Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blue Now, but Dodger Season Will Be Remembered as Rewarding

                    By ROSS NEWHAN

                    Yes, yes, yes!

                    The virtual loss of Hanley Ramirez in the first inning of the first game of the National League's Championship Series was a significant blow to the Dodgers.

                    I get it.

                    Perhaps--and perhaps not--it was comparable to the Cardinals' literal loss of Allen Craig and his 97 RBI for the entire series.

                   Just saying...

                   Also saying that when the hurt of the Game 6 embarrassment eases for the Dodgers they can look back on a  rewarding season.

                  --They recaptured a city--and its celebrities.

                  --They introduced a player in Yasiel Puig who, for all his much needed refinements, brought a passion and talent that helped ignite a historic, 42-8 rampage through the middle of the season, justified Logan White's $42 million investment and who now looms as a cornerstone.

                   --They ultimately ran away with a division title at the expense of the dreaded Giants and newly dreaded D-Backs.

                  --They beat the 96 win Atlanta Braves in the division series and came within two wins of their first World Series in 25 years.

                 Maybe anything short of a World Series, especially for a team with a record payroll of $216 million, shouldn't be remembered as a rewarding season, but there were also considerations that shouldn't be dismissed.

                 The status of Manager Don Mattingly was an ongoing distraction that the Dodgers should have dealt with before the season started instead of turning it into a six month trial.

                 There was the now-you-see them, not-you-don't status of Ramirez and Matt Kemp, turning Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker into regular players for long stretches.

                 There was a prolonged sorting out of the bullpen as Brandon League, with his freshly signed three year contract, failed in the closer role, the complete sorting out not finalized until Brian Wilson arrived without a razor in late summer.

              There was also the series of injury related trials at the back end of the bullpen. testing a farm system that was not, is not, ready for prime time.

             The point being that this was no payroll juiced glide into the post-season.

            It may take time, for players and fans alike, but the final hurt will heal and the realization that 2013 can be remembered in a rewarding context will emerge.

            Under the new, financially stable ownership, the Dodgers have taken a first step toward a rebuilt foundation that will not be totally in place until the farm system is rebuilt as well.

           Certainly, no one has to convince Stan Kasten.

          The Dodger president carries the blueprint he helped produce during his tenure as president of the division dominant Braves, a dominance built on scouting and development.                  





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