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Dodgertown Before the Storm

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It has been a long wait for Dodger fans. The Phillies pushed the Dodgers around last year in the 2008 NLCS. Philadelphia made short work of the Boys in Blue, sending them home in just five games. And it wasn't that close.

The Dodgers were a team riding on the dreadlocks of Manny Ramirez and hoping Derek Lowe's sinker could continue ducking under the powerful lefty bats in the Philadelphia lineup. It was simply not to be. The phrase made famous by the Dodgers back in Brooklyn rang so true as the Phillies celebrated a World Series birth: "Wait til next year."

In a few hours, it will officially be next year.

When the Dodgers finished the season with the best record in the National League, my father and I discussed the road to the World Series. We asked each other what would be the three dream match-ups en route to a title. We both agreed. We wanted the mighty Cardinals, the Phightin' Phillies and the unbeatable New York Yankees. So far, the journey has been ideal. To be the best, you have to beat the best.

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So far, so good.

The familiar faces of the the Philadelphia Phillies will be back. We'll get to see Cole Hamels right away. We'll get Chase Utley and the Flyin' Hawaiian. We'll get the new and improved Jayson Werth. The Dodgers will have their chance at revenge. Whether they get it is yet to be seen.

There may be a "Johnny Podres" factor at play with Clayton Kershaw. Podres is famous for pitching a shutout in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series where the Dodgers claimed their first championship in franchise history. They did so at the expense of the New York Yankees. What made Podres so effective was that he was 23 years old. He hadn't lived through the "wait til next year" moments. He was too young and confident to let the pressure break him. The pinstripes didn't intimidate him. He didn't know any better.

Clayton Kershaw is young enough. In a few hours, we'll find out if he is good enough.

The city waits for game time. October baseball brings out the best in all of us. Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times wrote an amazing piece on the attitude the Dodgers will need to win this series. Last year the Phillies threw inside on the Dodgers and kept them dancing. This year, Plaschke explains, the Dodgers will have to be the aggressor.

The Dodgers website posted a Blue Carpet video where Brian Baumgartner ("Kevin" on NBC's The Office) makes fun of the Philly Phanatic. It's a bold statement considering Dunder-Mifflin (the fictional paper company in the show) is in Scranton, PA. That's Phillies' country.

Chavez Ravine will be a madhouse soon. The white towels will be spinning and Adam Wainwright will still be upset about their existence.

Ultimately, the Dodgers are four wins away from the World Series. All that stands in their way are the defending World Champions and the bad taste in their mouths.

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