How To Talk Dodgers At Your Family Thanksgiving

When I was a full-time musician, there were a myriad of obnoxious but well-intentioned questions I always got from my family. From asking if I was going to try out for American Idol, to asking how I made enough money, and etc. As a Dodger fan, surely you can all relate.

There’s a myriad of questions our family will ask. When a person is knowledgeable on a subject, the knucklehead questions from people can be a little grating. With that in mind, let’s try and tackle those ‘frequently asked questions’ so you can retort like a Sorkinesque champ at the family dinner table.

The Questions You Might Get

Why did the Dodgers lose?
What are the Dodgers going to do?
Why don’t they just go sign that Mike Trout kid?
Are you going to give up being a Dodger fan?
Why won’t they just get rid of Kershaw and Kenley already?

The Answers

I think these are probably about the 5 best archetypal questions you could get at the family get together. Before I break down the best ways to answer these questions, let me provide a word of caution. Much like politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table, providing facts and figures may not sway a particular fanatical opinion. I am just saying this so that you do not get too frustrated!

Why did the Dodgers lose?

As with many questions, this has more than one answer. The easiest and most observable answer is that the Dodgers lost due to bullpen mismanagement. Dave Roberts bringing in Clayton Kershaw to face Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon for some kind of sentimental poetic justice was just criminal. On top of this, leaving Joe Kelly in to pitch a second inning was a terrible decision. After Joe Kelly loaded up the bases, Dave Roberts curiously stood on the dugout steps like a statue. The rest as they say, is rage fueled history.

The other answer is that the offense went quiet. NL MVP Cody Bellinger left his bat at home, along with a large portion of the lineup. They went pretty boom or bust when it mattered. They dropped 10 runs in one game, but were unable to really mount a rally. A lot of the batters they were hoping to rely on, went quiet.

What are the Dodgers going to do?

Here’s a question we truly don’t know the answer to. There are some educated guesses you can make, though. If they turn out to be true, you will look even more brilliant. One could posit based on the last three off-seasons that the Dodgers may not to very much. They’ve been notoriously tight with handing out large contracts (other than their franchise player, Clayton Kershaw) to big free agents. This has proven to be mostly a wise decision.

That said, this off-season the Dodgers could truly make a big splash in the signing department. I won’t speculate this here, it’s been done already. But what I will suggest is to implore your family not to fall for the propaganda that has been clearly in the air. It appears some sports writers may be the media tool of a few clever front offices — the Dodgers included. Make sure to bring this up, don’t let your family fall for the tricks so that you aren’t answering the same question at Christmas time.

Why don’t they just go sign that Mike Trout kid?

I really hope this question doesn’t get asked at your Thanksgiving dinner table. I almost didn’t include a question this preposterous, but I felt it necessary. The answer I am going to give addresses more than just this specific question, it’s how to counter the premise of a question that is this absurd. First off, I guess let me painfully answer the question directly.

Why don’t they sign Mike Trout?

Because he’s signed to a 12-year, $430M contract with the Anaheim Angels. (Next!)

The bigger part of this question is whether you want to engage with a question so preposterous. You can answer this depending on the family member, and how you feel about them. If it’s a well-intentioned question from a family member you like, perhaps answer the question correctly and then discuss the difficulty of building a winning team. If money bought a championship, the Dodgers would’ve forked over more money the last few years.

If it’s a family member just chiming in to be a troll–do not engage!

Why won’t they just get rid of Kershaw and Kenley already?

Depending on your personal opinions, you may agree with this question. I don’t. If there is any additional animosity for Clayton Kershaw after this postseason, you’re misplacing it. He’s declining to be sure, but his bullpen failure in the postseason this year isn’t his failure to shoulder.

Clayton Kershaw has shouldered enough in his career. It’s the Patrick Ewing effect. Ewing is always accused of being a choker in the postseason — he could never get it done in the playoffs when it mattered. This is a failure in simple logic. Without the greatness of a player like Ewing or Kershaw, teams don’t get into the playoffs at all. Patrick Ewing isn’t even a fair example because comparatively, Kershaw is head and shoulders a better player than Ewing was.

For the rest of his career — unless proven otherwise — it is certainly okay to treat Clayton Kershaw as a great number 3 pitcher. To question his dedication or suggest the Dodgers turn their back on him is a terrible notion. You don’t turn your back on one of the greatest players of all time, especially when he’s given his life to your team.

As for Kenley Jansen, the answer boils down to his 2020 performance. Kenley struggled in 2019 and was often terrifying to watch in a close game. He opted in to his 2020 and 2021 contract largely in part to these struggles. His attitude as the year went on seemed to improve, though.

If he continues to struggle in 2020, tell your family member that you hope Dave Roberts has the gumption and strength to remove him from the closer job.

Admittedly, This may be the most legitimate question you get on Thanksgiving.

Are you going to give up being a Dodger fan?

No I’m not, Aunt Karen! Ok I don’t have an Aunt Karen. I hope this is close to your actual answer, though. This question is bigger than the question itself. It is definitely a frustrating time to be a Dodger fan. We’ve had almost a decade of playoff exits full of frustration and pain. This answer is up to the user, but if you’re reading a piece like this on DodgersNation.com, I suspect the die hard Dodger fan exists within you. I tend to be combative when given a question I consider to be combative, so I would come back with something like this: “No I’m not. I bleed Dodger blue whether they win 100 games or lose 100 games because I love being a Dodger fan and I love this organization. I don’t run away from something that matters to me just because it is difficult and hurtful at times. Is that what you’re asking?”

After hearing your dedication and subsequently having their own integrity checked, I guarantee they will never ask this question again. This is the nuclear answer, though. Keep in mind that they may also never ask you a question again.

Closing Thoughts

As Thanksgiving goes on and the tryptophan from the Turkey courses through our veins, making us sleepy, let us not sleep on family. If your family isn’t the family you want it to be, the Dodgers probably are. Be thankful that despite the sadness we’ve endured as Dodger fans, we’ve enjoyed great success. If family means as much to you as it does to many others, answer these annoying but heartfelt questions with love. There’s a fundamental responsibility that comes with being well informed. The responsibility is to inform others without driving them away. On this Thanksgiving, take these questions in stride answer with love.

…And if they don’t accept the love, crush them with facts and wit. Happy Thanksgiving!

AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers and Lakers fan who grew up in California. His whole family is also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids, his guitars, and beagle Kobe.

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