At Least They Got There
November 6, 2017

It may not sound quite as good, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are your 2017 National League Champions. A banner will be raised at Dodger Stadium next April, and there might even be some sort of ring ceremony. The Dodgers didn't win the whole thing, but they got to the final round. For a team that hasn't done that in almost three full decades, that's pretty cool.

The Dodgers had a 'World Series or bust' attitude all year, and while you could say those are pretty lofty expectations, this is a team that has won five straight division titles, and gotten one round away from the Fall Classic twice in the previous four seasons. Three times in five years counting 2017, and finally to the big stage. It just wasn't to be.

It's already being said that baseball's best team didn't win it all. Yes, the Dodgers won 104 regular season games, but the Astros won 101. Houston led their division virtually wire-to-wire, and took out both the Red Sox and the Yankees in the playoffs. This Houston team was no slouch, and they proved it. We're not talking 2014 Giants here (Sorry.)—this team was really good.

There was no parade and rally at City Hall in Los Angeles Friday. It's too bad. I would like to have gone. So would a few hundred thousand other people. Heck, maybe even a million or two. We could all crowd the streets , packed in like sardines, so that for just a moment we could hoot and hollar as the team glides by. We'd scream and shout. They'd wave, and then move on. We'd ditch work, wait around for hours, get stuck in traffic, and have fun doing it. Sounds kinda stupid, doesn't it? No way. Not when your team wins it all.

Indeed it was a 'World Series or bust' attitude for the Dodgers. Even if they get there next year and don't win it, that shouldn't be considered a failure, either. With the possible exception of the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s that won 14 straight division titles and had only one championship to show for it, no team should 'expect' to win the World Series. The Dodgers came oh so close, and we got to ride along. The season ended in a final game disappointment, and was the farthest thing from a bust. Can't wait 'til next year!

Darvish, we hardly knew Yu: The two short start starts in the World Series, and the loss in Game Seven, is probably the last we'll remember of Yu Darvish in a Dodger uniform. The right hander, who was acquired at the trade deadline to bolster the rotation, is now officially a free agent. Darvish joins Curtis Granderson, Brandon Morrow, Chase Utley, Tony Watson, and Franklin Gutierrez as Dodgers now eligible to sign with any team. LA is keeping infielder Logan Forsythe—picking up an eight-and-a-half million dollar option. Also, as expected, the Dodgers declined a 17.5 million dollar option on Andre Ethier, making him a free agent. Unless he signs a contract to come back for significantly less money, Ethier's last at-bat in his 12-year Dodger career, was an RBI-single in Game Seven, driving in the only LA run.

Houston Strong, AV Proud: While fans in the Antelope Valley may be disappointed that the Dodgers didn't win the World Series, they have something to be proud of. Many of the Astros' players had a minor league stint with the Class-A Lancaster JetHawks of the California League. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and even Yuli Gurriel briefly last year, played at the stadium known as 'The Hangar'.

Awards show: Major League Baseball will announce it's season awards next week, but has announced the Dodgers have three finalists. Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, and Dave Roberts on the short list for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Manager of the Year, respectively.

Rams tough?: With baseball over, maybe Angeleno sports fans should turn their attention to one of their NFL teams, or perhaps learn that they have one (actually two). The Rams are 6-2, in first place in the NFC West, and soundly defeated the New York Giants 51-17 on Sunday. The Rams were also my 'survival' pick, so now having used Carolina, New England, Green Bay, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, and the Rams, we'll pick Detroit at home over 0-8 Cleveland.

Something great to mention for once instead of sad. Congrats to my cousin Mikenna Dudley. She graduated from nursing school in Salt Lake City this past Friday. The world is her oyster now with job offers rolling in. So proud of you Nurse Kenna!

Photo (by Ana Olivares): Mom decked out early, ready for Game Seven.

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