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I’ve been your fan since the days that my only knowledge of you was hearing the not so far away cheers from the stadium as I played in Elysian Park when I was a child. If you put a drop of Tommy Lasorda’s Dodger Blue blood next to a drop of mine, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.
My point is, like so many others, I love this team, win or lose. That said, this season has been like none that I’ve ever witnessed. It’s been a strange ride, to say the least. All season we fans have been surprised at almost every turn. Who saw any of this coming? The incredible winning streaks and steamrolling just about every other team in the majors was big fun. I can’t even imagine how great it must have been to be on the field and the dugout during those high-flying times.
Now we all sit mired in just about the worst losing streak and bad mojo that the franchise has ever known. As a writer, I’ve done my share of analysis and opining over the causes of the losses, and what I would do if I were manager. During these dark days I’ve been angry, frustrated, and just plain blue (and not the good kind of blue). Again, I can only imagine what that must feel like from your point of view.
We all know there’s still time to pull out of this funk, and there’s no better place for it to happen than against the hated Giants. Some of you on the team probably don’t know much – or really care – about the long and bitter rivalry against the orange and black. That won’t matter, because the fan bases of both teams care quite a bit about “the shot heard ’round the world, Juan Marichal’s bat, and Steve Finley’s grand slam, just to name a few of the stories swirling around one of baseball’s longest and bitterest rivalries.
As you open tonight’s series in Frisco (they hate to be called Frisco, you see), their fans, and more importantly to you, their team, will see you as a wounded enemy. They would love nothing more than to slam you from home plate to those ridiculous toy cars in their outfield. Every year these late-season, Dodgers-Giants matchups have a postseason air about them, regardless of either team’s standings. This could be an advantage for you.
The Giants smell Dodger blood in McCovey Bay. Their fans are going to let you have it tonight like they used to bring it back when Tommy Lasorda walked the guantlet down their first base line back in the day. Their team is going to feed off that energy and do everything they can to put you down for good.
Take a long look in the mirror, Dodgers. THIS is your season right here, right now. Those champagne days of the early summer are long behind you, and this series is the chance to put those recent god-awful, dog days in the rear view mirror as well.
Feed off the atmosphere tonight. Make every pitch, every at bat, and every dash around the bases count like none have counted all season. You can turn things around and emerge from this series as the champions we all know you are. Focus on the fundamentals that got you here, find those intangibles that are inside of all of you.
Tommy Lasorda spoke about the strength of twenty-five men all pulling on the rope together. He was right then, and he’s still right today. There are countless Dodgers fans out here, and we’re all pulling on the rope with you. It all starts with one pitch, one base hit, one home run splashing into that stupid cove. We’re with you Dodgers. All the way.