Grieve, it’s OK. Has to happen before moving on. And somewhat unexpectedly, it is time for the Dodgers to move on.
There is no escaping the disappointment for Dodgers and their fans. They were absolutely certain they were onto something special. Even trailing three games to two heading into St. Louis, their confidence bordered on cockiness.
Then they not only lost, they were humbled, 9-0, by St. Louis. The Cardinals did the happy dance, the Cardinals advanced to the World Series.
The Dodgers and their amazing up-and-down season came to a sudden end, a Mini Cooper happily cruising along the coast until crashing into an unforeseen wall. What happened?
The Dodgers can point to injuries and to the pitch in the National League Championship Series opener that took out their best weapon, Hanley Ramirez. But the Cardinals played without cleanup hitter Allen Craig, closer Jason Motte, starter Jaime Garcia, and all season without shortstop Rafael Furcal.
The Cardinals won because they were the better team. Made fewer mistakes, came through in the clutch, got huge results from their small army of fire-throwing young arms.
So it ends for the Dodgers, but at least in it ends late into October. It ends with a season to build on, with the promise that the franchise has returned to a high level and intends to remain.
There will be changes, certainly. There will be key decisions made in the coming off-season.
But there will be neither some monstrous roster makeover nor some patching things up on the cheap. In less than two years, the Guggenheim Baseball Management has initiated a marvelous turnaround from the dispirited organization Frank McCourt left behind.
The Dodgers were awful, then they were miraculous, and finally, just not good enough. But they finished two games shy of the World Series and gave us one of the most entertaining seasons in years.
So, after the grieving and after the slumped heads are lifted, at least take comfort that this season announced the Dodgers are back among baseball’s elite and may only be getting started.