Thursday, February 6, 2014

Your Ex-Girlfriend is Rich, or Why I Can't Go Back to the Dodgers

I grew up a Dodgers fan. For many years after I moved to the East Coast--for college and the decade after--I followed Dodgers baseball from afar. Unfortunately, that period (1994-2007) was probably the worst stretch in the history of the franchise, and eventually distance did what it always does, and we fell out of love. By the time I moved to the Bay Area for work in 2007, I was basically no longer interested in professional baseball. Then in 2010, a local team of misfits and castoffs won the World Series. This was the year of Aubrey Huff's red thong and Brian Wilson's beard. To all the Dodger fans getting ready to close this browser window, I ask you: What could I do? The Giants were lovable, and THEY ACTUALLY WON GAMES.

So I changed my allegiance. In truth I'm agnostic when it comes to pro baseball--I just love the game--but Giants and A's games are what I get for free on my radio, and those are the teams I can see in person without getting on a plane. As a friend of mine said recently, "I'd watch the Marlins play the Rockies if somebody turned it on." I would, too, although I recognize that it's more fun to watch when you've got skin in the game.

Very recently the Dodgers got good again. The new owner is pouring money into Chavez Ravine, and even conservative prognosticators are predicting the team to win a hundred games in 2014. The farm system is apparently healthy again, and they've locked up their most important young stars. Now would be a good time to move my allegiance back to L.A.

But I can't--and it has nothing to do with the Giants. To me (and I imagine lots of fans still angry from the McCourt years) the Dodgers are like an ex-girlfriend who, ten years after you broke up, shows up on the cover of a magazine. She looks good, much better than you remember, and she's gotten rich. So what do you do? Swallow your pride and send an email of congratulations? That would be nice, but who does that? (Not you. Be honest.)

It has become a cliche to say that the Dodgers have become the Yankees. Not for me. I have always hated the Yankees. To continue the girlfriend analogy, the Yankees are the girl who never even knew your name in high school, because she was dating college guys. When she turns up on the cover of a magazine, you don't get that knot in your stomach, because it's nothing new for her. She's always been on magazine covers. The Dodgers are different. The Dodgers have a long history of sucking. In fact to the day he died, my grandfather, who loved the Dodgers as a boy in New York, called them "Da Bums."

So what will I do? Probably keep listening to the Giants and A's. I'll watch the Dodgers if someone turns them on. I might even cheer for them. If they're playing the Yankees.