Dodgers: Hungover from Last Year the Dodgers Still Need Time
By Jacob Rudner
The away crowd roared, the home fans went home, and the three-month offseason, cut short by devastation, began. The Dodgers players and their fans, once drunk on the euphoria of the team’s first World Series appearance in 28 years, woke up the next morning sad and hungover.
The hangover, in all of its metaphorical glory, was a strong one. One, that would not last a day and not one gotten rid of with some Advil and food but one that would take time, time that the players would never get. The offseason, following the deepest run a team can make in playoffs, was so short that the hangover was ever so present at the start of spring.
They played it off, the guys worked through the month and a half of exhibition but still, with a smile on their face and decent statistics on paper, the team looked as though they were playing with a chip on their shoulder.
Was it regret? No. There is no time for regret because it slows you down. But what was once sadness and pain was now anger and motivation. This anger and motivation although different emotions than before were a new hangover for a lack of better terms.
This new hangover worked its way into the minds of the players and into the start of the regular season. A mindset that was no longer “ let’s take it one game at a time” but perhaps a thought of “how can we get a second chance?”.
The second chance they seek is in October. It is in the World Series but this time with a trophy at the end, not an empty-handed plane ride home. And it is with this in mind, the Dodgers take on the 2018 season.
There is no issue with this outlook on the 162 game campaign. Any good athlete will tell you playing angry is playing right and the Dodgers of 2018 are certainly angry. They are angry at themselves and that too is okay because anger is drive, it is passion. As much passion as it may be it is no longer only the players to win games, it is on the fans.
When the players have passion the fans must have compassion. They cannot be expected to win
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right out of the gate because if you really know sports and you know people you would understand that the hangover I mentioned earlier is still alive and well.
Fans must understand this because the Dodgers, unlike teams who did not even make it to the playoffs, are unrested and restless. They are ready to embark on the season, sure, but they are also in place no other team is in. The Astros made just as deep of a run but they took home a title, the Dodgers did not.
When Pedro Baez walks out of the pen to the boos of his own fans that is not the new winning atmosphere of Chavez Ravine. The new winning atmosphere is a team effort that the fans of today have never seen before because the word “team” does not stop at the dugouts. It extends to the fans and that is why the second and arguably most important cure for the World Series hangover is the people in the stands.
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The moral of the story is not to baby the Dodgers and it is not to stop being passionate at the games. It is to understand this team differently than you may have before. They are tired and perhaps not even ready for this season, but they will be. Losing, in the beginning, is normal and it probably will continue longer. So, let the hangover run its course because when it is gone, LA will be a force to be reckoned with yet again.