As Dodger fans stagger numbly today into a new era, part outraged, part inspired, mostly confused, peace can be found at the other end of a question.
Are you still about winning?
If so, then you will applaud the trade of Mike Piazza.
For the first time since the free agent-bloated Dodger squad stumbled in the final days of 1991, your team is bold again.
Your team is willing to risk public wrath for a shot at championships again.
This was something Branch Rickey would have tried, something Kirk Gibson would have loved.
Given the generous offer of the disgraceful Florida Marlins, fans shouldn't be wondering how the Dodgers could trade their best and most popular player.
They should be asking, how could they not?
These current Dodgers were bouncing out of championship contention, inching daily toward an abyss of mediocrity, with an owner who just arrived and a star who was threatening to leave.
They needed a sudden halt and a dime-sized turn, no matter how much wreckage it caused or noise it made.
This was that.
They needed a steady left fielder, haven't had one since Gibson left town.
Done. Gary Sheffield can be lousy in the clubhouse, but brilliant in the field, an even swap for a team in trouble.
They would be needing a good catcher in November, when Piazza was going to leave town because the Dodgers wouldn't outbid themselves to make him the highest, highest-paid player in baseball.
Done. Charles Johnson is one of the top three receivers in the game.
They needed another veteran to hang out in center field and on the bench.
Done. Teams try to fill their clubhouses with personalities like Jim Eisenreich's.
They needed people with World Series rings.
Done. They got four of them.
This included one from Bobby Bonilla, who is a notch below Todd Zeile at third base, but top prospect Adrian Beltre will be here next year. And anyway, what do you want?
The Marlins, now officially the most shameful professional franchise in sports history, gave them everything but their empty seats.
The Marlins gave them even more than the Chicago White Sox gave the San Francisco Giants last year, and look what that did for the Giants.
In return, the Dodgers gave up a player who was gone anyway.
Mike Piazza fans will hate this trade.
Dodger fans should love it.
Some critics say it is all about business. Yet over the long term, the total value of the contracts involved is about the same.
If this were business, the Dodgers would have traded Piazza for prospects.
Other critics say it is all about the personality conflict between Piazza and the Dodger front office. Yet if the Dodgers are in first place, nobody cares who likes whom.
If this were about personalities, the Dodgers would have traded Piazza in spring training.
It has been a while since someone could say this about a Dodger organization preoccupied with money and image, but Friday's proposed trade was splendidly about only one thing.
It was about wins.
The Dodgers have a better chance of winning with the players they received than the ones they gave up.
Mike Piazza is a potential Hall of Famer, a wonderful player who could finish his career as the game's best catcher.
But in his first five seasons, the Dodgers had zero playoff wins with him. Then this season, they were 19-21 and seven games out of first place with him.
Chances are, they could have probably done all of that without him.
None of that was his fault, of course. For his entire career here, in fact, he has been the team's most valuable player.
But he is only one player, the way Michael Jordan is only one player.
Jordan never won until he had good players around him. The Dodgers wanted to try the same thing here.
They wanted to sign Piazza, and build. They offered to make him the highest-paid player in baseball.
But Piazza wasn't buying. He wanted more. He hinted that he would leave.
They couldn't risk that, so they utilized the second option.
It is easy to blame agent Dan Lozano for ultimately forcing the Dodgers to trade Piazza, but to do so would be to imply that Piazza is somehow incapacitated.
He is not. He is a big boy. If he really wanted to remain a Dodger, he would have signed for roughly $80 million, and that would have been that.
He made a mercenary decision and now, sadly, will have to live the life of one. He will travel to baseball's south Florida purgatory only long enough for some other team to rent him until the end of the season, at which point he will be offered for sale again.
You want to blame someone, blame Paul Konerko. If the rookie hotshot had not been such a bust, the Dodgers would have never had a need for Gary Sheffield.
You want to blame someone, blame the San Diego Padres. If they don't run off and hide so early in the season, the Dodgers don't feel the pressure to make something happen.
Don't blame the Dodgers. Thank them for having the brass to take a detour from the Dodger way that, for 10 years, has led only to October failure.