Do Dodgers Dream of Vin Scully Bobblehead Sheep?
The Dodgers are schizophrenic. There is no other explanation why the Dodgers are hot one series and ice cold the next. They can resoundingly defeat the playoff contenders Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves yet have troubles with the NL West. On Thursday night they lost yet again to an NL West foe, this time the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0.
It seems that the perfect soundtrack to the Dodgers is Sonic Youth's 1988 masterpiece "Schizophrenia" from the album Sister.
The song is a tribute to Philip K. Dick who started to have religious visions and experiences after meeting with a delivery girl who had a gold necklace. For anyone who read VALIS, A Scanner Darkly, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Blade Runner), it's easy to see the references.
I had a dream / And it split the scene / But I've got a hunch / It's coming back to me
The dreams of winning a World Series splits the scene for each hot-and-cold cycle.
In the middle of the month the Dodgers went on a successful 7-3 road trip that took them to Miami, Pittsburgh and Atlanta losing only one game in each of the cities. Once they got home they promptly got swept by the San Francisco Giants.
Then the Dodgers pulled off the trade of all August trades getting Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. To add to the frenzy of the weekend, Vin Scully announced on Sunday he would return for a 64th season.
After the fury died down, the Dodgers looked like minced meat in Colorado losing two of the three games needing Joe Blanton to pitch into the eighth inning on Wednesday to salvage one game. Over the course of four days the Dodgers lost Chad Billingsley with elbow pain, Scott Elbert with elbow inflammation, Matt Kemp with a penchant for running into centerfield walls in Denver and Kenley Jansen with what is presumably heart problems echoing what he endured over a year ago.
Up and down, up and down.
Talking about Jansen's situation on Thursday before the game manager Don Mattingly did not rule out Jansen returning soon after visiting the doctor in the afternoon. "There are good scenarios and there are bad scenarios. We just don't know which one we're going to get yet."
Just taking that quote out of context, that would certainly describe the Dodgers this season.
Mattingly for months has talked about wanting to see consistency out of his team. The message continued to be the same.
"It's time to win games. These guys have done it before — they have track records."
Now she's laughing like crazy at the trouble I'm in. / Her light eyes were dancing, she is insane.
Mattingly still likes his chances with the club. "I feel good about this club. I don't know. This is fun."
Spoken like a crazy man.
Our future is static / It's all I ever had.
The psychosis continued into Thursday for the Dodgers. Before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Vin Scully "threw" out the first pitch for his very first bobblehead day. Scully explained to the media why he finally relented and allowed the Dodgers to commission a bobblehead for him.
"One of the reasons is the 50th anniversary of the ballpark," Scully explained. "I realized they were going to ask me in this 50th anniversary. I'd have more problems answering questions why I didn't than why I did."
He also mentioned it was an honor to be in the same company as Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzeula. "As one of my favorite entertainers the late Pearl Bailey used to say, 'That ain't no bad crowd to hang around in.'"
In reality Scully had his army of 15 grandchildren along the third-base line pass the ball down until the final grandchild handed it back to Scully and he soft-tossed it to Mattingly crouching behind the plate.
It was a great ceremony that erased every bit of cynicism from one's soul for a few seconds. Then the game started and this trillion-dollar lineup (minus Matt Kemp, granted, and only reaching about $71 million for this season) mustered only two hits off of D-backs starter Ian Kennedy who went one out into the seventh inning in the Dodgers 2-0 loss.
"We just didn't get it done," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers rallied with two hits in the ninth off of closer J.J. Putz, but nothing doing.
"At this point in the year, there are no real moral victories," Mattingly said after the game. "It's a loss. At the end of the day it's a loss that we really can't afford. That's it."
Mattingly called a 15-minute closed-door meeting after the game and only said that, "We had some things to talk about.
"We talked about where we're at and were we're trying to go. It's not about getting an emotional response."
The Dodgers now fell to 4 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the division and 1 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild card spot. If that doesn't spark something in that quadrillion-dollar lineup, I don't know what will.
It will come as no surprise if the Dodgers obliterate the D-backs 11-0 on Friday. But with the ups and downs, the Dodgers remain only a .500 ballclub. And is that really a playoff team?
It should be worth noting that James Loney went 3-for-4 with a home run in Anaheim for the Red Sox Thursday night.