Schrodinger’s postseason

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Every year, each year more than the last, comes the refrain: “The Dodgers have to win the World Series this year.”

And every year I wonder, “or what?”

Not far in the future, there are books and newspapers and Baseball Reference pages imprinted with the result of the 2017 playoffs. Less than a month from now, there will have been a parade downtown with “I Love L.A.” blaring non-stop, or there won’t have been.

It won’t be because the Dodgers tried any more or any less than their best. It will be because along their best effort, they finally caught the breaks that have flown by for the past 29 seasons.

The playoffs are in Schrodinger’s box, and it’s just waiting to be unlocked.

It’s not that the Dodgers have no control over their fate. But they can only control what they can control. And they can’t control everything. No team can.

The World Series isn’t a morality play, you can’t will yourself to victory, and neither the Dodgers nor their fans are owed anything. And even if that mattered, what of it? Cleveland, Washington and Houston have all gone longer — in some cases forever — without winning a World Series. Just because the people of Los Angeles feels boundlessly deprived doesn’t mean they are.

The “We’re the Dodgers, we’re a big city, we’re a hallowed franchise, we deserve this” mentality — no one cares.

That doesn’t mean surrender. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe. The Dodgers are equipped to go all the way. They’re certainly no longer the hip pick to do it — I dare say a ton of people are on board with Arizona ending the Dodgers season sometime in the next week, let alone the Nationals, Cubs or American League champs. But there is talent and leadership and impatience and desire and more talent up and down the Dodger roster. There are mountains ready to be scaled and primal screams waiting to be unleashed.

If you’re a Dodger fan, go open-hearted and full-throated into these playoffs. Just understand that seven other fan bases can rightfully do the same.

As much as you might have dreamed of it, I don’t think there’s any fathoming what a World Series title will feel like in Los Angeles. The fans of this team haven’t gone this long without that elation since 1955. Putting aside the specific utopia of Kirk Gibson’s home run, there hasn’t been an emotional euphoria to match ’55 in more than seven decades.

But if not …

What can we do? We’ll try to understand. We’ll agonize, pick up the pieces, call for changes. Many will demand firings, purgings, blood. All trying to make sense of a purely irrational moment in a purely irrational game.

And then we’ll start over again. We’re baseball fans. It’s what we do. Or else.

  • Sam Sokol

    And when the morning light comes streaming in, we’ll get up and do it again . . .

    • http://hellofred.com/ Bumsrap

      Amen

  • Branch_Rickey

    It will break your heart. It was designed to break your heart. It wasn’t designed to hand out championships to those most entitled. And if we don’t win, even if we’re somehow cheated by fate, it will be part of the backdrop for the next year and the next of great baseball. Great to hear your sane voice again! Sanity is almost as welcome as championships these days- maybe more so!

    • Bob_Hendley

      Worse. You get you heart broken and then everyone starts slamming your ex.

  • http://hellofred.com/ Bumsrap

    If there is no WS championship, just please let us avoid a passed ball, a Bucky Dent bloop, a Graig Nettles glove, a Reggie Jackson butt, or a Hanley Ramirez rib that haunts us.

  • Hong Kong Dodgers fan

    Jon, it’s good to hear your ‘voice’ again on Dodger Thoughts. Please keep sharing your thoughts, at least through the playoffs. We will really need the sanity.

  • Ker Garin

    Team of destiny? Indians last won WS 69 yrs ago… Astros, Nats never won (57, 48 yrs in existence respectively) Dodgers last WS win only 29 yrs ago.

  • stolenmonkey86

    Agreed. The do or die thing makes more sense for a team whose window is vanishing. The 1992 Pirates failed, and followed Bonds’ departure with 20 years of losing seasons. More recently, look at the NL playoffs in 2011. The Cards were playing in Pujols’ walk year. The Brewers were ready for Fielder to go. The great Phillies rotation, and Ryan Howard’s achilles, would tear apart. It’s not like the Royals, who may have watched their golden age close last week.

    Even for the Dodgers, there were more urgent times in 2009 before the team’s finances would be hamstrung by the divorce of their (for their position) cash-poor owners. If anything is imminent now, it is Kershaw’s potential to opt out next year. We don’t know if he’ll want to be close to family in Texas by then or what.

    It’s different for individuals. This is possibly the last chance for Andre Ethier to play in the postseason, for one thing. But this team is in a good steady position. I want them to win, but they aren’t going to fall apart.

  • efb

    Whoa

  • XJill

    Beautifully put. I’ve never been able to get tooo upset about losing because I enjoy the ride, and I wish so many others could be happier & just do this. It upsets me more that fans get so upset. And for me having grown up in Houston, if it was a Stros/Dodgers WS I’d kindof be rooting for the Astros because as you note, they’ve NEVER won a WS. Ever. There’s always another side to the story & another fan on the other side.

  • Daniel Zappala

    Lovely to see you back here again. I am just enjoying the ride.