Will you be happier in ’12 even if the Dodgers are worse?

Dodger fans, by and large, spent 2011 in the kind of pre-apocalyptic nightmare depicted in the fine 2011 film Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon.

The deepest, darkest hours of the McCourt ownership bled into the Bryan Stow tragedy. The Dodgers’ shaky start bled into nearly their worst first-half performance ever in Los Angeles. The sky over Chavez Ravine ripped apart.

Fans ran and hid, dragging in-game attendance and team goodwill down to its lowest level in decades.

And then the Dodgers ended up playing .600 ball over the final two months of the season.

It’s a new April. The McCourt fog is mostly clearing. But the team’s near-term future on the field is mixed, the stadium security and renovation issues awaiting further action, and there are even lingering questions about whether the new ownership will be good for the franchise.

Last season was painful in so many ways. Has that better prepared you to handle any challenges during the 2012 season? Will you be happier this year, even if the Dodgers lose more games than last year, if the team’s problems are confined to what’s happening on the field? As you emerge from your storm shelter, what color is your sky?

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Loved that film and love the analogy. I won’t let myself become a paranoid shelter dweller in fear of a 2011 repeat or the lingering ghosts of the McCourt’s. I’ll be cheering on the boys in blue from start to finish. I can’t wait to see them in San Diego Saturday night.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely.  The day Selig took over the team last summer, I went out and bought a Dodger cap (hadn’t had one for a number of years – not as a statement – just didn’t have one). But then McC declared bankruptcy, and I put it away.  Took it out again the day after the sale to Magic was announced.  I’m hopeful that both Kemp and Kershaw have years equal to last – but I know that it’s very possible they might not match those numbers. And the same could true for everyone.  But with McC gone, it’ll just be normal fan disappointment.  Rather than the clinical depression (at last in terms of fandom) that McC caused last season.  Will the team be great?  Hope so.  But don’t know. But at least it’ll be a team one can feel comfortable rooting for and caring about … and going to games.  Last year – I didn’t go to one.  This year, I definitely will – if they’re winning or not.

  • Anonymous

    For me it depends on how the new ownership deals with Colletti.  The sooner he is disposed of, the sooner I start feeling optimistic.  I certainly won’t blame any poor performance in 2012 on the new ownership, but they can prolong the agony if they don’t jettison the PVL fetishist in the front office.

    • Anonymous

       Excellent. I share your sentiments exactly.

  • http://twitter.com/davealden53 Dave Alden

    With the new ownership selected, it would be unreasonable not to be somewhat happier.  But the “happiness increment” will certainly depend on some of the decisions by the new ownership team.  It’s too bad that the new CBA is is place, limiting the extent to which the new owners can overcome the neglect by the previous owner with spending on the draft and in the international market.

    • http://twitter.com/davealden53 Dave Alden

      Further thought.  Jorge Soler may be the last big ticket international player available before the new CBA cap goes into place.  So …

  • Anonymous

    “In the time of your life LIVE, so that in that wondrous
    time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world but smile to the
    infinite delight and mystery of it”

    When I hear those words “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball” and our boys in blue run onto the field, I always have to smile because in the next nine innings anything can happen, improbable things can happen. And what could be more awesome than that?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-OConnor/1215951445 Patrick O’Connor

      Hail, William Saroyan!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5PLVK7VEIPQAIVYZVS2J5NGUEA Joe Pierre

    I think early in the season fans will be going through some kind of a relief that McCourt is no longer in charge but if the team has a start similar to last year, they’ll be looking forward to the new ownership to get into action. The Dodgers need a fast start out of the gate so that they won’t find themselves too far behind to make any kind of a move, like in 2011. I’m hoping that they can play as well as they did in the 2nd half last year, in games that are more meaningful.

  • http://twitter.com/s_nolander nolander

    A bit, but not a lot.  It will be nice to not hear about the divorce, but for me to actually be significantly happier the team needs to get better

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DFBO4SQIMZ4QFX7YVXLFEUIVZA Joseph

    No, I doubt I will be happier if the Dodgers are worse.  That said, hopefully the focus will be on Baseball rather than ownership.  

    I tire of too much owner or GM criticism, there is no bunch of fans ever happy and we are no different.  There is plenty Ned has done that I don’t love, yet I don’t find him the buffoon that many do – I think he is a smart, likeable, hardworking guy and I wish him the best.  

