It’s not that the Dodgers are the Godfather 3 of the sports world, exactly. I mean, while we can argue whether the third installment of the great movie franchise ever should have been made or not (not), the 2012 Los Angeles entry into the National League baseball season pretty much had to be. Imagine the scheduling mess with one less team, for openers.
Oh, and remember how poor Sophia Coppola was absolutely savaged by the press for what was at that time her chosen profession of acting? I suppose Juan Uribe is the directing scion in this scenario, and perhaps he’ll go on to greatness in another line of work, as Coppola did. And the sooner the better.
But look, L.A. has been an incredibly streaky club this year, as frustrating to watch over a stretch of time as any in recent memory. Just about every time they lose a few games – heartbreakers usually, with perhaps only a lone clutch hit the difference between victory and defeat – and we, the fans throw up our hands in resignation, the Dodgers do something dramatic to give us hope.
In other words, every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in, literally forcing me to stick with every twist and turn of the next game, the next series of games, and let’s face it, the rest of the 2012 championship season.
Going back just as far as Friday the 13th – July 13th – the Dodgers won the first game coming out of the All-Star break before losing four straight, putting them at 48-44 and deader than dead. Seemingly. Then they win five in a row, only to get swept three by the Cards in St. Louis.
Just when all seems lost, L.A. beats the living crap out of the Giants in San Francisco, sweeping the three-game series by a combined score of 19-3.
Feeling good, Los Angeles? Well forget that, because you’re about to watch Arizona outscore you 19-4, with a humiliating sweep of their own.
Then a sweep of the Cubs starts a nine-out-of-12 run, plus a stirring seven-of-ten road trip, with Los Angeles beating two tough teams in Pittsburgh and Atlanta back to back.
The Dodgers float home from Dixie almost without need of an airplane, proud to be 67-55 on August 20 and primed for San Francisco. Only somebody forgot to tell the Giants, who promptly beat them in yet another sweep, and even the baldest among us is pulling his hair out, violently.
Next comes a little two-game win streak, highlighted by an Adrian Gonzalez home run in his first at bat after the blockbuster trade with Boston, then three losses in a row, a win and two more downers at the hands of the Dbacks this past Thursday and Friday.
And I don’t know about you, but after those last two defeats – to a sub-.500 team which had just lost six straight before hitting town – I was about as fed up with this bunch as could possibly be.
So of course Josh Beckett spins a beauty Saturday, the Dodgers get homers from Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier, and the bullpen assures a 2-1 win, with Brandon League saving his first game as a National Leaguer. The savvy Dodgers faithful is uplifted, but skeptical.
Sunday was one of those great but not-seen-recently come-from-behind jobs, with Gonzalez driving in the tying and winning runs with a bottom of the ninth ringing double to right. Shane Victorino slides majestically into home with a flourish that had to have you thinking, “OK, this is it, this is it, THIS IS IT! The Dodgers are on their way!!!” But who the hell knows?
The obligatory “chemistry” concept has been discussed a lot lately, and I say this to that: chemistry is a class most of us absolutely sucked at in high school. We didn’t have a clue, and neither do the Dodgers. Not about chemistry. Not really.
Don Mattingly is closest to the answer when he talks about winning bringing good chemistry, and about how that’s all the team has time for anyway. What were they to do, after all, keep the alleged good-chemistry-team-that couldn’t-win team together or make the necessary changes and risk chemistry?
Yesterday’s victory was either a trend-setter or it wasn’t, but I’d certainly rather have the W than the L right about now. And it’s the first win of its kind with this new group, and that’s got to mean something. I think. Maybe.