Letters to Sports: Dodgers might have caught a break but proved they were better
If any of these doubters and naysayers were watching one of the biggest games in Dodgers history Thursday night, they will surely acknowledge that Roberts’ management of this game was nothing short of masterful as his precision pitching changes were absolutely the difference in this game.
Doc is, will be and deserves to manage this team for the foreseeable future.
In perhaps the greatest chapter in the history of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry, the Dodgers prevail, winning an intense five-game playoff series.
Let’s be real. While it was a bad call to end the Giants game, the likelihood that Flores gets a hit off Scherzer down 1-2 in the count was very slim.
Did Wilmer Flores swing? Probably not.
Were the Giants robbed? Probably so.
Did the Giants cheat with a center-field spy perched in the scoreboard on the infamous Bobby Thomson home run? It’s been absolutely documented.
So, the Dodgers finally caught a break. And, we’re “tied“ 1–1.
A check swing is unlike any other call in baseball. It isn’t defined in the rule book, is often deferred from one umpire to another, and can’t be reviewed.
If the Giants had only had the Polo Grounds scoreboard operator in Oracle Park to relay the pitching signs Wilmer Flores would have known not to even start his swing. Legions of Brooklyn fans now in their late 70s and up should thank Gabe Morales for channeling Ralph Branca and balancing the books.
Much has been made by Giants fans and some media members about the missed check swing call at the end of Game 5, but let’s be clear: It cost them a strike, not the game. It wasn’t a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded that prevented the winning run from scoring, as happened to the Dodgers this season. It was an 0-2 pitch with two outs and a runner at first to a batter with a lifetime 0-for-17 record against the pitcher.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler said of this long, magical season, “when we need something, we always get it.” But the laws of the universe aren’t dictated by magic and, at some point, that thin thread will finally break the wrong way. The Dodgers’ pitching held the Giants to one run; not enough scoring to withstand a break going against them. Kudos to the Giants for having an incredible season. And credit to the Dodgers; they pitched lights out and got clutch hits when they needed them. That shouldn’t be tarnished.
There’s a history this season of bad checked swing calls for the Dodgers and Giants.
We Dodgers fans waited 131 years for this. Sorry, Giants fans, but Tom Hanks said it best, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Dodgers’ to-do list for Game 5:
Mookie gets four hits. Check.
Bellinger knocks in the game-winning run. Check.
Mad Max comes out of the bullpen to close out the game and the series. Check.
Wilmer Flores goes down “swinging” and the Giants lose. Ummm … Check?
Axel W. Kyster
Mookie Betts plays a big role in the Dodgers’ Game 5 win, showcasing what he adds to a franchise that is closer to defending its World Series title.
After watching the end of the Dodgers–Giants game, the only thing you can say is, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”
The Dodgers won 18 more regular-season games this year than the Braves. By all rights, L.A. has earned home-field advantage in the NLCS against Atlanta. But because of an arbitrary rule, the Dodgers (as a wild-card team and not division champion) are being penalized for those wins instead of rewarded for them. It’s wrong and it’s unfair.
The Dodgers won 106 games this season. The Atlanta Braves won 88. When they play in the NLCS, Atlanta will have home-field advantage. Here’s why.
For the Halo’s sake
Re: “The Day the Angels Fell From Heaven”
When the comprehensive Halo history is written, please let it be from the keyboard of Mike DiGiovanna.
Thanks a lot! It took moving to a state with no MLB team for me to get over that game.
Thirty-five years later, Al Michaels says Game 5 of the 1986 Red Sox-Angels ALCS is second only to the “Miracle on Ice” as the greatest game he’s called.
Gruden’s email trail
By now I would hope that there is no surprise that another high-profile person, Jon Gruden, has been exposed by discovery of past racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails.
The surprise should be that people, specifically Rams head coach Sean McVay, are surprised and saddened by the emails. It does no good to society to state, as McVay did in The Times, that “I have not seen that side of him.” Obviously a bigoted person does not always want everyone to become aware of this fact.
Our society has to reach a point where these actions are indefensible. We cannot have a statute of limitations on this. Jon Gruden’s moral character is exactly what is in the emails, period. Sean McVay needed to say just that. There is no apology, excuse or expression of sadness that can undo the damage that is done.
Only by facing the fact that these actions are unforgivable can we hope to move forward to a society where every person, regardless of religion, race or sexual orientation, is treated as a valued member of the diversity that is America.
Rancho Palos Verdes
A federal court filing four months ago revealed new e-mail correspondence of former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen that extended beyond Jon Gruden.
Jon Gruden’s arrogance is unfathomable. His emails contained vile, vicious and vituperative language, which gushed from the decadence embedded in his heart. His reprehensible ideology exposed, he’s draping himself in a coward‘s and charlatan’s garb by offering a non-apology. I reject his non-apology, and wonder why anyone would accept it.
Marc D. Greenwood
Camp Hill, Ala.
The resignation of Jon Gruden is certainly an unfortunate set of circumstances. Gruden is a great coach, but his private emails are no longer private. It’s hard to excuse the context of his correspondence with another longtime NFL associate, but that’s where we are.
In a world of NFL professionals, your demonstrated conduct means nothing if your private emails are offensive. It would be fair to suggest that most career NFL professionals have similar thoughts about how the game is being changed, and who is changing it. Many jocks are simply studs with more brawn than brain, and when they get together it’s all about testosterone.
So now is the time for the NFL to investigate every NFL coach and front-office executive and dig into their emails, too. If we are going to consider any of this, the NFL office and owners should have to give up their private emails, too. You can be sure Commissioner Goodell’s emails would be exceptionally entertaining, and Dan Snyder’s shorts are bunching about now.
Private and public remarks should be considered in their context. If you cannot have a private conversation, where are we?
Brian J. Goldenfeld
Gruden is the epitome of how the game is played in a multibillion-dollar industry in which the leaders don’t expect anyone to hold them accountable.
One might say the biggest mistake Jon Gruden made in writing a series of offensive emails was in not running for president when caught. Had he done so, his supporters could have said it was just Gruden being Gruden and the American people would have shrugged it off.
Bruce N. Miller
Playa del Rey
In his self-congratulatory interview with Sam Farmer, Pete Carroll talked about getting into “a great rhythm of recruiting, coaching, playing and all that.” I assume by all that he meant the unprecedented cheating and then bailing out when the heat got turned up.
Q&A: Pete Carroll on struggles of USC football since he left: “If you’ve got a masterpiece are you going to try to do it again? I don’t know. I think it’s a big challenge.”
Arthur A. Fleisher II
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.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.