The Hole

The Dodgers recent fall from grace has affected differed people in different ways in the blogging world. Some folks have vanished into the woodwork, what I call the “Thumper mentality” (you remember Thumper – that cute little rabbit in Bambi?). Thumper said “If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.” Rather than post negative comments about the Dodgers (even if true) during these hard times, these folks prefer to “…say nothing at all” (similar to a little kid closing their eyes and saying “If I can’t see them, they can’t see me”).

Other folks tend to get angry and some even hostile when their team hits the skids; they post angry things such as “fire this guy or fire that guy” and do so every single day, day in and day out, over and over again. I refer to them as “groundhogs” as in the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day” in which every day is exactly the same for the troubled Bill Murray character. I certainly understand that much of what these groundhogs say is purely out of frustration, but man does it get old and sometimes even leads to unpleasant and heated exchanges between normally friendly blog and forum users. Fortunately, this rarely (if ever) happens on ThinkBlueLA.

Still other folks tend to get extremely defensive or protective of their team during hard times. These are the “homers” who ignore the facts or stats or struggles and put their blind faith behind their favorite team regardless of how bad things are going. Although a homer can be found anywhere, they are most often sportswriters or broadcasters with a “don’t bother me with the facts” mentality. And while I sincerely and genuinely respect their loyalty towards their team, I personally have a difficult time adopting the homer mentality. Now this is not to say that I do not love the Dodgers or that I don’t want them to win – of course I do, but I am not blind to the fact that if (or when) they suck, they suck.

A number of my close baseball friends consider me a pessimist when it comes to the Dodgers and I guess that the bottom line is that this is true; but at the same time I have to say that my so-called pessimism (or negativity) is, in most cases, fact or stat based; what my friends consider pessimism I consider being “realistic.” The problem with this is that some folks simply choose to ignore the realistic thing – say… like… that the current Dodger team simply does not have the roster to make it into the post season. I jokingly kid with my friends that they have the “Colonel Jessup mentality” from the classic movie “A Few Good Men” - you know… the part where the Jack Nicholson character shouts “You can’t handle the truth!” It is what it is and turning a blind eye to the truth simply because it is unpleasant or uncomfortable is being ignorant. As they say, sometimes the truth hurts.

We all have our different opinions (and mentalities) when it comes to the Dodgers and we all handle the good and bad times in different ways – this is the very heart and soul (and beauty) of a good forum or blog site… it’s what makes it tick, and to be quite honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way; I thoroughly enjoy a spirited and intelligent debate.

To say that the Dodgers have dug themselves into a deep hole would be a gross understatement. They went from having the best record in all of baseball, to having the best record in the National League, to falling out of first place – all in a matter of three weeks (the latter in a matter of days – a 1-8 road trip will do that to you). As I mentioned several times on the forum during the past month, losing games when every other team in the division also loses are missed opportunities that the Dodgers will never get back and will (most likely) come back and bite them in the rear come September. I even went so far as to say that the series loss to the lowly Oakland A’s very well may be the series that takes them out of the post season and it is looking more so now - this before the absolutely unbelievable series loss to the hated Giants in three consecutive shutouts, which was inexcusable and embarrassing.

Although Matt Kemp and Mark Ellis will soon return from the DL, to expect them to come back at the same level where they left off is not being very realistic. (Photo credit – Jayne Kamin-Oncea & Gary A. Vasquez – US PRESSWIRE)

During last night’s 3-2 loss to the Mets (yet another one-run game – but hey, the Dodgers finally scored!), my good friend and fellow season ticket holder Sal Duran said that if the Dodgers fall three games back in the division, they will not be able to recover; and while I disagree with Sal that three games is insurmountable for even this Dodger team, I do agree that if they fall much farther back than that, what Sal says may be very true – with the current Dodger roster, that is. In reality (there’s that word again) the Dodgers might return to the top of the heap in the NL West if Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten and GM Ned Colletti acquire at least one big bat and at least one additional front line starter, and if they replace Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy, and (dare I say it) James Loney. If they do not do these things, quite simply, what you see is what you get… a third or fourth place team at best.

