With the 2018 Dodgers season in our rear view mirror, the Dodgers Nation Staff will be conducting ‘Exit Interviews’. These will highlight our high points and low points, and we will do our best to sum up what was one of the wildest seasons in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
The 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers will go down as my favorite team ever. Another team will need to go a long ways – probably finish it off and win a title – to surpass them. Sure, the Dodgers were imperfect and flawed and didn’t get the job done. But I said it many times on this site and to others – these Dodgers made you feel right along with them every step of the way.
For every memorable moment, there was a moment that the Dodgers looked death in the face. Right down until the end, they responded accordingly; crawling out of the grave that had been dug for them so properly. It would have been easy for this Dodgers team to quit some three-dozen different times – but they never did. Much credit should be given to the guys on the roster and to Dave Roberts. When you were ready to give up (and maybe me as well), they simply never did.
Teams that lose the World Series often go on to be forgotten. I would argue that this team is one of those rare teams that shouldn’t be. Here are some memories I share in my exit-interview as we close the book on the 2018 Dodgers once and for all. Feel free to share your own with each category in the comments section.
For me, I had two. Game 163 – and winning it at home in front of the Los Angeles crowd – it just seemed like the perfect day. The Dodgers would hoist a sixth straight division crown and I would sit on my couch and watch them celebrate. I felt like I was right there with them on that night and I will remember it forever. When Cody Bellinger hit this one into the seats, I knew the Dodgers were on their way. This was one of the best swings of Bellinger’s career, on a day where the opposing starter had really great stuff. It will always feel like a turning point moment to me.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 1, 2018
The other would be winning game Seven of the NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers, on the road. Everything leading up to the game on social media, my own knowing that the Dodgers would find a way to win that game; it’s something I will never forget. The path wasn’t as easy but it was certainly as enjoyable.
Just like in game 163 – I stayed up late into the night watching the Dodgers celebrate another World Series berth. It was satisfying and fulfilling to watch them reach a spot I felt like they would make all season long. I felt vindicated and at peace with their season.
Believe it or not – it was not losing the World Series to a heavily tooled Boston Red Sox team. I knew that was possible. The low point for me was May 10 through May 16 when the Dodgers dropped six straight to the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins. Los Angeles was swept in a four-game series by the Cincinnati Reds who began that series 11-27. I wrote this column after the first loss, and I truly felt like the season was over before it even began.
When you think back to those games and those feelings – it’s remarkable to see how far the Dodgers climbed and rounded themselves into a World Series contender after those embarrassing outings.
When I Knew It Was Over
It was a Saturday night – October 27th, 2018 to be exact. I sat in Blue Heaven Podcast studios with FRG and Mr. Gary Lee watching game four of the World Series. The Dodgers held a 4-0 lead after a huge home run by Yasiel Puig and it certainly felt like they were about to set the series on it’s proverbial head and even it at two games a piece.
But alas, it was not meant to be.
The Red Sox stormed back for a 9-6 victory. Rich Hill was pulled, Ryan Madson gave up the big home run to Mitch Moreland; and Kenley Jansen blew a save I still can’t spit out the taste of. Then I knew that the Dodgers were not going to storm back and win three in a row against the Red Sox and a long winter was ahead. I could barely speak as I headed for my car that evening. The darkness never seemed so dark, even being present in a city like Los Angeles.
What Did I Learn About Loving/Covering The Dodgers?
The first thing I will say is that both following and covering the Dodgers on a daily basis is truly a charmed life – even in the worst of times. I already knew this; but I would say I learned it to another degree in 2018. The Dodgers play baseball in the best city in the world. They have a tradition like no other, play in the best stadium in professional sports, and wear the most beautiful uniforms. I saw in thousands of instances – the blood, sweat, and tears that the fan base pours into this team on social media during the best and worst of times. There are 20-something other teams who have people writing about them and following them who would do anything for that team to be the Dodgers. That’s just the reality of it. I never knew that I could get such a natural high off the high-points and hurt so bad from the low points, truly.
I thought a guy like me at 35 years of age had seen everything in this game and felt everything. This was the season that aged me, matured me, and prepared me for the rest of my baseball life one way or another. That’s how I will forever look at it. It was a ‘turning point’ season in my life in many ways.
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