THINK BLUE: The Los Angeles Dodgers Have Done it Again
The Los Angeles Dodgers did it again!
They went against the Vegas odds and took out the heavier National League favorite for the second year in a row. And like they did last scene, the Dodgers brought their brooms with them.
On Saturday, the Dodgers swept their second consecutive NL Division Series foe. They eliminated the Chicago Cubs last season, and the St. Louis Cardinals last weekend. The only difference was that the Dodgers held the best record in the NL and hosted the Cardinals for the first two games.
Despite their record, the Dodgers’ late season pitching and hitting struggles made them even more of an underdog against the year-long solid Cardinals, who carried an impressive lineup: one of the best rotations in baseball, two Cy Young candidates in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, an All Star outfielder in Matt Holliday, a playmaker in Mark DeRosa, one of the best hitting catchers in Yadier Molina, one of the best closers in Ryan Franklin, and arguably the best hitter of all time in Albert Pujols. With the recent Yankee postseason struggles, we all knew money could not buy championships as easily as organic team building. However, the Cardinal collapse has to make even more scratch their heads. Like with any sport, anything can happen.
The only explanation for the Dodgers’ success can be an ignorant confidence. They forgot about their struggles, were not worried about the stature of their foe and played smart baseball. Try to find a better explanation; it was even tough to come up with that one.
Luck most definitely played a part. What else could explain Matt Holliday’s fielding gaffe in the ninth inning of game two? For those who missed it, with two outs and the Dodgers trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth against the ultra dominant Franklin, James Loney sent a routine fly ball to left field that should have easily been gloved by Holliday and tied the series at one. Instead, Holliday lost the fly ball in the lights, and then gave a whole new meaning to “grabbing life by the balls” as the ball missed his glove and hit off you know where, which sent him stumbling into a two-base error. Ronnie Belliard, who looked dazed in all of his at-bats against Wainwright, came up with a clutch game-tying single up the middle in the ninth.
Mark Loretta would then deliver the most clutch bloop single in Dodgers history, and the most significant Dodgers post season walk off victory since Kirk Gibson’s home run.
If those events don’t defend the Dodgers as the team of destiny, I do not know what to do. However, we all saw what happened last year when the Phillies had their own lucky charm in the form of a Hawaiian named Shane Victorino, who spoiled the Dodger fun. The Phillies are on the other side of the road again, and they could very well be crossing to our side soon. Nevertheless, the power of October promises nothing and rewards anyone.
The Colorado Rockies are a more desirable opponent on every level: they are an NL West foe, have poor hitting and pitching, and were dominated by the Dodgers in regular season games. I would very much like to see a shot at redemption. I know this column is going to shift from third to first person, but I do not care.
I am currently in Washington D.C. as part of the UCDC program. There is nothing that has kept me more connected with home than the Dodgers. I got to see the Dodgers smash the Washington Nationals here, and I got to bond with all kinds of L.A. expatriates here in the nation’s capitals at bars and restaurants. I wear my Clayton Kershaw jersey proud and loud in public.
There is nothing like a successful sports team that brings people together and extrapolates pride in one community. For those reasons, I want the Phillies to take the series so that I can go to Philadelphia and bleed Dodger Blue. Call me selfish, call me a nut, but do not call me a phony.
With sports you take the bad with the good. There are probabilities of good or bad happening, both of those are just probabilities. As the Dodgers and every other underdog have shown, they are just probabilities.