“I try not think about what might’ve been. ‘Cuz that was then, and we have taken different roads. We can’t go back again, there’s no use givin’ in. And there’s no way to know what might’ve been” – Little Texas
Three years ago from right now, I was as excited for a baseball season as I had ever been. The Dodgers seemed like a team of destiny, one for the record books. And I was right.
The Dodgers won the most games in that organization up to that point. They steamrolled through the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. They handled the Chicago Cubs with ease, winning the NLCS 4-1. And then the World Series against the Houston Astros happened.
This morning, the Astros organization attempted to apologize and explain what happened in 2017 and beyond. It tracked along the same lines that they had been taking ever since the Commissioner’s report came out last fall. Little remorse, blaming it all on upper-management, a real “we are sorry we got caught” vibe. The owner Jim Crane said it “probably” didn’t affect the game. He feels no need to reach out to the Dodgers. Let’s just look ahead to 2020, he said.
I won’t rehash all the statistics from the World Series. We all know what happened, and we all know where things started to turn. Game 5 would have never turned out the way it did if the Astros not had help.
The Astros are going to have to deal with the repercussions of their actions all season long. More players and teams than just the Dodgers are rightly upset with their manipulation of the game, their lack of remorse and their lack of respect shown for the game. I have a feeling that quite a few helmets will be buzzed and a cacophony of boos will rain down on them wherever they go.
As with all of life, there is nothing that can be done to change the past. Even if the Astros came out with true, contrite apologies, even if the league took the unprecedented steps to take the title from Houston (which I think they really should do), it doesn’t change what happened.
I, myself am going to finally let that season go. I’m going to move on from the fact that Clayton Kershaw‘s legacy has forever been altered. That Andre Ethier will never have a World Series ring. That I saved up and spent a chunk of change flying across the country to see my team in a World Series game at Dodger Stadium, an item long on my bucket list, just to see the Championship stolen in front of my eyes.
Yes, I’m going to take Jim Crane’s advice and look ahead to 2020. Because this is the first time since 2017 that I’ve really felt excitement about this team again. 2018 was definitely a hangover season. 2019 just didn’t have it. But this year, there is hope.
Because now, the front office did its work and has built this team to win, and win now (and with a farm system ready to keep the wins going). Management listened to its fans and the need for a better team. The team went out and got the best available player it could, who also happens to be one of the top-five players in all of the Major Leagues.
This Dodger team is stacked from top to bottom. Mookie Betts at the top, Cody Bellinger in the middle, and bright young stars like Gavin Lux and Will Smith down the lineup. While the pitching might have some question marks, it’s a deep rotation with young, talented arms and still battle-scarred veterans. The bullpen now has another flamethrower to add to its arsenal. The Dodgers have the resources to get an impact pitcher at the trade deadline, should there be a need for that. Add the bonus of now knowing they were cheated out of a World Series win, and there will be nothing but focus on winning one this season.
It’s time to look ahead, because good things are coming for this team. And I for one can’t wait to watch it all unfold.