Yesterday I had the happy realization that the new season of Lost was just a few months away. For just a moment, I was giddy with excitement. And then, because my thoughts often come tumbling in strange patterns, I hoped I would have the same kind of anticipatory excitement for the Dodgers around, say, February of next year.
Stay with me, even if you aren't a fan of Lost. Why would it be that I have such excitement for the new season of Lost, even more than two months out? It's because the season finale was so great. More specifically, it's because what the writers of Lost have given us to look forward to is so great. They've had their vision all along, and they've stuck with it. And that's what the baseball offseason is really all about. Give us something to look forward to. Commit to your own excellence! Don't be scared. Don't retreat to the hackneyed old storylines, the reliable comfort of known mediocrity, the tried tricks that everyone has seen before. Resist the Gonzalezes, the Garciaparras, the Pierres. They are the laugh tracks of the baseball world. The sound of laughter without real laughter. The sound of wins without real wins.
Lost came under a lot of criticism over the past few years. People doubted the direction of the show. They wanted more answers. I never understood this. I never saw the slippage in the show. The writers never did lose their way, and I think the strong season finale showed that.
The Dodgers seem to be on the edge of losing their way. Their strong vision for the future has already faltered --- look at how many roadblocks they put in front of Loney and Kemp --- will they completely abandon what is left of their vision? I fear, sometimes, that the new season may end up having all the excitement of a season of Leave it to Beaver. Safe, predictable, mediocre. 0.500. Jason Bay instead of Matt Kemp. Nomar Garciaparra instead of Andy LaRoche. The offseason for the Dodgers is not about getting Alex Rodriguez. That's not going to happen, most likely. What it is about is realizing that Alex Rodriquez is just about only potentially available veteran out there worth getting. But I don't know if the Dodgers know that. A few weeks ago, dodgers.com reporter Ken Gurnick reported that Frank McCourt had vowed to stay the course. In the next few months we'll find out what that really means. What course are they on? It's possible to follow a course faithfully and still end up lost.