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Why You Should Back the Dodgers Over the Red Sox

October 23rd, 2018 · 1 Comment · Baseball, Dodgers, Lists

This is a list of reasons why regular folks around the baseball world should support the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, which begins tonight in Beantown.

First and foremost?

–The Dodgers have not won the World Series in 30 years. The Red Sox have won it three times since 2004, and expect the rest of you to join them in their selfish pursuit of a fourth championship in 15 years. Hey, it’s L.A.’s turn! There are Dodgers fans 35 years old who have no recollection of Kirk Gibson and the 1988 World Series.

–It is election season, so let’s not waste time in going negative. But this is factual. The Dodgers were the first team to break the “color line” signing Jackie Robinson, an African-American, and putting him in the lineup in April of 1947. Meanwhile, the Red Sox were THE LAST big-league team to have an African-American player on their team — and this was in 1959, a full dozen years after the Dodgers.

–Boston has a very high opinion of itself as a bastion of forward thinking, but the reality is that it still carries a reputation for racist fans. It was just last season that Adam Jones of the Orioles said he was racially abused while standing in the outfield.

–And if you want a little more history in this vein, check this Washington Post story from last year, containing a selection of quotes from black athletes about playing in Boston. The choicest? From a book written by NBA great Bill Russell, reflecting on racism in Boston during the 1950s and 1960s — when he was leading the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA championships. He described Boston as a “flea market of racism”. He wrote: “It had all varieties, old and new, and in their most virulent form. The city had corrupt, city hall-crony racists, brick-throwing, send-’em-back-to-Africa racists, and in the university areas phony radical-chic racists … Other than that, I liked the city.”

–Boston’s fans, in general, who appear to consider themselves the best in ball. They are the sort who expect everyone to stand in the rain, and stay for every pitch, and anyone who does not is something less than a true fan. Of course, Boston does not have the traffic problem L.A. does, boasting a multi-prong rail system that brings fans right to Fenway Park and leading Boston fans to mock “arrive late, leave early” fans, like some of the Dodgers’ followers. Easy to be self-righteous with a metro stop just outside the park.

–Hold on to your hat, but the Dodgers are not big spenders, compared to the Red Sox. (This season, at least.) On opening day, the Red Sox had the second-biggest payroll, at $206.25 million, behind only San Francisco. And the thrifty, increasingly home-grown Dodgers? Eleventh, at $157.5 million. What gutty little fighters they are!

Sweet Caroline, the song recorded in 1969 by Neil Diamond that is played during the middle of the eighth inning, with fans accompanying the singer, at every Red Sox home game since 1997. I like Neil Diamond well enough, and “Sweet Caroline” is fine … but not every game for 21 seasons.

–Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers left-hander may not have many seasons left in his elite career, and he ranks among the greats who have never won a World Series. Meanwhile, the Red Sox won as recently as 2013, and they have three players (Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Dustin Pedroia) who were on that 2013 team.

–The Green Monster. That 37-foot-high wall, only 310 feet from home plate, should not exist. It has two problems. Balls hit hard but on a line, which might be home runs in another park, often bang off the wall and are in play. Meanwhile, lazy fly balls that would be an out anywhere else often creep over the wall for cheap homers.

And in addition? All the other Fenway quirks and ancient history the Red Sox celebrate like their home games are played in the Vatican. Meanwhile, Dodger Stadium is a standardized facility where the game matters more than the kitsch.

–The Dodgers led baseball in attendance, as usual, with 3.86 million paid admissions. Boston drew 2.9 million to their bandbox. I say the team with the most ticket-buying fans should be able to enjoy the fruits of victory.

Vin Scully, former Dodgers announcer and the most beloved non-uniformed figure associated with baseball. He called his share of World Series triumphs, and his 1988 description of Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run remains one of the great works of live TV. “And look who’s coming up!” But that was 30 years ago, and Scully is 90, now.

The Dodgers are a great club which has not won in 30 years, one that attracts more fans than any other team, whose young fans have never tasted a championship, and why shouldn’t fate allow the club to catch a break or three in the coming days?

And, yes, so Vinny can celebrate it, too.






1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Gene Hiigel // Oct 23, 2018 at 8:13 PM

    Here is Jason Gay’s hilarious take in the Wall Street Journal on why one should back the Red Sox.

    “Do you realize there are 4-year-olds in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine who have never seen the Red Sox win a World Series? Do you know there are 3- and 2- and 1-year-old kids in Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut who’ve never been able to skip pre-kindergarten for a Red Sox Duck Boat parade?”

    “It’s true. It’s enough to break your heart.”

    “Think of the agony endured. A 4-year-old’s entire life, deprived. They’ve grown up, learned to walk, learned to talk, learned their parents’ iPhone passwords, bounced in a bouncy castle, saw a duck chase a turtle once…and their best baseball memories are a mere three consecutive AL East titles from 2016 to 2018.”

    “But not a single, lousy World Series trophy. When the toddlers of New England get together for playdates with friends, build some Legos, and sip some organic juice boxes, the conversation is always the same.”

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