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The Dodgers, you guys

 

It's been a surreal 24 hours.

As a member of a baseball fan base who hadn't experienced an ultimate championship in over 30 years -- Mets, Orioles, Tigers, Pirates, Indians, Brewers fans, we are one -- I was somewhat at a loss over how to react to the Dodgers winning the World Series.

What do I do? All of this attention on me for something I didn't do! ... I feel weird. ... I don't know what to do with my hands!

Part of this is because I was working when the game was playing. So while I was fully aware of the game -- it is my job responsibility to know what's happening in sports -- I couldn't do all the things I'd do if I was following the game from my living room.
 
Also, you need to know the job I have to understand the emotional conflict. Not only is the job of an editor/reporter built on objectivity, but it demands your undivided attention. I must be concentrating while I'm working because if I don't, errors will happen and deadlines won't be made.

So, I dutifully put together the sports layout for my team winning the World Series -- the first time I've ever done that in 30-plus years in the business -- and barely said more than three sentences about what the Dodgers had done. The woman who I was working with last night -- she designs the layouts based on my specifications and I select the stories, photos, write the headlines, etc. -- said that my reaction to my team winning a championship was the most subdued reaction ever.

I shrugged and said, "I had a job to do. I need to focus."


That's what I put together. Newspapers are very limited these days thanks to the lateness of games (both start time and length), but under the circumstances, it's not too bad.

So after controlling myself through the work shift, it was time to come home and unwind. That didn't work too well. There was all the well-wishes on the blog and even more well-wishes on Twitter (for all of Twitter's faults, it's very good for stuff like this).

Once again, I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.

It's like when it's your birthday. There are all these people focusing on you just because we've all landed on a day that marked when you came into the world and you're going, "what? What? Presents? Yeah, OK, I'll take that. Cake? Sure. Did I do something?"

It feels great. Weirdly.

One of my first thoughts after this, was "thank goodness I don't have to use a 1988 card anymore when I do this post next year."
 
There are other immediate benefits to your team winning a championship and since I've been wandering around and babbling like Ebenezer Scrooge after he's just been visited by three ghosts, I decided to list a few of them here.

WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT YOUR TEAM WINNING:

1. Nothing else related to baseball matters

There are no concerns. Who are the Dodgers going to pick up in the offseason? What will the pitching rotation look like? Why didn't that manager move work? Why didn't he field that ball? Why didn't the ball travel a few feet more? All of the common laments after a high-stakes loss don't matter and are eradicated by angels singing peacefully, "the Dodgers are world champions" over and over.
 
2. Trolls are impotent
 
The online world, as you know, is full of unhappy people. Burdened by their unhappy lives, trolls will do what they can to bring you down. "They won in a 60-game season." "They wouldn't have won if Kevin Cash wasn't married to his computer." "Justin Turner's coronavirus behavior is what's wrong with America." "Clayton Kershaw's postseason ERA is still too high." "This championship is as legitimate as the 1981 split-season one." "The Dodgers should win a title every year, they have so much money." I've heard it all.
 
I may agree with the above on some level in my regular state (but not the last one). However, don't bother trying to kill my vibe now. It's not going to work. This is as close to it gets to a fan being bullet-proof. You're talking to a giant, blue, brick wall.

3. The social media congratulations


My daughter texted me seconds after the Dodgers clinched and seconds before my wife and a co-worker and several others texted me some form of congratulations. The texts have continued into today and there were all the previously mention Twitter thoughts and Facebook congrats, too (although Facebook just doesn't get sports at all).
 
An aside: I normally get like one text a week that isn't related to work or some crisis at home.

Even though the Dodgers have reached the World Series three of the last four years, my wife and daughter haven't gotten into it completely until this year. My daughter, who had just about zero interest in baseball for the first 18 years of her life, is a certified Dodger fan, following them on her various social media preferences like the young kids do. My wife, meanwhile, watched what I am pretty sure is the first complete baseball game she has ever watched on TV in her life last night.

That makes this title even more special. It's a pretty lonely life being a Dodgers fan in the Northeast. I'm used to it -- it's been happening since the mid-1970s -- but it does feel pretty good to now have someone, in person, who understands.


4. Clayton Kershaw is now a legend

More on the "not quite tremendous" Kershaw Stadium Club card in my next post, but Clayton Kershaw has now joined the other Dodgers World Series legends in my mind, people like Hershiser and Gibson and Garvey and Cey.

My current favorite player will be a World Series champion wherever he goes, just like past favorite players like Cey, Guerrero and Hershiser. And that title is very real and tangible years and years after the feat. Just ask Hershiser. Or ask me, who gets all moony-eyed when he discusses some of those past greats.
 
And all of those other players are now in a Hall of Reverence where they will remain no matter what they do in the future. Congratulations, Julio Urias and Austin Barnes and Joc Pederson and Dylan Floro, and of course, Mookie Betts. You have joined Franklin Stubbs and Tracy Woodson and Derrel Thomas and Steve Sax, among others. You have risen to a level above other Dodgers players.

AP photo
AP photo

 5. THE DODGERS ARE CHAMPIONS, YOU GUYS

I don't have to count back years anymore. The Dodgers could not win another championship until 2051 and it wouldn't be as long as I waited for this one (I hope I'm around for 2051 but I'm not counting on it). I don't have to respond to the "these people weren't alive the last time the Dodgers won a World Series" taunts.

