Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers is normally pegged as the cool, calm, collected, reasonable veteran. It’s easy to be pegged as that next to the youthful exuberance of Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, or veteran Nick Punto shredding all of the Dodgers uniforms. The workmanlike Gonzalez often strokes a sweet double in thte gap, pounds his fists together in front of his face in a calm knuckle explosion–because it’s no big deal.
Gonzalez was the most consistent Dodgers batter all season. He accrued a Dodgers leading 69 Runs scored, led the Dodgers in homers with 22, and in RBI’s with 100 while batting just shy of .300. For 157 days of the 162 games season, you could look at the lineup card and be relieved to see his name.
But after the regular season finale Adrian Gonzalez’ alter ego–the one that pulls lockeroom pranks and shoots illegal fireworks on Fourth of July (i’m speculating)–came to the Fan Appreciation party. Given the microphone on the infield, he proclaimed the Dodgers will be up 2-0 when they come back to LA. What we inferred from that Gonzalez painted simply for the fans in attendance. He said “We will close it out in LA.”
This seemed way out of character, and as a superstitious fan it made me uneasy.
But there are two major factors at play. One of which is the atmosphere of Fan Appreciation Day. In the beginning stages of resurrecting his talk show career, Aresenio Hall played MC. The players were already uncomfortable looking standing awkwardly on the field in matching T Shirts before Arsenio made them bristle when he said that “next season, we will be calling them the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.”
Even though Don Mattingly and Clayton Kershaw played it cool, while thanking the fans, Gonzalez was feeling brash and made his prediction. It fit the scene.
But secondly, what would we have him do? We want our players to be confident and go out and win the games, series, and World Series. Why not go out and say it?
The risk is to look dumb if that doesn’t happen, to provide unnecessary ‘extra’ motivation to the arbiters of baseball in Atlanta, and to flat out jinx the team. Gonzalez has been confident and successful all season. I like seeing him this assertive while standing up for his two aces and fellow batters. But it is a little unnerving if not unnecessary.
LA Sports Hubsters, do you like Adrian Gonzalez’ bold prediction?