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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

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
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

A Call
2004-09-22 22:24
by Jon Weisman

In the third inning Wednesday, with the bases empty, Dodger shortstop Cesar Izturis dove to his left, completely outstretched, and snared a ground ball by Mark Loretta. Reflexively, Izturis shoveled the ball to second baseman Alex Cora, who relayed the ball to first baseman Shawn Green in time to nip Loretta.

For months now, I've dreamed of seeing this ballet performed in front of a national television audience on an October stage.

There has been the hunger to win a playoff game for the first time since 1988. There has been the hunger to attend a playoff game the Dodgers have won - I am 0-5, I believe, in my life. There is the hunger to be a champion.

But this year, unlike any other year, has been one when I've dreamed mostly of not wins and losses, but the art.

I want people to see this defense. I want this defense to knock the country's socks off. Yes, the Dodgers need to exorcise their winless postseason streak, but the fact that they haven't been favored to win the World Series hasn't bothered me. Even in an exit, they'd be a success, because O'Connor and Kelly and the gang would be Singin' in the Rain on some beautiful October diamond.

So here we are. A half-game lead. I've maintained all along I was a realist, not an optimist, in predicting the Dodgers would hang on to their lead. What has happened in the past 11 days, I will maintain, was not realistic. But no matter. With 11 days remaining, the cushion is down to one. The Dodgers defied the odds, and fell back into a dead heat. Not long ago, it was 90-10 the Dodgers would win the National League West. Now, it's heading toward 50-50, with the Dodgers in as big a pitching crisis as you could have ever imagined.

To think how this year began, with rage and pessimism toward the team after the clumsiest of offseasons. ... To think how Adrian Beltre and that glorious defense helped erase all that. ... To think that all the rage and pessimism could return ...

"Rise up," Bruce Springsteen exhorts, and I know it's blasphemy to quote from that song in this context, but that's my feeling for the Dodgers tonight, the feeling on my skin like heat. This town is desperate for heroes. This town is desperate for pitchers who will just throw strikes without giving up home runs. This town is desperate for hitters who will not make Beltre do it alone.

This town is desperate for goodness celebrated, not flaws exposed.

Rise up.

Win at-bats. Win innings. Win games. Win a division. Win the hearts of a public by earning the right to show off that defense.

You can win innings by making the pitcher work. By doing your work efficiently.

C'mon, rise up.

Two good starts each from five pitchers - I don't care who they are. That's not too much to ask. Two good starts each.

And just a little sign of humility from the Giants.

Two good starts each. Euphoria is still out there for the taking.

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