The Dodgers and Angels have clearly shown us that regular-season records and inflated payrolls, regardless of how impressive, do not make champions. Championships are earned in the postseason, and happen when each individual player performs to his maximum level of excellence for the benefit of the team. The postseason is a test of character, confidence in one's ability, and most of all, performance. When the game is on the line, champions will find a way to excel and win.
It's perfect timing that both teams, lacking the ability to perform when it mattered most, wimpishly exited the playoffs only days before a team that epitomizes the word "champion" — the Los Angeles Kings — took the ice. The stage has been cleared for the big boys. I suggest that the players on both teams are required to watch as many Kings games as possible as part of their off-season training to learn how champions play. And memo to the Dodgers: All Kings games are available on local TV.
Joe Torre said it best when speaking of the sport that has essentially been his life, "This is a funny game." Stuff happens, no one knows why or how, it happens. A few more games would have been fun, but the sun will rise tomorrow. Former Dodgers great Willie Davis summed it all up after committing three errors in one inning of the 1966 World Series against Baltimore with Koufax on the mound for the Dodgers, "It's not my wife and it's not my life."
Wait till next year.
Blame Mattingly, blame Colletti, blame Scully, blame the fans, blame the sportswriters, blame, blame, blame. The Dodgers' hitters didn't hit well and the pitchers didn't pitch well, simple as that. Enough of the blame game.
Don Mattingly isn't Donnie Baseball, he's Wrong Way Corrigan. Whenever he reaches a decision about pulling or staying with one of our pitchers, all he has to do is the exact opposite and it's sure to work. The Dodgers' staff, composed of some of the best hurlers in baseball, will never sniff postseason success under the reign of this incompetent, clueless clown.
Don Mattingly is either the most unlucky manager on the planet or the dumbest. Every matchup he chooses turns out to blow up in his face. Leaving Kershaw in too long, pulling Greinke too early, pulling Ryu too early and putting in the wrong bullpen choice every time. Plus, he's an ex-Yankee.
0-60 when losing in the eighth inning. Donnie Baseball, "Thanks for the memories".
Don Mattingly's postseason decisions were a microcosm of all year. Now the world sees how poor he is at managing this team.
The Dodgers moved Tim Wallach to the bench this year to assist Mattingly as I believe the owners do not have complete belief in Mattingly's ability as a game manager. And based on what we've seen, I agree with them. Time to move Wallach further down the bench into the manager position.
This team has a short window of opportunity, and to see it compromised by continued poor decisions in crucial times must be dealt with.
Dodgers' No. 1 priority in the off-season? Fire Don Mattingly and replace him with a someone who is not afraid to pull Clayton Kershaw or anyone else if need be.
Manager walks to the mound, asks his prized starter if he can continue in a key playoff game. Indecisive manager looks into the starter's eyes and despite the starter being gassed, manager leaves him in. The starter proceeds to get shelled, costing the team the series and ultimately the manager his job.
You tell me: Red Sox Grady Little and Pedro Martinez in 2003 or Mattingly-Kershaw 2014?
Kirk Gibson is available. Just sayin'....
In regards to Bill Plaschke's question, "Did you really want to see a weary J.P. Howell there instead of Kershaw?"
Considering Plaschke's own description of Clayton "being gassed" when starting the seventh inning after throwing 99 pitches in 100-degree heat, and subsequently watching Kershaw ducking screaming line drives a few times, then, yes, Bill, I would want to see a pitcher who has had four days' rest rather than Kershaw.
Bill Plaschke's analysis of the Dodgers' shortcomings absolutely nailed it!
From poor relief pitching, to poor offensive execution, to poor managerial decisions, the "wealthiest" payroll in baseball was a "poor excuse" for a true championship contender.
Cannot for the life of me understand how the Dodgers lost yet another postseason series to the St. Louis Cardinals, but I'll try anyway:
A starting pitching rotation that lacked a consistent fourth starter,
Undisciplined batters swinging at first pitches for the fences,
A team average with runners in scoring position that makes the Mendoza Line seem Ruthian,
An inability to come back after falling behind,
A bullpen that was an abject failure,
Baserunning gaffes that most high school teams don't commit,
A manager that was so over his head making stupefying decisions it boggles the mind.
