It's Now or Never For This Version of the Los Angeles Dodgers
It's not often you can lump Los Angeles and Buffalo in the same category. The Dodgers, they of the City of Angels, are dangerously close to a bittersweet milestone that probably needs to end.
If the Dodgers reach the World Series this fall, it will be their third consecutive visit. Their fall futility, however, peaks in the final round. Los Angeles has seen back-to-back losses in baseball's grandest stage, falling (pun intended) to Houston and Boston in 2017 and 2018, respectively. It's a streak that's bordering alarmingly close on the quartet of Super Bowl losses the Bills endured in the early stages of the 1990s.
What the Dodgers are trying to (win a World Series after losing the two previous Fall Classics) hasn't been accomplished since 1913 saw the New York Yankees beat the Giants..the New York Giants... to triumph in five games. If the Dodgers want to look back on this otherwise successful era with pride, the decade has to end with a hoist of the Commissioner's Trophy.
There are, of course, ten teams reaching the MLB postseason, which begins in full swing next week. Many of these squads have nothing to lose because they're young (Atlanta Braves) or it's a victory they're here in the first place (Milwaukee Brewers). The Dodgers are afforded no such luxury.
On paper, they've been afforded some of the most talented lineups in baseball, ones that invoke the names of Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner, among others. Yet, the ultimate prize has been denied to them, mostly by a series of postseason chokes. It's not even like they have to win because this is their "last year". Hyun-Jin Ryu, fresh off a career-best season, is the team's most notable free agent, even if several other staples are entering their 30s. But the constant storyline of late choking is one that could well define this other wise successful team if they come up short again.
It's time for them to change that narrative.
Passive fans notwithstanding, a championship drought that has entered its third decade is embarrassing from multiple standpoints, especially when one looks at the teams and salaries these Dodgers have been blessed with. To come out of this saga completely empty-handed would be such an asterisk on an otherwise fruitful period. Great teams have come and gone and Los Angeles...can you believe it has only been five years since the Kings on the Stanley Cup? But they're usually able to end an era with a title or two before all is said and done.
Legacies are further on the line for the Dodgers. Dave Roberts has done it all. It was his 2004 ALCS steal that ended both a Yankees dynasty and Boston's dreadful curse. Now, he's constantly scrutinized, just another talented name that hasn't been able to win with a talented lineup. Clayton Kershaw, dominant by every stretch of the imagination, has gained a reputation for not showing up in the postseason.
True to California form, there's been some great things to celebrate in this LA story. They've made seven straight trips to the postseason. Nights at Chavez Ravine are the hottest ticket in this city of blockbusters. But the lack of a ring will cause many to reject what's been accomplished, leave a sour taste in this era.
Many a screenwriter has been banished from Los Angeles for not having "the perfect ending". This may well be the Dodgers' best chance to obtain it, otherwise a World Series will be merely a desperate deleted scene.