I’m M. Scott Eiland, and Sasha has invited me to contribute here, apparently thanks to an old friend (Tex at whackingday.com) pointing her in the direction of some things I’ve written. This looks like a nice place, and God knows I’m not one to refuse an invitation to shoot my mouth off on a regular basis, so here I am (thanks, Sasha!). I’ll keep the background sketch short–I’m in my mid thirties, have a law degree but am not currently practicing, am currently living in Springfield, Oregon, am fond of discussing politics (you may have seen my name in a few comments sections on other blogs) and spend a great deal of my spare time writing fanfiction about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and in other fandoms, which I post here and here.
Having said all that, this post is about baseball.
[wait for most of audience to tune out]
OK, for those of you still reading, baseball is my consistent obsession when it comes to sports. I follow football, basketball, tennis, and a few other sports casually–meaning that I hear about major occurrences and tune in come playoff time. Track and field and swimming rise to obsession level once every four years for the Olympics. Baseball, on the other hand, has my attention even in the off season, when trades and other non-game activity is enough to pique my interest. Yes, baseball is my sport, and the Dodgers are my team.
Now, this can be a painful situation to be in. Being a Dodger fan is not painful in the same way as being a Cubs fan or a Red Sox fan is–I’ve seen the Dodgers win the World Series in my lifetime, while you can probably count the people in the city of Chicago who remember the last time the Cubs won on the fingers of, well, Three Fingers Brown. The Dodgers are creative in finding ways to torment their fans. In 1980, it was a failed free agent pitcher wasting the miracle comeback of the last weekend by blowing up in a one game playoff. In 1982 it was Joe Morgan who finished them off for the Giants; in 1985 it was Jack Clark who did the honors for the Cardinals. For the fan who can remember Brooklyn, it is Bobby Thomson and 1951 that provoke sudden fits of weeping. Oh sure, the Dodgers have had more than their share of success over the years, and the occasional miracle win (Kirk Gibson, 1988), but it’s those sudden moments of victory being snatched from their hands and the long drive home afterward that makes the Dodger fan naturally a tad paranoid–they don’t really believe in good fortune unless it has already been engraved in steel and locked in a trophy case.
This year, the Dodgers are fighting with what seems like several hundred teams (really, it is more like five or six for all practical purposes) to get the single wild card bid to the NL playoffs. Baseball purists hate the wild card, and I was a skeptic when it was introduced–while I do think it detracts from the three divisional races in each league, it creates a virtual fourth race in each league that can be interesting to watch, though the fact that interleague play as it currently exists guarantees that some teams will have a far easier time of winning the wild card due to a weaker schedule than others seems to be an intractable problem. The Dodgers have a good shot, though they’ve been surviving this year with a team that has virtually no offensive capability, along with superlative pitching and defense. They lose a lot of games 1-0 and 2-1; logically, this is no worse than losing games 10-9 or 7-6, but at least a team like that seems to be doing something even when it’s getting its ass kicked. In any event, I’m trying to stay hopeful, but I’m probably not going to rest easy until the 2003 season is in the books for the Dodgers, win or lose.
Next post will be about politics. Promise.