It’s no secret: there is a significant faction of Dodgers fans around Los Angeles, and even those that reside far away from the city, are not exactly thrilled with the model and plan that current president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has put into place. They want to win, and now. But he’s stressing patience.
People hate patience.
When he says that a division title is success, fans scream at him for not saying that it’s “world championship or bust.” When he wants to spend money on international free agents, fans yell at him for not spending the money on a high-priced free agent such as pitcher Zack Greinke. It’s all part of the process, though.
The result is that Friedman can’t afford to fail, not even for a single season. Fans are already skeptical of him. If the Dodgers don’t make the playoffs this year, he will be branded the second coming of Paul DePodesta.
Fans are going to probably call for Friedman’s head if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean that his model isn’t working. Then again, that’s the nature of fans in sports anyways. It’s not to take a slam at fans, but rather to show how divisive everything happens to be.
Fans want results, and they should, and if they don’t get them then heads will roll:
Though Friedman might perceive the upcoming season as the next step of a rebuilding process, it marks a potential crossroads for him. It could determine how Los Angeles defines him.
If the Dodgers fail to make the playoffs, or fail to make it beyond the first round in the playoffs, then the fanbase will likely start to grow exceedingly tired of Friedman and his analytical ways. However, if the team manages to win it all then the fans will embrace him like no other.
That’s the game Friedman is playing. He’s playing the long game, hoping to get the prospects rounded out enough to formulate a dynasty that wreaks havoc on the National League for years. But fans want the short-term results as well as the long-term results. Friedman will have to balance both to appease everyone.