The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a history-making degree of regular season success under Andrew Friedman, and especially since 2019.
Unfortunately, the most brutal part of baseball is that no amount of consecutive 100-win seasons absolve you from the nationwide blame game when things go wrong in the Autumn chill of a five-game sample size.
Dodgers returnee Miguel Rojas hasn't lived and died with the team in LA; he was a well-established Marlin for eight seasons, bookended by one-year tenures in California in 2014 and 2023. But his outside perspective could help entering this year's legacy-defining playoff run, just as it did in loosening up the clubhouse as this surprising season dragged on.
Rojas, per longtime Dodger Max Muncy, has represented "fresh eyes" in LA's quest to leave last season's playoff upset against San Diego far in the rear view. He and David Peralta, according to Fabian Ardaya's latest with The Athletic, have helped spearhead a tradition of acknowledging individual series MVPs and sharing shots of tequila in the wake of series wins (which, as we all know, create winning seasons).
Perhaps focusing on every small sample size during the regular season will help prepare this year's Dodgers for October's consecutive capsules. Because, as Rojas said on Chris Rose's Jomboy Media podcast "The Rose Rotation," this year -- with all the winning, all the MVPs, and all the shots -- is a failure without rings.
Dodgers' Miguel Rojas considers 2023 a failure unless they go all the way
"This organization expects excellence."
Personal opinion, but that degree of laser-focused aggression goes down smoother than a Dave Roberts World Series guarantee.
According to Rojas, Roberts held an effective meeting at spring training where all the newly-imported Dodgers had to go around the room and explain why they'd chosen to land with the organization. Rojas' case was a better example than most; he had opted out of more playing time in order to hold down a utility role in LA. In order to hold himself, and be held to, a higher standard. In order to win.
All year long, it seems Rojas has taken it upon himself to inject the team's winning culture with his own patented form of laser focus. He didn't come to LA to soak up innings. He didn't come to LA to languish. Neither did Peralta. Neither did Jayson Heyward. All of these (perceived-to-be) fading veterans knew that the Dodgers' coaching staff had the ability to maximize their talents. They also knew that they had something to bring to the Dodgers' traumatized clubhouse.
Win every series this month. Take shots of tequila at the end of every one of them. That's the only goal.