It occurred during the off-season following the 1918 season and it nearly caused riots in the normally subdued town of Boston. It shocked the baseball world. It was, of course, “The Curse of the Bambino.”
Whether you believe in this almost century old superstition or not, the fact of the matter is that after the Boston Red Sox traded inaugural Hall of Famer Babe Ruth to their arch rival Yankees, the Beantowners went from 1919 to 2004 without a World Championship. Was it really a curse? Did baseball’s greatest legend actually have that kind of power and influence on the team… on the game itself? Probably not, but you’d have a hard time convincing any true, red-blooded Red Sox fan of that.
Fast forward to Saturday, August 25, 2012. The Dodgers traded weak-hitting (but outstanding defensive) first baseman James Loney to the Boston Red Sox for power-hitting and three-time Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez; two-time World Champion pitcher Josh Beckett (one of which was with the Red Sox in 2007); four-time All-Star and two-time stolen base champion outfielder Carl Crawford; and utility player extraordinaire Nick Punto. And while Loney never possessed even a fraction of the talent that Ruth had, he was loved by everyone in the Dodgers organization and by fans alike – just as Ruth was by Bostonians.
Since last Saturday’s trade, arguably the biggest trade in Dodgers history (at least financially), the Dodgers have won two games and lost three and were one pitch away from making it four losses after blowing a 10-1 lead on Wednesday afternoon in their 10-8 win over the last place Rockies.
Could Loney’s trade be the Dodgers’ version of The Curse of the Bambino? We shall see.
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- Tonight’s game at Dodger Stadium figures to draw the largest crowd of the 2012 season, perhaps even more than the 2012 Home Opener – not because the Dodgers are in a heated race against the hated Giants for the NL West title; and not even because defending 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and 2011 Cy Young Award runner-up Ian Kennedy will be opposing one another tonight. No, tonight’s potentially record-setting crowd will be there because it is Vin Scully bobble head night – the most beloved Dodger of all time.
- The Dodgers begin a crucial 4-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at the Ravine and even though the D-backs cannot catch the Dodgers for second place even with a sweep, the Dodgers must win this series or they run the risk of falling even further behind the division leading Giants. With only 31 games remaining, the Dodgers simply cannot afford to lose any of their 10 remaining series – especially their two remaining series against the Giants.
- In his 33 games since joining the Dodgers on July 25, Hanley Ramirez has hit 8 home runs and collected 34 RBIs – tops on the team in both categories during that time frame.
- While the Giants are on the verge of a 3-game series sweep of the lowly Astros tonight in Houston and then move on to face the lowly Cubs for 3 games at Wrigley Field, the Dodgers’ schedule only gets tougher. After this weekend’s 4-game series against the D-backs, the Dodgers host the Padres for a 3-game series. While at face value this should be a laugher, the Padres have won 9 of their last 10 games and cannot be taken lightly.
- The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes got pounded on Wednesday night 14-0 by the High Desert Mavericks (Mariners) to fall back into a tie for the final Cal League Wild Card spot with the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). It was the 10th shutout of the season for the Quakes – most in the Cal League this season. Yasiel Puig sat out last night’s game with a sore wrist but figures to be back in the line-up for tonight’s home finale.
- Do they have a silent treatment in Cuba? According to Quakes team photographer Garrett Nichols, after Yasiel Puig hit his first home run for the Quakes on Tuesday night since his promotion on August 14, his teammates gave him the traditional silent treatment when he returned to the dugout. Apparently not even noticing, Puig walked past his teammates and into the Quakes clubhouse. When he returned to the dugout moments later, he was congratulated by his teammates.