    I found Frank to be pretty unlikable before we knew too much about him, once we knew too much about him he proved much of what I suspected.  That said, he isn’t the worst human in the world, or even the worst sports owner in Los Angeles.  So while I am glad he is gone, he didn’t ruin the Dodgers for me.

    Last year, the run towards and past .500 was as much as I can have without the Dodgers making the playoffs, I loved the entire 2nd half of last year.  I loved Kemp and especially Kershaw, siting there in the stands with good friends, going hoarse rooting him on while winning his 20th.This season, I got hopes, excited to watch Dee, ready to not hear about owners, ready to just watch the game

    This is HJ, too lazy to mess with my name

  • Anonymous

    At my age, it all rolls off my back anyway. I actually kind of got a kick out of all the McCourt shenanigans. and I’d enjoy the ride if this ownership goes in the tank. Either way I like to follow the Dodgers. If they win, it’s great, if they don’t, I forget about it in 2 minutes. 

    • Anonymous

      Then I dont want to get old Marty, if that means sports loses its meaning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zach-Hershman/1576903046 Zach Hershman

    I doubt I’ll be happier.

    Since getting sick a few years ago I don’t seem to take some things as seriously as others. I don’t tend to let minor things (I don’t really care who owns the team as long as they win) get in between me and my happiness.

    I’ll be happy each time we win. I’ll be upset each time we lose. I wont be as happy at the end of the year if we end up worse than last year, but that will all change if I get my liver transplant. If I get that then we can go 0 – 162 and I’ll probably still be happy…at least for a short period of time.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/DFBO4SQIMZ4QFX7YVXLFEUIVZA Joseph

      I’d take an 0 – 162 to get you your transplant too – good luck

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         Seconded.  All my best thoughts, Zach.

        • Anonymous

          Amen.

        • http://profiles.google.com/michaelgreen327 Michael Green

          I’ll third that, Zach, and add, I have more important things to live and die with than whether the Dodgers win or lose.  I care, though.  And I want the team to do better.  But I do think if there is calm off the field, we will feel better about anything, good or bad, that happens on the field.  Maybe we would feel differently if we had not had such long-term stability with the O’Malleys before the past decade and a half, which hasn’t been ALL McCourt’s fault–just the past eight years.

    • Anonymous

      I wish you luck Zach, stay strong.

    • Anonymous

       I also hope you get your liver transplant as well!   When you do and are feeling better, I’d be happy to take you out in the field, so you can see what wildlife biology is like.  I’d try to arrange it when I’m doing something interesting, such as banding birds or checking nests.

  • Anonymous

    1. I love my Dodgers
    2 I love baseball

    This is always a great time for me regardless of the ownership issues. What saddens me is that with every game we are getting closer to Vinny calling it quits. That’s probably why I’m even more engaged as I don’t want to miss a single word…the intro, a famous quote, a reference to the past. Did I say I love baseball :)

    • Anonymous

      O to hear Vin call another WS, this time with a young lefty named Kershaw on the Hill.

      • Anonymous

        Then lets keep the series west of Scottsdale.

  • Anonymous

    I think I will be happier no matter what. Ofcourse I always want to see Dodgers win, and make playoffs, but if they dont it will be easier for me to take then usual. 2012 feels like a free year to me, because no matter what happens on it, I truely believe better times are ahead. You never know, anything is possible, but I like to believe in people until they give me reason not to. So even though I have no guarantee ownership will be better, I believe it will be. Plus even though he is a minority owner, I’d like to think Magic enjoys his L.A. celebrity, and refuse to believe he’d be apart of something that could possibly tarnish it. So yeah i’ll be happier.

  • Anonymous

    nm

  • Anonymous

    Jon, how come on a 2nd reply, it goes down here?

  • Anonymous

    I plan to spend my time rooting for Uribe and hoping that he will astonish me by not being as bad as I think he is.

    • Anonymous

      I will watch Uribe and yearn for the days of Eugenio Velez.

  • Anonymous

    If Colletti is gone, then I will be happy in 2012, even if the team does poorly. I’ll be even happier if the team does well this year, but my biggest wish for the Dodgers is for them to be well set up for the future. This won’t be possible until we get a new GM who understands sabermetrics and believes it’s a useful tool, recognizes talent when he sees it, and realizes that a big drop-off in fastball velocity when coupled with a scary MRI means that the pitcher isn’t going to be worth a lucrative free agent contract, despite what the pitcher’s buddy (who happens to be your new head trainer) says.

