Because this site has the word “Dodger” in the title, I should probably take some time on this anniversary day to write, you know, about the Dodgers. 

By the way, let’s be clear. As an adjective, it’s “Dodger,” not “Dodgers.” One rolls off the tongue, and the other doesn’t. Vin Scully didn’t say, “It’s time for Dodgers baseball,” and neither should you in any similar situation. 

Moving on … and taking a cue from my second post at Dodger Thoughts, let’s look at the state of things on July 21, 2022. 

It’s forever important to put the past 10 years of Dodger baseball in perspective. In case you’ve forgotten or somehow weren’t aware, Lima Time produced the Dodgers’ only playoff victory from 1989 through 2007.  The shutout by Prima Lima didn’t lead to a series victory. It was literally the only postseason game they won in that era. Within its hallowed history, the Los Angeles baseball team once lost 14 of 15 playoff games. 

No evaluation of any Dodger team, including the current one, is possible without that context. The 2022 Dodgers are on a 108-win pace, which is astonishing. Never mind that the team sandwiched its 43-17 championship year in 2020 (with the most challenging playoff run in MLB history) with two seasons of 106 wins each. It’s astonishing. 

Sure, the 2022 Dodgers will lose a game here or there that they could have won. But they win more games that they could have lost. You don’t get to 60-30 otherwise. So if you’ve ever had the urge to say that the Dodgers should have a better record … grab some smelling salts and wake up out of your stupor. 

I treasure the Dodgers’ regular-season joy because I remember too well the sorrowful seasons, though I’ve retroactively fallen in love with the rock-bottom seasons of 1992 and 2005. I don’t dispute that the ultimate goal every season is to win the World Series and it’s disappointing ever year that they don’t, but no matter what happens, I’ll always smell the drought-riddled roses along the way. 

Jim Tracy approach: Will the Dodgers win the World Series this year? I don’t know. No one without a time machine can know. Like every other contender, the Dodgers have the tools, the flaws and the dependence on luck that makes forecasting impossible. No major U.S. sport offers such a challenge, right?

Do Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger have another gear to find? Does Tony Gonsolin’s worst week of ’22 (from his last regular-season start through the All-Star Game) portend a second-half collapse? Will the Dodgers’ injuries heal, or will there only be more? Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner might be as dependable as they come, Mookie Betts has more ability to affect a game than anyone, but where will they land come October? 

To no small extent, the mission of Dodger Thoughts was to unify fanhood with reason — without undermining either. It’s not that I can’t be irrational. More than you can know, my passion takes over my soul. But no fan avoids analyzing a team, a season or a moment. They do it on their own terms. “He sucks” is analysis. 

In my two decades, I have tried to shed some enlightenment on better terms for taking stock. Whether it’s choosing on-base percentage over batting average or knocking down myths about doghoused pitchers like Chad Billingsley or Kenley Jansen, whether its recognizing the contributions of a Jolbert Cabrera or highlighting that moment in the sun for a John Lindsey, whether it’s finding the beauty in the pain or the pain in the beauty, I have wanted to shape the Dodger conversation.

You can call it ego, an overconfidence in my beliefs. You can call it a massive desire to be heard, for my voice to carry above others. There was a time, when the Dodger Thoughts audience was growing steadily, that I envisioned a future where an entire fanbase would recognize me the leading commentator in my field — nothing less than the Vin Scully of the internet. Yes, I truly was that grandiose. Talk about Icarusing out. Talk about Your Arms Too Short To Box with God.

That imaginary destiny vanished abruptly, and the impact of my Dodger thoughts has been less about personally shaping the conversation and more about being part of a group of baseball writers — bloggers, as they were called with derision in the old days — opening up a different world for the entire baseball community. 

Not everyone jumped to that different world. Some did with reluctance, and some dipped in only a toe, embracing one new approach while forsaking all others. That’s fine. Of course that’s fine. But even if I didn’t come to rule the Dodger world with omniscience and omnipotence, I did … something. Together, we did something.

In a number of ways over the past 20 years, baseball is not the sport it once was. In some ways it’s better, in some ways it’s worse. I suppose one might say the same thing about baseball commentary, but I don’t. I think this has been the heyday of different voices offering different choices. I’m so happy to have been part of it. 

OK, this post wasn’t exactly about the Dodgers. I do mean well.