The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

March 2, 2009

Apparently This Year I Bleed Dodger Blue

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 12:14 am

With the Winter finally beginning to near it’s end (on the calendar at least, if last year’s Spring weather is any indication the weather might be hanging around for a while still,) once again baseball season is off on the horizon  Spring Training has officially begun, and a little more than a month remains before opening day, which will this year be started with a game on April 5th between the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies (I’m sure there are some people in Philadelpha who wondered if they would ever see that happen again in their lifetime) against the Atlanta Braves.  Up here in Seattle, the big baseball news (besides the wholesale replacement of the manager, general manager and most of the coaching staff) is the return of Ken Griffey Jr. to the team where he spent the best years of his career for what many presume may be the final year of his career.  Still, expectations for the Mariners (especially after last year’s 101-loss season, the first for a team with a payroll over $100 million) remain low, and the team is not expected to contend this year, and is widely expected to improve marginally if at all.

Which brings me to the title of this post.  Yesterday, there was a Vanderhoeven family get-together down in Federal Way, where we all did a bunch of yard work at Opa’s house to clean up some of the neglect that had accumulated in the yard and got rid of the old playhouse in the back of the yard (which was disposed of in a standard Vanderhoeven raging inferno after being dismantled.)  As we worked, there was some discussion of the upcoming baseball season, and the low expectations for the Mariners (to say that the members of the Vanderhoeven family are Mariners fans would be something of an understatement.)  As we discussed this, an idea was formed to generate a bit more excitement in what will probably shape up to be another 90-loss season, and at the same time commit an act of wholesale sports bigamy that would probably make Bill Simmons proceed to light himself on fire:  In this scheme, 30 different people chose a team at random out of a hat, and whoever’s team wins this year’s World Series would receive a party in their honor at the end of the season, with the other participants bringing gifts (so in other words it’s basically a pool, with a minor technicality or two thrown in for good measure.)  This means that everyone involved in this has a different team to support this season.

I didn’t stick around to find out which team everyone got, but I did draw a team from the hat, and ended up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  On one hand, over the years I’ve spent a lot more time rooting against the Dodgers than I have rooting for them.  In fact, I think the only time I ever recall actually rooting for the Dodgers was in the 1988 series when they played against the A’s, which was the year Kirk Gibson hit his famous home run in game 1.  Even though my family’s allegiances at the time were firmly in the Atlanta Braves camp (which also meant that up until 1991, they were also pretty firmly mired in the basement of the National League,) even back then we couldn’t stand the Oakland A’s, a fact which has definitely not changed over the years with the Mariners being in the same division.  In fact, when 1991 rolled around, the Dodgers became the enemy as the NL West pennant race heated up, and was finally decided  with the Braves on top by a game on the last day of the season, which ultimately ended with a hard-fought 7-game loss in the World Series to the Twins.  

Although there is a fairly lengthy history of Dodger-hating in the family, it’s been years since I’ve really followed the National League on more than an occasional basis.  I think if I gave it some thought, I think I might have just the faintest hint of sentimental support left over for the Braves and the Cubs, but I’ve long since learned my lesson on the futility of being a Cubs fan, and the Braves team of today has almost nothing to do with the Braves teams of my childhood (Bobby Cox is still around and Tom Glavine is back this year, but I think that’s about it.)  Of course, this was also back from the days when the Cubs played on WGN and the Braves played on TBS, and with no major league team anywhere near New Mexico before the Rockies arrived in 1993, those were the only two teams we could watch on TV on a regular basis (I think we could sort of occasionally catch AM radio broadcasts of the Astros at night too, but that was just a bit too much work.)  Still, it’s been at least a decade now since I’ve really paid too much attention to the National League, and I don’t think there’s any particular reason (yet) that I would have to dislike the Dodgers, so I guess I’ll go for it and see what happens.  There’s just one problem:  I guess this means that I’ll be forced to formulate an informed, well reasoned opinion on the whole Manny mess going on right now.  Let me get back to you on that one… 

On the other hand, depending on what my work situation looks like in June I’ve been giving a bit of thought to heading down to LA for a long weekend (since airfares are ridiculously cheap right now,) and this might give me an excuse to try to squeeze in a trip to Chavez Ravine for a Dodgers game if I do decide to go.  It looks like there’s even a weekend Mariners versus Dodgers series in LA at the end of the month if I’m looking for a chance to be really conflicted about the whole thing.  I’ll have to see what happens before I make any definite plans though.

Incidentally,  I feel really sorry for whoever it was who ended up with the A’s or the Angels in the drawing.  THAT one is going to be tough to deal with.

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1 Comment »

  1. GO BRAVES!! Never in my life would I thought I would say that – but if they do good, you are invited to Valerie-fest.

    Comment by Valerie — March 2, 2009 @ 7:17 am


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