Today, at 4:32 p.m., the Los Angeles Dodgers' season came to an end.
Six months and 162 games. Every year the same for every team. Batting practice, the same. Plane flights and bus rides, the same. The towns and hotels, the same. Same bats, same ball, same effort. but for some, vastly different results.
As Andy LaRoche, the third-baseman of the future, flied out, stranding left-fielder of the future Delwyn Young after outs by center-fielder of the future Matt Kemp and first-baseman of the future James Loney, in a game lost by ace-of-the-staff-of-the-future Chad Billingsley, 2007 for the Dodgers was over.
And on Wednesday, October the 3rd, the season for the Los Angeles Angels will have just begun.
In Boston, the Angels will begin the real season - the post season - while the Dodgers go golfing, or fishing, or siting on the couch playing video games, or whatever a bunch of young, twenty-something pro athletes do when they have nowhere to be until next February 15th. As recently as July 15th, the Dodgers held the best record in the National League and a one game lead in the West over the San Diego Padres. Tonight, after the season-ending 11-2 loss to San Francisco, the Dodgers end the year in 4th place, only 2 games over .500, and 8 games behind division champ Arizona.
On the other hand, after cruising to a fourth American League West title in the last five seasons, the Angels... well, that's another story for later in the week.
Expect firings, new-hirings, and loads of veteran players moving on to greener (read that long green) pastures as the L.A. team that hasn't won a World Series in 20 seasons tries to move forward with a core group of players, most of whom were not yet in kindergarten the last time the team played that late into October.
Vin Scully, sole remaining bright spot on the last day of the season, summed it up this way, "Baseball... It's designed to break your heart."
At least if you bleed Dodger Blue.
Copyright © 2007 Bill Friday