In one sense, the new ownership and front office have given fans something they haven’t had in quite some time: Expectations — which can be both gift and curse.
Put this way: I’ve been a Dodgers fan for all 29 years of my life. Not til these last few seasons have I been truly disappointed in how the season ended. We headed into each campaign having looked at the roster and having seen the payroll inflate (though, for the millionth time, that’s no way to gauge quality of talent on the roster) and expected more than just another early-round exit.
So, while I’m obviously thankful the team heads into another season as a competitive team (which it is and anyone who says otherwise is overreacting to the nth degree), the downside is that expectations can fail to be met just by definition of having expectations.
Honestly, it’s pretty crazy how quickly Dodgers fans became so spoiled given how poorly the organization was run before this new ownership group.
Team President Stan Kasten would never say as much, but he did speak recently to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman and what he said was pretty damn impressive.
“I remind the thin-skinned people in front offices of the smart words Hyman Roth gave Michael Corleone in that hotel room in Havana — ‘This is the business we have chosen,’ ” Kasten said by phone. “The criticism and fishbowl scrutiny is just part of the business. … I am really proud to represent a team that has won 90 games and the division title [each of the last three years]. Yet, that is not good enough for our fans, the media, ownership and me. That is the way it should be. We are the Dodgers, we represent Los Angeles. We should expect to compete for the top every year. Criticism is what goes along with that, which is just fine.”
I’d put it in other words, but wouldn’t come anywhere close to how perfectly Kasten said it; so I won’t even try.
With the recent regular season success the team has enjoyed recently has come the desire for more. This is perfectly fine so long as said desire doesn’t blind fans and the organization alike to the process it takes to get there.
For Kasten, it definitely sounds like the criticism isn’t having that affect, which lends itself to the patience needed to be successful in this hyper-competitive city we call home.