“And I know, and I know
And I know that you and me
And I know that you and me be happy
As happy as we can be
Cause I know, I know”
I love the movie High Fidelity. You know the one, where John Cusack works in a record store and makes top five lists all day long. Top five things Rob misses about Laura. Top five side one, track one songs. Top five songs he wants played at his funeral. So I thought that for my last Monday musing of 2016, I would do my top five Dodgers moments of the season — the ones that meant the most to me personally. And as yours may be different, I invite you to tell them to me.
The Rise of Andrew Toles — It’s a well-known story by now, how Andrew Toles was working away in a supermarket just two years ago. (Randomly, there is a guy in my local supermarket that looks just like him, beard and everything. Makes me grin every time I see him). How Andrew Friedman knew of him from Tampa Bay and decided to give him a second chance. And boy, did Tolesy take advantage of that second chance, working his way up through three levels of the minors to start in the playoffs in the big leagues. I’m very much looking forward to him working his way into a full-time starting role next year. And I’d really love to see skipper Dave Roberts take advantage of that speed on the base paths.
Clayton Kershaw going on the DL — I’m sure you’re thinking, now why would she choose that? But stay with me here. We didn’t know it at the time, but Clayton Kershaw going on the disabled list would be the turnaround point of the season. When Kershaw’s injury put him on the shelf, the Dodgers were eight games back of the Giants at the end of June, and it didn’t look like the season was going to end well at all. There really was no way of knowing if or when Kershaw would return. But then a funny thing happened. The team started winning — winning without Kershaw. And, coincidentally, the Giants started a huge losing streak. They kept plugging away until Kershaw returned for good, and lo and behold, the team was in first place, and never gave it up after that. So, maybe a little blessing in disguise.
Kenley Jansen and Kershaw in Game 5 in D.C. — Kenley Jansen knew that we needed him, so the big man went out to the mound in the seventh inning and emptied his gas tank. Kershaw saw that, and pleaded to go out to the bullpen. Kershaw then came out to finish the game and record the final outs to move on to the NLCS. I will never forget Kershaw standing on the mound, arms raised as Carlos Ruiz made the throw to first. I was at that game, screaming and jumping up and down in the upper right field section all by myself. What a game to see in person. Also, part of me likes to think that Kenley reflected on that moment when he was making his decision whether to re-sign with LA or move. He knows Kershaw has his back. And that’s a pretty powerful motivator.
Getting to cherish all the Vin stories, and actually getting to see him in person — In September I was lucky enough to go to LA for the final home stand of the regular season with my friend Gail. I got to meet so many people that I knew only through Twitter (more on that in my final post of the year), but I also got to see Vin Scully with my own eyes. And for a girl who grew up listening to him 3,000 miles away, it truly was a sight to behold. I did my best all season long to stay up until the end of games that Vin broadcasted. Vin’s stories will forever be the best, and I can’t believe he won’t be telling them next year.
Charlie Culberson’s walk off home run to win the division — That final regular season home game was just the culmination of so many things, and it was perfect. Clinching the division. Vin’s final home game. An unpredictable hero in Charlie Culberson. In a season that wasn’t easy, it was fitting that the game went to extra innings. One of the worst things about being a fan of a team so far away is not being able to celebrate with your people. There’s nothing like being part of the home crowd when something huge happens for your team. And that memory will carry me through the winter and all the times next season when I can’t personally celebrate with 50,000 of my closest friends.
So many ups and downs last season, and it was one for the record books. There were so many little things that were awesome, too, like Yasiel Puig‘s little league, inside-the-park homer and some particularly acrobatic defensive plays by Chase Utley.
What were your favorite memories from the 2016 season?