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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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Worry, Be Happy
2004-09-20 09:23
by Jon Weisman

Are you enjoying the drama? I get the feeling you're not enjoying the drama.

I get the feeling you think the Dodgers are more lucky than good, and that luck doesn't count for anything.

I get the feeling that you're impatient, even though even the best, most authoritative Dodger teams rarely clinch their divisions before the final week of the season. (The earliest clinch in Los Angeles history was 17 years ago today.)

We all want to know that everything's going to be okay, so we look for predictive signs everywhere. And the Dodgers falling behind, game after game, that's not a good sign. Starting pitchers that can't make it into the sixth inning, that's not a good sign. Runners left on base, that's not a good sign. The Giants winning games, that's not a good sign.

People have called me an optimist this month, which has surprised me. I don't consider myself an optimist. Like everyone else, I see the negative signs. But for some reason, with this first-place team, very few people seem to see the positive ones too.

  • With their bench and bullpen, the Dodgers are a strong late-inning team. They are winning games late for a reason.

  • The Dodgers have played .615 ball in their past 13 games, with "red-hot" San Francisco making up one game - one - on Los Angeles in that stretch.

  • An off day comes to day to rest the weary pitching staff, just in time to go to San Diego. (The Padres, by the way, began their last series with the Dodgers with their left side of the infield, Sean Burroughs and Khalil Greene, intact. Both are now out for the season.)

  • Brad Penny looks ready to go.

  • The offense is capable of huge hits. Not every time, but hey, sometimes.

    It does seem like I'm doing a lot of counseling on this site, lately - it's sort of weird. But there does seem to be such negativity surrounding the team, I guess I keep feeling a counterpoint is necessary.

    Perhaps you're preparing yourself for the potential disappointment of losing the division. Or perhaps you're already looking ahead to the first round of the playoffs and preparing to be swept, again. You're so hungry for Dodger success that the possibility that it will be plucked away makes you scared. Or angry.

    I hear all that. I feel all that.

    My only advice is to keep an open mind and try to enjoy the journey as well. Because as you know, it's not every year that the Dodgers are in first place when the air cools and the leaves begin to change color.

    * * *

    Someone is going to pin this article from the North County Times on the proverbial bulletin board. And someone else is going to talk about this firing up the Dodgers.

    And I'll continue to be amazed that professional athletes need bulletin board quotes to inspire them.

    "Not to take anything away from them, but I definitely don't feel like they're the best team in the division," Padres pitcher Brian Lawrence said. "But that's why you play the game - the best team doesn't always win. If that was the case, they'd give the trophy to the Yankees every year and call the season."

    "They've been getting lucky," teammate David Wells said of the Dodgers, adding that Jeff Weaver is their only "legitimate" starter. "They're the comeback kids. You have to give credit to their offense. ... We know we have a better team than the Dodgers. They've just been winning at the right time. That's why they're where they're at. It's frustrating to all of us that we are where we are."

    But the thing is, the best team does win. Every time. In the end, in a game of rules, the winning team is the best team. It'll be true if the Giants or Padres rally to win a title, and it'll even be true if the Dodgers hang on.

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