Having lived in Southern California my entire life, I have visited nearly all of its popular attractions a number of times. Granted, I don’t get to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm (except for an occasional chicken dinner) or Magic Mountain nearly as often as I did when I was a young, and now only do so when friends or relatives with kids (or grand kids) visit from out of town. One of my favorite attractions as a kid (and one that I haven’t been to in over 40 years) is the Griffith Observatory located in beautiful Griffith Park (which, coincidentally, overlooks Dodger Stadium). I vividly recall viewing heavenly bodies through (and using) the observatory’s massive telescope, but of all of the things to see and do at the Griffith Observatory, the one exhibit that held my attention the most was the giant Foucault pendulum in the observatory’s main rotunda. Using the Earth’s gravity and rotation (and a little magnetic pull), the huge suspended 240 pound brass ball was (and I assume still is) in perpetual motion. Although the highlight of watching the pendulum was waiting for it’s pointed tip to knock down strategically placed wooden pegs below the giant ball, watching the pendulum swing back and forth was… hypnotizing. It seemed to take forever for the giant pendulum to swing in one direction before finally reaching its maximum distance and then swing in the opposite direction.
So, too, go the Dodgers.
After starting the 2012 season in what can only be described as a Cinderella story in which the Dodgers have spent nearly the entire first half (75 games to be exact) in first place with the best record in the National League, the pendulum finally reached its maximum distance and began to swing in the opposite direction, unfortunately in the wrong direction. The Dodgers led their nearest division rivals by as many as 7 1/2 games as recently as two and a half weeks ago but today find themselves desperately hanging onto a precarious one-game lead over the hated Giants; and that one-game lead is in serious jeopardy, pending the outcome of this afternoon’s game with struggling Chad Billingsley on the mound for the Dodgers. Fortunately, on the mound for the suddenly surging Giants will be equally struggling former two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.
The Dodgers have lost eight of their last ten games, including their last three (being shutout in the last two). They enter today’s game having not scored a run in 21 consecutive innings. But just as that giant pendulum at the Griffith Park Observatory has done since 1935, the Dodgers’ pendulum will also change directions. The big question is, of course, when? Obviously, this remains to be seen, but with the Dodgers finally coming home after today’s game and after a dismal (mostly interleague) road trip, one has to believe that better times lay ahead within the next week and certainly within the next two to three weeks when Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp are expected to return to the Dodger line-up. As such, we can only hope that their swing time is now.