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Go Rashomon
2004-06-21 08:48
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Kurosawa could only give us four viewpoints of the same incident in Rashomon, but today we more than double that total in our All-Baseball.com coverage of Sunday's Yankee-Dodger game.

The Dodger Thoughts piece can be found just below. But don't miss the posts by Baysball, Bronx Banter, Will Carroll Weblog (Will Carroll and Ken Arneson), Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT (a wonderful Father's Day tribute) and Wait Til Next Year.

Update: Mariner Musings is on board.
Update 2: So are Mike's Baseball Rants, TwinsFanDan on the Will Carroll Weblog and All-Baseball.com guest Jay Jaffe.

In addition, we have a guest appearance by Dodger Thoughts reader and Society for American Baseball Research member Bob Timmermann, whose piece appears right here:

By Bob Timmermann

The two Joses facing off Sunday evening were a contrast in expectations. The Dodgers' Jose Lima started this season with no guaranteed job and nothing much to look expect beyond a possible spot as a long reliever. The Yankees' Jose Contreras started this season expected to live up to the expectations of his rich contract and to take up a spot in the Yankee rotation that had been occupied by the likes of Andy Pettite or David Wells.

Lima pitched Sunday's game as if he were just out to have a good time. Contreras, weighed down by an up and down season and with the names of his absent family members who had to remain behind in Cuba sewn on to his glove, seemed to be heading for an appointment with a dentist.

The expectations faced by Lima and Contreras mirror the expectations faced by their respective teams. The Dodgers were predicted to finish in the middle of a weakened NL West, yet they have stubbornly clung to the top of the division despite the challenges of the upstart Padres and the defending champion Giants. The Yankees are expected to run through the American League like crap through a goose (to borrow a phrase from General George Patton). And after a slow start, the Yankees have started to show some of the offensive firepower that was expected of them.

But I am still wondering what would happen to this Yankees team if it doesn't fulfill its expectations and deliver the first 21st Century championship to The Bronx. Will pitchers like Contreras be sent packing? Will Hideki Matsui decide that it's better to go back home to Japan, where the expectations of one entire nation compound the expectations placed on him by Yankee fans and management.

Meanwhile in L.A., just what expectations are there? As far as I can tell, there is just one. It's not to win the World Series. It's not to win the NL West. It's not even to earn the wildcard. The expectation is that with a lead in the 9th inning, Eric Gagne will close out the game. And on Sunday, that's what happened.

Just as expected.

P.S.: As long as we're doing links here, don't miss the impressive analysis of trade candidate Freddy Garcia on Mariner Musings. And The Raindrops passes along this link to a Leone For Third report from a Baseball Prospectus pizza feed in San Diego, where Padres general manager Kevin Towers said (bluffed?) that "the Padres are not interested in trading for Carlos Beltran, and are only involved to drive up the price for Los Angeles."

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