When it comes to blogosphere quality and online community, the Dodgers fanbase is arguably second to none. Dodgers Twitter has become big and eccentric enough to attract the attention of Rian Johnson, while the enormous volume of independent sites has set the standard for team-centered blogging for years.
As much as I enjoy all of it, and am eternally grateful to be a part of Dodgers Nation in particular, I still can’t help but dwell upon one site in particular that was ahead of the curve in so many ways. Even more specifically, one part of that site that needs to come back.
Long before Twitter drama and Friends of the Show, even before the modern internet as we know it had truly taken shape, Dodger Blues defined online Dodger fandom. Founded in 2001 by an anonymous fan, it chronicled the team’s mediocrity and underachievement in scathing fashion. In addition to foul-mouthed recaps of each game, it reminisced about terrible forgotten players, had a then-modern message board for fans to interact, and decried the “Asshole of the Moment,” among many other features. In 2017, the anonymous instigator revealed himself to be San Fernando Valley landscape architect Josh Segal in a hilarious and moving piece by Tom Hoffarth.
For all of the guff about Dodger fans being indifferent types who leave in the seventh inning, the site was a refreshing haven for the most passionate of followers, those who fumed over the team’s weak play as a betrayal of their history of consistent success. For me especially, the site was indispensable in shaping my fanhood. 2001 was my first season as both a Dodgers and baseball fan, and Dodger Blues made a fiery impression on my malleable preteen brain. The hate-to-love-the-Dodgers attitude I carry today is a direct byproduct of my time spent reading it, and I’m grateful for that.
But there was one attribute of Dodger Blues that towered above the rest…literally. At the top right corner was a banner-shaped clock, with a picture of Kirk Gibson raising his fist in the air and text reading, “Time since the last meaningful Dodger moment……” The clock measured, right down to the last millisecond, the exact amount of time since Kirk Gibson took Dennis Eckersley deep. A glitch at some point threw its accuracy out of line, but that didn’t betray its ingenious cynicism in capturing the depressing reality that, for all their talent and riches, the franchise had no accomplishment to match that moment since.
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The clock likely contributed to the widespread misperception that DB was an anti-Dodger site. Given its flippant dismissal of any moment that didn’t yield a championship as meaningless, it seemed like an insult against the team at first glance. Yet it was genius because it’s something only a Dodgers fan could conceive. Any Giants fan or Dodger hater can make an easy crack about the team’s lack of titles since 1988, and move on with their lives.
On the contrary, it takes a special level of obsessive dedication to the Boys in Blue to even think of something like it. To recognize the agony of dedicating your life to a team that breaks your heart year in and year out, and measure the entirety of that agony with a clock, was a stroke of genius. The painful reality that even a moment as timeless as that one is still bound by time, and only gets further distant with each passing year, was made clear by its constant ticking.
If anything, the clock was prescient. When it started tallying the passage of time in 2001, Gibson’s home run and the ensuing championship were only 13 years old, far from embarrassing. Now, however, the drought has passed 30 years, ballooned by an avalanche of postseason pain the past half-decade. Segal was prepared to log back in and shut it down on the day of game seven of the 2017 World Series, confident he would slap a simple “Game Over!” text and cut it off at 29 years.
Here’s the frozen clock you would have seen on DB had the Dodgers not folded. pic.twitter.com/jMrLTZiSYQ
— Dodger Blues (@dodgerblues) November 2, 2017
We all know how that played out. In the following months, the hosting for Dodger Blues expired, and the site has effectively disappeared. However, after the infamous bullpen meltdown in game four of last year’s World Series, I tweeted, “Long live the Gibson Clock!” at Segal’s DB Twitter account. He responded noting he has backup files for the site, and considered getting the clock itself up and running again.
With that in mind, it is time to say it loud:
We need the Gibson Clock. Now, more than ever.
To be clear, this article is not the umpteenth demand for Segal to revive and run the site again like old times. He has made his reasons for leaving it behind clear, chiefly the demands of raising a family and the plethora of blogs that he had no desire to compete with. He has a life and a career to tend to, and the modern Dodger blogosphere is vast enough to pick over minutia the way he once did.
But for posterity (and the pleasure of former DB denizens like myself), it is time to bring Gibby and his pedantic clock back. For all of the hate Segal received for it, he was vindicated. Not only is it still wholly relevant, but it singlehandedly captures the futility of the past 30 years better than any words ever could.
Not to mention, there will come a day when the Dodgers finally (FINALLY) win that elusive World Series. Even if it comes on an Austin Barnes walk-off home run in the 13th inning of game seven, not having the Gibson Clock to freeze in time would be like New Year’s Eve in NYC without the Times Square ball dropping.