You’ve got to understand one thing… In 40-plus years of following baseball, I’ve never liked the Dodgers. At all.
I’m not even sure how or why it began. At the very beginning, of course, I didn’t hate anybody or any team. Baseball was a wonderful new universe I’d just discovered, everybody was varying degrees of awesome.
(Oh, and before I get too far into this… All of the cards in this post are fairly recent acquisitions which have nothin’ to do with nothin’ other than they feature Dodgers)
When the time came that I started to form negative reactions to teams, the Yankees and Dodgers were the first. I started out liking the Yankees – local team, yay! – but got turned off when they got arrogant, free-spending and replaced favorite Yanks with poopyheads like Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin.
..But the Dodgers? The disdain just fell into place, I’ve never really been sure why.
I didn’t get it at home; I lived in a New York Rangers household where all of the sports animosity was directed towards the Islanders, Flyers and Bruins.
Maybe I picked up on lingering regional resentment at the team which broke the hearts of Brooklynites (many of whom had become my suburban neighbors) not 20 years prior.
Maybe it was just the whole New York – Los Angeles rivalry.
Don’t know why for sure, all I know is that “1976 me” didn’t like the Dodgers, and nothing has ever changed that… especially in 1988 when those friggin’ Bums beat my Mets in the NLCS.
So when the Dodgers took the division this year, I was completely prepared to hate on the Dodgers…
…Until I realized that I like their general style of play, and looked over one of the postseason starting lineups and realized that there wasn’t anybody starting who merited anything approaching hate.
I’ve been a Justin Turner fan since he was with the Mets. I love the guy, I certainly can’t hate on him.
Turner’s partner in being MVP of the NLCS, Chris Taylor, is another guy I like… I just appreciate the general “Where’d this guy come from?” season he had.
Curtis Granderson hasn’t played much, but he’s another well-liked former Met.
Rich Hill only pitched in 14 games as an Oriole, but something about him made me latch on to him a little bit.
Charlie Culberson, who went 5-for-11 with a triple in the NLCS, is a guy I’d seen a few times in the minors a number of years ago, so he’s one of my “I saw him back when” guys.
Yu Darvish is a deadline pickup, he’s not Dodger-y enough to dislike, plus I’ve always had a soft spot for Japanese players. Kenta Maeda gets a similar pro-Japanese pass.
Austin Barnes? I know almost nothing about the guy and he has almost no cardboard, so I was amazed to find out he’d been in 102 regular season games and was one of the top 10 Dodgers in terms of WAR.
Had Cody Bellinger had his outstanding rookie season last year or next year, I’d be saying “ENOUGH with this guy”… but in this case he has the good fortune to be overshadowed hype-wise by Aaron Judge.
When I went through the Dodgers roster from top to bottom, the only two guys who I could muster up a decent “BAH!” for were Yasiel Puig (who admittedly seems to have toned down the showboating which made me dislike him) and former Phillie Chase Utley (In the immortal words of Homer Simpson… “Chase Utley? Why would I want to do that?”)
So congratulations, Dodgers fans… For what could be the first time ever, I won’t be upset if your team wins it all.
…But I’m still rooting for the Astros.