Nope, I got nothing in terms of why Blue lost the series. Just a fluke!
For those who question whether Ned Colletti should be pink-slipped immediately, three words provide the answer:
Wilson, League, Perez.
Of course, Kershaw supports A.J. Ellis, who is his best friend. What's not to like about a catcher who handles the pitchers well? The answer, to me, is his batting average, well below the Mendoza Line for most of the season. If Mike Piazza, Mike Scioscia, Pudge Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, Elston Howard, et al could all handle pitchers well and still present a threat at the plate, I think the current Dodgers deserve no less.
Let's let management select the players.
Edward J. Costello
I'm not exactly sure what $240 million buys these days, but in the case of the Dodgers, I hope it includes a full-page apology in The Times for yet another dismal postseason. Fans deserve no less.
Mark J. Featherstone
I'm looking for a slightly used bubble machine to illustrate the meaning of the word "disrespect." Anybody?
What the Angels really lost was more than being swept by the Royals. Pope Scioscia's inflexible decisions and choices that didn't work must have been hard to swallow for all of the regulars and bench players. I know that players on a team lose trust, faith, belief and hope when a coach or manager is so inflexible that he refuses to admit the obvious and continues to make the same mistakes game after game.
It's going to be interesting to see which Angels team shows up next season.
One thought kept haunting me as I watched the demise of the Angels since clinching the playoff berth and home-field advantage: Firing Mickey Hatcher was a mistake that came back to haunt! He knew the importance of keeping the players engaged and loose and was a very good hitting coach as well as a loyal friend of Scioscia. Watching the K.C. series, I sensed an overall team flatness, coaching staff standing around like statues, waiting for someone to make things happen. In the other dugout, hungry players, coaching staff members were animatedly engaged in adjustments, while the manager remained calm and confident.
Look, analysis of this is easy.
Exuberance beats somnambulance. Flair triumphs over futility. Interest prevails over lack of interest. Hunger beats ho-hum.
Only one team showed up. The other left when it wrapped up the best record in the regular season. Didn't the Ducks do the same thing in the spring? The Angels didn't learn the lesson, and now they head home as the Ducks' NHL season gets underway.
Maybe next year the Halos will play for the playoffs, not for the regular season.
Did the Rangers ever thank the Angels for taking and overpaying two players, one who has great hair but can't pitch and the other a rally killer who looks like he is playing Wiffle Ball?
Hey Mike! Is there any chance of putting Josh Hamilton as the cleanup batter for the fourth game?
Angels are red,
Dodgers are blue
But white is the color
Of the flag they both flew.
Hail to the Trojans
Be sure to join us this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for another episode of this season's highly acclaimed comedy with one-liners from the head coach like "Justin Wilcox is doing a really good job" and "We're lucky to have him!" This new hit program directed by Pat Haden will leave you in tears. Don't miss "Sark Tank" on ESPN2!
Playa del Rey
Regarding the disaster that USC football is this year, it is not the team that needs to refocus; it's the coaching staff that needs to be replaced. For this, we gave up Coach O?
When I heard that USC lost on a "Hail Mary" I knew that a USC defensive player went for a selfish interception rather then simply knocking the ball down. Sure enough, your photo on Monday shows Hayes Pullard going for the INT. Well, he'll probably make a good professional player.
It has been 60 short years since UCLA last won a football national championship, and now the gutty little Bruins have everyone else right where they want them. In the next few weeks, all they have to do is win out against Oregon, Arizona, USC, Stanford, Auburn and Alabama and they will get their furry little bear claws on title No. 2. Good work, Bruins!
William David Stone
I feel sorry for Kobe Bryant. At age 36, it must be an onerous burden to have to play well enough, game after game, to be worthy of being considered to be the 24th-best player in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Fax: (213) 237-4322