by Joshua Worley
If I didn't think the Dodgers would win when down 6-3 ( as I declared in my last post ) what did I think when they were down 8-3? I was the equivalent of Nick Van Exel shouting "Cancun!" in the pre-game huddle with the Lakers down 3 games to none against Utah in the 1998 NBA playoffs. ( This story comes from Shaq's autobiography --- apologies if he was making it up. ) I was mentally checking out on the season --- oh, I would have come back by Friday, I always do.
It's just one game, right? They're all just one game though. All the one games add up. And dammit it's so good to be happy concerning the Dodgers over the next two days, to not have to try to figure out what results in the next two Padre-Snake games hurt the Dodgers the least. The Dodgers are gaining a game on one of those teams now; that's what matters.
So many players were heroic, from Dodgers loathed to Dodgers loved. I can't stand Hillenbrand but he was probably the biggest hero, certainly in timing if nothing else. I love Kemp and Martin and they came up huge. I hope Martin's early home run won't be overlooked. I didn't think Proctor had it in him to pitch three scoreless, and he really didn't, but luck, and the double play, are a pitcher's best friends.
I leave this game full of optimism for the Dodgers this weekend, and full of dismay at the decisions Grady Little has been making lately. He seems to be slowly losing his mind. Loney bunting? I think I'd rather see Ramon Martinez hit for him! ( Not that this was an option at the time Loney bunted. ) Proctor pitching a third inning, and continuing to pitch that inning past the point when he was clearly gassed? I'd rather see Hernandez than a third inning from Proctor, honestly.
I should really change the title of this piece, to something about the team, and not about the self-absorbed blogger. But I have to call myself to task for saying the game was lost in the fifth inning, and I do find the whole question of when one gives up fascinating. I don't believe in momentum for teams, but I do believe in momentum for a fan's emotion. When I started that last post the Dodgers were in the process of scoring a run, so I was almost confident that they could come back, but when I finished it up they had just given up a run, so my optimism of a few paragraphs previous was gone and I schizophrenically ended it with a proclamation of doom. When I read that post again it's like two different people wrote it.
That's how today's game feels, that two different teams played it, or that it was two different games. It doesn't seem that the game that featured Penny's meltdown is the same one that featured Proctor's scary third inning. But they were the same. What a sport. I love baseball.