Despite all my chest-thumping on this blog and my seemingly confident Alpha persona, I can be a very fragile man. I’m seasoned enough to know this, to accept it and tailor my reality around it. Having an honest self-appraisal is key. I know which situations elicit the me that I am not proud of, the me that I’d prefer to keep locked up, out of sight and out of sound. So I avoid such situations and those life juxtapositions which don’t harmonize with my equanimity. Some behaviors and thought patterns are too much work to try overcoming; it’s not worth the trouble, especially at my age. So I skirt the problem.
The problem which has plagued me a great portion of my life is a dysfunctional intensity in the realm of sportsmanship and games. My Little League career was marred with angry outbursts and bitter bouts of sulking. The event which is still discussed to this day is that game when I shouted at my mother (a typical Little League bleacher parent) to “shut up” from where I waited my turn on-deck. She was being vociferous and I was typically grouchy. What do you expect, man. I was fragile.
My Little League career came to a merciful end, but my sports temper raged on. I was a Dodger fan most of my youth, from the 1970’s into the early 1990’s. The Dodgers and their tragic post-season misadventures throughout that era left me cranky, bitter, mopey and chronically disgruntled. Each Spring, I geared up hopefully and came back for more. For a Dodgers fan, hope springs eternal (or at least until October).
Through a series of deliberate, inadvertent and subconscious shifts in my lifestyle, I stopped watching and keeping track of spectator sports in the 90’s. The move was fortuitous for I finally discovered a sense of serenity now that I was no longer agonized by the inevitable failings that plague a typical sporting team. I literally paid zero attention to any sportsball until 2021. I detailed the background of why I returned to spectating in this post.
And here I find myself, again. Memories of the distant past resurface, those old feelings of frustration, torment and anger as I find myself mired in a 2021 version of Dodgers fandom. I caught up a few months ago on the Dodger happenings since I recused myself from the scene over 30 years ago, and it ain’t pretty. Lost divisional series, lost league championships, 2 consecutive lost World Series. I’m thankful I was not “around” for much of it because I might have destroyed a few walls and a roof by now. Last year the Dodgers did win the World Series, at last, but if we’re honest with ourselves, it was an “asterisk year.” A shortened season due to COVID-19 which disrupted everything reasonable about the baseball season. The 2020 World Series was a troubled interjection and didn’t have the accomplished vibe of the “real thing.” It reminded me of the Dodgers’ 1981 World Series win, another asterisk year following the season gutted by the second longest players’ strike in MLB history. That championship felt hollow. One was left with a vague unexcited sensation of “let’s just call it off and go home.”
The 2000’s, and especially the 20-teens, have been a particularly brutal period for Dodgers fans. The organization has generally fielded a succession of very good teams that had the ability to win divisions and some playoff berths, but never the World Series.
That’s about the extent of Dodgers magic, though. It seems to get lost in translation once October 1 rolls around.
In 2021, October has rolled around and the omens of another Dodgers fallen Fall is hovering expectantly as their league division series with San Francisco Giants unfolds. After a quiet first game in which their slumbering bats couldn’t be roused to combat a 4-0 loss, the Dodgers put on a high-scoring display in Saturday’s game 2 with a 9-2 win. They headed down to LA with big aspirations and yesterday’s freakishly windy game 3 offered only big frustrations and thwarted windshear conditions. SoCal, not known for its mighty winds, was buffeted by crazy gusts which brought sporadic power outages throughout the region. The windy conditions had not subsided by 6:30’s game time and some players, including swaying starter Max Sherzer who appeared to get blown off the mound as if he was drunk, needed to pause a pitch and regroup. Unfortunately, it wasn’t only players who were manhandled by the monstrous winds. The baseballs were, as well. Home runs were endangered due to the aerial rip tides which threatened to spit back any balls that had the outfield bleachers in their eyes, but one ball which flew off the bat belonging to slumping Giant, Evan Longoria, (that is his name), did manage to overcome the elements to reach the bleachers in the 5th inning. One-zero, Giants.
Surely the mighty Dodgers bats would be up to the task. We all knew it in confidence.
Mm, maybe, on a normal Los Angeles October night, that would warrant such surety.
Any time this Dodgers team reaches the post-season, things cease to be “normal.”
In the bottom of the ninth the score still stood 1-0.
With 2 outs, relative newcomer, Gavin Lux, stepped up to the plate. The wind roared in gusts of humbling ferocity. Gavin dug in and…nearly tied the score with one swing.
Gavin Lux thought he had it but the ball stays in the park! Game over! pic.twitter.com/SARjmBs9IB
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 12, 2021
But the wind intervened and snuffed out the flame that was his glory.
Poor Gavin. He crashed from an idealized state of heroic acclaim to one of dumpy memetic infamy in the span of a few seconds. All because of a rare Monday night windstorm in L.A.
Fate is cruel.
Dodgers fate is sinister.
— DavidXF (@SanDiegoGiants) October 12, 2021