Back on the 21st of August I set a goal for the Snakes of 80 losses, because I thought that the Dodgers would finish 83-79. At the time I didn't think the Snakes would make it to 80, but I thought it was possible, and I had faith that they would. Today, the Snakes of Phoenix lost their 80th game and justified my faith in their mediocrity. With that loss they clinched second place in the division, leaving the Dodgers as the last team standing in the NL West. Given the mediocrity of the NL West this year it was fitting for the Dodgers to win the division with a Snakes loss.
I think the Dodgers will finish better than 83-79 now, though none of the remaining games will have any urgency. Whatever their final record it will not look impressive in the record books. But what will always be impressive in the memories of every Dodger fan is how the Dodgers followed up a crushing 8 game losing streak with an 8 game winning streak that included 5 straight wins against the Snakes, including 4 dominating wins over ace serpentine hurlers Haren and Webb. In September the Dodgers played like a 100-win team.
The division title doesn't need a first round win to be ratified. Even if the Dodgers lose 3-0 in the first round again it still counts. 2006 was better than both 2005 and 2007. The feeling of playoff games is something to savor and dread at losing should never interfere. And this is a strong team, stronger than their record. The Dodgers are more than an 80-something win team with Manny in the mix. Let the Cubs and Phillies and Mets be wary --- the Dodgers will bring to you a fierce fight. May the Southern California Blue prevail.