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It’s Only A Game…Right?

Baseball is a game, right? It is played by children in playgrounds and school yards all over the United States and a few other countries.

At least, that is what is said. In the Latin countries, it is a way to get out of the poverty that is usually the way of life.

In Japan, it is a testing ground for those who want to play against the best in the world. It has also become a melting pot for the different cultures in the world. Israel even has a team.

Besides Americans, there are more Latin players in the majors than from any other countries.

Asia, IE, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, have sent some players, and some have become huge stars. As of yet, none are in the Hall of Fame, but that will change soon when Ichiro becomes eligible in 2025. He is a lock first ballot Hall of Famer.

Roberto Clemente was the first Latin player voted in. As of right now there are 15 Latin born players in the majors. Adrian Beltre is expected to join them when he becomes eligible.

But for fans, the game is a refuge from everyday life. And sometimes, it becomes more than that.

Baseball fans spend millions of dollars each year on attending games, buying their teams gear, concessions, parking, memorabilia and other things, like gambling.

For the large market teams, IE, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, fans expect their teams to win, and win consistently.

Atlanta fans were treated to 14 years of in season excellence, and 13 years of postseason disappointment. Most fans consider the Braves of that era as underachievers. They won one Championship. 1995. Like everyone else, they were denied a chance in 1994 due to the strike. Like the Dodgers, they won their championship in a strike shortened season, but since they played 144 games, few bring this up.

The Dodgers played 110 games in 1981. Now since 2013, the Dodgers have been to the postseason 11 times in 11 years. 11 years of regular season excellence, and 9 years, so far, of post season disappointment.

Two of those disappointments came in the World Series, one, they were overmatched, 2018, and the other they were cheated out of, 2017.

To fans, it is more than a game. It is an integral part of their lives. They plan trips and birthday parties around it. They travel to opposing cities when they can to cheer their team on.

When this series gets to Arizona on Wednesday, check the stands. There will be almost as many Dodger fans in attendance as there will be Arizona fans.

That is a simple fact. Arizona does not draw well, even during playoff games. It is almost like a home field for LA. But, you do not want to have to go in there down 2-0 having to win both of your games.

As disappointed as some fans are, winning the whole thing is just not that easy. Nor should it be. The last team standing is not always the best team. Last year should be the prime lesson in all of that. The Dodgers were far and away the best regular season team, yet they were beaten in the playoffs by a wild card team playing its best baseball.

Back in the day, two teams, obviously the best in their leagues, faced off in the World Series. Now, baseball teams, much like jousting knights, face a gauntlet to win the prize.

The 2020 version of the Dodgers had to win 13 games to get the trophy. They went 13-5. And they were down 3-1 in the NLCS. But those series were played on a neutral field. Few fans. No homefield advantage, even though they got the majority of the games as the home team.

In today’s playoff system, you have to win 11.3 in the division series, 4 in the Championship series and 4 in the World Series. But Arizona would have to win 13, just like the 2020 Dodgers.

So, it is not as easy as one might think. There are some fans who equate postseason disappointment to failure. I myself believe that you need to win the regular season, and what happens afterwards is merely a huge crapshoot.
You can run into a hot team. And with the days off for the teams with a bye, I clearly believe that they are at a huge disadvantage simply because there is too much time between games.

You close that gap, and the division series becomes a totally different animal. I have a solution. A. Shorten the season by 6 games. 156 instead of 162. The wild card would still be three games, but, reseed after the wild card round, and make the division series, 7 games. That makes it much more competitive and fairer to the bye teams.

Also start the division series on the Friday after the wild card round finishes. One day off is plenty if a team wins the first two games.

I doubt this happens anytime soon since MLB just implemented this system. But the system is flawed.

It might be great for the small market teams who happen to get hot at exactly the right time, but it actually affects the TV revenue from the World Series. I mean, how much interest is there going to be in an Arizona-Texas World Series?

New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are not going to watch much of that. Just think how much interest and TV viewership would watch a Yankee-Dodgers series.

Baseball is cutting their own throats with the way things are set up now, why???? Because baseball is not just a game to the fans.

 

 

Add from Jeff:

I love the Kevin Costner baseball movies (and Cowboys).  My favorite Costner baseball movie is For Love Of the Game, and this little bit from the movie shows that baseball is more than just a game to the players, executives, coaches, families, and fans alike.  Plus Vin Scully is at his classic best.  You just know he did not need a script for this.

