Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Negativity is Getting the Best of Me
I can’t remember so much negativity prior to the start of a season since probably back during the Fox years. Posts on blogs and message boards are really started to slash my optimism of a successful Dodger season. Opening day has always brought on so much hope, but for some reason, this year, the negative vibe has got to me. There are probably a number of reasons why this is so. These are some of them that I can come up with:
First, the ownership issue is just sapping the enthusiasm out of the fan base. There had to be about 5,000 people at Monday’s game. I haven’t seen such a sparse crowd at Dodger Stadium in years. We all know that opening day will be a full house. Where the real test will be is for Friday’s game. What kind of turn out will there be for the second match with the hated ones?
After reading Bill Plaschke’s article on season ticket holders failing to renew until the ownership changes, it simply shows the seriousness of the ownership situation and the anger of the fan base. There are some real loyal Dodger fans that will not step foot in the Stadium until the McCourts are gone.
Second, there hasn’t been much to cheer since 2009. The Gnats won the World Series, which was incredibly depressing and the Dodgers simply tanked during the second half of last season. There aren’t any sure signs that things are turning around and the Giants are a real confident bunch.
Third, the “No Manny” factor leaves this club absent a true superstar. With all the problems that Manny had, he was the constantly feared bat in the lineup. Now he’s gone and an adequate replacement has not been found. Albert Pujols would be an ideal man to fill that void next year, but with the ownership situation the way it is, that is a true “pipe dream.”
Fourth, Spring Training really hasn’t raised anyone’s hopes for the season. A 13-20 record is not something that should be judged as a precursor of things to come, but it doesn’t raise one’s confidence.
Fifth, injuries to Garland, Padilla, Blake and the absence of Bellisario have weakened the roster even further. The failure of Ely, Elbert, Hoffman and Paul to emerge and win jobs when it appeared that the door of opportunity had opened for them, leads many to believe that perhaps they aren’t ever going to be anything more than average to marginal major league players in their careers.
Sixth, There seems to be a lack of confidence in the bullpen. Jonathan Broxton isn’t blowing away hitters anymore. Hong-Chih Kuo hasn’t shown a propensity to be able to pitch everyday, and Guerrier isn’t showing any signs that he is a solid middle relief pickup.
Seventh, the two bright lights in Spring Training - Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Tony Gwynn Jr. are now slumping. What looked like two locks for the starting line-up a week and a half ago are now not looking too good. DeJesus may not make the team.
Eighth, Andre Ethier makes an ill-timed statement that he might not be a Dodger next year. He questions if he’ll be non-tendered if he has a bad year. So in the back of his mind, he’s thinking that his year might not be too good. That isn’t a good sign from one of the offensive stars on the team.
Ninth, there are really no stand out prospects in the system that are “can’t miss” stars. I like Sands, Gordon and Robinson, but are they potential superstars that will carry the club for years to come? Zach Lee still hasn’t thrown a minor league pitch. Withrow and Martin haven’t dominated. I hope I’m wrong, but there doesn’t appear to be any hope to surface from within in the near future
Tenth, the outfield defense. It is simply atrocious.
Eleventh, the jury is still out there on whether Don Mattingly will make a difference. Personally, I like him and I believe he’ll succeed. But we have to recognize that there will be growing pains with having a rookie manager at the helm.
Aside from all those negatives, I see the club doing well. :) Yeah, I picked them to go all the way again. My heart is making the pick. Honestly though, my mind is worried with the reality of the eleven points mentioned above.