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LA Dodgers: The Struggle Was Real

Photo by flikr user Keith Allison
Photo by flikr user Keith Allison.

The 2013 Dodger season was a roller coaster, to put it mildly. One could say it was doomed before it even began: The team had become something of a city-wide joke last year when former owner Frank McCourt ran the team into the ground while trying to maximize his own profit. At the start of the 2013 season, when the team was purchased by a group led by Lakers legend Magic Johnson, a small glimmer of something, not quite hope, but definitely something, emerged for those with enough patience and tenacity to remain loyal to the team throughout all its tribulations; though this glimmer quickly disappeared when it became obvious that the team still, for lack of a better term, sucked.

Plagued by crushing defeats that were interspersed with several hilariously violent brawls (and less hilarious injuries), the Dodgers were at the bottom of their division halfway through the season. On June 2 the team had 31 wins to 42 losses, giving them a heinous percentage of .425. They trailed the first-place team by a seemingly insurmountable nine-and-a-half games. The worst part, however, was that in addition to being one of the worst teams in all of major league baseball, the team also paid the most in payroll, by a significant margin. ‘Twas a hard time for Dodger fans.

On the fateful day of June 3, however, Yasiel Puig made his National League debut. Many analysts pinpoint this as the moment at which the Dodgers turned its season around. Puig, a Cuban defector known for his playboy lifestyle, Rolls Royce, and affinity for hitting home runs, boosted team morale. Pretty soon, the Dodgers led its division. There was hope (yes, hope!), the postseason was around the corner, and some optimists even predicted a World Series matchup with the Red Sox. The Dodgers ended up finishing the season a stunning 11 games ahead of the second-place team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. It suddenly became easy for the average Dodger fan to shrug off the jaded sentiments and cloud of pessimism that had previously shadowed every game.

For the first time in a long while, Dodger fans had hope. They rallied together, watched every game with a ferocious intensity and filled Dodger Stadium with a sea of blue. For the first time in a long while we were a fan base—not of jaded critics rolling our eyes at a team in decline, but real believers in the game and in the team. So in the end, it didn’t matter that the Dodgers lost a tragic series against the Cardinals. Or that the aftermath left the team fragmented and its leadership fragmenting. What matters, really, is that for a moment, there was hope.