprecedented is laughable. While Dennis Rodman is not even in the same class as Durant, the great Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen put on a full court press to their nemesis after gagging against Orlando in 1996. The result was a three-headed monster that rolled to three straight titles.

Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce tweeted out yesterday, “If you can’t beat em’ join em.” Well, Pierce and his Celtics were the recipients of team building when Danny Ainge acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen helping Beantown capture their 17th world championship. Lest we forget the “team building” that took place in Miami in 2010 when LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh all signed on the dotted line to build an NBA powerhouse in 2010. Durant’s move is not unprecedented, it’s the norm. It just so happens that it is happening to my team.

Naysayers and detractors will lament the move saying its bad for the game, it’s wrong, and that they won’t watch. Good for you. Throw your fit, make your stand. Those of us in the DubNation could care less. The basketball world will still watch. They will tune in like they did to those hated Pistons teams in the late 80’s and cheer for them to lose. They will tune in like those machine-like Lakers teams with Kobe-Shaq just to see the show. They will tune in to hate, just like they did with those LeBron led Heat teams.

Hating the Golden State Warriors will turn into a cottage industry. Hating them will be universal. Hating them will be empirical. Hating the Dubs will be cool. Go ahead do it. Please hate the Warriors, revel in their losses. We don’t mind because the alternative is being irrelevant (See: Sacramento Kings in the dictionary.)

The Warriors were a pimple on the buttocks of the NBA from 1976-1987 and from 1993-2007 after the Chris Webber fiasco. Life-long Warrior fans have paid the price, we now get to bask in the glow of magnificence. Your hate can not dampen our shine.

So, I urge you to keep hating the Dubs. We love it. We embrace the hate.