You know that scene in “Field of Dreams” where James Earl Jones explains the immortality of baseball? How does the quote go?
“Ray. People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around”, you’ll say, “It’s only $20 per person”. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh…people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Why thank you, internet. For those who prefer video (and why wouldn’t you): Here is the Jones’ majestic speech.
What’s the point in all this, you might ask? Well, today is Clayton Kershaw’s birthday and, as I sat down to write about it, the quote jumped out at me. Couldn’t you swap out “America” for “the Dodgers” and insert “Kershaw” for “baseball”?
Take a look at that quote again, especially the bolded part.
(The Dodgers have) rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But (Kershaw) has marked the time.
Weird how well that works, right? No we’re not talking about the scope of decades Jones is alluding to, but watching Kershaw rip off career year after career year and rewrite the record books while the Dodgers figure out pretty much everything about the organization has been something to behold.
He’s seen an ownership change, pitched for three different managers, two different owners, amidst a TV deal the likes of which we’ve never seen and yet he’s just taken care of business. In basketball, DeMarcus Cousins has dealt with organizational upheaval and moped his way through his career thus far. Yes, the Sacramento Kings are one of the worst-run franchises in all of sport and comparing anyone to them immediately makes that team look exponentially more stable, but Kershaw deserves credit for not allowing the Dodgers to become an excuse when they very easily could have.
The point in all this: Today is Clayton Kershaw’s birthday and his career is something I can’t help but marvel at. The Dodgers haven’t exactly been a pillar of strength by which to prop up Kershaw, yet there he’s been, embarking on one of the greatest careers a pitcher’s ever enjoyed.
He’s pitching today in some meaningless spring training game very few will watch, but he’ll handle his start with the same demeanor as if this was a must-win game to clinch the division or a vital playoff game and he’ll do so because he’s Kershaw.
Somehow, he turns 28 today, speaking to how quickly time flies when you’re watching an all-timer. So, from all of Dodgers Nation (and I’m not just talking about the site), we’d like to wish you a very happy birthday, Kersh.