Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I See Former Dodgers All Around Me!!!

Dear readers and trade partners, you know what kind of baseball fan and card collector I am.

 If you play for the Dodgers, I love ya. You don't get a free pass to be a bum - but when all is said and done, you're my bum.  And I love ya. 

If you don't play for the Dodgers, and you aren't popular in the cardboard world - sorry, but I never heard a ya.

With the 2013 postseason now underway, I'm watching every minute of the games that I can.  I love good baseball, and I'm sure we'll get plenty of that all the way through the World Series, as we always do.

I said I'm watching as much of the playoffs as I can, but that doesn't necessarily equal a lot of watching on my part.  My schedule is allowing a few innings here and there, and then catching highlights on the sports shows.

That said, DANG, but I'm seeing a whole lotta ex-Dodgers in the small sample that I've watched, and they're not exactly riding the pine or bumbling balls in deep outfield corners. Far from that, they're playing pivotal roles in the dramatics that are the playoffs.

 It's been pretty exciting to watch these ex-Boys in Blue contributing.  Let's lead off with the guy I dread to see in the postseason, but who is there year after year - Adrian Beltre.

Why dread?  It's always the anguish of loss.  I see Beltre and I wish he was still doing all of that for the Dodgers.  Instead, he's far away in the AL, kicking A for the Texas Rangers.

I caught parts of Game 163, the one-game showdown between the Rangers and the Rays.
I watched one at bat of Beltre, his first.   He quickly bashed a double to the outfield and legged it out with a noticeable limp from me to you.  Beltre did his job at the plate and toughed it out on the base paths - like a man. He cranked out 199 hits this past season.  Atta boy, Adrian.

Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
 On the other side of the field in that game was much maligned as a malingerer in L.A., James Loney.

Plenty of Dodger fans were happy to see him go as part of that megadeal with Boston.  Poor ol' Loney was probably sad to leave L.A. at the time, but I'll bet he's plenty glad for that trade now.  He bounced from Boston to the Tampa Bay Rays and now the playoffs.

I watched Loney play some pretty good defense at first base in that showdown game.  He even made a small news splash on a hard-nosed pick-off play at first.  A small war of words broke out over whether or not it was kosher for Loney  to block base runner Elvis Andrus from diving back to first (see above photo).  He blocked the base perfectly and tagged the runner out.  Was it an unwritten rule violation?  Apparently the Dodgers' penchant for being involved in non-controversies has stuck on Loney.

In the National League matchup that saw the Reds battle the Pirates, another couple of ex-Dodgers received plenty of camera time - and both experienced the game from opposite ends of the emotional ladder.

First up is jinxed manager Dusty Baker.  Dusty has jinxed San Francisco (I loved it!!!) and Chicago in the past.  He's now brought his world class jinxery to the Reds.

 I gotta hand it to the man.  He handled his team being pummeled by the Pirates better than I would have.  He sucked it up in quiet dignity as his team's chances just burned and burned and the Pirates kept piling on more firewood.  Sorry to say it, Cincy, but as long as you have Dusty in the dugout, you'll never win the Fall Classic.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Finally, the ex-Dodger catcher whom I didn't really want to see leave L.A., but has found some extremely lucky bounces since he did - Russel Martin.  If I were a ballplayer and Scott Boras wouldn't answer my calls, I just might look up Martin's agent.

Good ol' Russ blasted two homers off of Dusty's pitchers yesterday. He hit one early to help lead the Pirates scoring, and one later, which was just more fuel on top of that Reds funeral pyre.  Then he circled the bases with both arms raised as high as Pittsburgh's hopes for a World Series berth. 

Not bad for a bunch of ex-Dodgers.

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