 

 

Bull Durham and Field of Dreams were pretty darn good as well.

 

 

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Jeff

I would double the amount of games to be lopped off the season by 12. I wouldn’t change the best of 5 divisional series or re-seed. That’s nonsense!

If you want to talk about baseball in terms of ‘more than a game’, you have to include what the big bucks have done to the game and the narratives that have accompanied all of it. In Japan, Korea, & Taiwan, the average kid doesn’t grow up with the poverty that the Latin World knows. The Asian cultures are vastly different than American perspectives. You have to experience this in order to appreciate what that means.

The Dodger ‘Choke’ is real. If anyone can figure it out, I’d love to hear it. It is not based on what you wrote, Bear. There is simply a systemic disorder here within the team, but what it is is not so simple to identify and correct. Something is not getting addressed. Most feel it is the pitching but our pitching rotation last year was nowhere as decimated as it is now. We still won the division, though. That is another feather in the hat of AF if you discount the fact that most of us consider winning a ring the only goal worthy of a dynasty.

Fire Roberts? I wouldn’t mind but there is no guarantee that anything significant will change. We have a lot of talent but so do the Padres who are at home watching TV.

Sell the team? To whom? Magic Johnson, Lebron, Steven Speilberg? Does their dominance of the West not count for something?

Or, do we need some better input on who we sign, how they play the game, ball to bat vs HR hitters, getting younger, training the farm for endurance. AF needs help and fresh perspectives. Every day players who have skills not just power. We need some kind of change and that may be easier said than done considering the Dodgers have made the playoffs for a long, long time and that will probably stand as a directive for the future.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jeff
Oldbear48

I think re-seeding is needed, but that is my personal opinion. Either that, or instead of 6 teams in the playoffs, make it 8 and all the teams are playing. And seed them like the NF and NBA do 1-8,2-7.3-6,4-5. That is a much better system than what they have now. Expansion is probably on the horizon somewhere, maybe not in my lifetime, but 16 teams in each league makes a lot more sense than 15. I think one of the biggest problems with this offense in particular, is the massive amount of striking out they do. The three true outcome hitters leave way too many opportunities on the table. And last night’s game was a prime example. Martinez Ks with 2 on, end of inning. Bases loaded, Outman swings at ball four for strike one and then takes on right down the middle for strike two. He then is forced to swing at a pitch low in the zone, two outs and three still on base. I also would not have hit Wong for Rojas. Miguel is one of the few Dodgers on the plus side hitting so far. He is also more of a contact type hitter than Wong, just what they needed in that spot. But the pitchers, especially the starters, putting the offense behind the 8-ball in the first inning is what lost both of these games.

Bluto

Why the heck would Guggenheim sell the team?

I wouldn’t mind moving on from Roberts, but I think it’s negligible.

Scott Andes

And Friedman?

Bluto

I think his impact is more profound. Thus If there’s an obvious upgrade, then you’d have to consider it.

but there isn’t. Obviously.

Scott Andes

There isn’t I find that hard to believe Bluto.

So just stick with the guy who can’t, or refuses to build a pitching staff?

Bluto

If only your reality was reality, Scott. Then we could have a sensible and fun discussion.

sadly, it’s just inanity.

Scott Andes

Sadly it is reality

Unless you believe that the richest most powerful team in MLB was unable to find starting pitching anywhere in the world, which is what happened.

Bluto

Hmmm.

Team ERA rankings since 2015, when Friedman joined
’15: #5 in all of MLB
’16: #7 in all of MLB
’17: #2 in all of MLB
’18: #2 in all of MLB
’19: #1 in all of MLB
’20: #1 in all of MLB
’21: #1 in all of MLB
’22: #1 in all of MLB
’23 #14 in all of MLB

Oh, maybe ERA isn’t the best stat for you? How about WHIP?
’15: #3 in all of MLB
’16: #3 in all of MLB
’17: #1 in all of MLB
’18: #2 in all of MLB
’19: #1 in all of MLB
’20: #1 in all of MLB
’21: #1 in all of MLB
’22: #1 in all of MLB
’23: #5 in all of MLB

But, yeah, if only Friedman could put together a pitching staff.

Scott Andes

14th best ERA in MLB this year lolz.

How about the most important stat, 7 playoff losses in9 years.

Stop defending Friedman, he’s not worth defending.

