Who remembers their adolescent years and early 20’s, when we naively thought we could plan out our lives and be prepared for every eventuality? Finish school, get a job in the industry of our choosing, find that perfect partner who is ready to share his or her life with us, maybe raise children, change the world.
Life, as I have come to find out, is truly unpredictable, and so is our beloved sport of baseball. It is also, like life, quite humbling, yet can still surprise us when we least expect it.
All these years later, having accomplished but a fraction of what I naively predicted in my 20’s that I would, but still very content as a diehard Dodgers fan and contributing member of Dodgers Nation, I took a stab at some pre-season Dodgers predictions, in what will very likely be known for years down the road as one of the more unbelievably surprising seasons by any MLB team in quite some time.
I watch a lot of Dodgers baseball – in fact, have sat through about 99.5% of their innings since 2014, thanks to the roaming wonders of MLB TV, so my “predictions” were based on things I’d seen, read or felt about this team first hand. However, since this piece was first published on April 9, not a single prediction I made has yet to come to pass (though some are still possible), yet that is still a very, very good thing, as our Dodgers are currently in the midst of an historically great season.
It’s only the second week of August and I could already make a Top 20 list of all of the wonderfully unpredictable things that have taken place in this historic Dodgers season, but that is another piece for another time. In the meantime, here are my original predictions (and how amusingly off course many of them were):
1 – Clayton Kershaw wins his 4th NL Cy Young Award on route to a 24-win season, recording his 2,000th strikeout before the end of May.
I was close here on the strikeouts, with Clayton’s 2000th strikeout actually coming on his first start in June (on June 2), en route to a stunningly efficient 14 strikeout performance, but he will not reach 24 wins this season for reasons all Dodgers fans are very well aware of. I wrote about my love for Clayton in June, and he is still my favorite person that I have never met. I will proudly predict a Cy Young season for him each year for as long as he wears a Dodgers uniform.
2 – Logan Forsythe succeeds Chase Utley as the recipient of the Dodgers 2016 Heart & Hustle Award.
I was wrong on this one not because of anything Logan did or didn’t do, but because I had underestimated the impact this year’s winner Justin Turner has on the clubhouse. I still like Logan’s hustle and attitude, and his defense is outstanding, but “my bad” to overlook JT’s outstanding leadership in this year of the outstanding #VoteJT campaign.
3 – A no-hitter is thrown at Dodger Stadium this season, by a man in a Dodgers uniform.
This could indeed still happen. With the greatest pitching rotation in baseball (and 7-man at that) currently gracing the mound every game, it may not be who we all think it will be.
4 – A healthy Yasmani Grandal drops his bat 42 times to break the single-season HR record set by Mike Piazza in 1997.
I got ahead of myself here after seeing how well Yasmani’s off-season diet and work on his swing were going. Instead, he is batting for the highest average of his career so far while still knocking out a few beautiful “bat drops”. My vision of Mike Piazza’s record being broken was just a little off…perhaps to be broken by one of the more unpredictable pieces of this season himself: Cody Bellinger.
5 – The all-time regular attendance record is shattered at Dodger Stadium, as over 3.9 million people grace the team with their presence at Blue Heaven On Earth.
As of this writing, Dodgers home attendance was already at a staggering 2,866,741 fortunate souls who were blessed to enter the magical confines of Dodger Stadium this season. Their average per home game of 45,503 leads baseball, just like their winning percentage. However, with 18 home (regular season) games left and a sellout being considered at 53,393, I may have been a little too optimistic to declare this season an attendance record-breaker, though I have heard from many long-time fans that the crowds this year are louder than they have ever been, and for very good reason.
6 – Joc Pederson bats over .300 against lefties, stealing 20+ bases along the way.
I really don’t know where I was going with this one. Wishful thinking, and it is hard not to pull for Joc. Instead, after two stints on the DL, the second one the result of a horrifying collision with Yasiel Puig, Pederson seemed to have found his groove, only to become mired in a current slump that simply is not pretty.
7 – Julio Urias goes 5-1 after August 1 and records the win in Game 5 of the NLDS against the New York Mets.
*sad face* See earlier note about the unpredictability of life.
8 – Corey Seager follows up his NL Rookie of the Year season by again finishing in the Top 3 NL MVP voting. He also goes through 545 packs of gum.
This is most definitely still in the cards, with Corey following up last year’s stellar campaign with an arguably even more consistent one. The fact that his MVP votes may be split and given to as many as 4 or 5 other teammates is truly remarkable and a testament to the kind of year the Boys in Blue are having.
9 – Over 2.5 million Dodger Dogs are sold at Dodger Stadium
Exact numbers are unknown, but with the Dodgers giving their home fans so much to cheer about, there are likely to be many of the famous dogs sold this year… all the way until the end of October.
10 – Vin Scully returns…as Grand Marshall of the World Series Parade held in LA on November 8, 2017
Vin returned for his Ring of Honor induction, in a touching ceremony held on May 4, catching many of us fans off-guard with the depth with which we miss the sound of his voice and his graceful presence.
Will he be back in November? The Dodgers season may very well continue to unfold in many other wonderfully unpredictable ways, but this time, I think I can safely speak on behalf of Dodgers fans everywhere when I say that I want nothing more than to be right on this one.