Dodgers Nation Round Table – 2019 Year in Review
2019 was a full, adventurous year at Dodgers Nation. The News and Editorial teams welcomed new team members, while our social media presence grew in leaps and bounds thanks to the success of the Blue Heaven podcast as well as coverage of events at Dodger Stadium that brought fans closer to the action than ever.
We also had a lot of fun – as writers as well as fans. Here, the team discusses some of the highlights of this historic season:
Question # 1: What’s the top on-field moment of the 2019 season?
Gail Johnson (@GJOH29):
Cody Bellinger walking off the Diamondbacks on July 3rd at Dodger Stadium, then dropping his bat and pumping his chest at Yoan Lopez, is the image of 2019. It was his 2nd HR of the night, contributing to the team’s 5th consecutive walk-off, and we were well into the glory days of the summer of 2019 at that point. If players had to submit an “MVP reel” to voters like Emmy nominees do, this would easily be it.
Tim Rogers (@SDDodger):
Ryu’s home run.
Marshall Garvey (@MarshallGarvey):
The three rookie walk-offs, without a doubt. 2019 witnessed what might be the greatest rookie class in Dodger history, and especially after a draggy offseason it was great to see so much new talent that came from within.
Jason McClure (@Jmcclure83):
August 10, 2019 the Dodgers lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The game ended in a benches clearing argument. What I like about this moment was that while the entire Dodgers team squawked from the top rail of the dugout, the normally docile Clayton Kershaw was the first to cross it. It was a good leadership move that sent a message to both teams that if Arizona wants a fight, the Dodgers were not afraid. Team building at its finest.
Brian Robitaille (@BriRobitaille):
I’m going to have to go with the three rookie walk-offs in a row as well. That was a really cool moment for the team and it showed these young kids are here to play and contribute.
Question #2: What was your top moment as a fan?
It is almost impossible to pick a single moment from my Opening Weekend trip out to LA, but if I had to name just one, I’d say running into Joe Davis outside of the Press Box while I happened to be there visiting with Dieter Ruehle (who I was already acquainted with) was an incredibly cool moment. I briefly felt much younger than my 47 years as I turned into a blushing fan girl. After already having visited the guys at the Dodgers Nation earlier on in that day that would only end after I spent 13 innings enjoying the game from behind the plate in the club section, naming Friday, March 29th as my greatest single day as a Dodgers fan is a no-doubter.
My younger son (David) and I were at the walk-off walk game. We sat in the all-you-can-eat pavillion then wandered behind field level for the late innings. That ending was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a ballgame.
Clint Pasillas (@realFRG):
The rookie walk-off weekend. More specifically Will Smith’s “hired gun” walk-off. Recalled from Triple-A for that game, as he comes up to pinch hit in the ninth, I turned to tell my lady told her “watch, Big Willie Style is about to be an assassin right here” Like a true hired gun, he showed up, get the job done, and headed into the night four at-bats later.
Easily my trip down from Sacramento in August to see Walker Buehler K 15 Padres in a complete game victory. I got to watch it alongside the Dodgers Nation crew at the loge level, and afterward hung out at our office, downing Pacificos and In-N-Out and chatting Spielberg movies with AJ. A superb night all around, and one I’ll always savor.
Seeing “Classic” Clayton Kershaw throw 7 shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants on his bobblehead night with my wife on June 18.
Question #3: Favorite performance by a Dodger in 2019?
I mean, there were several outstanding performances on this team of guys who won a franchise record 106 games, but I don’t know if I’ll ever see another single season individual performance the likes of what Cody Bellinger treated us to this year. I look forward to finding out if I’m wrong.
Definitely Cody and the game against the Mets when he homered and had two outfield assists. He dominated that game and it was amazing to watch in person.
Looking at performance as a singular game, there are some incredible ones to choose from. I found myself really at a deadlock with these two moments:
- Cody’s rob a homer, knock a homer on Joc’s birthday (who also hit 3 HRs in that game)
- Walker’s 16 K dominance over the Rockies
- Sure he allowed 2 runs, but he threw his first career complete game, lowered his ERA to under 3 for the only time all season, and tossed the best game by game score of his career (89)
I should say Bellinger, but honestly I’m gonna go with Walker Buehler. He avoided a sophomore slump and delivered a season that proves he is a bona fide ace to be reckoned with. He had two monstrous complete games, one of which me and the DN crew were fortunate to see in person as I mentioned before. And he continued to show he’s a big game pitcher in October. It’s just a shame he didn’t have the win in game 5. Thanks Doc!
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s complete game shutout against the Atlanta Braves on May 7th. My Dad took me to see that game. It was very impressive and so much fun to see in person.
The obvious choice is Cody Bellinger, and it’s well deserved. But I’d also give some kudos to Alex Verdugo, who came up and played very well as a rookie, especially in the first half.
Question #4: What’s the Dodgers Nation piece that you’re most proud of?
