It’s been a long break since November, and as the slow hot stove season ends its simmering, as spring training games lead the Dodgers closer to opening day, and as the roster nears completion, it’s time you take a good hard look at how you feel about this team.
Many of you are mad.
When Mike Piazza was inducted into the Hall of Fame you cringed when you saw the Mets hat on his plaque.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
You were upset, at management, at yourself, at the Dodgers.
Yet you began to hope when new ownership arrived and Magic promised to bring championships back to Chavez Ravine and you couldn’t wait to see them. Then you felt insulted once again because it was so difficult to watch the games on TV.
Scoundrels. Traitors. Torturers.
It’s ok, you can say it, you know across the full spectrum of all your emotions how much you felt betrayed.
But then they gave you Corey Seager and he hit, and he hustled and was the Rookie of the Year, and so you dared to care once again. Dave Roberts brought new life to the team and you felt that youthful passion rubbing off on you, and you heard the voice inside you whisper, “Could this finally be the year?”
It’s ok, we’ve all been there. We all felt the Cubs crush and silence those hopes at the end of 2016.
And you knew Kenley Jansen would be leaving, and Justin Turner too. It was over. Forget it, what were you thinking? The break up would be final, there was no going back—and then suddenly at Jansen’s wedding decisions were made and they both decided to return. As for you, well you weren’t quite so sure where you stood in this relationship now were you? You figured maybe, just maybe you’d give them another chance, one more chance in 2017.
How soon did you get caught up in the excitement? Was it during Julio Urias’ bid for a no-hitter? Or did Andrew Toles season-ending injury bring you back down to earth?
Perhaps it was Cody Bellinger, smashing the baseball and smashing records. Was it the emergence of Chris Taylor and his running joke with Justin Taylor that barrels are overrated? Or was it watching Yasiel Puig’s tongue wagging exuberance or his love affair with hitting coach Turner Ward that started to bring those warm fuzzy feelings back for you?
Was it the double-digit winning streaks, Alex Wood’s All-Star selection, or the “Absolute Madness” of their seemingly constant comebacks punctuated later in the season by Kyle Farmer’s game-winning first major league at-bat?
Or maybe it was all of it, all of that and more, all of the Dodger excitement that let you weather the storm of Rich Hill losing his no-hitter and the game on one heartbreaking Josh Harrison home run. You were back, you were fully wedded to this team, this amazing, incredible, magical team, and not even a late-season losing streak or Diamondback uprising could cause you to doubt.
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This was your team, and you knew nothing could tear you apart again.
Admit it, you were confident.
You watched Bellinger tumble into the dugout as the Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks in round one of the playoffs, and you felt fine.
You watched Justin Turner send John Lackey’s pitch into the center field seats, and cheered Kiké Hernandez’s three round-trippers as the Dodgers had their revenge on the Cubs.
You watched Chris Taylor’s first World Series at-bat and followed the flight of the baseball as he deposited it into the left-field seats and you knew it was destiny, the Game One victory would be the first of four and a championship was coming.
Even after the Astros took the lead in the series, even after the pain of the Game Five loss, when the Dodgers won Game Six you knew it was over, you knew they would win Game Seven, you knew the drought was finally over.
You knew it. Then Yu blew it.
Admit it. You hate the Astros. You turned off the television and ignored their celebrations, trampling your heart as they trampled the infield grass. And you hate yourself for hating them. They had such a compelling story after the hurricane, coming together for their community. How could you let yourself hate them?
Admit it, you even wish someone from the hated Yankees, Aaron Judge won the MVP instead of Houston’s Jose Altuve. You didn’t watch the parades, did you? You cringe when you see any highlights from the World Series, you still struggle with your pain.
It’s ok, so do we, you’re not alone, we’re all in this together with you. And the Dodgers are determined, determined to erase the nightmare of November, the Dodgers are determined to return again and face their demons, they are determined to win that “one more game.”
Admit it, despite your anger, despite the pain, despite the anguish, despite the injuries, despite whatever losses pile up this season, you know you can’t contain that feeling stirring in you, as the season nears beginning. Admit it. You know you love “This Team.”