Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

KURT STREETER

Pleading to the Big Dodger in the Sky

June 15, 2008|Kurt Streeter

Oh Great God of Baseball, redeemer of Clemens and Cobb, a heavy burden roils my soul and leads me to this prayer.

I've grown weary, Great One, beaten down by a long succession of painful seasons. The Dodgers are an ugly 31 and 37 this year and I can no longer steel myself against the steady tides of misery.

I have questions -- questions pondered by the Dodgers' multitudes for at least a generation now. Holy Spirit of Balls and Strikes, what in the name of Don Drysdale have you done to the Dodgers?

Why have you cursed them so? Will you hear prayers for their redemption?

As you know, like so many others who call L.A. home, I did not become a fan of your game in this sun-spotted land. It was you who strengthened my youthful soul during the long nights spent in the baseball Babylon that was Seattle's dreary Kingdome.

In those long ago days you gave me hope, showed me that there was a better way -- the Dodgers Way. I watched from afar, a lump of envy in my throat, the teams of Garvey and Lopes, Cey and Baker, Fernando and Sax.

There were signs everywhere back then that you'd put your firm hand on the Dodgers, and that you'd done so since their days in Brooklyn. What else but providence could explain the guts and grace of Jackie Robinson and the World Series win of 1955?

Through all of those years, the Dodgers had owners who were confident, patient and smart. The success of the field manager was measured not season to season, but decade to decade. Those who played for the O'Malleys were part of teams stuffed with strong arms, speed, and resourcefulness, teams backed by a farm system that shuttled in nobodies and made them stars. How we long for another Maury Wills, near a decade in the minor leagues before bursting through our doors.

So what was it, Jehovah of the Double Play, that caused you to banish this team to the wilderness?

Did it start in 1987, when Al Campanis turned his back on one of your commandments: Do not put foot in thy mouth and act a fool?

If so, then how do we explain 1988, the World Series, Gibson and his home run miracle?

Was this last spasm of winning a tease meant to torment? One last taste before the long drought?

What shall we make of the suffering we've witnessed since Gibson's fall night? It has been two decades and there's been nary a playoff series win. The '90s came and this team was plagued by malcontents -- Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Brown and their kind -- who swarmed like hungry locusts.

Back then, shortly after I moved a few miles north of Dodger Stadium, a new, blustery general manager came to the team, announcing he was the "new sheriff in town." Clearly, we'd been forsaken.

Was it Campanis? The rising cost of Dodger Dogs? Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields?

Now it is 2008 and Dodger Stadium is less a ballpark than a well-attended graveyard, haunted by the past. In days gone by we could rely on season after season of wonderful baseball. Now we are lucky to get greatness two games in a row.

The new manager? Torre the Yank, the one man everyone thought would be able to bring stability, is so far proving no better than last year's manager, or the man who steered the Dodgers five years back, or the one who led the team 10 years ago.

Ownership? The McCourts of Boston are fine enough folks, but their moves are too often skittish and uncertain and they've yet to convince fans that they're in this for a whole lot more than self-promotion. The McCourts need a sure hand. Their team needs redemption.

And so, Yahweh of the Sacrifice Fly, in the name of weary Dodgers fans everywhere, please hear this prayer. Please make our team fun to watch again. Give this team, once more, season upon season of line drives and Gold Gloves. Replace their sense of doom and churlishness with quiet calm.

Give Jeff Kent a smile and good manners.

Have his teammates comfort him with a group hug.

Heal the downtrodden arms and aching backs.

Grant Andruw Jones 1 1/2 more good seasons before seeing him off to a purgatory filled with beef brisket he cannot eat.

------

"Kurt my son, this is He, the Lord of No-Hitters.

"I send this message to you and the multitudes in this time of Dodgers woes: Trust in me, for I have already created the team you are praying for. I have laden them with the dew of heavenly baseball skills and aptly named them to spread the good news. They are . . . the Angels."

--

Kurt Streeter can be reached at kurt.streeter@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Streeter, go to latimes.com/streeter.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|