Sometime in the summer – I’m not going to try to figure out the exact date, because it doesn’t matter exactly when – my despair for the Dodgers reached a new and perilous level.
It wasn’t anything new about ownership – those misgivings were long-established and steady. It wasn’t a sudden realization that they wouldn’t make the playoffs – without giving up hope entirely, I had settled in with that belief since May.
It was the fear that the remaining 50-or-whatever-it-was games would be just punishing, that the bright spots would be too few and far between, that watching the Dodgers would become tiresome and writing about them an absolute chore.
There would always be something to write about, but that was part of the problem. I wouldn’t be able to hibernate, to pull a summertime Groundhog Day and declare six more weeks of winter in August. I’d have to pay attention to a team from which I might want to take a long vacation.
Instead, just about the opposite occurred.
While the specter of McCourt, a lost season and an uncertain future still hang over the team, the final weeks of the Dodger season have been nothing short of fun.
We have been treated to …
- the climactic finishes to brilliant seasons by Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp.
- the Dee Gordon Experience.
- the “Kenley Jansen Now You See the Ball, Now You Don’t” show.
- the classy and brassy pitching of Hiroki Kuroda.
- the resurgence of James Loney.
- the surgence of Jerry Sands.
- the relief of a semi-productive, beggars-can’t-be-choosers cleanup hitter in Juan Rivera.
- the ahead-of-schedule brightness of “U-less” Nathan Eovaldi.
- the productive determination of A.J. Ellis.
- the steady reliability of Javy Guerra.
- the quiet blossoming of Scott Elbert and Josh Lindblom.
- the brief moments in sunlight of Dana Eveland.
- the persistence of Hong-Chih Kuo.
- and last, and yes, least – but not insincerely – the mystery and intrigue of Eugenio Velez.
That’s a lot to be thankful for — with more that I’m leaving out — when I’m not sure I could reasonably have expected very much at all.
Most of all, we have been treated to winners in sheepish clothing. We have gotten the salve for some deep wounds.
There are some long-term problems that need to be solved, but those would have been there anyway. In the meantime, I’ve gotten more pleasure than pain from the final weeks of the 2011 Dodger season. And I am grateful.