I’m not done with the Dodgers. Not even close lol. In my last post, I started pointing the finger at manager Dave Roberts.
Y’all probably guessed that I’m going to say this reminds me of something I experienced when I was playing ball. And it does. Not when I was a pro (our manager in Hickory got a winning season out of us), but in college.
Baseball wasn’t the most important thing at Middle Tennessee State, but they had a program and recruited me for it out of Maryville High. I was the starting shortstop from my sophomore year on. We did pretty good that first year. Not college world series good, but lose in the first round of the playoffs good. The next year, something went wrong. Wrong like 2018 Dodgers wrong. We couldn’t win a game, and it was always for a different reason. Our starting pitcher fell apart. If he didn’t, the relievers started handing out grand slams like glasses of lemonade at a church social. And, if the pitching was okay, we couldn’t get a man on to save our souls. And, if we got men on, we couldn’t get them home. And, if we were scoring, the fielders were dropping balls and missing catches like their gloves were made from the hide of greased pigs.
That includes me. I had 5 errors in one game that year. I wrote that I can make shitty throws, but I barely got to make any throws in that game because I couldn’t hold onto the ball. But, when I didn’t suck, somebody else sucked. We always found a way to lose games.
It got really bad. The people who did come to baseball games stopped coming, and people who didn’t care about baseball heard how bad we were and started giving us shit. The campus newspaper had a piece making fun of the baseball team every day. (One day someone wrote “at least shortstop Hunter Block isn’t totally useless: he looks pretty when he’s dropping the ball and throwing it to no one in particular.” You can tell that hurt…I can still quote it.)
The point is that it wasn’t any one thing that was causing us to lose. It was everything and everyone. Yeah, some of the guys from my sophomore year team had graduated, but we still had most of the core of the team that got us to the playoffs, and there were plenty of talented new guys. We could all play ball. We just weren’t.
So when everybody sucks and you know that they’re good ball players, where do you look?
We had the same coach as the year before, but he wasn’t the same, or he wasn’t communicating the same with us, or…well, it was obviously something. He wasn’t able to get us to win ballgames. None of us guys complained or anything, but the school’s athletic director decided midseason to let the coach go. We were sad when he left – we all liked him – but, if we weren’t going to remain a joke, something had to change at the top. College guys need guidance. That’s why we were in college: to get guidance. Mom and Dad had insisted I go to college, but, when I went, I knew that one of the things I wanted to learn more about was baseball.
And I wasn’t learning anything. None of us were.
So then they got us a new coach and we won the college world series lol.
Part of that’s true: they did get us a new coach. And he was a total hardass. A hardass Yankee. We hated him because he started busting everyone’s ass the first minute he came through the locker room door. If you’re playing college ball and are good enough to have major league scouts looking at you, you don’t want anyone yelling at you in public that a six year old girl who just learned to play T ball would be a better fielder than you. He had a new girly word every day to use on us. He even came in with an Elsa dress and told us it was going to be our new team uniform if we didn’t shape up.
He’d have done it, too. Blue and white are even the Middle Tennessee State colors lol.
We all hated his guts. And that pulled us together into a team. He probably planned it that way. And the way he was riding us got us to work harder. Batting practice went on for hours and kept us out of class. (“Men play ball, little babies in pink onesies go to class. You guys know how to read, right? And you got a book, right? So what do you need to go to class for? To meet girls? If you’re a ball player and need to go class to meet girls there’s something wrong with you.”)
He got our season turned around, although not soon enough for us to make the playoffs or anything. We got back some self-respect too – and we needed that badly. The change in coach was good for the team…and for the good of the team. None of us ever figured out what the old coach suddenly wasn’t working for us, but the dynamics that turn a bunch of 25 guys into a baseball team are very complex.
Way more complex than anything in that psych book I had to read on my own time could explain. (The coach was right by the way: I missed more than half the lectures in my psych class and still got a B- for the semester lol.)
What does this have to do with Los Doyers (as the latinos call them)?
I reckon it’s obvious: they’ve reached the end of the road with Dave Roberts. For the good of the team. For the good of the fans. For the good of Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser, who’ve just about had it for calling losingass games. (I feel really bad for them.)
Last week they had to send the plumber to fix my fucked up garbage disposal. (Why do y’all even have those things in California?) He saw that I had a bunch of Dodgers pictures up on the wall, and immediately brought up Game 7. And immediately brought up the question that still bothers all Dodger fans: why did Roberts start Darvish and not Kershaw? I’m not the only dude who’s convinced that that incredibly stupidass decision lost us the world series. There’s no way Roberts doesn’t have a voice in his head that’s been telling him the same thing since November. Could that voice be the reason that he’s no longer cutting it as a manager?
Again, it’s more psychology than that book taught me. I only got a B minus lol.
(I was hoping that I could finish this post on an up note and say how winning Sunday’s game was a step in the right direction. Instead, the team lost. Again. And Bellinger wasn’t even benched for that lameass bunt. I’m going to start wearing my Tennessee Smokies ball cap around town…I’m ashamed to be seen in a Dodger hat.)