That Bittersweet Feeling…

It’s the ending that’s become all too familiar with us. 4 straight division titles…Yet so close to the Grand Prize… Only the St. Louis Cardinals have more regular season wins during that span than the Dodgers. But…(Of course whenever the word “But” is used, more often than not is it used in a not so positive context) during that 4 year span in which they have averaged 92 wins each season the closest the Blue has come toward the trip to The Fall Classic is 2 games…Twice.

Winning 4 straight division titles is no small feat, especially in baseball. 

But…In a town where style overshadows substance…In a town starved for baseball’s grand prize that has now eluded us 28 years and counting…Close isn’t good enough. 

Is it fair? It depends who you ask I guess. 4 straight division titles. Have we become the Buffalo Bills of baseball? Not quite. At least the Bills made it to 4 straight Super Bowls. Have we become the new Atlanta Braves of the 90s and early 2000s? Not quite yet. The Braves won 14 consecutive division titles with one World Title. Has our fanbase reached a point that soon attendance at October baseball games not played against some AL Champion will resemble that of past Braves or even Yankees? Only time will tell. Was this season a disappointment? Again, it depends on who you ask. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say most Dodger fans would say no.

As previously stated, winning 4 straight division titles is no small feat. At the end of the day though, a team’s feats are measure by whose flashing the bling. A lot of progress was made this past season by first year manager Dave Roberts. With all the injuries throughout the lineup and in particular to our starting rotation the fact Roberts was able to guide The Blue as far as he did was more than enough to earn him Sporting News 2016 NL Manager of the Year

David Crane — Staff Photographer
Dodger’s manager Dave Roberts, left, was named Sporting News’ 2016 National League Manager of the Year on Monday. Dave Roberts-Photo by David Crane

The accolades don’t stop there either…

dodgers_corey-seager_robert-gauthier-la-times Corey Seager: Photo by Robert Gauthier, L.A. Times

As expected, Corey Seager was named 2016 Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year

Questions will arise once again during the off-season. It’s been 28 years now since Chavez Ravine has hosted a Fall Classic. Our country has gone through 2 Bush’s and by the time our Boys in Blue win their next Fall Classic it just may be through a second Clinton. 

Of the 4 division winners from 2013,talent wise, I’d say the 2014 had the most. As for heart, I without a doubt can honestly say I felt this years team displayed the most, especially during the stretch without our Ace, Kid K. Most thought our Boys in Blue would fold. As A-Gon said during the LCS, it was Us Against The World. The Cubs we’re just the better team. They weren’t the best team in the regular season by accident. 

As a baseball fan, I wish the Cubs well in the World Series. I also wish Cleveland well. One of those two teams will break a long drought. 

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Well, this all but concludes my 10 year anniversary bringing the tales. The same amount of time for the longest tenured Dodger, yup, you all know it…Dre couldn’t do much this season. As we and even he knows, father time is starting to creep up on him. As much as we’d all for Dre to get that bling wearing the Dodger Blue we all know that he could be elsewhere come spring training, a phrase we’ve all heard countless times during the last several years. 

9th Inning…Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Here’s a little flashback from 1988…

And you just wanted to relax on some fictional resort along the Florida Keys…With some tropical “Cocktail”…To the rhythm of a steel drum band…

 

Down But Not Out

No one said playing the best team in baseball would be easy. After shutting down the Cubbies in Games 2 and 3, it was only a matter of time before their bats would awake. With the season on the line heading back to Chicago we call upon once again to Kid K to save our season…

Dodgers_Kershaw

We’ve been down this path before. In the NLDS, it was Kid K who we called upon to save our season. All Kid K did was give us 11 Ks. Some timely hitting and we sent the series to a winner take all decider. Can Kid K repeat that feat ?

It’s certainly not out of the question. The way the bullpen has collapsed in this series we certainly could use another deep outing from Kid K. It would also help if we can get Kid K some runs as well. If only this script we’re so easy. 

Tired Arms ?

Going into the playoffs one thing I feared was that our bullpen could be tired. Throughout much of the season particularly the 2nd half the bullpen on most nights had pitched from the 6th inning on. Of course injuries to what, 30 plus different pitchers certainly did not buy time for our arms. While Dave Roberts has certainly done an admirable job of getting our Blue to this point, the fatigue of our bullpen arms could finally be showing. That is exactly why we need Kid K to once again go deep if we are to make it to Sunday…

Scouting The Friendly (Or Not So Friendly) Confines…

1981, BLUE MONDAY, AND THE MONTREAL EXPOS

Current Dodger broadcaster Rick Monday called both Dodger Stadium and Wrigley Field home during his playing days. He would know a thing or two on what to expect at Wrigley….

