The L.A. Dodgers’ 2014 Top Ten Moments


What a wild roller coaster Dodger season that was! Here are my personal top ten moments from the Dodgers’ wonderful, unpredictable, and at times, frustrating 2014.

I’ve included links to articles I wrote about a couple of these events back when they occurred during the season. Let’s lead off with an…

Jul 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully gets applause from the crowd after it was announced he would return to Dodgers booth for 66th during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention: Vin Scully giving us one more year of his brilliance and warm genius. Unfortunately, it was tarnished by the utter stupidity and greed of the TWC exclusive TV contract. 70% of Los Angeles missed one of the most exciting Dodger seasons in years.

Now on to the countdown:

10. The birth of the home run bubble machine.

10.2 When it survived Joe Torre and Bubblegate.

9. Dee Gordon absolutely blowing up from being the guy battling Alexander Guerrero  in Spring Training for a spot on the team to become an All-Star and lead the majors in stolen bases (64) and triples (12). Atta boy, Dee!

8. The night Yasiel Puig won over Mets fans at Citi Field – twice.  The first time was when he made an insane diving catch that became a Dodger highlight of the year, but the second time was his greatest play of the night. It was an almost unseen gesture of generosity and humanity with a fan.

Puig was standing on deck when he had a spontaneous reaction to a fan right in the middle of the game. The TV cameras missed it, but Dodger fans know what happened only because a Mets fan who witnessed it wrote to the Dodgers and told them what he saw.  Just to add some Dodgers magic to the moment, Puig followed it up by hitting a home run.

I wrote about it here on my bog, All Trade Bait All The Time.

7. The emergence of a very strong bench – Kid Red, Justin Turner, hits so well off the bench he should be given Manny Mota‘s old number 11 next year.  Scott Van Slyke hits home runs like he grows a beard. Andre Ethier is equal to calling a starter off of the bench.  Miguel Rojas and Lem Barney are solid with the leather and bring late-inning defensive insurance to the party.

6. Two no-hitters from the staff.  One from Josh Beckett, which surprised everyone except his mom, and one from Clayton Kershaw, which surprised no one. The only belmish on Kershaw’s no-hitter was the error by Hanley Ramirez which cost Kershaw a perfect game.

Aug 31, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention:  An almost perfect game from Hyun-jin Ryu just one day after Beckett’s no-no. Ryu retired the first 21 batters he faced over 7 innings, but lost his perfect game in the eighth. Some speculate the Dodger’s 27-minute, 3-run seventh inning cost Ryu his bid at perfection.

5. Matt Kemp emerging from the frustrations of leading the team in strike outs during the first third of the season, to losing his position in center field and being openly disgruntled about it, to accepting his new status as the Dodgers’ right fielder, to exploding into full Beast Mode and becoming one of the Dodgers’ leaders in the final third of the season.  Since the All-Star break Kemp smacked 17 homers and  collected 54 RBI’s – even topping the MLB RBI champ, Adrian Gonzalez.

5.2 Seeing absolute baseball joy return to Kemp’s face and in his stride. Don’t you love the way Kemp skips from home plate to the dugout like a happy Bison after launching a home run?

4. Stomping the Giants in Giant Soda Bottle Stadium 17-0 after losing 9-0 the night before.

3. Taking First Place away from the Giants on the last day of June and keeping it for the rest of the season.

3.2 In doing so, the Dodgers proved all those east coast talking heads and national sports writers who picked the Giants to win the division to be so wrong.

2. When Don Mattingly rolled the dice and called out the team for playing like shite.  It was a deliberate strategy and a gamble that would either backfire horrifically with a team revolution against an unsupportive manager, or one that would work out exactly the way it did, with the Dodgers rallying around each other, grabbing the same side of the rope, and pulling together to win.

I immediately recognized Mattingly’s Hail Mary play when he did it, and broke it all down on my blog here.

1. The sheer awesomeness of Clayton Kershaw’s utter dominance.  Every time he took the mound it was pretty much a guaranteed win. I’ll bet the opposing teams believed it too.

That’s it for my top ten list, but how about you? Do you have a favorite moment you think I should have included? Share it with all of us in the comments below.