Baseball can be cruel, and never more so than when a team that won 106 games over six months exits the first round of the playoffs to a second-place team.
By now, the Dodgers’ heartbreaking loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night has been dissected every which way. Judging by the reaction of our letter writers, apparently everyone knows you just don’t let future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw pitch a second inning in relief (too bad no one thought to warn Manager Dave Roberts before he made such an obvious error).
Among the few dozen letters we received were ones that looked off the field for an explanation of Los Angeles’ October woes. The biggest target of our readers’ criticism was the Dodgers’ six-year-long TV blackout for most Southern California fans; a few even trained their sites on the L.A. Times’ sports punditry.
Roger Schwarz of Los Angeles wonders about God and greed:
Spiritual explanations for sports outcomes aren’t fashionable, but on Yom Kippur, the Dodgers’ ownership group got yet another improbable slap in the face. Rational, algorithm-driven explanations no longer suffice to explain this.
Maybe the Ultimate Decider is reminding the company of its greedy broadcast contract that led to what has become a long-term TV blackout of almost all regular season Dodger games for most people in Southern California.
It’s time to look for an off-the-field solution.
Culver City resident Lew Aaronson makes a similar point:
My theory as to why the Dodgers were upset by the Nationals: God punished management for economically excluding participation of a certain group of fans by, among other things, charging $25 to park a car at Dodger Stadium and $16 for a beer.
Glendora resident Judy Thompson scolds the boo birds:
Shame on all Dodger fans who booed Kershaw as he walked off the mound after giving up two home runs.
Wouldn’t it have been powerfully motivating instead if Dodger fans stood and softly clapped out of respect? It could have helped shine a ray of hope on these players for their final at-bats.
Many people blame Kershaw and Roberts for Wednesday’s loss, and rightly so, but add to that all those Dodger fans who mismanaged their support for their team by booing one of their own.
Richard Herczog of Culver City criticizes an L.A. Times sports columnist:
It puzzles me that the Dodgers have not thought to hire Bill Plaschke as their resident hindsight hero.
Somehow he was able to know that pitcher Rich Hill was removed too early from a World Series game last year, and also that both Kershaw and reliever Joe Kelly were left in too long in this week’s playoff finale. So he puts it all on the manager Roberts, despite the anemic hitting after the second inning and despite the fact that Roberts’ relief staff was again so weak that he was forced to use starting pitchers in that role.
If the Dodgers had listened to Plaschke years ago, they would have traded away some future stars that helped them average more than 100 wins the past three years.