Drei’s Thoughts Heading To Wrigley…

If this Game 6 matchup is anything like Game 2 when Kershaw and Kyle Kendricks faced off, runs will once again be at a premium. 

The Blue has shown a resiliency on the road during the playoffs, going 3-2 at this point, including 2 having faced Max Scherzer. If the Blue can get on Kendricks early they will have a shot at Game 7, where Rich Hill would face off against Jake Arrieta. 

Of the Cubs 4 starters, Arrieta seems to be the one the Dodgers can hit. His 2nd half of the regular season was not as dominant. Of course, we have to win Game 6 to get to 7, where anything can happen…

 

A Tale of Two Yards…

Leading Off… Going Yard…King of The Hill…

Some longball from YAZ-MONEY and JT, and a masterful 6 innings from Rich Hill have moved our Blue 2 games closer toward The Fall Classic…

A Tale of 2 Storied Yards…

Wrigley Field…

Dodger Stadium…

The 2nd and 3rd oldest yards in the Bigs. Separated by 48 years. One is known as a classic. One, in spite being over 50 years old, defies the “classic” moniker. Both yards, A Study In Contrasts

Yet both yards are steeped in both history and charm. Both yards host teams that wear Blue…Both yards are a definite reflection on their cities. Putting aside for the slightest moment your Dodger Blue thoughts, if you are a true fan of baseball, Wrigley Field is a MUST…For all baseball fans to see…

WRIGLEY_Sod
Sod out on Sheffield Ave…

Both yards have waited a long time to host a Fall Classic. For the Friendly Confines, it’s been 71 years…For The Ravine, it’s been 28 years…That’s 99 years combined without a Fall Classic. Someone’s wait will be over. Why not us ?

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The Blue “L” flag. A familiar site to generations of Cubs fans…A sight seen twice already in the NLCS. Let’s hope it’s flown 2 more times

9th Inning…Spotlight’s On You Kid…

Rockies Dodgers Baseball
Does Urias get us one step closer to The Fall Classic ?…LETS GO DODGERS !!!

Win For Dre

Leading Off… The A-Gon and Clayt Show

A-Gon’s 2nd inning solo shot is all Kid K would need as he would toss 7 scoreless against the Cubbies, sending the series back here in L.A. all tied up at one.

Rich Hill will match up against Cubs sensation Jake Arrieta. The last time Arrieta pitched at Dodger Stadium, no one in the home white could buy a hit… So, how do these two teams match up heading to Game 3?

Dodgers_ Ethier 2006 Young Dre, June 2006. In the back, the veterans Kenny Lofton and Nomah !!!!

It’s been 10 years since Drei here has brought you his baseball tales. In 2006 some young kid named Dre came over in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. It was in 2006 that Dre would get his first taste of post-season play. It was just a blur for Dre and the Blue as they would be swept in the NLDS by the Mets…

ethier Hey Dre! Citiwalk, February 2008

2008-09. This here where Dre is starting to assert himself as a regular in right field. The Blue would win consecutive NL West titles. Dre would play a huge role along fellow star outfielder Matt Kemp. It seemed Dre and Bison would be inseparable, both coming up at the same time. It was also in 2008 when some Kid K would hit the scene…If Kid K wasn’t settling matters before the home 9th, it was Dre who would have many a clutch moment that would send opponents Walking Off…

But in spite of Dre’s heroics, The Blue would fall short both times in the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Baseball can be cruel. If not for a pitch or two from Jonathan Broxton, Dre may be the bearer of at least one championship ring….

ethier Double D…Dre and Drei…L.A River Cleanup, February 2011 

The glory of ’08 and ’09 seem all too distant now. The hated one’s have just won their first of 3 world titles. Enough time has lapsed since The Blue last won a World Series that one born in ’88 is now a college graduate…To this day, my sister, born in 1989, reminds me of the fact she arrived to planet earth one year after…

Meanwhile, Dre is now under his 3rd manager. Don Mattingly, not exactly greeted all to warmly by the Blue clad fans, has taken over the reigns. Dre and Donny would have their moments. 