Having been a fan of the game and of the Dodgers my entire life, I know that anything can happen in this great game, but I also know that if you dig yourself too deep into a hole and are lacking the tools (players) to dig yourself back out, hoping, wishing and willing your team into the post season simply ain’t gonna cut it.

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8 Responses to “The Hole”

  1. bluecrewfam says:

    Ron and I have been talking a lot lately about our beloved Dodgers and I still believe that if we fall 3 back over the course of the next few weeks, and if Kasten and his team do not make any “aggresive” moves like they have been repeatedly claiming to be willing to do… we will in fact fall into a hole that we WILL NOT be able to pull ourselves out of. I would love to say otherwise , but I’m afraid even with the return of Ellis, Kemp , and Ethier.. we are still a few cards short of the team we will need to take us to a World Series…which is in fact where the Kasten team should be aiming on taking us!

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I agree, Sal, but I still feel 3 games is “digoutable” (how’s that for a new word).

      It is so unfair to expect Matt, Mark, and Andre (thanks, I forgot to mention him) to be the ‘silver bullets’ and come back hot and carry the team to the promised land, but there is no doubt that they will try – that’s just who they are. But as you noted, without help from the front office, a trip to the 2012 World Series is very unlikely. Now 2013 is an entirely different story.

      In my opinion, the team to beat to win the West is not the Giants but rather the quietly surging Diamondbacks. They have it all – hitting, pitching, and a great bullpen. That said, and with the Kempless Dodgers having four games against them next week, I have a very uncomfortable feeling that the Dodgers may find themselves in third place by the break. (Sorry for the pessimism, but it is what it is).

  2. lindav says:

    I, too, am not optimistic for the next couple of weeks – but I am a true Pollyanna (anyone old enuf to know what that means?) about our team after the AS game. If we get Ethier, Kemp and Ellis back, things can really turn around.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      One thing that a lot of people may be overlooking is that if (and this is a big if) Matt comes back completely 100% healthy after having spent more than half of the first half of the season on the DL, he should be a lot fresher than the rest of the center fielders in the league, which could prove monumental during the stretch run.

  3. ebbetsfld says:

    It’s tough to have a positive outlook when the team plays as badly as it has for the last 15 or so games, but hope springs eternal, and once the injuries heal and Ned makes some GOOD (read that young,talented players, not old worn out has-beens) acquisitions if we’re not too far behind, I think we have the capability to reach the post season. Call that optimism or pollyannaistic, or looking through rose colored glasses, but I refuse to give up on this team before the season is even half over!
    I think we all can agree that there are glaring weaknesses, but I also think we have some very good players many of whom are on the DL at this juncture. There’s along way to go, and the team needs our support. Playing to an empty house or a bunch of boo birds only makes things worse.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I have to admit that yesterday was the first time that I have actually heard Loney being booed and I was bothered by it. Granted, his offensive has been horrible, but I have no problem cutting him some slack on his error last night – I can’t even begin to count how many impossible game-saving defensive plays he has made over the years. That said, it is time for a change at 1B.

      I am definitely NOT giving up on this team, but the acquisitions that you mentioned need to happen before I can convince myself that this team is a legitimate contender THIS season – but it definitely could happen.

  4. Evan Bladh says:

    As for Loney getting booed. I must say that I’m surprised it took so long. The defensive miscue last night was no big deal. Good first basemen have them, but his offensive woes are never going away. Loney is what he is: a good fielding poor hitting first baseman. He has those moments when he starts hitting, but it has never been with sock. A man of his stature and strength should be able to hit the ball out of the park. He doesn’t even have warning track power now. Time to cut him loose and move on. That’s too bad, but his development never occurred.

  5. CRANBROOK MIKE says:

    Loney can go, keep his old lady around though!! Now there’s some nice eye candy!

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