Mirroring grief with the painful end of the baseball season was, without a doubt, the most personal thing I’d ever written, and this one proved to be very therapeutic and freeing for me to talk about. I still haven’t fully processed the personal loss I suffered this year, but I do know my dearly departed loved one would be quite proud of the way my writing has turned out, and he’ll continue to inspire me as I move forward.
The Missing Andrew Toles piece.
Always, and forever, “Life, Death, and the 2017 Dodgers.” I’ve been a writer for 17 years, and I consider it the best thing I’ve ever penned. It was my breakthrough, earning me an eventual full-time spot with this site and making its way around the internet, including praise from Jon Weisman and Kyle Farmer. It was just the tribute I felt, and still feel, that team deserves. Plus, with all this recent Astros news, there’s a chance to revisit it in a whole new light.
I can’t say I have a favorite piece. I like them all and am proud of most of them, but my favorite thing to do is look a little deeper at subject material. Find the positive spin on something and try to make my case. I get a lot of comments on being naive, but really I just looking at the glass as half full. I really enjoyed writing “Dodgers vs Nationals 2019 NLDS: It Comes Down to This”
I did a two part article listing the top players of the decade for the last 100 years. I thought those were really run to do. Part 1 & Part 2
Question #5: Anything you’ve written that you’d take back if you could, or didn’t turn out the way you’d envisioned?
Back in early December I tried to convey that regardless of how he performs on the mound in 2020, Clayton Kershaw will still inspire to be a better human. I knew it was unorthodox, but then someone in the comments section said it was the weirdest DN article he’d ever read, and it embarrassed me a little since I’ve always written from the heart. I don’t believe in regrets and I don’t plan on changing my style, but I feel I could have worded the piece differently or given it a better title so that our readers weren’t expecting a regular player analysis.
I wrote about an article from Dylan Hernandez that was pretty hard on Yasiel Puig. It was published on Puig’s birthday.
Oh, without a doubt, that piece where I urged the front office to sign Craig Kimbrel. Thank the great big Dodger in the sky they did NOT heed my advice on that one.
Nearly everything I write starts as one thing and evolves as I dig in to the research on it. My only thing I’ve written that I would change is one that I wrote for a personal blog prior to my time with DN. I spoke negatively about analytics before I started really getting into analytics. I see tremendous value in it now and love looking at the numbers.
I wouldn’t say something that didn’t turn out the way I expected. Actually, it would be the opposite. Before the playoffs, I listed which Dodgers had to most to prove in October, and how their performance would be key for the team advancing. Kershaw, Bellinger, and Dave Roberts were all on that list, and all came up short in the series vs. the Nats.
5 Dodgers Players That Have the Most to Prove This October
Question #6: Favorite DN piece on the site this year?
The guys put out such quality content that it’s hard to pick just one…but as you all know, I’m partial to the people side of baseball, and I really liked my friend Clint getting personal in his piece about being a fan outside of Southern California. Some family and friends here in Moncton follow the site because of my involvement with it, and a few of them, including my father, made a point of mentioning to me how much they enjoyed this one.
This is tough. A do have to go with AJ’s Volver, Volver article. It took on a vibe that I wasn’t expecting.
Too many! I write with an elite team, all of whom contributed analysis and editorials that I truly believe have made us the best Dodger blog out there. One I have to give special recognition to is AJ’s piece about how “Volver, Volver” sums up the beautiful pain of being a Dodgers fan.
As for a favorite piece of my own: at the risk of sounding egotistical…there are a lot to choose from. My first year full-time at DN really gave me the chance to grow and explore my potential as a baseball writer, and I feel I produced a lot of content to be proud of. I should thus pick something positive, but honestly I’m going to embrace my acidic heel turn and go with my piece urging the team to fire Dave Roberts. It wasn’t a fun article to write by any means, but it was a crucial one, and I feel I articulated it well.
I too must go with AJs “Volver, Volver” for nearly everything mentioned previously. Great piece to a song I never heard of before 2019 and now truly love.
Question #8: Do you have any plans and/or goals for 2020?
I went to see a medium recently who told me that 3 years of pain and sadness are behind me, meaning that 2020 is going to be a big year topped off by a major celebration, so needless to say I’ve got a good feeling about this one. I’m going to make traveling out to Opening Day an annual event, already have my hotel reservations for All-Star Week, and look forward to being in LA the last week of October (for said celebration).
Attending my first World Series Parade!
I stealing Tim’s answer.
On a personal level, I have many. (Including a very big one that’s eluded me for awhile, and I will finally realize. I ain’t telling!) As far as DN writing goals, I’d like to expand my statistical analysis much further. Most of all, as I’ve dreamed for years, I want to write a championship celebration article on par with my favorite piece of baseball writing ever by Phil Sheridan. Give me that chance, Dodgers. I will live up to it.
Dive deeper into understanding more analytics to better support my writing. Produce better content and continue to stay on the positive side of every topic that I can. It’s easy to go negative, but there’s always a positive side and I’m gonna find it.
Thanks to all of our loyal readers at Dodgers Nation for being part of such an amazing year! We look forward to even more engagement and conversations with the greatest fans in baseball in 2020.