The Don Mattingly era would not start off to memorably for Dre and The Blue. Opening Day 2011 would be marred by a senseless beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow. Frank McCourt’s ownership threatened to drive The Blue to bankruptcy. The Blue clad fans stayed away…

Sparse Crowd August 2011. Plenty of great seats available…

Though Dre and the fans would survive the McCourt days, on the field it would be during the Don Mattingly era where Dre’s playing status was about as certain as his relationship with good old Donny…On and off. 

It would be in 2013 when a young Cuban Kid with a missile of an arm with plenty of baggage would make his mark in right field. A spot Dre once held down…

From 2013 on it seemed there was an uncertainty who would be the regular outfielders. During that stretch, Dre, not exactly at the prime of his career, would have his name tossed around from here to Chi-Town, where the Pale Hose even expressed interest. 2014 would be the least productive of Dre’s career with a career low 4 home runs and a .249 batting average.

Dre would return though in 2015. Not exactly at the height of his career at this point, Dre still proved he could come up big in the clutch…

In spite of a return to the post-season for the 6th time, The Blue once again would come up short. 

2016…A new era begins again. Andre Ethier is now playing for his 4th manager in 11 seasons. As Dre once again tries to make a case for regular playing time, a foul ball causes a break in his leg, keeping Dre out until late August…

Dre on a rehab assignment in Rancho, August 25, 2016 

Dre would make his way back late in the season. Even the truest of Dodger fans, including this one, had to be surprised that Dave Roberts kept Andre Ethier on the post-season roster. But let’s not think for one moment this was a move based on sentiment by the rookie skipper, one who should be the top candidate for manager of the year…

Anyone playing baseball this late in the season is capable of being a hero. Does Dre have one more clutch moment in him?  It was Dre who had a key hit in the 8th inning of Game 4 to keep the inning alive for Chase Utley to do his thing. Dre would also smack a pinch hit solo shot in Game 1 of this NLDS to start the scoring for The Blue as they would later tie the Cubbies. 

In the 10 years here that Drei here has brought you his baseball tales,  Dre has gone through it all in the Dodger Blue. 7 playoff appearances, the most of any L.A. Dodger, 6 division championships, the uncertainty of when and where he will play. He’s gone from looking up to…To being looked up to. We’ve all gone through the highs and lows with him.

 Dre making a fan happy at Rancho…

At this point, Dre knows his role is limited. He’s content with it. Dre also know’s the clock is ticking on his chance to win the big one. Deep down, we all know this as well. If the crowd reactions Dre receives are any indication, deep down inside, we all feel for Dre.  

Dre is now The Dean of The Blue. Deep down, we all know that this could be Dre’s last opportunity in a Dodger Blue uniform to win that big prize that has eluded him. That grand prize that has eluded The Blue for 28 years now.

While this year’s theme may be Win For Vin, and deservedly so…Deep down we also want to say…WIN FOR DRE !

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Chi-Town Here We Come…

Leading Off…How The Blue Arrived

Anyone else still buzzed from that Thursday’s comeback ? If there was ever a true definition of “team effort”, Thursday night was the epitome of it….

A Long Time Coming…

136 years. That’s the combined amount of years these 2 teams have gone without winning the big prize. In the time the Dodgers last won a World Series our country has endured 2 Bush’s and when all is said and done we may go through a 2nd Clinton…(Witholding all political thoughts…It’s October, not November folks…)

Even with all talks of past curses, the Cubs are still the favorites among the pundits to go make it back to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945. Many a local college graduate wasn’t around during the Dodgers last taste of glory in ’88. Many generations of Cubs fans have never experienced the big prize, one that includes Mr. Henry Warnamont ( For you Gen X Dodger fans out there who remember this Punky Brewster episode…)

 

So, how do these 2 teams match up? During the regular season both teams took care of business on each other’s home field with the Cubs coming out with a slight edge, taking 4 of 7 from The Blue. During their last series at Dodger Stadium in late August it was the pitching, especially the bullpen that keyed their 2 wins by scores of 3-2 and 1-0.  The Cubs boast a deep rotation in which even their 4 starter in John Lackey can go deep into the 6th and beyond. The Dodgers rotation has been a battered bunch that has relied heavily on the bullpen throughout the season. It’s a true testament to Dave Roberts that with all the injuries particularly to our starting rotation that The Blue even made it to October. 

Kenta Maeda is slated to start Game 1 in Chi Town against Jon Lester. While Maeda has had a stellar season with 16 wins, questions have come up lately about his durability. With that in mind, it’s highly probable that our bullpen will have to come through once again. If Maeda can hold it down for at least 5, we got a chance to steal Game 1. 