Bluto

Keep changing your arguments, it’s a great way to show you’re a dingbat.

Scott Andes

You can insult me all you want. It doesn’t change reality Bluto, and reality is the Dodgers have lost more playoff games uner Friedman than any other executive.

Don’t resort to insults. I dont insult you. Super childish. Let’s just agree to disagree.

Bluto

Guess which teams have the most playoff wins since 2015.

Go ahead and guess.

I bet you’ll get it right.

Last edited 7 months ago by Bluto
Scott Andes

And guess which team has just one ring, and playoff losses in 8 of 9 years, and about to get knocked out in the first round for the second straight year, and third in last 5.

Nice try Bluto. Championships are what count.

Bluto

Here’s another really tough question.

Guess how many teams have won more World Series than Friedman since he took over?

I’ll give you a hint, it’s the same number that one (another hint) would use in ranking how good the Dodgers “foundational” starting has been since Friedman took over. And that’s a cheating enabled number.

while I have your attention, were you serious, or sarcastic with calling the Dodgers starting pitching the weakest in 30 years?

Scott Andes

It is the weakest. Look at the numbers.

Don’t feel like arguing with you about this anymore. You talk like Friedman is a member of your family or something. Its weird. Just let it go, you’re not going to change my mind and I’m not going to change yours.

Saxfan3

Not a fan of the current format. If (when) they add two teams, I’d like to see four divisions each league with the division winners making the playoffs. All three rounds 7 games apiece and cut the regular season to 154 games. IMO it’s the next best thing to the perfect format which was what we had before the dawn of the wildcard.

Dave

Every playoff team should be on the same schedule. Currently some play while others sit around and wait. If a team makes it into the playoffs, no matter if they are a wildcard team or not, they should be considered legitimate playoff contenders. Therefore all the teams should be seeded and everyone is on the same schedule. Could the #1 seeded team get eliminated by the #8 seded team? Yes, but so what! At least they were on a level playing field.
And wth is with a schedule where a team waits for a week,plays one game, has a day off then plays another game and had another day off! Their pitchers haven’t pitched in a week and the game 3 starter didn’t pitch for longer than that.

OhioDodger

I could live with that. Scrap the divisions. Take the top 8 teams in each league and play them off. 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 vs 5. All seven game series.

OhioDodger

Dodgers show up for a drag race in a touring sedan.

Badger

Some good ideas in here this morning.

Baseball will do what’s good for baseball. That you can count on. Having teams like NY and LA in the World Series is of course preferable to them, but money is made whoever is there.

I would shorten the season and lengthen the playoffs. I like Dave’s idea of every team being on the same schedule. Wild Card teams deserve to be there but they should not get extra days rest.

Expansion to 16 teams would clear all the Wild Card issues up, but that is years away if ever. It looks to me like it would require 4 new cities to fix everything. Florida has proven it doesn’t really want or in my opinion deserve baseball there.

It’s not over for the Dodgers, but it looks clear to me which team is lit up and which team isn’t. The Dodgers are now where Arizona has been for weeks. They have to win to stay in it.

I don’t know if the time off is the reason. Maybe. The Dodgers won the Division weeks ago. They haven’t been in a game that matters since September 16th. They peaked in August. The question for me is, how do you get 26 guys to turn it back on? More importantly how do you get Mookie, Freddie and Will to turn it back on.

Last night’s game was winnable. 1 for 6 WRISP. In what one might call a must win situation. In my mind must win is only in elimination games. That’s tomorrow’s game. We’ll see how much fight there is in this group tomorrow. When you’re backed into a corner, your only way out is through who put you there.

Last edited 7 months ago by Badger
OhioDodger

Only need 2 more teams to have eight four team divisions. From what I have read, that is the goal when they get things settled in Oakland and Tampa.

Badger

Tampa, Kansas City, Miami and Oakland, in that order all finished under 20k in attendance. It’s been like that for quite a while. Talk of moving Tampa and Oakland, if done, eliminates two viable cities. Nashville and Las Vegas might be two good cities. Where would the other two be?

Just talking with my wife about the discussions going on regarding playoff schedule. She’s not a baseball fan but knows a little through talking with me. She listened to my explanation of how this is going down and said “if there’s only 5 games in a Division Series then the Wild Card team should have to play all 5 games at Division winners ballpark”. Makes sense to me. The dbacks finished 16 games behind the Dodgers and after 2 games they can move on by winning one out two in their home park. Doesn’t seem fair.

