Does a losing World Series matter to anyone?

The World Series is over but not forgotten. The postmortems and ‘what ifs’ continue as Dodger fans can only seemingly lick their wounds and baseball pundits look for reasons why the Dodgers failed to come away as the victors. Oh yes, and the call of the past has resurfaced – “Wait until next year.”

For me and I know it is most likely blasphemy, I do not agree with Cy Young winner-to-be Clayton Kershaw and the iconic Tommy Lasorda that nothing else matters or has been achieved if a team loses the World Series. Let me not stick my toes in the shallow end of the pool but jump off the high diving board and suggest to two of the highest profile Dodgers that they are not just wrong but they are categorically wrong.

Clayton Kershaw: “There’s only one team that can succeed. There’s only one team that wins the last game, so that’s tough. I think once the dust settles and we go home, we can realize that we had a pretty amazing season and we finished in second place, which nobody cares about or remembers.”

“[W]e finished in second place, which nobody cares about or remembers,” said Kershaw.
(Photo credit – Jamie Squire)

Tommy was a bit more Tommy-like in his assessment of the situation when speaking to Dodger manager Dave Roberts: To quote the legendary skipper, “You haven’t done s— until you win tomorrow.”

Let me suggest to the two that they are wrong that nobody cares and Clayton is perhaps feeling sorry for himself.

Tommy being Tommy.
(Photo credit – Arash Madani via Twitter)

First, just ask the other 28 MLB teams if they would have traded places with the Dodgers during the 2017 World Series marathon. I’m one of those guys that believes it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Getting to the World Series in a major accomplishment over a 162-game schedule and two post-season rounds before the World Series. Let me rephrase, getting to the World Series is almost an impossibility because of the unseen variables in play as a team winds its way through the toughest sports schedule in the world. Clayton Kershaw is aware of that.

Said Kershaw: “Who knows how many times I’m going to get to go to the World Series. I know more than anybody how hard it is to get there, so I’m definitely not taking this one for granted.”

Secondly, I consider myself to be a loyal and true Dodger fan by simply having invested 65 years of my life spending every spring, summer and fall following the team, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles. As a fan I can only speak for myself when I say I would much sooner have lost the World Series than not have gotten there at all. The most recent World Series was a whole lot more fun than the previous 28. Again, speaking for myself, it represented just one more step to a ring. To me as a fan, competing in the World Series – win or lose – is always important.

It does matter to me that the Dodgers got to a World Series and lost. Sure, I cannot tell you off hand who lost the 2011 World Series. I can’t tell you who won it either because it wasn’t the Dodgers. Some suggest we don’t remember who lost a World Series. I can tell you without the help of Google that the Dodgers indeed lost in the World Series in 1952, 1953, 1956, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978 and 2017. I can also tell anyone who asks to whom they lost in each of those years. Naturally, I do treasure the victories in 1955, 1959, 1963 (extra special), 1965, 1981, 1988 but will never forget the years in which the team came home empty handed because they were my Dodgers. By the way, because of the 2017 experience, I am slotting the Dodgers in for a repeat performance in the 2018 Fall Classic.

Thirdly, for many players I expect just getting there in October would have been a treasured gift. Many players like the venerable Ernie Banks never got that thrill. Do you suppose Ernie would have swapped places with the Dodgers in those eight losing years? My guess is he would have done so in a heartbeat to just experience the thrill of playing on the greatest baseball platform in the world.

 

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7 Responses to “Does a losing World Series matter to anyone?”

  1. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I could never agree more with everything you just wrote, Harold. I feel exactly the same way as you do. The Dodgers may have lost the 2017 World Series but at least they participated in it for the first time since 1988. I’m sure after the dust settles, as always, Dodger fans will be proud to call the Dodgers the 2017 National League Champions.

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      I’m not settling for a NL Championship. It is just what it is and is no small accomplishment. It has been suggested that settling for the NL crown is like kissing your sister. I prefer to say instead of being the bride, the Dodgers wound up as a bridesmaid. I’ve been to a number of weddings when the bridesmaid looked pretty good to me. lol.

      • oldbrooklynfan says:

        You brought back a memory of my mother, who once said about the Dodgers before they won their first World Series. She said, “Always the bridesmaid never the bride”.
        I hope this team doesn’t fall back into that category.

  2. SoCalBum says:

    Best MLB team in regular season — a wonderful Summer of exciting baseball for this old Dodgers fan. Playoffs a different excitement knowing that anything can (and usually does) happen that is unexpected and can flip a short series on its ear. Obviously two different seasons and I love both for different reasons, but failing to be World Champs does not take away one iota of my enjoyment of a terrific regular season. Already have my dates scheduled for ST at Camelback — GO DODGERS!

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      GREAT take, SCB!

      The hardest part for me are the 140-ish days remaining between now and Opening Day 2018.

      Please let me know when you are planning to be at the Ranch for ST. Would love to meet you!

      PS: I’m with you 100% on the “this old Dodgers fan” thing.

  3. Respect the Rivalry says:

    I’ve pretty much stayed out of the issue regarding what’s been accomplished if not winning it all. Does anybody believe that those who wear orange and black would not feel better about their season if they were in our place?
    I am disappointed that they didn’t win it all, but they had a great season. As long as they improve on the previous season they’re gaining.
    Of course, next year there’s only one way to improve on this year. Has something to do with ring measurements.
    Another thing: Why does the team that loses always get accused of choking? You’ve got the two best teams in baseball going head to head. One is going to lose. Every World Series ended with a winner and a loser. That’s the whole point in playing the game. Did all the losers choke? How about the losers in Super Bowls, NBA Championships, and Stanley Cup Championships?
    Nobody choked! Houston just won!
    We’ll see what happens next year.

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