It seems silly to describe the 2017 Dodgers as a boring team, I suppose. But I was watching a sports talk show on TV the other day, and they were interviewing Cody Bellinger. They asked him how such a dominant team could be so boring.
“You guys play in Los Angeles,” they noted. “You’re a bunch of young players.”
Cody gave a stock answer, that veterans like Adrian Gonzalez and Logan Forsythe are very family-oriented, and that it carries through to the clubhouse. They all just put their head down and do their work. The hosts were slightly bummed out by his answers, as they were looking for a much juicier story — young, good looking rookies out on the town, partying. Disagreements amongst the players, maybe. They got none of that from Bellinger.
For those of us who watch closely, this team is anything but boring. The most walk-off wins in the majors. The most wins in the majors, period. By a long shot. Taking every series win since the first weekend in June. Electric grabs by Yasiel Puig. Long, majestic homers off the bat of Bellinger. The fun hop Rich Hill takes off the mound after a pitch. The way your heart gets pumping when you hear the opening bars of “California Love.”
But, all that winning can be boring. In a good way. There’s not much stress when watching these games. Even if the Dodgers get behind, you’re still 95% sure they’re going to pull it off and win the game. And if they don’t, eh. They’re still 20 games ahead of Colorado. You can’t win them all.
(Although, in some parts of dark Twitter, people get very mad when the Dodgers lose. They find all sorts of things to fault manager Dave Roberts with, how could this player bat in that position, whatever little thing they feel is worth nitpicking at just to find some fault with the team. Hint: there isn’t much).
On a team this good, in a town that will be scrutinized to no end, there’s nothing to find. It’s a solid, well put together team that doesn’t make headlines, even considering how good they are. Sure, the national media comments on their wins, puts the stats on a graphic on TV, but mostly they ignore the Dodgers. They pay much more attention to Aaron Judge rather than Bellinger. The NL Central over the NL West. Of course, I understand that. The NL Central still has three teams in contention for first place. The NL West is a forgone conclusion, and Arizona and Colorado will only be fighting it out for a wild card spot. The Giants have made themselves incredibly irrelevant, having already been eliminated from playoff contention on August 20.
But as I stated before, it’s simply a bunch of focused professionals going about their jobs. Sure, Puig and Enrique Hernandez have a ton of personality. Even Clayton Kershaw does, on non-pitching days. But for the most part, they’re pretty vanilla. There’s no stories of the guys out on the town. Guys go on the DL because they know its for the betterment of the team, to get a little rest.
Yu Darvish said he could get out there and pitch. Kersh said to him, “Hey, we need you in six weeks. Don’t worry about right now.” And so he went without an issue.
When guys are demoted or sent to the bullpen to work on their stuff, there’s no rumblings of discontent. Or if there is, like in the cases of Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Wood, you pretty much just see that they do their work, and return to the starting rotation the better for it. Heck, you rarely even see Chase Utley smile, regardless of the outcome.
The front office has done an excellent job of putting together a solid team that knows what it’s collective job is — to go and finally get that long awaited for World Series Championship. We can leave all the partying for the offseason, because they will have earned it by then. I have no doubt.
(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)