But, it is what is. The Dodgers have a chance to prove they are the better team. Let’s hope they wake up and do it.

Last edited 7 months ago by Badger
Dave

Monterrey Mexico would draw big attendance and it’s closer to many teams than Seattle is to any team. That said,niw you onky need to find one more city!

OhioDodger

Portland, Oregon has been talked about a lot. As well as Nashville.

Bumsrap

Bear, why do you form paragraphs when you create the lead post and ignore them in your comments?

Lynn next up. Supposedly has been told to give it his all from the first pitch and not try to save energy to get through 6 innings. I’d rather go with Pepiot.

Muncy apparently thinks hitting a ball out of Dodger Stadium generates more RBIs. He is going to hurt himself.

Most of the time, teams look better than they are when they win and look worse than they are when they lose.

Oldbear48

Fred why do you worry about my not forming paragraphs when I comment? The answer is simple, when I am writing a post, I take care to separate, when I comment, I am lazy and don’t care.

Bumsrap

Because I miss some of the nuggets you hide in the weeds. I’m not trying to poke the bear. I want to help you share your thoughts in a way that is easier to read.

Scott Andes

So down 2-0, going back to AZ. Looks like a sweep to me. I mean I hate to say I told you so, but I actually don’t. This inevitable conclusion was predicted by me back In April/May. It was clear as day that they didn’t have a pitching staff, especially a starting rotation.

Friedman did virtually nothing. I liked the trade of Lance Lynn, but just getting Lynn wasn’t going to cut it. As you all already know, and most of you being from the older generation, PITCHING WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. I put that in all caps. because it never changes.

There’s no reason to make excuses here (I’m talking about from Friedman) The Dodgers had the worst pitching staff in 30 years. Those injuries to May and Gonsolin were very predictable. Nobody knew Urias would get in trouble. But those injuries to May and Gonsolin were not surprising to me. Doesnt take a doctor to figure out that 2 pitchers who can’t pitch more than 50-100 innins at the big league level (due to injuries) and have been on the injured list more times than the Dodgers have been pathetically booted out of the playoffs in the first round are not going to be reliable.

I am hoping this latest and greatest debacle is finally enough for Walter and Kasten to give Friedman his pink slip. To go into this postseason with this pitching staff and claim nobody was available and hey we tried, and we’ll just do bullpen games in the playoffs should be a firable offense.

Fridman’s neglect of the pitching staff particulary the starting rotation should irritate all of you, (at least the ones that saw Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton, and Fernando pitch). It’s a spit in the face of everything the Dodgers have built their past successes around, which is excellent and foundational starting pitching.

The roster should be built around strong starting pitching, and Friedman’s decree that all starting pitchers go 5 or 80 pitches and be hooked was an asinine strategy to say the least. His ego got in the way of doing what was necessary to win in October.

It’s time to bring in someone that values starting pitching to run the front office.The last three years have been obscene. I know there may be a few of you who like this brand of baseball. if that’s true, respect. enjoy the postseason losing! For me, I do not like winning 100 games and then getting pathetically beatdown in the division series every season. If they lose again this year (and they will) that’s four times Friedman’s teams have been knocked out in the division series against lessor teams, and twice in a row. Concievably this could happen for the next 10 straight years, and Friedman would shrug his shoulders and say “isn’t it just baseball?”

Nope it sure isn’t. This pathetic brand of loser ball is all uniquely Friedman’s. It’s beyond time for a change.

Bumsrap

Your take is like an echo.

Scott Andes

The Dodgers losing is like an echo. no worries, if you like this kind of baseball, enjoy.

Badger

I mildly disagree with this Scott.

When recently you said, rather pugnaciously, the Dodgers cannot and will not win with this starting rotation, you got some pushback, but as I have already said, you didn’t get any from me. I’ve been concerned about this staff for months, primarily for the reasons that have manifested over the course of the year. The point I disagree with, moderately, is blaming Friedman. Year after year he has put together a top of the league staff. At the beginning of this year he had what looked like a decent staff to go along with a high scoring offense. First there was Bauer. Not AFs fault. I didn’t expect May to go down the way he did, I expected Gonsolin to be delicate but not necessarily lost for the season, I thought Kershaw would be good for only about 110 innings but ready for the playoffs (which he was) Syndergaard was worth a try, Miller looked ready, and… Urias. Oooh, Urias.

