Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Month: August 2020

Baseball fans, are you ready for the tiebreakers?

A totem of things gone wrong. (Photo by Jon Weisman at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, July 14, 2019.)

In an ongoing Twitter thread, I have been tracking the potential 2020 National League postseason matchups on a nightly basis. Remember — this year, eight teams from each league will make the playoffs, which will open with best-of-three series that aren’t quite sudden death but close enough.

The three division winners are seeded No. 1-3 no matter what, followed next by the three second-place teams, then finally by the teams with the next-best records, regardless of division. By some margin the best first-place and second-place teams in the NL, the Dodgers (No. 1) and the Padres (No. 4) have been locked into their seeds for quite some time. But the other six seeds have been flopping teams like fish on a sidewalk.

In announcing this format for 2020, MLB made it clear there will be no tiebreaker games, instead setting out a set of tiebreaker rules. On the final night of August, we got a glimpse of just how crazy things could get. 

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Dodger issues against LHP should solve themselves

See full chart at Baseball-Reference.com.

If you’re worried that the Dodgers haven’t been hitting left-handed pitching this season, my advice is … don’t worry.

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Anger is fear.
Anger is hurt.
Anger is pain.

Anger is not a baseline emotion. That’s what I have been taught in my 50s and should have been taught a lot sooner. 

Anger is an outlet for a more fundamental feeling. You are never angry without experiencing something deeper.

Anger comes from fear, conscious or unconscious. Anger comes from hurt, a wound slicing into you that can’t help but react to. Anger comes from pain, from the lingering, often harsh, often intolerable discomfort. 

Anger is trying to tell you something. 

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Sending a daughter to college during a pandemic

A recent CNN story playing right into my fears.

In my head, I have a list of the stupidest decisions I have ever made, a Mount Rushmore of “Why?” and “How?” — even though I know exactly why and how.

These weren’t accidents. They were choices, products of deep and agonized thought where I weighed everything with exceeding care … before taking what was obviously, in retrospect, the regrettable path. 

None of these decisions ruined me, and one could make the case that I’m all the stronger for them. 

But now, I’m about to take my daughter to college, and I wonder if it’s the action that’s going to be the singular destructive moment of my life. 

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With a dominant bullpen, Dodgers’ postseason salvation could be 28-man rosters

Photos: Jon SooHoo

Last week, I wrote about how the 2020 Dodgers are talented, but October is scarier than ever. Now, let me balance it out with some good news about this particular postseason that could really play into the Dodgers’ favor. 

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An epic Dodgers collapse Phillies comeback, 30 years ago today

On August 21, 1990, I went to a baseball game with a friend. And I stayed for about seven innings, and then we left early. 

I don’t think we thought twice about it. It was a weeknight. We had jobs. 

And the Dodgers were winning, 11-1. 

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The Dodgers are talented, but October is scarier than ever

Photo: Jon SooHoo

Flying high with a seven-game winning streak, the 18-7 Dodgers have the best record in major-league baseball and in a 162-game season would be on pace for 116 victories. 

Thanks to this year’s shortened, 60-game campaign and the expanded playoff format that will invite eight teams from each league to the postseason, the Dodgers will need to finish with only about 30 victories to clinch an entry into October. It’s quite possible they’ll do that by Labor Day. 

For the rest of September, they’ll be playing for an eight consecutive National League West title and a high seeding in the playoffs. Both will be more ceremonial than ever. 

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Rewatching James at 15
and remembering 1970s TV

James at 15 premiered on NBC before my 10th birthday, but I was the kind of kid — I think a lot of us were — who craved TV that seemed more grown-up than I was. In fact, looking it up right now, I see that Soap premiered on ABC eight days later, and that might well have been the most controversial series of the 1970s, or at least since the debut of All in the Family. I remember watching a report about Soap on Eyewitness News earlier that evening, warning of the risqué material, but that didn’t keep me from watching the first episode that night. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but when we moved into our new house in Woodland Hills in late 1972, just as I was turning 5, the three Weisman kids each got their own bedrooms and their own TV sets. For real. Yes, we had it good. 

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Video: 1960s Celebrity All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium

Somehow, I had never seen this before, so I’m appreciative to Ken Levine for passing it along. From more than 50 years ago, it’s a Celebrity All-Star softball Game at Dodger Stadium, and as these things go, the rosters are impressive, with celebrities including Woody Allen, Peter Falk, James Garner, Robert Loggia, Ryan O’Neal and Dick Shawn, and active major leaguers like Roberto Clemente, Don Drysdale, Harmon Killebrew, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Brooks Robinson and Maury Wills (in his Pirates uniform). Leo Durocher and Milton Berle are the managers. 

Throw in Vin Scully for the play-by-play (albeit with a rather lugubrious Jerry Lewis as his partner), and you’ve got yourself a ballgame. 

A people too defiant for masks

It’s pretty clear that large swaths of the Los Angeles population — diverse in age, gender, class and ethnicity — have rejected wearing masks in proximity with others for reasons that have nothing to do with politics. 

I’m not a sociologist, scientist or pollster, but I just have trouble believing that the high percentage of people in this town I’ve observed going without them, even as they cross well within range of other humans, are all doing so out of allegience to party or a party leader. There is something much more basic at play.  

They say you can’t fight City Hall, but you also can’t fight the people who behave as they want in the face of so much reason to behave differently in a civil society. 

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