Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

You Know What They Say About Payback...

The 2013 baseball season hasn’t been real fun for me in this neck of the woods.  With the Dodgers sitting in last place for almost two months, Bay Area fans have poked fun at the Dodgers, constantly reminding the world of their lack of “chemistry,” and of their $220 million dollar payroll.  “Money doesn’t buy championships,” they’d repeatedly say.  Well not in 82 games seasons I suppose, but things are quickly changing.  The Los Angeles Dodgers are a different team now, and the baseball world is taking notice.

Yasiel Puig points to the sky after doubling off the Coors Field right field wall in tonight's action, an 8-0 Dodger win. (photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Up until June 20th or so, at work life has been almost unbearable.   I'm THE Dodger fan in the work force and often the target of light hearted jokes.  That's cool though because I have always been able to handle it.   In past years, I’ve usually had a snappy comeback or two for their hostile comments, but this year, I couldn’t refute many of their claims because the ball club was awful.  They went a full three months without winning more than two consecutive games for heaven’s sake.

Sure, there were the injuries, but nobody wants to hear about those, and they would be just excuses anyway.  We all know of the record number of players on the Dodger D.L. this year, but that’s just bad luck and nobody would look back at the season and say, “They would have won it if the injuries didn’t hit.”  Injuries are a lame excuse and good teams overcome the injuries.

But then Yasiel Puig happened.  At first they said he was a fluke.  Then the comments were that the league would eventually figure him out.  But they knew better.  They saw the 5 tools.  They saw that he has a lot of Mantle and Mays in him.  There were some snickers about the errors of enthusiasm from the kid.  “He’s not ready,” they’d say.  “He’s making dumb mistakes.”  Deep down I knew it though, they were scared.  They were very scared.  Now, one month after Puig’s debut, they’re downright terrified.

That guy is going to be a Dodger for years to come, and he’ll dominate, and they know it.  There’s never been a Dodger of this magnitude, ever.   He’s got Clemente’s arm and swagger. Mantle’s power and strength.  Mays’ and Jackie's speed and cockiness on the bases.  Dimaggio and Williams’ ability to hit with consistency.  Rickey Henderson’s explosive speed out of the batter’s box.  All he lacks is maturity, and that comes with time and experience.

A 9 1/2 game defecit has been reduced to 2 1/2 games.  Everyone in the division is losing except the Dodgers.  This is a comeback of August, 1982 proportions.  We might be talking about this comeback for years to come in fact.  The stars are hitting their stride.  Hanley Ramirez is feeling as good physically as when he dominated the league in 2009.  Clayton Kershaw is pitching lights out baseball and on the verge of breaking through with 10-12 wins in a row.  Stephen Fife has arrived.  Carl Crawford is about to return.  Hyun-Jin Ryu on pace to get Rookie of the Year, except Puig will steal the award from him.

Clayton Kershaw tossed his second complete game shutout of the season, this time against the Rockies. (photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

As little as two weeks ago, many of us had written off the season.  Now we have grandiose ideas about post season play and what Puig will do on the world stage.  I can see it now.  Dazzling defensive plays, outfield assists, powerful home run displays, clutch game winning hits.  It’s everything a Dodger fan has dreamed of for 25 years.

This fan base just may be rewarded after so many lackluster seasons since the Dodgers celebrated on the Oakland Coliseum grass in 1988.  It’s about time.

Jeff Passan's yahoo sports story on Yasiel Puig's dangerous defection attempt is a compelling read.

Ron Cervenka interviewed Don Newcombe at ThinkBlueLA.com and the Dodger legend essentially tells the world that Puig might be the greatest player he's ever seen.  Don't miss this interview, a MUST READ.

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