Welcome to Dodger Updates. I figure I might as well start my own blog on the Dodgers since I have been writing a lot of analysis about the Dodgers on other platforms and I have been giving my analysis frequently. That is when it hit me. Maybe I should write my own blog. The recent World Series victory did a lot for the city of Los Angeles. It ended what many Angelenos know as the Gibson curse which I will discuss in a bit. I thought about titling this blog, “Dodgers Offseason” but I thought that I might have too much of a good time and if I had a good time doing this, I might just want to analyze the pre-season and the regular season. So then my blog would be irrelevant if it was titled “Dodgers Offseason”. I had to go with “Dodger Updates”, and I will run with that and see what kind of feedback I get.
The end of the Gibson curse was an informal superstition that was not as popularly known throughout baseball as The Curse of the Bambino but it was something that was well known to most die hard Dodger fans. We can all remember the call made by Vin Scully in the 9th inning of Game 1 in the 1988 World Series. We can recite this because the Gibson home run, and that Scully call, was engraved into our memories forever. I think the curse was born because the replay began to get old. Many of us started to think, what have you done for me lately? It was even tougher when we watched the Giants pull off 3 World Series titles. The problem was that the Dodgers had nothing else to show us. They would show us the live audio of that play, leading up to the famous at bat, the numerous foul balls by Gibson, the back door slider, the one arm sloppy swing that barrels the ball, the call, the red lights, “She is gone”, the fist pump, the screaming, the celebration, the surprised Eckersley walking off the field, Lasorda, followed by a clip of the Bulldog making the final out to clinch the final game to win the World Series. Then…repeat. I will be honest, I don’t think I ever heard anyone call it a curse but every Dodger fan who reads this knows exactly what I am talking about. It was indeed a curse. We were stuck in limbo. It was great for Dodger Baseball and the story book ending will live in sports infamy but we were ready for a new title. I would explain the Kirk Gibson curse and my Dodger friends would say, “No, No, it is a good thing. It is great that we have this memory.” Well yes, and no. It is definitely great that the Gibson moment was voted as the #1 moment in Sports’ Top 100 Greatest Moments of all time. Yeah, yeah, yeah…But I always felt, what have you done for us lately. It was a curse I tell you, a curse. Thank God they got by the Braves. That is when they clinched the World Series. If they can come back from a 3-1 deficit against a solid Braves team, the Rays had no chance. Turned out the Rays were tougher than I gave them credit for, but in the end the Dodgers came through.
It took 29 years before we even got a sniff at the World Series again and the stupid Astros pulled a rabbit out of their hat to oust us in a 7 game series. A Dodgers team that got a “Greatest Baseball Team Ever” Cover on Sports Illustrated lost to the stupid cheating Astros. Yeah, Altuve knew what was coming every pitch. I will take Paul LoDuca over Altuve anytime as we saw Altuve come down to Earth this year after removing the trash cans. He and many other Astros players looked human as many hit in the low 200 average range and didn’t look like themselves. They got off easy with a slap on the wrist by MLB and they were one game away from going to the World Series against us this year. Then we had the Red Sox in 2018. A team led by Alex Cora. A player I actually use to like with the Dodgers but who was part of the cheating scandal in Houston and lost all the respect he might have had here in Los Angeles by using the same exact strategy employed by the Astros. I am still wondering why the Astros and Red Sox got off the hook so easy. It almost seems that their issue was swept under the rug and I still wonder if the Mookie Betts trade had anything to do with that for Boston. Maybe as an agreement with the League, the Dodgers asked for Mookie as compensation, and for a portion of a Mookie contract extension. I am glad that we got Mookie as he definitely was a difference maker for our World Series run but I would like to know all the details from the Red Sox cheating scandal. I am sure all sports writers are salivating to break that story. Perhaps some opportunistic player will write a tell all book when they realize that a tell all book will probably make them a considerable amount of money. Yes, unfortunately people love drama.
Anyhow, enough with the failed 2017 and 2018 cheating committed against the Dodgers. All the blame cannot go to the cheating teams. We definitely had opportunities to finish the job over and over again in 2017. For example, Cody struck out 17 times to break a record that I don’t think will ever be broken and Dave Roberts failed to bench him as a rookie. I get it, he had a spectacular regular season and we knew the potential but still sometimes you need to ride the pine to force you to be hungry again. In an early series, Joe Maddon benched his star player Javy Baez, after Baez, struck out 3 times in game 2 or Game 3 against the Dodgers. The following day, he put Baez back in the lineup and Baez went yard twice and the Cubs went on to beat the Dodgers in that particular game. The Dodgers won the series, but the point is that a star player was benched and he responded the next game. Perhaps a similar approach should have been taken towards Belli that year. In other situations, there were opportunities for runners to be moved over with no outs and the runners failed. I feel that in these cases sometimes an old school bunt may have worked. I know Sabermetricians no longer like this approach but perhaps asking for a bunt single and not a sacrifice bunt would increase the statistics on effective bunts. There were many other instances but in retrospect it just doesn’t seem fair to have one team knowing what pitch is coming, and not the other team. It is like batting practice. I am surprised the Dodgers were able to last 7 games like they did. I could go on, but I will just leave it there.
The 32 year wait is over. The Dodgers were finally able to pull off their first title victory after a super long wait. We saw the Lakers win a Title earlier this year followed by a Dodgers World Series victory and we can now hopefully begin to see some new highlights on the Dodger Tron screen instead of just the one Gibson home run moment in history we all have engraved in our heads. I can remember the final out made by Urias and the elation that was felt by Dodger fans. I would have preferred a Charlie Steiner call but we were stuck with Joe Buck.
Anyhow, I will leave it at that. I can’t fit everything in one writing session. In the future, I will discuss off season moves, or hypothetical moves I would like to see, and attempt to paint a picture from my crystal ball as I see things playing out. Love it or hate it, your feedback is welcome. I would also like to analyze some of the moves that had me scratching my head during the playoffs. It’s a long off season and moves will be made and I hope to be there to capture my thoughts on all the moves made. I am a homer, been a fan since Fernandomania, but I will try my best to call balls and strikes from a baseball perspective. Tomorrow, I will discuss Kevin Cash’s decision to pull out Blake Snell. Everyone watching, even non-baseball fans, still want to know why he took him out. I know exactly why he took him out. I will let you know next time. Removing Blake Snell will be remembered like when Bill Buckner made that game 6 error, or the Steve Bartman incident that allowed the Marlins to come back and win the Cubs before eventually winning the World Series. Yes it was that kind of a moment. Bad for Cash, great for the Dodgers.