Sunday, October 7, 2012
Goodbye 2012 Dodgers
It's been several days since the Dodgers played their last game of the season and I'm just getting around to putting my personally customized bow on their year. It's not because I'm in denial or anything. It's just a time thing. It's always a time thing.
The Dodgers of 2012 exceeded any expectations that I had. At the start of the year, I figured we were looking at a third place team, right around .500. Then the team surprised the heck out of me with its fast start and continued to baffle me right through mid-June.
If it wasn't for an injury to Matt Kemp and a horrific mid-season schedule that included annoying interleague matchups and a series of playoff-contending teams, the Dodgers might actually be in the postseason. And I would never have imagined that in April of this year.
This offseason will be quite a bit different from last year's offseason. No relentless stories about ownership. No talk of financial issues or struggles in acquiring decent talent. The Dodgers are in excellent shape for 2013 with only a few minor moves on the horizon.
It's good to have a relatively tranquil November-March for once.
Here is a look at the final Dodger Player of the Game standings as they disappear off the sidebar once again:
Matt Kemp - 10
Clayton Kershaw - 10
Chris Capuano - 7
Andre Ethier - 6
Aaron Harang - 6
Chad Billingsley - 5
Hanley Ramirez - 5
Luis Cruz - 4
A.J. Ellis - 4
Dee Gordon - 4
Elian Herrera - 4
Josh Beckett - 2
Mark Ellis - 2
Adrian Gonzalez - 2
Ted Lilly - 2
Juan Rivera - 2
Juan Uribe - 2
Shane Victorino - 2
Ivan DeJesus Jr. - 1
Nathan Eovaldi - 1
Tony Gwynn Jr. - 1
Jerry Hairston Jr. - 1
James Loney - 1
Matt Treanor - 1
Scott VanSlyke - 1
A couple of observations on the above:
1. Kemp and Kershaw are the top Player of the Game performers for the second straight year, even though both produced lesser, injury-affected seasons relative to the previous year. That just shows you how much of the team's success hinges on those two players.
2. I had to go back through all the games to find one game where I forgot to select a Player of the Game. That took awhile. It turned out to be a game from late July that the Dodgers won from the Cardinals. Congratulations, Mark Ellis. You have two POGs instead of one.
3. James Loney sucks. One Player of the Game for the whole year. Even Juan Uribe had more! I guess James is Boston's problem until they get rid of him.
The above cards were sent to me by Adam from ARPsmith's Sportscard Obsession. I thought it would be fun to discuss the Dodgers with cards provided by a Giants fan.
Here is where the post transitions into a full-fledged trade post. Get off now if you don't want to see random, delightful cards, because the train isn't going to stop until I'm done.
Here is a Hideo Nomo card that I needed. From yet another "play a game with this card" set.
A quartet of round cards, including a terrific non-licensed item of Hershiser, selling quality meat snacks.
Another very oddball item. This is one of those Ballstreet things from the early '90s. The photo looks hologram-like on the scan, but it really isn't.
Here is the back:
Every time I receive some of these stupid parallels with the gold-foil stamping, my binders cry. They know that this means that there are dozens more of these pointless cards that the dorky night owl collector is going to feel required to find and purchase and stuff in them.
High Heat Stats recently named its all-time Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers team. It was an awesome team of talent, superseded only by the Yankees (except that's a team of jerks). It was interesting to see Campanella selected above Piazza for catcher. I think I agree. I also agree on Hodges at first base over Garvey.
There were several stickers in the package, including this key Fleer '80s item that has eluded me for much, much too long.
Steve Sax has been gone for so long I want him to come back and play second base for the Dodgers. I'll even take the Sax with throwing-to-first issues.
Final card is this weird insert from Archives. I don't think collectors have talked enough about how odd these things are. I know photoshopping is a way of life and has been for years, but this type of "never in reality" photo still throws me. My question is "Is the flag and the structure behind Koufax from a photo of Koufax or from a photo of Kershaw?" Did Kershaw go back in time, or did Koufax travel to the future?
Kershaw is definitely the best Dodger pitcher since Koufax. I think for non-Dodger fans to start thinking of Kershaw in Koufax terms, Kershaw will have to throw a no-hitter. I think that day is coming, and when it does ... I'll probably never get my hands on a lot of the Kershaw cards I want.
But if that means a World Series title in 2013, that's the sacrifice I'm willing to make.