“Now it’s over when it’s over
Ain’t it baby, ain’t it
Rips ya like a dagger,
Can it baby, can it
Wish we could do it over
Damn it baby, damn it
We had it in the air, but just couldn’t land it”
All good things must come to an end, or so they say. Regardless of the way this season ended, it was a good year. A really good year, in fact, and unforgettable in so many ways.
Many prognosticators didn’t have the Dodgers repeating as division champs, or even making the playoffs. It was going to be the Diamondbacks and Giants vying for the lead. The Dodgers had too many questions. Could the rookie Corey Seager really live up to the hype? Why did they re-sign both Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick? Would Yasiel Puig ever be the player he could be? Starting rotation — Clayton Kershaw, and who else? They didn’t re-sign Zack Greinke, they were doomed. And then Clayton went down to a back injury. And the Dodgers were eight games down in the division. And so they were really doomed.
But it’s funny how baseball works. Those other pitchers, albeit many, many of them, picked it up. The offense picked it up. Utley and Kendrick handled second base platoon. Kendrick also, while not stellar, handled the duties in left field. Corey Seager lived up to the hype. Puig — well, Puig had an interesting season to say the least. But he learned some valuable lessons, I believe. The Dodgers just did what needed to be done, and worked their way back up to the division lead. Dave Roberts, in his rookie year, did a very admirable job keeping the team steady and on task. That, in itself, is an amazing feat. They went on to have an eight-game division lead at one point, a swing of sixteen games.
The Dodgers also had the most players go on the disabled list in one season, and still won the division, and, not only that, fought through a tough NLDS against the Washington Nationals to made it to the NLCS. They were able to do that because of all the depth in the organization. There was always a person to take the place of a player that was injured, or not playing up to snuff. I daresay there’s not one fan that was not intrigued and delighted by the story of Andrew Toles. Kenley Jansen showed us what a true rock star he is. I’m so very excited for the next few seasons — Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, and guys to make debuts in the not so distant future such as Cody Bellinger have me so optimistic that this team will always be in the divisional hunt, and able to keep playing far into the playoffs. Teams seem to be good for a few years, and then maybe settle into mediocrity for awhile because they have wasted their talent in the minors to have to good teams. This is not the case with the Dodgers.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing, besides Kershaw not being able to compete for his fourth Cy Young Award, is that the Dodgers did not get to make Vin Scully the Grand Marshall of the World Series parade in Los Angeles. But that would be a movie script kind of thing, and too good to be true, I suppose. What they did do was give him an incredible season to narrate, and a final home weekend that was somewhat out of a movie, what with clinching on the final game in the 10th inning on a walk-off home run. Not a fairy tale ending, but not too shabby either.
On a personal level, this has been my first season writing for this blog, and I am thankful to each and every one of you who took a few minutes to read my thoughts and ramblings. It is making me a better and more knowledgeable baseball fan, and I love reading your feedback. Thank you Dennis for thinking just maybe I might be ok at this writing thing.
Also, as a fan who lives 3,000 miles from her team, being able to see the Dodgers in person five times this year was incredible. I got to go to the final homestand and see Vin with my own eyes. I got to meet many of you who I have interacted with on Twitter, and I feel I’ve found some real friends. Being able to celebrate with 50,000 other like-minded people when Charlie hit that walk-off homer was incredible. Usually, I am cheering by myself. Special thanks go to Gail and Kandice for making that weekend so special. Also, watching Clayton raise his hands in triumph at Nationals Park is a moment I won’t soon forget — even if I was cheering by myself, surrounded by not like-minded people.
So, even though the season didn’t end the way we all had hoped, it was a remarkable season in so many ways. Too much, really, to be summed up in one article. The Dodgers have the best pitcher on the planet, the rookie of the year and next superstar shortstop Corey Seager, an incredible mix of veterans and up and comers. I am a little nervous as to what players might or might not be on the roster come spring training, but those are things to be discussed at a later point. This team is well poised to be in the conversation for World Series contenders for a long time to come. I’m grateful that you all have been along for the ride, and I can’t wait for the next season to start.