This series has the makings of a low-scoring affair. If the pitching on both staffs comes through as advertised, every run will be at a premium. The Cubs present a much deeper lineup than The Blue and deserve to be the favorites. That’s ok. The Blue have been underdogs all season long and longtime baseball fans and even the players and coaches will tell you the playoffs are all about who gets hot at the right time. 

Cubbie fans, I feel your suffering. We may not have suffered as long as you but 28 years is still a long time. I was a high school freshman the last time we won the big prize. I’m less than 10 years away from 50. I may “quite” feel my age, but I’d like to see the grand prize come back to The Ravine before I hit the halfway century point. 

Back in April, I said The Blue would take the NL West with 91 wins…Check…Back in April I said it would be a Dodgers-Cubs NLCS…Check…Would you all like to know what else Drei here said back in April? Well, we’ve made it this far, and I don’t see any reason why I should take anything back…Does Drei here make it a trifecta? As the good folks at some major network have said, you can’t script October. 

LFlag

Though not seen as much during this past year, to many a Cubs fan, that “L” flag has been a familiar and frequent sight. Let’s hope we see it 4 more times…

Dodgers in Six

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9th Inning…The Evolution of a Curse

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Does History Repeat Itself…Like 1981 ?

If this series against the Nats has taught us one thing, it’s that regular season success does not translate to post-season success. Going into the series, in the eyes of many, including your’s truly the Blue we’re the runaway favorites to take down the Nats. The Blue had taken 5 of 6 in the regular season against the Nats and the Nats came into this series a battered team, minus Stephen Strasburg. 

Like 1981, when these two met and the Nats we’re the Montreal Expos, it is coming down to a decisive Game 5. 

Like 1981, the Dodgers staved off elimination in Game 4 thanks to Tuesday’s exhilarating 6-5 win at The Ravine

 

Like 1981, when some future manager named Dusty Baker was controlling left field for The Blue, some young Mexican kid could be thrust into the spotlight on the road under intense circumstances with every pitch being watched ever so closely…

FERNIE

Rockies Dodgers Baseball
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Los Angeles, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Like 1981, it could very well come down to a clutch 9th inning hit from some left-handed hitting former ASU Sun Devil right fielder who wore the number 16…

1981, BLUE MONDAY, AND THE MONTREAL EXPOS

Drei’s Thoughts…

With Rich Hill scheduled to match Max Scherzer, Like 1981, Game 5, this has the makings of a low-scoring game. Both Hill and Scherzer we’re victims of key home runs in their previous defeats. 

Beating Scherzer a second time is going to be tough and if The Blue can create scoring opportunities they cannot be leaving runner in scoring position as they have been prone to in this series. 

If the game is close as is anticipated, the bullpens will be huge. As with any deciding game, all pitchers including starters can be called upon at anytime. 

It just could very well come down to that one hit late in the game…

As Drei here write’s this “script”, it just may come down to one number 16 to come off the bench and deliver, just like another 16 did 35 years ago… ( I will be more than happy if we can do this without the…Dre-Matics…)

Just like 1981…

Drei says Dodgers 2 Expos, ahem Nationals 1

Just like 1981…

ethier Hey Dre, is 16 a Magic Number that comes through…LIKE 1981 

(To Be Continued…From The Nations Capitol…)

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday… 10/8/2009…9th Inning, Game 2, 2009 NLDS…As Told By Vin

October baseball. When the fall air is filled with joy and heartbreak. 

Recently Dodger fans voted on their Top 20 Vin Scully moments. Without a doubt, many of your favorite ones, many that are not so obvious ( See Gibson’s home run…). 

Many of you out there have a favorite Vin moment that you we’re at. With the NLDS about to get underway, here’s my personal favorite post-season call, as told by Vin. The Cardinals one out away from tying the Best of 5 NLDS at one game apiece. Somewhere in the top deck, I’m just hoping James Loney keeps the inning alive. Take it away Vin…

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dodgers_jim-hill Celebrating with KCBS’s Jim Hill

9th Inning…Vin For President

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Election time is almost here. Not happy with either candidate? Remember, you can always write in a candidate…Even the one above !!!

 

 

 

 

Andrei here,Southern California Correspondent for Stadium Journey Magazine and StadiumJourney.com, along with the broham, Marlon B, aka Kid Marley Marlz. We like to call ourselves, KID N DREI…2 crazed Dodger fans bringing Da Beatz and Da Talez or sometimes, both. Kid with Da Beats on SoundCloud at MDario GlutenFreeSonds, and Drei with Da Talez.

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