Okay, from the Home Office in Chico, California: Top Ten Reasons why NorthStateBlues hasn’t blogged in a month:
10.) Jane Austen held me hostage with Pride AND Prejudice.
9.) All the NorCal “cardholders” are giving me a contact buzz.
8.) A self-held criterion that I have to include a drawing with every post.
7.) My Loney has a first name, it’s L-O-N-E-Y… oh wait, that’s the Dodgers’ #7 (Thanks to leekfink and Lny4Loney).
6.) After getting a Nintendo Wii and MLB Power Pros 2008, it’s tough to decide whether to write about baseball or play it.
5.) This offseason and the loss of L.A.’s pitching depth bring the Golden Rule to mind.
4.) A bunch of angry Giants fans tracked me down and gave my computer a Splash Landing.
3.) Jeff Gillooly.
2.) I’ve been keeping Joe Torre company leaning on the railing in the dugout.
And the number one reason NorthStateBlues hasn’t blogged in a month:
1.) I’m on strike ’til the return of Mannywood.
David Letterman is the man. I’m just a ripoff.
P.S.: Follow me on Twitter for updates on new posts and baseball thoughts. it’s NorthStateBlues.
For what it’s worth, talking about the Dodgers clinching the West might be a day late and a dollar short, with all eyes on what’s going on with the Phils, Brewers and Mets. But this drawing took me a while to get where I wanted it to be. I feel this image perfectly captures the feeling of the Dodgers in 2008. Seeing our younger players get onto the October stage, of course with help from Manny. The oddity of clinching the division while driving to the ballpark. And the milk, well, I’m not sure what that’s about, but it evokes the Indy 500 winner’s circle in a strange way.
But getting there is only the beginning, we’ll see what happens once things get rolling. One thing I can say, though, is I think these guys aren’t carrying the 20-year old monkey-on-the-back that has haunted the franchise. And with legitimate offensive threats in our lineup, as well as an awesome pitching staff and great bullpen, the Dodgers have the chance to do some long-term damage, not the limping-into-the-playoffs performance we had in ’06.
Now it’s just the Giants, then waiting to see who we face. With all the rain back east, I heard on the radio that the Dodgers might fall into a scenario where they take to the air not knowing what city their flight will end up. If deciding games go into extra innings, that means the Dodgers will have a layover at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago until the game’s been decided. Strange for sure.
But (and here comes the Great Cliche) October 1st, it’s a new season, and all eight teams are equal. I’m ready, but I think the fans in San Francisco want two more chances to get the last digs at their “hated Dodgers” before it’s all done. Me, I’ll be working during the first half of the game, so I guess I might be missing out on the fun. Those Dodgers-Giants games are almost always worth the price of admission.
Today’s the start of a big series for the Dodgers against the San Diego cellar-dwelling Padres. It doesn’t matter what SD’s record is, though. If they’re out of contention, they live for one thing in November: eliminating the Dodgers from Postseason contention. They’ll be out in force tonight, going that same extra mile the Jints went in the last series to snag every ball within 7 feet of them. In my paranoid mind, they’re confrencing with the Giants right now, comparing notes on every Dodgers player on every level of relevance.
But only one thing can be certain for now: What was once a 4 1/2 game lead is now a 2 game lead, and we have 6 to play. Sure, we can hope the Cards will do our work for us, but if the Dodgers want to make the Postseason, now would be the time to earn it, since there is no coasting when within a week of the season’s end, and SD and SF on tap.
Will post another blog before too long…
After that last series, this is the only thing that is keeping my spirits up. Well, that and we’re still in 1st. Before the ARI-STL game tonight, ESPN still gave the Dodgers a 93% chance of making the playoffs. Looking at the 3-1 ARI score now, I’m sure that number will go down. The Dodgers will either celebrate clinching the division at the Phone Booth, or the Jints will be dancing on the shards of broken dreams.
Either way, this is the kind of stuff I live for. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have the playoffs clinched a long time ago. But it’s never that easy for the Dodgers, and this is why the Dodgers-Giants rivalry is among the most storied in sports, I can’t think of many rivalries that have crossed a continent almost intact.
So bring it on, Giants. We’re ready, and now we’re angry too.
Wow, actually finished one before gametime. And today we have the Padres. I hate the Padres, easily tied with the Giants. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated ’em. I guess it started because they’d be the team my family would go watch the most, since I have family from the Oceanside area. We’d go as a group once a year to a Dodgers-Padres game, and as a kid, I didn’t quite grasp how anyone couldn’t be a Dodgers fan. I guess I was drinking the Tommy Lasorda Kool-Aid.
Maddux is pitching tonight. The last time he faced the Padres was September 15th, 2006, and I was there, Dodgers v. Padres, Maddux v. Wells, 2nd place v. 1st place. You could feel the electricity in the air. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve caught the game three days later, but I haven’t regretted going to that game.