The last Dodgers World Series title came when I was 23 years old. I had graduated from college five months earlier. I was working my first newspaper job, part-time, only four months into that gig. It's so long ago that I don't remember what the newspaper layout looked like for the Dodgers' 1988 title. I don't even remember what my reaction was to winning the championship that year.

My wife and I have been married 30 years. When Kirk Gibson hit his home run in Game 1 of the '88 World Series, I remember watching it in the living room of my future mother-in-law's house with my girlfriend-future-wife. She was finding out just what kind of fan I was. Earlier that night we had been at my grandmother's where my parents were visiting. I think it was maybe the second time my parents and my wife had met. That's how long ago it was. My parents are gone. My wife has suffered through many ballgames and television takeovers since.

I'm sure there are lots of other things I can say. But at 9 a.m. this morning -- five hours after I went to sleep -- the water department visited my street to resume jackhammering the road. Honestly, weren't they all up watching the game? (Hello, night owl: Being a Dodger fan on the east coast still sucks!)

So I'm groggy and too caffeinated to get across what this really means.

More thoughts tomorrow. And I've got a contest winner to reveal.

You did it Blue.

Comments

Laurens said…
Congratulations to the guys who were made to feel like goats over the past 5 seasons - Dave Roberts, Kenley Jansen and of course Kershaw - they got the monkeys off their backs.
Angus said…
That must have been the best layout that you ever had to plan.

I'm so happy for you and the other Dodger fans out there. Enjoy yourselves!
steelehere said…
Congratulations Greg. It's great to see the Dodgers win it all. I'll always remember 1988 and before that 1981 but I'm glad this 2020 team is now just as special.
I'm happy for your and for your fandom of the Dodgers that they won.
acrackedbat said…
I stayed up much too late last night but wasn't checking out on the game. If they won, I wanted to see it live. I thought of you as The Boys ran out in celebration. I couldn't be happier for you and your team having a much deserved win. Yeah, it was a short season but they were clearly the best team in the game this year. Personally, I needed October baseball. It's the first time since March that life seemed normal for me, and I'm grateful. Thank you, Dodgers!
Jeremya1um said…
Congrats on the win. Hope you get some good cards in 2021 sets to celebrate and remember it with.
Trevor P said…
This is the post I've been waiting for all day. Enjoy the moment!
Nick said…
Congrats to all Trolley Dodgers fans!
simpson said…
so, so sweet, so nice and calming and joyous all at once. congrats greg, my old man larry, and dodger fans everywhere!
Um.yeah, that thing. you know...come on man, LOL.
For the 2nd time Congrats ole boy! Enjoy.
John Sharp said…
Big Congratulations on the Dodgers victory...it was most definitely well earned in this carey season. I've had my eye on that Kershaw card, and I'm gonna need to get one soon. Now, if only, in a few years, my Tigers can erase that long drought (36 years and counting).
John Bateman said…
I always related the Dodgers not winning the World Series to the onset of Upper Deck. The Dodgers won in Oct of 1988 and I saw proto types of 1989 Upper Deck a month later. I called it the Upper Deck Dodger Curse. (I always hated Upper Deck for ruining my simple hobby). Now I guess the curse is over.
Brett Alan said…
Enjoy!

Funny you say that you were thinking that you wouldn't need to use a 1981 card anymore...I was thinking last night that now you'd be stuck using an ugly 2020 card! I think you'll live with it, though!
bbcardz said…
Yes, yes and yes! This one is for all our Dodger fan brothers and sisters all over the country/world--Dodger Nation. It's been a LONG TIME coming. This feels great but at the same time, I'm trying to maintain some sense of decorum and not be one of those obnoxious gloaters.

I try very hard to be a diehard Dodger fan while still being respectful to other teams and their fans. A tweet I read last night (like the comments here) showed how cool a team that isn't the Dodgers can be. The Toronto Blue Jays official Twitter account tweeted "Congratulations to the @Dodgers organization and fans on a well-deserved #WorldSeries victory!" (with some applause emojis and an awesome congratulatory WS image!). That's some real class right there.
Mark Hoyle said…
I bet you enjoyed that layout. Congrats to the Dodgers. Go Mookie
Fuji said…
Very happy for you, your wife, daughter, and fellow Dodger fans. 2020 hasn't been pretty, but now there's one heck of a positive memory for you to reflect on. Best part of all is the days seem to drag on like never before, which means (it'll feel like) you'll have more time to enjoy it. Congratulations!
BaseSetCalling said…
What I like about this is - you will be finding World Series cards of various types for almost the whole of the coming year - and they will be of your team’s victory - and we will get to see them.

Starting with - Topps Now? Will this be ‘Now’ worthy for you?

(I have yet to obtain a Topps Now card, as I remain in that club with the Indians, Rangers, Padres, Mariners, Mets, and soon the Reds fans, though that leaves me 3 teams to be extra happy for in some future October.)
gcrl said…
what a great night! it's fun to receive congratulatory texts just for being a fan. one of my best friends was at the game, so i received some crazy video, too.
Rob said…
Congrats!!! My 71 year old dad, born in Brooklyn and a lifelong fan too, was pleased too, lol...
Adam Kaningher said…
For Kershaw, it reminds me of Phil Mickelson. Took him so long to win that first Major, but with that out of the way he became even greater.
Jafronius said…
Way, way late I know, but congrats to the Dodgers...I'm very happy for you and the fandom.

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