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Staying positive with the Dodgers, even during negative times

The Dodgers are slumping, but fans don't think Page 2 should be harping on that. So it's "Go Dodgers go," at least until they lose another game.

September 12, 2012|T.J. Simers

PHOENIX — Ninth inning, down by one run with Kemp, Gonzalez and Ramirez due up.

Go Dodgers go.

And yes, the following story is brought to you by your hometown columnist with the positive slant that you have come to expect from your hometown newspaper.

Or as Zachary put it in an email early Wednesday: "Right now the Dodgers don't need people asking them about their joy. They need to figure out their problem and fix it from within.

"What team would want to win games when their city's newspaper continually publishes unproductive stories like this that plant ideas in their heads that not even their own city supports them."

Hard to argue, an NFL official telling me years ago the league decided to give an expansion franchise to Houston just because the Houston paper was more supportive than The Times.

I thought Houston got the team because Bob McNair wrote a $700-million check and L.A. millionaires went belly up at the deadline, but maybe he's right.

Maybe I should be writing how good the Dodgers are even if they are not because they are our team.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has new owners and one of them was quoted as saying he expects his writers to push for a new football stadium and call out anyone who thinks differently.

Union-Tribune sports columnist Tim Sullivan wasn't so sure, claiming such a stance might damage the paper's credibility.

His position: "The paper's primary responsibility is to protect the public from another bad deal, such as the one that resulted in San Diego agreeing to guarantee sellouts for the Chargers."

Sullivan was fired.

You wouldn't want me to end up like Sullivan? Never mind.

If the people want to read only good things about the Dodgers, why fight it?

In fact it was like watching little kids playing ball, only the grown-up Dodgers, hooting, hollering and taking infield practice before the game Wednesday night without the ball.

The standings, the team's recent play and the monotony of pregame warmups replaced with nothing but joyous fun.

Imagine that.

It starts with Albuquerque Isotopes Manager Lorenzo Bundy, acting as if he's tossing a ball in the air and then hitting groundballs to the infielders.

He begins with Luis Cruz, who goes to his left as if stopping a double down the line. He throws it across the field to Adrian Gonzalez, and let me just say, as imaginary throws go, it's a great one.

When Bundy "hits" it to Gonzalez he bends over and looks between his legs as if the ball has gone through and into right field. It's pretty funny stuff.

They run double plays without a ball and go around the horn after every play.

Mark Ellis goes deep behind second, throwing off balance to Gonzalez, who makes like the ball is never going to come down. For the first time since he's been here, Gonzalez appears relaxed.

Team President Stan Kasten has flown in for the game, and I'm not the one who is going to jump to the conclusion he's here to scrutinize Don Mattingly's managerial work.

He's probably just here for the infield show. GM Ned Colletti and assistant GM Logan White are also here, high-fives all around as everyone watches the Dodgers at their best as they fire the imaginary ball around.

Inside the clubhouse Matt Treanor apologizes for becoming too emotional a day earlier. He says his outburst was out of character and he was only trying to be supportive of his teammates.

Treanor jokes he was caught without his athletic supporter while having Page 2 read to him and he will not make that mistake again. I have no idea what he means but he comes across as a great guy.

It's another upbeat sign; maybe the Dodgers suddenly can turn into a great team. Go Dodgers go.

The game begins, two men on with Gonzalez up and maybe he really is relaxed. He hits a rocket double to right. Two runs score and there's no cheering in the press box, but it's all right in the hometown newspaper.


They win this game, as Kasten is saying, and phantom batting practice is next, our new owners thinking of everything.

But I wonder what I should write if we lose, and while that's not a possibility, of course, that would make 11 losses in 17 games since the Boston trade.

"What is the deal with your tired anti-Dodger act?" writes Chris in an e-mail.

I don't know; I've always struggled to say nice things about losers.

"You owe the players an apology," writes Chuck in an email received earlier in the day; and here I thought the Dodgers were disappointing, but it's really me.

Should I be telling the Dodgers not to worry? We're with them no matter what happens? Should I avoid any mention of losing or failing to score? Should I keep my criticism to myself?

It'd sure make it easier to be a hometown columnist if they won on occasion.

They are trailing 3-2. I can't believe it; our guys looked so good playing without a ball.

STOP THE PRESSES! We have Kemp leading off the ninth followed by the top two players acquired in trades. Your hometown newspaper applauds such promise.

Kemp grounds out to first.

No worries, we have Gonzalez, and who else would you want in a situation like this? OK, so maybe not Gonzalez because he takes a called third strike for the second straight night in the ninth.

But it's not his fault the umps have it in for him as he tells everyone later. And as his hometown newspaper now we'll overlook the crybaby antics.

Ramirez grounds out to end the game, but the important thing here is our team gave it their best.

It's just too bad their best isn't much to write home about.

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