If the 2017 Dodgers don’t win the World Series, their historic season will be remembered as a failure.
And if this is such a profound statement, how come that’s already the third time I’ve made some version of it?
Folks, any chance I had of ever being considered profound ended years ago, on the occasion of making, in print, career joke No. 100 that used the word wiener.
Please. The Dodgers, more than any of us, realize they have to win the final game of this baseball season or they’ll lose everything else they’ve accumulated along the way.
That reality is undeniably true and remarkably unfair, and no one really cares if it’s fair or not because the Dodgers brought this on themselves by being so darned dominant in the first place.
They could have avoided these stark circumstances by losing at a pace more heady than Sports Illustrated publishes a magazine. Once-a-week is ridiculous in baseball, a game where even the winning team typically makes at least 24 outs.
Yet, the Dodgers of late have insisted on eluding defeat at a level dating to the sport’s very origins.
They could stumble now and still easily win more than 110 times, which wouldn’t break any big-league records, even though their winning has come to sound precisely like a broken record.
Still, what happens from April to September in baseball assures nothing once October arrives. If anyone understands that, it’s Clayton Kershaw, right?
So, as much as the Dodgers have demolished everyone in their path – their lead for the sport’s best record entering Wednesday was eight games – they eventually will face an opponent that’s undefeated in the postseason: fate.
And fate can have entirely different ideas about what’s required to be a champion.
“Our goal is to win 11 games in October,” Manager Dave Roberts said during the team’s most recent homestand, repeating something he has uttered frequently and knowingly all summer. “We’re far from that right now.”
No, this isn’t the NBA, where an individual player can so influence the outcome of games that everyone today expects Golden State to win the title again in 10 months.
Baseball’s playoffs can be much more fickle, of course, to the extreme point of one injured player, performing on one healthy leg, greatly determining everything with one gargantuan swing.
Hey, there’s a reason Kirk Gibson is a storybook legend around here.
Since that 1988 championship – the Dodgers’ most recent – six wild-card teams…