    • Anonymous

      Still ruminating, I see.

      • Anonymous

        What is that supposed to mean?

  • Anonymous

    So, out of curiosity…. How long is the leash for Uribe? How about other players that fail to live up to “reasonable” expectations?

    • Anonymous

      Not any longer than a willing GM to trade a cheaper player for him and shorter if he starts repeating last year.

  • Anonymous

    Kemp 16 K, 1 BB, last 36 PA

  • Jack Dawkins

    Kemp in 62 ST ABs has 24 strike outs.  Seems worrying.

    • Anonymous

      Forbes cover jinx!

    • Andrew Shimmin

      No worries: Rick Monday declared Kemp officially on track after his sac fly in the 5th.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM7W4PGIDSRFYHO5FV2NGPHABI MatthewJ

    “Worse” is relative.  If they go from 82 wins to 78 but with new ownership, new GM, a sense of Dee approaching our pipe dreams and a plan for the future, I will be happier.  But if we see only 71 wins and Sands and Gordon and Eo crap the bed, then I will not be happier.  There are definitely shades of grey in between, but I don’t necessarily need more wins to be happier.

  • J.T. Dutch

    … I’ll be about the same as I was last season, if the Dodgers are worse on the field.

    Instead of being embarrassed about ownership, I’ll be embarrassed about the team.

    I’m not convinced the new owners won’t be happy or comfortable with a mediocre or poor team on the field.  I’ll be happy to believe otherwise when I see it.

    • Anonymous

      Hard to imagine that Magic and Kasten would stay associated with something like that for long, and they must feel fairly sure that wouldn’t be the case with these owners.  Are you just protecting yourself or would you actually bet the farm on this?

      • J.T. Dutch

        … How is it “protecting” one’s self to take an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach?  While I admire Magic Johnson, I don’t admire him blindly.

        After the Fox and McCourt debacles, it’s going to take some time for me to be convinced that the new owners care about the success of the team on the field.

        • Anonymous

          The big difference is Stan Kasten is a proven executive and builder of one of the best organizational runs in sports with the Braves. Fox was a faceless corporate behemoth, much like this nebulous Guggenheim entity and Walter, but Magic has been a success at everything he’s done (Magic Hour jokes aside) and wouldn’t put together a group that didn’t have the same commitment to winning that he had with Jerry Buss. I just can’t believe they don’t want to make this an elite franchise again.

          • Terry Austin

            Was it Stan Kasten who hired Jim Bowden as the Nationals’ GM?

          • Anonymous

            Yes, I’ve noted that more than once on TBLA. I assume he was his choice anyway. Hey, everyone makes mistakes. Plus he wasn’t in DC very long and I really consider Atlanta his legacy.

            I don’t like Bowden, but the game has changed since then. Also have to consider that if Griffey’s body doesn’t fall apart the last decade would’ve been a very different story for Bowden and the Reds.

  • Anonymous

     

    Yes, in general, I think I’ll be happier in 2012 with the
    new ownership even if the Dodgers do a little worse.  The operative phrase being “a little”, if
    they do a lot worse, I’ll be unhappier with the Dodgers.  However, depending on how the season
    progresses, I’d likely be okay with the owners.   I usually don’t pay much attention to team
    owners unless they are particularly bad, but I feel like the Dodgers are a
    special organization with a proud history and unique culture.   The Fox and McCourt ownerships have
    tarnished that reputation and changed the culture into something less unique.  Thank goodness for Vin, because I think he
    has been responsible for keeping some of the special Dodger culture going.  The Dodgers probably would have lost a lot
    more fans over the last 14 years if Vinny wasn’t still calling games.   On the other hand, if the Dodgers would have
    won more games and some titles during those years, most people would not have
    cared who the owners were.   I think I
    would have, but that’s easy for me to say now! 
      

