Wednesday, July 21, 2010

State of the Dodgers: July 21, 2010

This one's sort of personal.

My uncle Mike, aptly nicknamed the Trailboss, is pretty much why I'm a Dodgers fan. Heck, even a baseball fan. When I was little, he'd stick me on his shoulders and play nice with the ticket-takers so they'd let me in for free. When I was not so little, he'd give me a call at about 4:30 any afternoon he had tickets he couldn't use, and I'd go with buddies after high school baseball practice. 

His seats had been in the family since the opening of Dodger Stadium, and I sort of figured they always would be. But then, as the costs kept going up and up and the denizens of the section became more and more corporate, they became an unjustifiable expense. The tickets were gone, though the seats themselves remain at his duck club in Southern California--a reminder that, even though we might hunt in Angels territory, this space belongs to a Dodgers family:

So, anyway, after exchanging a few e-mails discussing trips we have planned together, my uncle Mike--consummate Dodgers fan and true Trailboss--turned the conversation to the state of the club. Trailboss:

The Dodger game last night was the worst ever. 
1.  Xavier Paul drops a fly ball in the 8th with 2 men on base and one out.  2 runs score in the inning. 
2.  Kershaw hits leadoff batter in the 7th.  Gets kicked out of game with Torre also since the team had been warned after Lincecum hit Kemp in the 4 or 5th inning. 
3.  Mattingly visits the mound twice (he turned around and went back to the mound to answer a question just after he stepped off the mound) in 9th inning with bases loaded and Broxton pitching thus forcing Broxton out of the game. 
4.  Sherrill comes in and gives up a 2 run double in the 9th with bases loaded and one out giving the Giants the lead. 
5.  Earlier Kemp gets thrown out trying to get to 3rd on a single to right.  He beats the throw but does his classic head first slide into and over and past 3rd base to get tagged out.  I have seen him do this slide 3 times this year, mostly on steals where he is safe...then tagged out as his body's momentum carries him into the outfield. 
6.  Papers announce the Dodgers are looking into a who-cares but he is cheap 5th starter type pitcher whose name I can't remember. 
7.  Manny on the DL again. 
8.  Billingsley looking like 2009 post all-star game. 
9.  Broxton looking like a maybe-sometimes closer, walking leadoff batters in the 9th, then giving up a hit just to make things interesting. 
10.  And the owner focused on his divorce. 
11.  Jerry Buss:  Please buy the Dodgers.
Now, it really ought to be noted that the Dodgers are not a bad baseball team. They score more runs than they allow (always helpful), and there are some players we can expect will be better in the season's second half. But being a not bad baseball team just isn't, well, good enough.

Not when there are three teams ahead of you in the standings. Not when there isn't a whole lot to get excited about in the farm system. Not when the window is closing because your owner doesn't want to spend and your young talent isn't, well, young. And especially not when the team's 2010 obituary will talk about everything but wins and losses.

The divorce sideshow overshadows everything that's happening on the field. And, while I'm in no position to complain about that, I think I'm allowed to be disappointed that this site even exists. I'm even more disappointed that it looks increasingly likely that one of the most promising cores in the organization's rich history will not even make a World Series, much less win one.

The story of the 2010 season has several chapters yet to be written. Matty Kemp could kick it into high gear. Bills could find himself. Colletti could find a reliable fourth starter. This can still work. But, at least for now, it seems that the 2010 season will be historic for all the wrong reasons. And I think the Trailboss' 11-point missive captures it all pretty neatly.


  1. The Trailboss should be consulted more often in affairs of the Dodgers. He has the institutional memory of a loyal fan who learned from his father who was also a huge fan. He has passed his knowledge to you as not only a kind Uncle, but an ambassador of the sport. Good job Josh.

  2. Did he write you again after tonight's game? Does winning a complete game shutout make any difference to the perspective or was that just a fluke? Does the fact that the last thing on Billingsley's mind would have been his owner's divorce have any relevance? Or are we just lucky that we didn't have to go to the paltry bullpen?

  3. Loge baby! Best seats in the house!