Last night I heard Werewolves of London on the radio. I like this song and enjoy hearing it. But as the song began, I tensed up, on my guard, because I wasn't sure what would follow --- if I would hear the real thing, or if I would hear the rip off song All Summer Long, which begins the exact same way as Werewolves of London does and ends up being some kind of wretched chimera assembled from parts of the Warren Zevon classic as well as Sweet Home Alabama. And it's sung by Kid Rock. Noooooooo!!! I guess some people like it but I can't stand it.
I'm not sure --- maybe the two songs don't start out exactly the same, but it's close enough to fool me. It sure was the first time. I well remember my feeling of disorientation and confusion, and then anger. Where were the "aaahooo's!" Where were the lyrics about chinese menus and Trader Vic's? Who the heck was this punk singing --- it sure wasn't Warren Zevon! After setting me up to think I was hearing one thing it had horribly become some unoriginal song about days gone by and lost love and something about Sweet Home Alabama? --- what the hell?
The Dodgers are just beginning. Their core is young and still new and promising. I feel like we've just heard the opening of their song. And I'm excited. I think it's going to be a good one. But my guard is up, a little bit. I'm hoping for Werewolves of Los Angeles, but I might instead get Frustration All Summer Long. In the Kid Rock song he's mooning over stuff that happened back in 1989; if things go sour this season it will be tempting to yearn for the glory days of 1988. Again.
I think the Dodgers still have a transformation to make. They are good, a contender, but not great. They are not an undoubted elite team that the opposition fears to play. We know what they did last year, so it would be foolish to count out this team, even if Manny leaves. But we should also know how fortunate they were to get as far as they did last year. Better teams, teams with more wins, didn't get the chances the Dodgers had. You can't count on luck and fortunate circumstance every year ( though the NL West may be just as bad this year ). You won't always get an infusion of Manny at the end of the year.
I don't think resigning Manny is the key to the transformation of the Dodgers. Obviously the Dodgers are better if he is around, but they did lose eight straight games with him last year. It's the young core of the team that matters. It's Kemp and Loney and Martin and Billingsley and Kershaw and Ethier and Broxton and DeWitt and McDonald. They have arrived, most of them, as solid major leaguers at least. And some of them are already stars. But the fierceness of talent is not yet on full display. Kemp hasn't yet wielded his full and ferocious power. Kershaw isn't yet a killer with the strikeout. There is another level of performance that the young Dodger stars need to reach. Not all of them, necessarily, but most of them. Unlike a werewolf transformation the Dodgers' transformation won't happen all at once. In fact it's already been happening. Billingsley is already an ace, or near to it. Ethier hit like a slugger the last few months of last year. They are on their way. I think it's going to happen this year. They are going to become a 95-win team. That's the optimism in me. The part of me that howls, irrationally, exuberantly, without reservation. Aaaaahooooo!