In some respects it’s hard for me to believe that another first half of baseball is complete. I was recently reminded by a friend that the Dodgers have just 66 team games remaining in the regular season. A little more than two months of calendar baseball to write their final script. As surprised as I am that the season is halfway complete – I think I’m more surprised at where the Dodgers sit in the National league.
Did you know that the Dodgers are the current odds-on favorites to return to the World Series?
Think about all this 2018 team has been through, and then read that back a few times. Still, there are a couple months of baseball to be played. But when you think about the adversity this team has had to overcome thus far combined with the string of unlikely occurrences that have them in this position; we are living a charmed life as people who follow this team.
If this team was sitting at .500 like the Washington Nationals or a few games under, I’m not inspired to write this article tonight. Still, here I am; to tell you that this team has fight, and grit, and all kinds of high-character.
Night over night, someone new takes the baton. The Greek God of advanced offensive metrics that fell out of the Heavens (Max Muncy). Then there’s the utility man who said he could hit right-handed pitching, and has developed surprising pop (Kiké Hernandez). And of course, the pitcher who moonlights as a stock trader that will compete for a Cy Young (Ross Stripling).
Go up and down the team’s roster. You will be hard pressed to find a member that hasn’t faced his share of personal adversity. The Dodgers have faced an insurmountable amount of tough moments – and still they stand with more than just a glimmer of hope. For those who have persevered through the heartache, the team has answered the bell with a reward.
I think back to the losses to the Miami Marlins. The sweep at home to the Cincinnati Reds. Nights that I spent shaking my head and watering my lawn late in the dark wondering if this team would ever find identity.
Indeed, the cement has hardened and they have their identity. They’re ten games over .500 at 53-43. Although they never might provide you the assurance that they’re firing on all cylinders, no one wants to see this team come to town next on the schedule.
How foolish I was in forgetting that baseball will always surprise and be unpredictable. I remember a night in April when a friend texted late after a Dodger loss – not long after the Corey Seager injury. He asked me if they’re going to be alright or something to that effect. I owe Dodgers Nation a confession as to my response.
“They’re done man,” I responded. I couldn’t have been more wrong or more premature in my analysis.
Because the 2018 Dodgers have intangibles. They don’t quit. There is an incredible amount of determination, heart, and guile. Anything could happen from this point forward, but I am pretty certain in saying the Dodgers will have their say and be in the mix of things at the end when the dust settles. That should excite anyone reading this – because that is all you can ask for in a season of baseball and life. A fighting chance.
Everyone thought that 2017 was the best chance the Dodgers ever had to win it all. Maybe it was. Every now and again, if you look back at the history in the landscape of this sport; there are examples when the team that wasn’t supposed to win it all arrives on the scene to pull off the unexpected. That 1988 banner that hangs should serve as a reminder.
They’re never perfect, but always formidable. Perhaps that will go on to be why we love them. Halfway through the season, the conclusion I arrive at is that anything with this group is possible. I promise you that we are going to be in for a wild ride with a climax finish of some type. That’s what my spider senses are telling me about the 2018 Dodgers.
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