Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell. Today, the “Old man yells at cloud” version of me writes the newsletter.
As many of you know, I also write the Dodgers newsletter for The Times, and have since 2014. So, I get a lot of emails after Dodger games. About 90% of them are from calm, rational Dodgers fans, but then there’s the 10% who write me after the Dodgers lost to the New York Yankees on Sunday, meaning the Yankees took two out of three in the series. Here’s a basic condensed version of those emails:
“It’s obvious the Dodgers don’t have what it takes to win the World Series this season. Might as well start looking toward next year.”
I just don’t understand this type of fan. A fan who just gives up at the first sign of bad times. A fan who must not have studied baseball history at all if they think these three games mean that much.
Were the Yankees the better team this weekend? Yep. Did the Dodgers fail to rise to the occasion? Yep. What does this mean for a potential World Series matchup? Nothing.
To use just one example, the 1988 Dodgers lost to the Mets 10 times and beat them only once. They were outscored 49-18 in those games. And then the 1988 Dodgers beat the Mets in the NLCS.
So, by all means tell me how disappointing the weekend was. Tell me the Yankees were the better team this weekend. Tell me various Dodgers did not step up to the plate and seemed overmatched by it all. Tell me it makes you nervous about the playoffs.
But to tell me it means the Dodgers won’t win? Do me a favor and stop watching now. Because why bother if you already know how it’s going to end?
You are looking with your heart and not your logic. The Angels defeated the Dodgers all four games this season. I guess that makes the Angels the best team in baseball.
The Yankees lost three of four to Arizona. Good thing Arizona isn’t going to the playoffs. They have lost every game to Oakland. Better hope they don’t meet them in the playoffs.
In short, it would have been great if the Dodgers had swept the Yankees. But if they had, would you be saying it guarantees they will win the World Series? No? Then why the opposite?
It’s possible the Yankees lose in the first round of the playoffs. It’s possible the Dodgers lose in the first round. It’s possible the Washington Nationals win it all. We know no more about any of those situations than we did Thursday. So, take a deep breath, take a few minutes to work through a poor weekend, and put it behind you.
Yankees come away from series against Dodgers feeling satisfied and confident
That brings me to the other big news, this from Saturday: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has retired.
“This is not an easy decision. Honestly, the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me,” Luck said during a news conference after an exhibition game in Indianapolis. “For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab, and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason, and I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football.
“My teammates, I feel so conflicted because of my love for these men, but it is clear to me that what’s best for this team is that it doesn’t involve me.”
Luck is 29.
“I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live,” Luck said. “Taken the joy out of this game, and after 2016, when I played in pain and was unable to regularly practice, I made a vow to myself that I would not go down that path again. I find myself in a similar situation and the only way forward for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle that I’ve been in.
“I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road.”
It’s sad when anyone has to retire prematurely because of injuries, and general reaction among NFL players has been greatly supportive. You know where it hasn’t been as supportive? Among NFL fans and those in the media. They have called him “soft” and “weak.”
I don’t think you can call an NFL quarterback “soft” or “weak” because he has decided to step away from a sport that has left him with multiple injuries and concussions. Perhaps he’d like to be able to walk when he’s 50 and enjoy life with his family.
LAFC and the Galaxy played to a 3-3 draw Sunday night, but the worse news for LAFC is a hamstring injury to Carlos Vela.
LAFC has the best record in the league over the last two seasons but it’s winless in five games with the Galaxy. And it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who kept it that way, scoring twice in the first 16 minutes to give Galaxy a lead LAFC couldn’t overcome.
Vela, the league’s leading scorer, left the game due to a hamstring injury in the 61st minute, eight minutes after he scored what proved to be the game’s final goal.
The substitution appeared to pain Vela more than his hamstring did, however, with the LAFC captain gesturing angrily at coach Bob Bradley, then punching at a row of red water bottles behind the bench.
Vela has scored or assisted on 42 of LAFC’s 74 goals this season, so losing him for an extended period could prove devastating.
Odds and ends
Plaschke: Paradise football brings smiles and tears in first game since Camp fire.... Chip Kelly is measuring UCLA’s success on his terms as expectations grow.... Elliott: Novak Djokovic is focused on winning U.S. Open -- and Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record.... Jaime Barria is determined to make his latest Angels starting stint a permanent one.... Ben Roethlisberger shakes off the rust in Steelers’ preseason win over Titans.... Chargers’ struggles along the offensive line among Anthony Lynn’s biggest concerns.... Sean McVay remains confident about keeping Rams stars out of preseason games.... Sportscaster Matt Vasgersian shares three ways baseball could be more watchable.... No surprise: Dorian Thompson-Robinson listed as UCLA’s starting quarterback.... Sparks beat Sun to extend home winning streak to 11 games.... Rory McIlroy surges past Brooks Koepka to win the Tour Championship.
Today’s local major sports schedule
All times Pacific
Dodgers at San Diego, 7 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Born on this date
1937: NBA coach Tom Heinsohn
1952: Swimmer John Kinsella
1957: Former Dodger Alex Trevino
1964: Former Dodger Chad Kreuter
1968: NFL player Courtney Hall
1989: NBA player James Harden
1952 World Series Game 6, Dodgers vs. Yankees. Watch it here.