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Dodgers: How Great Is This?

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Los Angeles, CA -

How great is to be young, rich, and playing a boys game for a living? The Dodgers hit Atlanta happy but unhealthy, ready for post season play for the first time since 2009.

We've heard the stories superstar-in -the-making Matt Kemp out for the post season with a bad ankle. He's here, on crutches for moral support. Nice. He coulda stayed home. Andre Ethier, shin splints? What? Pinch hitter maybe, or maybe starting center fielder. We'll see how he feels Thursday about 8:30 ET. 

Aces Kershaw and Grienke, the former perhaps set to become the highest paid player in baseball, or at least the one with the longest hair, which is saying something, scheduled to start games one and two at Turner Field. Those two names give Dodger fans everywhere real reason for hope, regardless of the Braves offensive fire power.

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=la

The team is a fascinating story... .. and the love affair the fans in So Cal have had since 58 and even before in Brooklyn is a great one. This year going from last to first. One year plus into new management featuring a beloved smiling legend Magic Johnson and a bunch of rich guys no one in LA has ever heard of (except maybe showbiz exec Peter Guber ).

The team president spent almost 3 decades running, ironically, the Atlanta Braves. www.atlantabraves.com   The youngster Tommy Lasorda, in his 63rd year with the team and as bombastic as always, is with ‘em on the trip, telling me in an interview at Dodger Stadium before the team hit the road that ‘' we have to make the fans happy, and one of the way we make ‘em happy is to win ‘'.  Amen. 

In fact the Dodgers sold 3. 7 million tix this year, to lead MLB. Impressive.  Vin, the other living legend will be here in Atlanta, but as has been noted elsewhere he'll ‘‘only'' be on radio, for the first three and last three innings.  Great, I've tried turning down the TV audio and listening to the radio, but there's often a problem because of satellite transmissions, uploading, downloading, decoding digital signals and a lot of other technical reasons I'm not enough of an expert on to discuss, the  TV signal lags behind the radio. So, you're listening and then watching what happens more than a few seconds later... awkward and difficult. 

At any rate, the Dodgers buzzword for ATL is ‘‘fluid ‘' as repeated several times by ‘' Donnie Baseball'' aka manager Don Mattingly, who has to thank Yasiel Puig for still being employed as the Dodger manager.  Fluid as in , depending on who's healthy, and who can run the bases, and who's a better center fielder, that's who we'll play.  He didn't sound worried, but he never does, at least in public and I'm told in private too and that's why the players love him.  If he was Captain of the Titanic he'd probably be saying they had a ‘little ice problem we'll work it out as best we can.'' 

Likely  starting center fielder candidate Skip Schumacher, though often described by sports media types as a ‘‘journeyman'' has won a World Series ring with St. Louis two years ago.  Same for ‘‘utility man ‘' Nick Punto. So, don't discount that kind of experience.  Ditto for Michael Young. Stan Kasten and Ned Colleti, the Pres and GM, know what they're doing and have the bank account ( finally) to do it.  Yet, despite all their high profile and high dollar players the sense is that the Dodgers are heading into ATL as a gritty underdog, given their horrendous start, valiant resurgence, and current medical condition.  It's a ‘‘short'' series, the sports guys call it the best of 5 ... anything can happen. 

I'm thinking with Kershaw and Grienke going for ‘em the Dodgers go back to the Stadium on Sunday up 2 - 0 with a chance to wrap it up at home. Then we get to hit the road again for the NLCS and won't that be fun. Maybe Kemp can talk to Kobe about some of that German experimental medical treatment he got for his knees couple years ago and see if it works on ankles.  I know Kemp has been told if he plays he risks breaking his ankle, and it ain't my life, but if I'm him I'm saying ‘‘how many chances to we get to get to the post season ? I'll play.. if my ankle breaks then I'll fix it. ‘' And same thing with Ethier... Shin splints ? Please... It's ‘'go'' time. Let's go.

 

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