  • Anonymous

    It’s all on the field as far as I’m concerned.  Unless they win the division and advance in the playoffs, I’ll be disappointed.  However, I don’t see disappointment on the horizon.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    Late to the party, and this is my first time posting here, but I will be much happier regardless if they have a worse record. I feel re-energized as a Dodger fan, and I am glad I’m moving back to California to listen to Vin again and go to Dodger games and track the step-by-step restoration of this great franchise. I am excited to move back for many reasons, but to be honest the fact that it coincides with a fresh start for my favorite team is something I have been anticipating for some time.

    The Dodgers used to stand for unimpeachable values — innovation, stability, community, and in baseball terms with international development and outreach, prioritization of the farm system, and great pitching. Really all that has survived intact from the glory years is a tendency to have good pitching staffs. As a Dodger fan since 1991 who has seen the team win TWO playoff series (and no best-of-seven series) in that whole time, I am overjoyed that real winners are directing this new ownership regime. I want the Dodgers to be nationally relevant again, to be the flagship franchise that sports commenters like to say it is. I am a student of history in the general sense and appreciate the legacy of the Dodgers from Brooklyn to LA, but I’ve had enough of living in the past.

    So I think some perspective is due and I myself am eager to see the new regime put its people and organizational philosophy in place. I think it’s going to be what we’ve needed for a long time.

  • Anonymous

    Late too.  Happier, yes, everything good that happens in 2012 will be gravy.  But at some point the new owners need to deal with NedCo, what to do with Ned’s overpaid stiffs (Uribe notably), stadium upgrades and security, and I think a broadcasting presence beyond Vin,  The trade deadline should be a moment of zen. 

  • Gil Domingo

    The grace period for me is the entire 2012 season.  My honeymoon with the Magic group will last that long.  Hopefully some issues can be addressed by the trade deadline but there may be too many holes depending on injuries and the season go.  I’d even go so far as trading some of the vets and tanking the season if we can get some good positional players who are close or near close to the bigs.  I’m excited about the change, but this year is a wash for me.  Winter meetings 2012 can’t come fast enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joebenaiah Joseph Benaiah Cox

    I have come to 

  • Anonymous

    I feel a general lack of enthusiasm for the 2012 season, one that seems to be shared by fans of other teams as well.  My buddy in SF has similar feelings about his Giants, as do friends who root for the Mets, Yankees, and other teams.  Some of that has to do with their teams’ prospects, but I believe it goes beyond that, although I can’t put my finger on it.

    My greatest fear for the 2012 Dodgers is that they’re good enough to stay in the hunt until the trading deadline, and that in an effort to capture the second wild card, Ned does something asinine like trade away Jerry Sands, Javy Guerra, or Rubby for another proven veteran leader.  

    Thank god we already are stuck with Juan Uribe–he’s exactly the kind of player I’d be most afraid of Ned acquiring. 

    My other fear is that this team will be just as good on the field as it looks on paper: .500 overall, with flashes of .600 and stretches of .400.  The sale of the team has lifted some of the fog around this team, but I still have pretty low expectations.  The signings of Cain and Votto make it even less likely that there is some midseason acquisition out there that would make much of a difference.

    That said, I will attend games for the pleasure of going to see baseball live in person; I still won’t park in the stadium lots, however.

  • John Stodder

    I followed the 2011 season from federal prison, listening to the games on a portable radio as I walked the track. There was only the Bakersfield station, which was fine when I was at Taft, but challenging when I was moved to Lompoc.  I kept listening whenever I could during the worst of the first half, enjoying the broadcasts and accepting that the poor play was a reflection of the dreadful ownership.  I listened to sports talk stations for any news about the bankruptcy and other developments since Vinny, Charlie and Rick refused to talk about them. Probably for the best.  It was fun following Kemp and Kershaw, and when they started playing well in August, it was perfect timing.   

    Now I’m free, done with my sentence, and ready to enjoy the 2012 season.  WIll they be worse?  I have to say, I really doubt that. I think they’ll be pretty good in April-June, and then very good from July on after we acquire a high-powered rental.  But if that’s not how it works out, I’ll be fine if I get to go to a few games — my first one will be 4/13.  But I’ll probably slip into the season slowly. Perhaps from hanging around a prison, I’ve become more of a hoops fan than I used to be.  Rooting for the Clippers and keeping an eye on the Lakers.  If there’s a game involving either team on TV, I’m more likely to watch that for now.  

    I don’t have a bottom line like firing Colletti at all.  Devil you know.  He’s done a pretty good job under the circumstances.