I think he did what he could and was ready to go after what was needed – Verlander and or the other good pitchers who might be available at the deadline. I certainly expected better than what we got.

All that said the offense is what has us down 0-2. If it wakes up we might be ok. As Jeff might say – FIGHT ON!!

Scott Andes

I don’t mean to be pugnacious, losing makes me angry, especially this kind of losing.

Badger

Pugnacious is fine with me.

Jeff Dominique

Blame the pitching all you want. It is deserved. One SP could not get out of the first and the second SP could not get out of the second. The trend would indicate that Lynn will not get out of the third. But just like last year, it is the offense that has gone MIA, so far.

I want the Arizona DBack hitting coaches, Joe Mather and Damion Easley (Asst. Hitting Coach). Let RVS travel with JDM wherever he goes next year. Dodgers are looking to lift and Arizona was looking to drive. A lot of F-7, F-8, and F-9 for LAD hitters, especially Mookie. Mookie had 1 HR (Sept 11) and 4 doubles in all of Sept/Oct. For that period, in 107 PA, 86 AB, Mookie batted – .244/.392/.326/.718.

For the series:

LAD

  • BA – .161
  • OBP – .257
  • SLG – .258
  • OPS – .515

LAD has 1 double, 1 triple, 1 HR, 7 singles

AZ

  • BA – .300
  • OBP – .380
  • SLG – .571
  • OPS – .951

AZ has 4 doubles, 5 HR, and 12 singles.

LAD is 2-12 WRISP, and his now 6-45 WRISP for their last 6 NLDS games.

Battle of the Leadoff:

  • Dodgers – 0-7, 1 BB (.125 OBP)
  • AZ – 2-7, 3 BB (.500 OBP)

Battle of the Rookies:

  • Outman – 0-6, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Corbin Carroll – 3-7, 3 BB, 2 RBI, 1 run, 2 K

Battle of the OF:

  • LAD (6 OF) – 1-19, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 runs, 0 RBI
  • AZ (3 OF) – 7-23, 5 BB, 4 K, 6 runs, 6 RBI

The RH bat that wanted to come to LAD, Tommy Pham is 6-11 with 1 HR. The Dodgers RH bat (Amed Rosario) did not make the NLDS roster.

It is hard to win when your leadoff MVP candidate is 0-7 with a BB. In his last three playoff series with the Dodgers, in 53 PA and 44 AB, Mookie is batting .136/.264/.182/.446 – 6 hits, 2 RBI, 2 doubles. I do not think that is going to get it done. 

Arizona has 28 hard hit balls, including 8 in the 1st inning of game 1. The Dodgers have 14 hard hit balls. Remind me again, which team supposedly has the better slug?

Another thing. I have never seen Clayton Kershaw hit as hard as he was in Game 1 except for when Houston cheated in Game 4 of the 2017 WS. Both he and Doc say he is healthy. I say bull****. If that is the case, then Clayton has no business pitching in big games again. It is one thing to get beat, but to get pummeled? I refuse to believe he chokes that bad. He just has to be hurt.  

One final point. Down 1-0 and runners on 1st and 3rd in the 1st inning, the Dodgers were in DP depth. No argument. But when Pham stole 2nd, and runners were on 2nd and 3rd with one out, why did the infield play back. They just gave up a run. Oh well, I guess they thought they would score more than 2 runs and have more than 6 hits. Did they learn anything from the previous 5 NLDS games they played? They can’t score in the NLDS.

Oldbear48

Your stars don’t play like stars, you are going to lose. Big five have 6 hits between them in 2 games. Only Martinez’s homer and Smith’s triple for extra bases.

Badger

Again, the Dodgers don’t hit, the Dodgers don’t win.

We all figured the pitching was likely to give up runs. You gotta hit with ‘em to play with ‘em. We’re not hitting. Especially the top of the lineup. Hopefully that ends tomorrow.

Bumsrap

The reason there is so many off days is fans can’t take watching two days in a row.

Dionysus

Bochy . . . Amazing what a real manager can do.

Bluto

Im trying to figure out what I think, but I’m not sure it’s Bochy.

lotsa dollars in that lineup

Jeff Dominique

Can’t it be both? The dollars are not as much as many teams not in the Championship series. Bochy is old school and not as analytical. Not surprising the two teams that will probably be meeting in the ALCS are old school…Bochy and Baker.

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