Sometimes I will randomly think about Dave Roberts stealing second base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS and I try to envision him being called out.
What if Joe West had gotten the call wrong and punched Roberts out at second base? There was no video review back in 2004, and while Terry Francona would have gone out to argue with West, nothing would have come of it other than Francona likely being thrown out in the last inning of the last game of his team’s season. There would have been one out in the inning and no one on, and if Bill Mueller still singled on a ground ball up the middle in his at-bat, it wouldn’t have tied the game.
When I see a replay of that stolen base, so many awful memories come rushing back as I watch Derek Jeter put down a tag that is just late and dream about if only Jorge Posada’s throw could have been there a fraction of a second earlier. Unfortunately, for at least the next week, Yankees fans are going to be seeing that play a lot.
The Dave Roberts Dodgers are going to the World Series, and now I’m forced to root and root hard for the man I have hated for the last 14 years. The man who saved the 2004 ALCS for the Red Sox and whose stolen base changed the course of history.
The Yankees couldn’t take care of their own business and the Astros were flat-out embarrassed, so now it’s up to the Dodgers. The Dodgers are Yankees fans’ last chance at preventing the Red Sox from winning the World Series.
My fiancée, Brittni, who has made quite a number of appearances in blogs on this site over the last nearly six years, is a Dodgers fan from Los Angeles, and the Dodgers have never won a World Series in her lifetime.
Last year, we were one Yankees win away from our relationship potentially being destroyed by the outcome of a Yankees-Dodgers World Series. Instead, our relationship was saved by the Yankees’ inability to hit Justin Verlander, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. in Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS and the Dodgers faced the Astros.
Brittni thought she was going to get that elusive first championship when the Dodgers returned home for Games 6 and 7 of the World Series, up 3-2 in the series on the Astros. But after losing Game 6, the organization decided to start Yu Darvish over Clayton Kershaw in Game 7, only to then bring Kershaw in for four innings (four scoreless innings they would be to pour salt on the wound) after the game was out of hand, the Dodgers lost and she was crushed. I watched her dream of experiencing a Dodgers championship fall apart and watched tears roll down her face as the final outs of Game 7 dwindled away.
For most of this season, it looked like she would have to wait at least another year for a chance at a World Series win. The Dodgers were 10 games under .500 over a month into the season and just about a month ago they were in third place in the NL West. They didn’t clinch a postseason berth until the final weekend of the regular season and needed to play a tiebreaker game to win the division. They ended the regular season with a 92-71 record, but their plus-194 run differential projected them to be a 102-win team as they played 10 games worse than their expected record. After all that, they trailed 2-1 in the NLCS and had to pull off a 13-inning win in Game 4 to even the series before eventually winning Game 7 on Saturday. But they made it. They’re back in the World Series.
The Red Sox could sweep the Dodgers and I still won’t understand how the Red Sox won 108 regular-season, beat the Yankees in four games, eliminated the defending champion Astros in five games and then won the World Series. Their success hasn’t made sense. More than half of their lineup is crap, they have one trustworthy starting pitcher and their bullpen is full of high WHIPs and a closer who seems to have lost his ability this postseason. I have no idea how this team has gotten this far and how they continue to win. It makes absolutely no sense and it makes me sick.
Thankfully, the Dodgers won the NL pennant and not the Brewers. The Brewers would have served as a red carpet for the Red Sox to a championship as the Brewers’ success reminds me of the Red Sox’, both very puzzling. The Red Sox never get a worthy opponent in the World Series and the Brewers would have been their latest cupcake matchup.
The Dodgers, however, have a real chance to win the World Series. Aside from the Astros, they are the one team that has true starting pitching depth in this postseason. They have a deep lineup with powerful right-handed hitters to combat Chris Sale and David Price, they have Manny Machado, who both hates and owns the Red Sox, and they have a solid and reliable bullpen. Thanks to the off days on Sunday and Monday, they can set up their rotation accordingly for the series, and could potentially pitch Kerhsaw three times in the series, if the team learned from their mistakes in last year’s World Series and is now willing to pitch him on short rest.
I told Brittni if the Dodgers lose to the Red Sox in the World Series I will never root for them under any circumstances for the rest of my life (aside from playing the Red Sox again in future World Series), the same way I will never root for the Cardinals or Rockies in any scenario that isn’t them playing the Red Sox in the World Series. I will go to great lengths to root against the Dodgers if they lose this series. I will hate the Dodgers if they lose this series.
This feels like it for Brittni. If the Dodgers can’t win the World Series, when will they? I highly doubt there will ever be as weak of an NL playoff field as this year and with how fleeting success can be in baseball, it’s unrealistic to think the Dodgers will continue to be a contender with the threat of underperformance and injuries and the complete crapshoot that is the MLB postseason format. If Brittni can’t get her championship this year, I don’t know when it will come. I don’t know if it will come.
Brittni has to get her World Series this year. I need her to get her World Series this year. Every Yankees fan needs her to get her World Series this year.
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is now available as an ebook!
The book details my life as a Yankees fan, growing up watching Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams through my childhood and early adulthood and the shift to now watching Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and others become the latest generation of Yankees baseball. It’s a journey through the 2017 postseason with flashbacks to games and moments from the Brian Cashman era.
Click here to purchase the book through Amazon as an ebook. You can read it on any Apple device by downloading the free Kindle app.