As baseball fans, all of us want to root for a winner. This is not a shocking statement, nor is it revelatory in any way. But we also, aside from winning, want to root for a team of likeable people, a team that looks like it's having fun out there. This year's Dodger team has been struggling of late, dropping six of their last nine, losing three series in a row, and losing players to injuries left and right. Ten players on the disabled list tend to make things not as fun as one would hope.
I tend to lean toward an optimistic viewpoint when it comes to the Dodgers, but I'm just not sure this team is going anywhere. That means you might get more rambling posts like this one where I try to find parallels between this team and a Dodger team of yesteryear.
This year happens to be the 30th anniversary of the Dodgers winning the World Series, and there are several celebrations of that 1981 club. That was a wacky, strike-shortened season, and what better champion than a truly wacky team. They were led on the mound by a 20-year old rookie who became an international superstar, and it was the last season of the celebrated infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey.
Because of the strike, the MLB season was split into halves, and the Dodgers made the playoffs by virtue of winning the first half with a 36-21 record. Reds fans justifiably must look back on 1981 with contempt because they finished a half-game behind the Dodgers in the first half only because they played one fewer game, and ended up with the best record in baseball but failed to make the playoffs because they didn't win either half.
The 1981 Dodger team, three years removed from their last World Series appearance, faced adversity throughout the playoffs. They were down 2-0 in the best-of-five division series to the Astros, down 2-1 in the best-of-five NLCS against the Expos, and down 2-0 in the World Series to the Yankees. Yet, they won it all.
I'm sure there were many reasons why the 1981 Dodgers won the World Series, both on and off the field. It was definitely a team full of characters, but there was a great camaraderie on the team, too. Nothing says teamwork like making a record together. Not only did Jerry Reuss, Jay Johnstone, Rick Monday, and Steve Yeager combine to sing Queen's We Are The Champions, but they made a record and donated the proceeds to charity:
So yeah, that 1981 Dodgers team was fun to root for. I was five, but have heard from several family members who speak fondly of that team. Perhaps, as an homage to that 1981 team, this year's Dodgers should record their own song. What song would you have this Dodger team sing?