Friday, October 20, 2017
10 reasons why it's great that the Dodgers are in the World Series in 2017
The Dodgers are National League champions. I'm still trying to absorb that.
It's been a long time and many painful "so close" and runner-up finishes and I had forgotten what it felt like all those years ago in the '70s and '80s when the Dodgers regularly made the postseason and even the World Series.
Now, for the first time since lights were a new thing in Wrigley Field, back when "are you on crack?" wasn't a rhetorical question, the Dodgers are in a World Series. Twenty-nine years ago, when I was two months out of college, the Dodgers last played in -- and won -- the Fall Classic.
It's good to be back. I'm assuming the Yankees will show up and spoil everything and turn the whole experience dark with despair and mourning, but for now it's hopeful and I have to remember that at the end, regardless of outcome -- the DODGERS MADE THE WORLD SERIES.
You can take your "1988" chants and stuff 'em in a sock.
Even though it's been a long wait, there are plenty of good reasons for the Dodgers to win right now, here in 2017. The timing is right and I came up with 10 reasons why, some that actually include cards:
1. I get to put stories about the Dodgers playing in the World Series into the newspaper.
I have waited to do this for my entire professional life. In 1988, I was a cub sports reporter, working part-time and trying not to get fired. I remember listening to one of the Dodgers-Mets NLCS games on a radio in the press box at a high school football game. It wasn't my job to decide layout and news placement at that time -- they'd never let a kid do that -- but that was as close as I got until now. I can't wait to direct big giant photos of Turner, Puig, Bellinger, Kershaw and the rest onto the front of the sports section (Again, if the Yankees win, they will get top billing -- even I don't have that kind of pull -- drowning out the good, once again. I really need to move somewhere else).
P.S.: If the Dodgers win the Series, the headline may be: DVPQUUUUULK@Y+?!!!!!AAAAAA in 200-point type.
2. There will be Dodgers World Series cards in next year's flagship set.
Hey, if I have to deal with bleeping Giants World Series cards THREE DIFFERENT TIMES then everyone can deal with the Dodgers for a year. There's no guarantee that the Dodgers will show up on Series cards if they lose -- Topps tends to focus on just the winners lately (part of the sanitized mind-set it's adopted with an MLB-exclusive license) -- but I'm hoping they'll squeeze in there regardless.
3. I can record all the games.
People take this for granted, but trust old Night Owl here, this is phenomenal. I have been able to record every single Dodgers playoff game and then watch them back when I can (the Dodgers have won so many times that I'm still on only Game 3 of the Diamondbacks series). Before TiVo and DVR and the rest, you had to punch out the numbers on the VCR, hope there was enough tape, make sure you had enough cassettes, etc. And before VCRs, good luck, buddy. If you weren't at home watching, buy a paper the next day.
4. The Dodgers will appear on a tribute to the greatest World Series subset ever made.
I'm most excited about this. Probably more excited about this than the Dodgers making the World Series (which doesn't make sense, if you think about it). I have loved the 1969 Topps World Series subset since I first saw it, long before I chose to enter the newspaper business. The look is appealing and it is designed magnificently. There is very little botching of the headlines in this set either. Someone knew what they were doing. Even though it will cause me great angst, I'm hoping the Series lasts seven games like the 1968 Series did so we can have seven of these babies in 2018 Heritage. Out of all the Heritage World Series subsets the Dodgers could have landed on, this is the jackpot.
5. This Series trip solidifies the players as ones I will always remember.
As early as this week, I had to explain to people -- sports fans -- who Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez are. That will never happen again. Thanks to the Series, everyone will know their names. And they will be cemented in my brain like all of those famous nonfamous Dodgers that appeared in past World Series, players like Franklin Stubbs and Burt Hooton and Joe Ferguson and Tracy Woodson. It doesn't matter who they are, they have all just graduated to a higher level among Dodgers in my brain. The legacy of Rich Hill and Brandon Morrow and Andre Ethier and even you, Curtis Granderson, is cemented forever.
6. I have the upper hand.
If you are a fan of a popular team, you'll always encounter detractors. I'm already hearing about "payroll" from some I know who don't like the Dodgers, discounting the fact that "payroll" hadn't helped the Dodgers make the Series for years and that although money is only part of the Dodgers' success, money is the way teams win, no matter what team you are. You don't want to do it with money, you won't win. But the best part is no one can taunt me with "1988" or "the Marlins have won two World Series since the Dodgers have been in the World Series." You know, the usual clever stuff.
7. I get to relive past Dodgers World Series cards.
As I've mentioned many times, Topps has jobbed the Dodgers on World Series cards perhaps more than any other team. I'm still waiting for 1965 World Series cards, 1978 World Series cards, 1981 World Series cards (stickers? really?) and 1988 World Series cards (thank goodness for Fleer and Upper Deck). I could also use more than one Yankee representation from the 1977 Series. And the reason this still bugs me is that when they do show up, they are excellent keepsakes. The cards above are some of my favorite cards ever. I've marveled over that 1975 card for more than 40 years. I'm glad I get to pull these cards out again.
8. I get to look at -- and ignore -- all the new Dodgers Topps Now cards.
I saw the Topps Now/Cubs lovefest last year. I know there's one coming for the Series winner this year, and that could be the Dodgers. I plan to sit out buying any of these things, even at a somewhat discounted price. However, I'm not making any promises. Certain moments could make me helpless to opening the bank account.
9. I could potentially post nothing but Dodger cards all Series and have a good excuse for it.
Someone is now saying, "isn't all you do is post Dodger cards?" ... No, I don't, thanks for noticing. But I won't ramp up the Dodger card coverage during the Series. There are no plans to do specific Dodger-centric posts, unless they win the whole thing, of course. This is a lot different than the early days of the blog when I posted about the Dodgers games a lot. But that's not me anymore.
10. My family is into it.
This wouldn't have been the case for them if the Dodgers had reached the World Series during the '90s or even a few years ago. As recently as the 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, blah, blah, blah, debacles, my wife couldn't be bothered. My daughter was too young and then didn't give a wit about sports. Then, I received the above text message last night. It came from my wife. I was at work and had turned away from the TV for a second only to look back and see four Dodgers crossing the plate. I looked down and the "grand slam" text popped up on my phone. I stared in bewilderment. She was watching! I didn't know she even knew what a grand slam was! Meanwhile, my daughter has been putting aside her laptop and actually staring at baseball on the big screen -- not vacantly, but with interest.
Today, just to get herself reacquainted with the situation, my daughter asked me what happens next for the Dodgers. I explained that they need to wait for the other series to end. It then dawned on her, "so after that there are two teams left and the Dodgers are one of them?" I nodded.
"Wow," she said. "Wow, wow, wow, wow."
Yup, 2017 is the right time for the Dodgers to reach the World Series.
Sorry about being so whiny all those other years.