Friday, September 20, 2013

U-G-L-Y -- You ain't got no alibi!

Can we now say the Los Angeles Dodgers are the "Miley Cyrus" of baseball? Clueless and classless in victory, taking one of the game's greatest comebacks and tarnishing it in the most juvenile fashion, the Dodgers manage to leave a sour taste in one's mouth even as that mouth was set to give well-deserved congratulations to a fantastic stretch drive and a runaway division championship. Unable to comprehend the difference between success and excess, they've provided yet another example of the graceless, narcissistic modern athlete, unable to comprehend exactly why the 'little people' look at him askance.

What makes the above grotesquerie so, well, grotesque is its appropriation of the opponents' ballpark as a personal playground (for the benefit of the cameras, of course). The Mets fans who raced onto the Shea Stadium field back in 1969 and tore up the turf-- twice-- in celebration of baseball's unlikeliest victory were positively restrained and tradition-bound compared to this. You just don't desecrate the other guy's home field. If anyone thought T.O. spiking the ball on the Cowboy star was excessive, well-- where's Emmitt Smith when we need him (preferably with a firehose)?

Now, had the Dodgers managed to clinch the division this past weekend (against the Giants) on their own home field, they'd have had every right to climb atop whatever superstructures they could reach and wave their jocks at the sky. But there's no excuse for this. When you clinch on the road, you make the obligatory group hug-and-dance on the infield, and then you race into the clubhouse to begin your riotous celebration together, as a team, us against the world. What we saw the other night was a motley collection of individuals who placed personal notoriety and gratification ahead of team spirit.  Dodger fans, you can have 'em.

For the rest of you, if you want to see how a real ballclub celebrates a world championship in the opponents' ballpark, check out the San Francisco Giants:

Tim Lincecum squares off at The Stadium tonight against CC Sabathia in a battle between Cy Young winners who've since come to intimate acquaintance with hard times... The Giants' week-long stay in New York covers six games, the three just completed in Queens and the three upcoming at the New Yankee Stadium. Not since they were the New York Giants back in '57 has the club spent so much time in the big city...  We wonder if these six-game layovers will become more common for all teams now that interleague play is a season-long event... Add to bucket list: attend a game, preferably a Giants game, at the House that Steinbrenner Built. Back in 1967 we saw a game at the old, old, Yankee Stadium, the 1923 House that Ruth Built with its white latticework upper decks and the elevated trains running past, and later we made occasional visits to the remodeled Yankee...  Lincecum, struggles and all, has reached 10 or more wins for the sixth straight year, which is every year he's been in the major leagues....  If Timmy pitches exceptionally well tonight, how likely do you think the Yankees will be to offer him an attractive free-agent package after season's end?... Madison Bumgarner just keeps rollin' along, with 200 innings pitched, 200 strikeouts sure to follow, and a 2.77 ERA...  Short memo to front office: Sign Hunter Pence, please... LA's worst-to-first mid-season transition is one of only four extant in major league history, the most famous being that of the 1914 Boston Braves... We can't help but be pleased to see the Pittsburgh Pirates hangin' fire and all but certain to make the postseason for the first time since 1992. They're only a game out of first place and a division series date with the Dodgers, and can there be any doubt about who the Good Guys would be in that series?

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