Off Base
Dodgers in a Cakewalk

October 14, 2009, 5:40 p.m. Four teams had cakewalks, actually. The Dodgers beat the Cards handily enough, with just the one game being in question.

The Yankees did pretty much the same thing to the Twins, and the Angels likewise against the Red Sox. Only the Rockies put up as much as “a murmur of protest,” as Vin would no doubt say, winning a whole game, with closer meltdowns by each of the four losing teams making victory nearly impossible.

A plethora of fielding and baserunning miscues complemented the losers’ problems, and in each case, the team moving on looked very much like champions. There should be no further cakewalks during the postseason, with all references to baked goods (see previous columns “Easy as Pie” and “Piece of Cake") being held in abeyance for the duration.

So what we have now are four superior clubs, baseball’s four best. Both wild cards being eliminated helps.

The obligatory “team of destiny” talk runs amok, which is fine, but the thing is, there are four of them now. A case can be made by fans of any of the four to stand up and say, “yep, it’s us, we’re the team of destiny.”

Looks like we’ll have to play some baseball to find out. What a country.

Three squads are going home sans jewelry, and the only thing I know for sure, the one thing I can predict without question, is that there can be no predicting.

For nearly every media member who had the Dodgers going three-and-out, or just plain out, there’s a completely changed mind, someone who’s seen the light and is now picking Los Angeles over Philly.

Watching the various post-game shows, on TBS, ESPN and the MLB channel, it was like, “that Andre Ethier is impressive,” exclamation point, and “wow, I had no idea about the Dodger bullpen” Well, of course not. You really have to stay up late for the better part of six months to get the idea. It doesn’t just come to you by osmosis.

Meanwhile, the long layoff talk has been done to death. Scheduling is considerably harder than in looks, and the clamoring for fewer days off is just silly. You need a travel day.

It’s a long season and an appropriately long postseason, but it’s nobody’s fault, and not a whole lot to be done about it. A turning back of the clock to a 154-game schedule is a conceivable solution, and a charming one at that, but for the time being, we’ll all live with the schedule the way it is.

Extra rest can benefit a team with an overplayed catcher, so chalk one up for the Dodgers there, and it might help Hiroki Kuroda get back on the mound for the NLCS. And the Dodgers had a four-day All-Star break, remember, so this is essentially another one of those.

But what it’ll mean to the hundred or so players on the four teams is anyone’s guess. Fan anticipation is sky high right now, and I sure feel it, and that can only be a good thing for the game.

As for the Freeway Series, man I don’t know. I’m no mathematician, but it seems to me there’s a one in four chance of it happening. I’m generally a thumbs-down (fine; noses-down) guy on anything Angels-related, but I’m starting to warm to the I-5 Series idea.

While I have no scientific information to prove it, I really do think that when L.A. and surrounding environs stand up, really and truly stand up, we’ll be looking at a stirring sea of Dodger blue. The participants will be late in getting there, but they’ll be decidedly blue.

We might just find out once and for all whether there are more Dodger fans in Orange County than there are Angels fans in the big city. I think I know the answer, and a Freeway Series just might confirm it.

I may have to rummage around the garage to check my inventory of “No Angels No Where” t-shirts, created in response to the 2005 LAA of A thing. In fact, consider it a promise. Dodgers and Angels in the World Series, I’ll make the effort.

And perhaps there’s a reissue and sale in the offing. We’ll see what the demand is. Or maybe I’ll just pass them out at my section at the stadium (that’s reserve 15), free to anyone who’ll put it right on. What do you think?

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

This Just In: A report of a report, first posted by Tom Hoffarth, of the Los Angeles Daily News. Apparently ESPN's Peter Gammons thinks he knows something about Joe Torre's leaving after 2010, and that it has to do with Dodgers ownership.

Take that story with a grain of salt. Torre will probably respond with something very much like this: "I like Peter Gammons, and he's a great writer, but there's nothing to the report. End of story. We've got a game to play."

By the way, my two-year old suggestion, Scioscia to Manage Dodgers, still makes at least a thimble full of sense for 2011… 

Who Goofed: Did you catch the TBS crew's lame mistake about the Dodgers supposedly having a series clinching streak solely on the road, which they not only doubled-down but tripled-down on during the Dodgers game three win over St. Louis?

Seems they forgot the little matter of the 1978 NLCS win against the Phils, and the 1988 NLCS seven-gamer versus the Mets, both ending with a celebration on the Dodger Stadium diamond…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….







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