Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two decades of futility

Following the Dodgers in these final days of an excruciating season is an almost unbearable task. I "watched" the Dodgers' barely Triple A-effort against the Padres last night from another room. That means I had the TV on, but not wanting to see the Padres score runs -- if you can call what the Padres do "scoring" -- I sat in an entirely different room and ran into the TV room if anything good happened.

I didn't end up running to the TV more than twice.

The Dodgers are pathetic, and hopefully, there will be changes in all the right areas in the offseason. But this is more than just a one year problem. A quick look at L.A.'s history shows that the Dodgers are right down there with the Royals and the Brewers when it comes to success in the last two decades.

Since 1988, only nine teams have not been to a World Series. Here is the breakdown in terms of the most years since a World Series appearance:

Cubs, 65 years
Nationals/Expos, 41 years
Rangers, 38 years
Mariners, 33 years
Pirates, 31 years
Brewers, 28 years
Orioles, 27 years
Royals 25 years
Dodgers, 22 years

I don't know about you, fellow Dodger fans, but that is company I don't want to keep. I cling to our proud history and say "we're better than that." But I'm really starting to wonder.

It's been 22 years. The last time a Dodger fan could say that is ... NEVER!

The longest previous gap between Dodger World Series appearances was 21 years -- between 1920 and 1941. This is officially a Dodger record for futility.

If I wanted to put a face on that futility, I could pick a number of people, from upper management to the players on the field. But I think I might go with Kevin Brown, whose glowering face you saw at the beginning of the post.

The over-the-top acquistion of Brown and his crashing failure to justify the distastrous contract that he received was my indication that maybe the Dodgers had become just like the rest of the teams out there. They no longer had a clue and were just hoping they could catch some lightning once in awhile.

I used to think the Dodgers had a clue. But not after Kevin Brown.

There are other players that remind me of the last 22 years of ineptness. Many of them were sent to me in card form by Greg of Lake Effect Baseball Cards.

All of these cards are shiny or fancy in their own special way. But in most cases the players don't deserve it, as we shall see.

First here is the fruitless double play duo of Joe Thurston and Cesar Izturis. Great-looking cards and snazzily numbered on the back. But neither of them got the Dodgers to a World Series. They've both moved on, thank goodness, and neither has played in a World Series yet.

Good Granny, I love black refractors. But, as usual, it's wasted on J.D. Drew, the cardboard pariah. Drew sucked the joy out of baseball in L.A. for two years. But he did end up winning a World Series -- with the Red Sox.

Ishii Shiny! (Say it, it's fun!)

Kaz played four years in the majors. Only four years! Can you believe it? All that hype and only four years!

He never made a World Series. Not surprised.

OK, I feel bad for Eric Karros. The most productive home run hitter in franchise history deserves better. He played 12 years for the Dodgers and reached only two postseasons. Even when he went to the Cubs, his poor luck continued (what did you expect? They're the Cubs). He was on that 2003 Chicago team. You know what happened there.

Shawn Green piled up major numbers for the Dodgers in five years with the team. But he never made it to a Series, with L.A. or anybody else.

Those Tek cards, and the billion variations, are craziness, by the way.

Marquis Grissom was a Dodger for two years -- right smack in the middle of the Kevin Brown years. Grissom got caught up in the ugliness, batting .221 one year. His World Series years were behind him. He appeared in three straight World Series in the 1990s.

That's a whole lot of Dodger blue misery right there. But Greg did find one card that reminded me of the good old Dodger days.

That is my first Burt Hooton autographed card. Hooton had a great 1981 for the Dodgers, including the postseason, which ended in L.A. beating the Yankees to win the World Series.

The Dodgers have a proud history, and although I can't see a way out of their current predicament, I am hopeful.

There actually was a longer World Series drought in Dodger history. You have to go back to pre-modern times, when the Dodgers were the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. But they won the postseason championship in 1890 and then didn't get to another final until the 1916 World Series. That is 26 years between appearances.

So maybe in four years time the Dodgers will be in a World Series?

I hope it's sooner than that. But given the current state of affairs, it may be the best they can do.

(Thanks for the cards, Greg).


  1. I think the Dodgers alway's have a legitamate shot at post season baseball, therefore World series.

    However the 101 years since the Cubs won the WS ove shadows all other teams, I think The Brewers, Rangers & Dodgers will have a good next ten years, the Dodgers just need to sort out the owner situation.

  2. To be fair the Dodger 22 year absence in the World Series is during a period of 26 to 30 Major League teams. During the 21 year period you mentioned the Majors only had 16 teams.

    But I feel your pain as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  3. Such negativity...

    Amend that list to show the last time each team WON a world series, and then your Do-Hos don't look so bad.

    Also might want to make it Senators/Rangers and Pilots/Brewers if you're going down that Expos/Nationals route.

  4. Ugo ~

    Fair point. But how to explain the Marlins?

    Doc ~

    Nah, the Rangers and Brewers have identities of their own by now. I won't burden them with more ineptitude. But I still think of the Nationals as the Expos.

    Re: negativity. If I was a Padres fan for as long as I've been a Dodgers fan, I would've ditched baseball and started following cricket.

  5. As far as scoring goes, all that matters is who has the bigger number at the end of the game. How many teams have never won a WS?

  6. To answer Rod's question. I assume he means extant franchises in MLB and not in the 1800's.

    Expos / Nats
    Pilots / Brewers
    Senators / Rangers (as opposed to Senators / Twins which did win, of course)

    That's 8 out of 30.

    As for the Padres, at least they've competed recently (unlike the Pirates and Royals). And you can't blame them, much, for the Enzo Hernandez era. Well, you can, but not as much as you blame the Pirates brass now.

    BTW, Karros was a decent Cub but I wanted Choi to play more.

    Also also - answer my question on my blog! Help!

  7. This, my good sir, is why I love reading your blog. You take what for many, myself included, would be a straight up trade post and you give it style and substance. Thank you!