PHOENIX, AZ - Manager Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
As a Giants fan growing up in the '80s, I went to baseball games in a concrete abomination known as Candlestick Park. The Dodgers had a quaint and airy ballpark. I stuffed tauntaun blubber down my jacket to stay warm during the day games. Dodgers fans wore short-sleeve shirts to the ballpark at night. I watched a team lose year after year. The Dodgers won every year. When the Giants did win something, it would be immediately followed by a sharp, piercing playoff exit. When the Dodgers made the playoffs, they'd skip through and win the World Series.
So the dislike is true and pure, forged in the fires of youthful resentment and envy. Not a fan of the Dodgers. And I figured if they ever became the 1899 Cleveland Spiders -- earning every bit of a 20-134 record -- it would be delightful. When the McCourt madness started happening, it was somewhat amusing. When Selig took financial control of the Dodgers, it was hilarious. And then there were allllll those losses. The German word for taking pleasure in the suffering of others is schadenfreude, and this season has been the freudiest.
At this point, though: enough. We get it.
The tipping point was Rubby De La Rosa needing Tommy John surgery. Fans of under-.500 teams are people too. They have certain rights -- things you can't take away. And the most important, inalienable right of the fan of a bad team is the right to watch a top prospect's rookie season. The Royals, for example, have stunned the world by not contending, but every Royals fan in the world can turn on a TV and watch Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas play. The performances are up and down, but that's not the point. The point is that they can watch a bad team and project how the prospects will be responsible for the eventual turnaround.
De La Rosa came up and featured a right-handed repertoire that the Dodgers hadn't seen from one of their young pitchers since the days of Eric Gagne. And then as quickly as he was up, he was gone in a puff of smoke.
That's not right. I know I'm supposed to be a partisan fan of a team in a historic rivalry ... but, come on. Give the Dodgers one prospect to watch. With Jerry Sands back in the minors, Dee Gordon is the only prospect of note on the team. That's ... kind of boring. A glove-first guy should never qualify as the lone prospect on a bad team.
There but for the grace of geography go I. If my dad had played an instrument and been asked to join The Byrds in the mid-sixties, he might have moved to Los Angeles and I might have grown up a Dodgers fan. That's just how close I was. Most of the Dodgers fans out there are just like me and you. They're objectively wrong, of course, but they're only Dodger fans because of where they grew up, or because of where their parents grew up, or because Franklin Stubbs was really nice to them at that J.C. Penney's that one time.
So while this is tough for me -- really tough -- I'd like to announce that if Clayton Kershaw were to win the Cy Young Award, or if Matt Kemp were to win the MVP, it wouldn't totally disgust me. It would only partially disgust me. But at the end of the season, looking back at just how miserable the Dodgers' season has been on so, so many levels -- the worst ever, according to Steve Dilbeck -- if Dodger fans can have that one solace, it's not a bad consolation prize. Jon Weisman seems like a good guy. So does Eric Stephen. They're people too. Kind of.
Of course, the whole point of this article was to point out just how awful the Dodgers' season has been without coming off as a gloating $#&%!. But really, when Rubby went down ... that's too much. This Dodgers season has been so awful, it's hard for even a Giants fan to enjoy it. It's hard to remember a collapse this total, both on and off the field.
It's just not fun anymore.