Yesterday I saw an NBA analyst declare that the Lakers were headed to the NBA Finals. His evidence? One home playoff game against the Oklahoma Thunder. Isn't this conclusion a bit premature? After one game, how much can really be said about the Lakers? After a dozen games, how much can be said about the Dodgers?
And yet, what is the alternative? Should we all just sit around staring at each other, saying "I don't know" and shaking our heads? The public wants conclusions and strong opinions. We want it. I want it. I guess I have to admit it. It is as if, at the conclusion of each game, I need to construct the feeling of a just concluded season. I am not content to wait to see what happens months from now. My despair or euphoria must be validated. NOW. Events cannot validate, so strong predictions must suffice. If the Dodgers lose, especially in a gruesome, tragic way, then the season is over, OVER, and we are free to conduct an autopsy of the team. If the Dodgers win, and if the winning has seemed like a habit, then we are free to imagine champagne showers.
You, who are reading this, can no doubt place yourself above such base psychological needs. Whether or not you participate in such strong reactions to wins and losses, you can surely see how irrational they are. I can. And yet, in unguarded moments, I will still have them. At times it is a juvenile catharsis. Back in the 90's my favorite method was to cast away any Dodger who failed, even over the space of just one at bat, so long as I deemed that at bat important enough. I don't know how many times I told Eric Karros that he was "off the team". Even Piazza was probably released several dozen times. Then after the century turned I became fond of saying, "The Season is OVER." This is the most richly arrogant way to react to a loss, I think. I am unhappy, and therefore I wish everyone else to pick up their gloves and bats and go home. What do I do now, in 2010? I write strange stuff in an obscure Dodger blog.* I think this is progress.
It is amazing how much one pinch hit Manny home run will alter one's predictions. Without that home run, my projected DEEP** record for the Dodgers is 77-85, but with it, my projected DEEP record for the Dodgers is 90-72. That's a 13 game swing, based on one swing! Isn't that great?
I actually wonder if I dreamed that home run. I hit a mid-day wall right about the eighth inning on Sunday, and I lay down on the sofa, and one thing led to another and I had an unintentional micro-nap. I remember Manny being announced as the pinch hitter, or something, and then there was darkness, and then I remember looking at the TV and seeing that the score was 2-1, in favor of the Dodgers, and then watching a replay of Manny's home run. Boy did that wake me up.
As for Saturday's game, I missed it completely, and so I am unburdened by any memories of what may or may not have occurred that day in Dodger Stadium. Don't tell me! My DEEP projections do not factor in anything that happened on Saturday at all. All I know is the Dodgers won the series from the Giants and the season is most assuredly not over. Thank you, Manny. ( Uh, and also thanks to Kershaw and Broxton too, I guess. )
* --- No, not this blog. Come on now, Dodgerama isn't obscure. My other Dodger blog, the obscure one, is called Dodgerbeardandsideburnanalysis dot com.
** --- DEEP = Dodgerama Emotion Engine Predictor