Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oh yeah, other teams are still in contention

A loyal reader sent me an email decrying my general lack of coverage with regards to the other LA team, the Dodgers. While I will casually point to the header of this blog, showing my specific interest in the Angels, Lakers, and Kings, I'll take moment from an otherwise uneventful evening to offer my thoughts.

The Dodgers, with today's 3-1 win over the (choking) Chicago Cubs, advance to the NLCS for the first time since their World Series title year of 1988. Yes, it has been 20 years since the Dodgers were relevant. I was a year and a half old, about three years before I went to my first Dodger game and about 18 years before I became an Angels fan after moving to Boston.

There's still a soft spot in my heart for the boys in blue, but none of that is based on anything from the present. You never forget baseball games when you're a kid, and I still remember calling to Hershiser in the bullpen for a ball. Regardless of those memories, I still thoroughly enjoy watching the Angels beat the hell out of the Dodgers during interleague, but I'd be lying if I said I disliked them even half as much as I hate the Red Sox and A's.

The ongoing storyline with the Dodgers involves a couple factors. Idiot ownership on the part of the McCourt family, terrible general managing from Ned Colletti, and a penchant for trading away young talent for terrible, overpaid free agents. The Angels will regret Torii Hunter's contract, but hey, at least he's no Andruw Jones. LA looked destined to lose the NL West (Worst?) until petulant Manny Ramirez was acquired from the Red Sox in a three-way trade with Pittsburgh. Manny, for all his faults, is one hell of a hitter.

I have a hard time believing one batter can completely reverse a team's fortunes, but that's basically what Manny did. The players around him in the lineup, Jeff Kent particularly, saw their averages skyrocket as Manny provided protection for seemingly the entire lineup. The Dodgers went on to win the division every team was trying to lose and entered the postseason playing the best team in the National League, the Cubs.

It's not that I dislike the Cubs, it's that I dislike their fanbase. They are not like pre-2004 Red Sox fans. They are like post-2004 Red Sox fans but without the winning pedigree to back it up. The Cubs were expected to steamroll the Dodgers with Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden, but, in a hilarious joke from the baseball gods, found themselves swept out of World Series contention yet again. Watching my childhood team destroy an incredibly irritating team with an incredibly irritating manager and incredibly irritating fans was fun, but I would've traded anything to have the Cubs lose to the Angels in the fourteenth inning of game 7 in the World Series.

But it is what it is.

The Brewers won today, but down in the series 2-1 are likely to fall to Philadelphia, who will be the Dodgers' next opponent.

Meanwhile, I will be at Fenway Park tomorrow to get heckled, possibly punched, and generally embarrassed as the Angels continue their record-setting futility against the Red Sox in the playoffs. Or, they win and live to lose another day.

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