No Los Angeles Dodgers fan expected a 106-win 2021 season could feel this hollow.
Somehow, that robust win total left the Dodgers a game behind the San Francisco Giants in their own division, and they limped to the finish line with a wildly inconsistent offense, a group that ultimately lost Justin Turner and Max Muncy before their bell was rung.
Cody Bellinger had a year from hell redeemed by a postseason touched by the Gods. Mookie Betts wasn’t himself. Clayton Kershaw, entering free agency, and Dustin May went down with long-term injuries, while trade deadline acquisition Max Scherzer pulled up lame just before his most important games of the season.
Sounds like the perfect time for … a parade?
You see, in this time of great fogged-up haze, local writers have once again begun drudging up the fact that the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers, both champions, saw their parade plans undone by the ongoing pandemic (again, it’s not over). So what better time than the present to crown the City of Champions with a celebration for the ages?
I can think of one “better time”: the past!
Can the 2021 Dodgers really hold a championship parade?
Listen to Markazi here, who firmly believes there would be nothing off-putting about a mid-December, traffic-stopping, double-title parade:
"But why do the Lakers and Dodgers need to win another championship in order to celebrate winning one in 2020?Who made that rule? Didn’t both teams and city officials say there would be a celebration for the 2020 championship when it was safe to have one? It may not be totally safe right now but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic and the Lakers and Dodgers have welcomed back capacity crowds without social distancing restrictions.Everyone is acting as if the ship has sailed on a celebration for the Lakers, Dodgers and the 2020 City of Champions but I don’t think it has. The Lakers deserve a parade, the Dodgers deserve a parade and, damn it, Los Angeles deserves a parade."
This discourse really feels like it’s coming from a writer caught off-guard by 2021’s failure who expected to be writing a brilliant column about how this year’s parade would be extra special because it’d cover the breadth of two magical seasons. Instead, Markazi found himself caught in the middle, sputtering and wondering if we could all just agree to hold a half-and-half parade anyway, despite the kind of roster turnover between both franchises that’ll make your head spin.
After all, Kiké Hernández is in Boston. Joc Pederson is en route to a potential parade of his own with the Atlanta Braves. As for the Lakers, their confounding retirement home of a roster features … I want to say, 35 different people who didn’t participate in the Bubble Title. Can’t wait for Malik Monk and DeAndre Jordan’s triumphant podium speech!
The idea is rooted in nostalgia and the need to put an exclamation point on a brilliant season that seems like it disintegrated to sand. It’s a cute impulse! It’s just not possible to replicate, in full, the circumstances of last season, and a half-baked attempt wouldn’t bring the authenticity we can’t help but chase.
Now, it certainly is lamentable. The 2020 Dodgers and Lakers deserved their “titles unlike any other” and they both deserve celebrations.
Unfortunately, there is no convenient time in the sports calendar to celebrate championships gone by; both franchises will either have to win another one, or be satisfied with some sort of five-year-anniversary honorific prior to a random home game in need of a ticket sales boost.
LA deserves a parade, but using the widespread lack of normalcy of the past 18 months to justify a wedged-in, past-due celebration isn’t going to mean as much as a well-earned fresh victory.