Today’s Instagram post by Vin Scully has shaken me.
The amazing life of Tommy Lasorda ended Thursday at the age of 93.
I was just becoming a baseball fan when he became the Dodgers’ manager in September 1976. Nearly 40 years later, I would find myself in the Dodger press box cafeteria at lunch as an employee and introducing my two sons to Lasorda, and having him shake hands with them.
Here is my chapter on Lasorda for 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die:
Dick Whitman was the birth name of the character known as Don Draper on one of my all-time favorite shows, Mad Men. Coincidentally (or not), Dick Whitman was also the name of a major-league outfielder who made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946.
That debut came after serving in a war, which both the real and fictional versions of Whitman had in common.
Joe Biden will be the 28th consecutive President of the United States whose name does not begin with a vowel. There have only been four presidents out of 46 whose names began with vowels, and three of them came consecutively: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant. The other was Andrew Jackson.
Note: This might not be the most significant aspect of this election.
Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition comes to a conclusion with a focus on Clayton Kershaw at the end of the 2017 season. The book was published in 2018, without any knowledge of what was to be revealed about that 2017 World Series.
Below, I’m reprinting the final 1,000 words of the book, just to serve as a reminder of where we stood at that time and to help underscore what it meant for Kershaw to get his World Series title.
In the first World Series game for the Dodgers since 1988 and the hottest World Series game on record (first-pitch temperature: 103 degrees), against the top offense he had ever faced in the playoffs, Kershaw presented his biggest nationwide audience with his most dominant playoff start, throwing seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros in which he allowed three hits and no walks while striking out 11—the first World Series pitcher of any stripe to fan at least 11 with no walks since Newcombe in 1949. This was Kershaw incarnate, the one everybody had expected all along. After Los Angeles and Houston went on to split the first four games of the Series, Kershaw returned to the mound in Houston for Game 5, and with the Dodgers scoring three runs in the first inning and another in the top of the fourth, there before Kershaw stood the most pristine opportunity to seal his legacy.
This is what it’s like to fly.
This is what it’s like to float among the clouds.
I’m holding a stuffed toy baseball with a rattle inside. I think my friend Jim gave it to me, decades ago. We weren’t children anymore, but he knew I liked baseball things, and I believe it was just a fun or funny thing he spotted somewhere and decided just to pass along to me as a token. I kept it. The kids played with it when they were younger, then it went into a storage cabinet in the garage. Sometime this month, I pulled it out. It’s been my rally tool. I’ve been shaking it to celebrate the Dodgers doing something well or to try to stop their opponents from doing well.
Kenley Jansen ended a stirring comeback victory by the Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on a high note, reaching vintage velocity as he struck out the side to finish the Dodgers’ 7-3 win Friday.
As the Dodgers head into this afternoon’s Game 6, still needing to win today and Sunday to advance to the World Series, the bullpen is coming off seven innings of one-run ball with no reliever throwing more than 20 pitches. But even if Walker Buehler overcomes his blister issues to give the Dodgers length today, the Dodger pitching staff is walking a tightrope.
Woke up at 2 a.m., still imagining A.J. Pollock getting a hit to complete that comeback. A single through the hole. A double down the line. A home run to walk off something incredible. I can see it so clearly. I feel like I can reach out and touch it.
It’s so beautiful. I can see the celebration. I can picture myself flying off the couch and scaring my children with my happiness. I can see it. I can feel it. I almost can’t believe it didn’t happen. A 6 in the bottom of the ninth column of the linescore. It’s right in front of me.
Just one more baseball eluding a fielder.
In sports with a clock, a big comeback often becomes impossible at a certain point, before the game is over. In baseball, it never does. Even in defeat, even as others were spitting on the idea, I was reminded why I cherish that.
Please don’t comment on this if you’re going to be negative. I’ve gotten enough of that elsewhere. If you are angry, I understand — but just leave me out of it.
We know the Dodgers are a great team. That’s been proven over and over again.
To be a champion is something different. In some ways, it’s a lesser accomplishment. You don’t need to be a great team to be a champion. But when there is nowhere else to turn, champions overcome every bit of adversity that comes their way.
I’m eager to find out if the 2020 Dodgers can be champions. Every lost opportunity for Clayton Kershaw saddens me, but I’m every bit as excited right now for Tony Gonsolin and tonight’s game as I’ve been for any game since the season started.
Genuinely, I'm excited for today's game. Not because I didn't want to see Kershaw pitch — I live for his starts — but because this could really be an inspiring moment for the 2020 Dodgers. I believe this team can rally behind Gonsolin today and use it for a new going forward.
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) October 13, 2020
Let’s start by looking ahead at the Dodger pitching, before we look back.