Jack Harris wrote an excellent analysis of the Dodgers’ failures this year. The Dodgers thought they had pitching under control, but, given the realities of postseason pitching needs, their pitching was only adequate, not great. Had they had a healthy Walker Buehler, Blake Treinen, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin they would have been great. On the hitting side, the once great lineup started losing emotion and hitting discipline with each passing home-field milestone: first they won the division, then the NL, then all of MLB. By the last couple of weeks of the season they were already in “rest mode,” not to mention the five-day wait for the Padres. Last year it was too much stress catching the Giants. This year it was too little stress waiting for the Padres.
While the Dodgers were definitely “doomed by hitting” in the playoffs against the Padres, I think an important underlying factor was their lack of spirit. From the very first game, they didn’t seem to be having fun or enjoying what they were doing, it was as if they were just doing their job and wanted it finished. In contrast, the Padres were spirited and excited. No matter how skilled players are, if they don’t love what they’re doing, in the end, they are “doomed.”
Jack Harris’ excellent article misses the point. Baseball is as tough a game as there is. Dave Roberts is a great manager. I want him back. What a year! But here’s the deal. This season got bookended by two calls that reflect modern baseball, stat men and front offices, all a little short on raw emotion with approaches to the game that Tommy Lasorda would have abandoned when his gut told him to: (1) You don’t take out a pitcher pitching a perfect game in April or any month of the season; (2) you don’t take out a pitcher pitching a shutout in October.
Oddly overlooked in opinions about where to place blame for the Dodgers’ latest October debacle: The Curse of He-Whose-Name-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned.
Remember what L.A. did in 2021 to bolster chances of repeating its 2020 World Series success? The team added 2020 Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to its pitching staff. Then came sex abuse allegations, invoking his two-year suspension that runs through next July.
How might the Dodgers best escape the Curse of TB? Start by cleansing the team roster of his enduring taint.
Please don’t hate me for being a lifelong Giants fan, but has it ever occurred to you Dodger fanatics that your quick exit from the playoffs this year might have been preordained by the baseball gods for trying to buy the greatest team in the history of the sport? So, here’s a word of advice, you might want to reconsider any thought of acquiring Aaron Judge in the offseason. Not only is he destined to break your hearts but mine as well if he’s batting third in your lineup.
Bill Plashchke in his diatribe about the 2017 Astros epitomizes what’s been wrong with the Dodgers and their fans since long before 2017: whine, whine, whine. You can’t fail to get where the Astros are year after year and claim superiority on some silly moral virtue.
Now this is one column that Plaschke hit out of the ballpark. Cannot imagine any real baseball fan outside of Houston who could acknowledge that the 2017 Astros won the World Series legitimately or believe that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred demonstrated courage and integrity with his tepid discipline of a handful of Houston personnel after the 2020 investigation was wrapped up.
The worst part about the Astros cheating the Dodgers out of the World Series championship in 2017 is that I actually have to agree with Bill Plaschke.
Axel W. Kyster
The NBA season has started, and those of us who are Lakers fans can find the team in familiar territory: last place. I wanted to look for some sports news to bring a smile to my face, and I spotted the NBA box scores. I thought to myself, how is the former Lakers family doing this NBA season? Here is what I saw: Brandon Ingram, 28 points; DeAngelo Russell, 23 points; Jordan Clarkson, 29 points; Kyle Kuzma, 26 points; Julius Randle, 15 points. See, Lakers fans, there is good news for our Lakers family.
In his column “Time for the Lakers to dump Russ,” Bill Plaschke ignores the elephant in the room. Russell Westbrook is being paid $47,000,000 to play basketball for the Lakers for one season. Then to hear him whine about not starting! I’d expect that from my 8-year-old son. How out of touch can a person be?
Why are we even remotely surprised by the Lakers’ atrocious start, the laughing stock they’ve become? And don’t bag on LeBron James or Russell Westbrook or Anthony Davis. Since becoming team president in the 2013-14 season, Jeanie Buss and her hand-picked executive brain trust have compiled an execrable 287-427 record. This season will only add to the odium.
How many coaches and GMs have been fired for far, far less?
World Series, seriously?
Remember the time when the World Series was determined by who won the American League and National League pennants? We have the American League playoff winner with the best season record in the World Series but they’re playing the National League playoff winner with the worst season record. I miss the good old days.
SEC > Pac-12, still
I have to laugh every time I read in the L.A. Times that a Pac-12 football team has a chance of making the four-team playoff, let alone winning the national championship. Here’s what you need to know about the Pac-12. Georgia defeated Oregon (the “class of the Pac-12,” according to The Times) by 46 points. Even considering the fact that the Pac-12 has come a long way in 2022, the league is still nowhere close to the SEC in terms of talent and depth.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Speaking of bias …
As a high school football official, I was disappointed to read a thinly veiled attack by J. Brady McCollough at the integrity of college football officials. Using anecdotal analysis of 14 penalties to zero for one game, the author seeks to “just ask” if there is bias, while intentionally feeding a fan perspective that “there is the bias against us!” I’m also a fan (teams I don’t officiate) and I know how emotions can cloud perspectives, but in a time when unruly coach, player and fan behavior is threatening officials at all levels, in all sports, I think a more thoughtful and intelligent analysis of potential bias is warranted.
Long winter ahead
The Lakers are toast, the Rams are a MASH unit, and the Dodgers have a “subtle endemic weakness” (named Dave Roberts). I don’t care about the Chargers or the Clippers, and I hate soccer. It’s gonna be a long few years.
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