Anyways, enough blabbing. GO DODGERS
UPDATE: I guess I’m wrong, thought it was a 7:10 game, so I’ve missed the first 5 innings or so. I’m glad I got it done before the end of the game.
I have been a Dodgers fan practically as long as I can remember. I think I was 6 years old when my family won a Blue Crew contest. We went in the space between the pavillions, where Orel Hershiser, Dave Anderson, and a few other members of the 1987 Dodgers signed our Blue Crew hats, we got a backpack filled with baseball cards, a nice little baseball card book of the L.A. Dodgers in Topps baseball cards since 1958 (come to think of it, I’ve gotta scan and share the next time I get down to SoCal), and other goodies. After that, we went on the field with the other winning families and were introduced on Diamondvision. I kept switching between looking ahead and looking back at the screen to see if I could see my face, a 6 year-old exercise in futility. After the day game was over, we headed to Disneyland, and it was the greatest experience ever.
Today, it’s near impossible for me to imagine life as anything but a Dodger fan, no matter how angry I get at on-field and front-office decisions (which is why I forgive Paul DePodesta for “ruining” the team by getting rid of LoDuca at a time when he was regarded as the heart and soul of the team). But when I grab for my Dodger hat, 9 times out of 10 it’s not an L.A. Dodger hat, it’s my Brooklyn Dodgers hat my future mother-in-law got for me when she was in New York. I’ve had people accuse me of being a Red Sox fan, or look oddly trying to figure out how I got the Dodger-colored UCLA hat. But the best times, few and far between, are when guys come up and ask “Is that a Brooklyn Dodgers hat?” I’ll nod, and they’ll go into this awesome story about a team I can only read about, in a place I’ve never been, in a borough that, at the time, was still an independent city at heart.
My favorite story was a guy who I ran into at the community college who looked at me like he had just seen seen a ghost. I was wearing my grey Dodgers hoodie (with just the Dodgers script in the front) and my hat. He exclaimed “THAT’S A BROOKLYN DODGERS HAT!!” I said yeah, and he went into a story about his childhood. “I used to live over by Flatbush, and my father would take me to Ebbets field and we’d see the game for a quarter each…” It was the kind of lesson about your team you’d gladly pay for, but could never buy. Then it went into how brokenhearted they were when they left Brooklyn. His dad got a job over in San Francisco, so they moved around 1960 and he’s been a Giants fan ever since.
Don’t get me wrong, I HATE the Giants. But if there ever was an excuse for being a Giants fan, that guy had the best one.
To keep the post from being overly long(er), I’ll go ahead and split this one in two, writing the more about the Brooklyn Dodgers either tonight or tomorrow.
Time to cue up the Randy Newman and the Danny Kaye, the Dodgers won a heck of a game today. I was hoping to watch it on ESPN, which I did for the first inning, until the Comcast realized their error and cut out the game seconds before Kent’s homer. So, it was back to my two favorite announcers, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. Tried to get KABC on Gameday Audio, but that didn’t work, so no Scully for me today.
There was a lot to like in today’s game. Although he still looks a little slowed by the hamstring problem, Jeff Kent did not disappoint. Blake DeWitt is making me hope Colletti gives the phone a rest for a while. Although Andre Ethier didn’t have a good offensive game today (or any offensive game at that), his defense was what kept the Giants scoreless, snagging Aaron Rowand’s single to left and firing it to hold the runners at the corners. Matt Kemp and Rafael Furcal came up big too, especially Furcal’s future Web Gem, swiping a grounder with his back to the plate and gunning it to first in time for the out.
A key point in this game for me, and a testament to how Torre does business, was in the top of the eighth. Scott Proctor started the inning after relieving Penny with two outs in the seventh. The first batter, Giants rookie Bocock, got a free trip to first after a four pitch walk. Torre immediately left the dugout, and Proctor had this surprised, are-you-effin’-serious?!! look on his face. Five seconds later, he was gone. Surprising, since Proctor was Torre’s workhorse for 3 years on the Yankees before he was traded here for Betemit. Not that I thought Torre would’ve let him walk the bases loaded or anything, but I would’ve thought his rope would’ve been at least a little longer considering that history. If anyone still had doubts about Torre’s ability to put the best team on the field, this should’ve quashed them.
I’m sure I’ll get dirty looks wearing my Dodgers jersey on campus, though the fact it’s a Jackie Robinson jersey seems to get more respect than, say, a Drysdale jersey (Krukow and Kuiper still go on about how Drysdale “cheated” by rubbing shoestrings on the laces and whatever else). I would’ve worn it even if we lost, but now it’ll be a lot sweeter.