In the end, the Dodgers didn’t win the World Series, but they didn’t lose either.
We all thought they would do it. Many said that this was the year and, near the end, I think we all believed it. The Dodgers did not win the World Series. The Dodgers stumbled, and they fell short in Game 7. They did not emerge victorious.
But, guess what?
This year was only the beginning.
Over the past seven months, we have seen a Dodgers team unlike any other. We have seen a team capable of breaking records and making history. We have seen a team overcome adversity and defy the odds.
This team is capable of so much, and this season was just the beginning.
As I sat on my couch tonight, sitting next to my dog who was rocking her Dodgers t-shirt, I thought about this season. I thought about how, on Opening Day, I stood there at Dodger Stadium as Joc Pederson hit a grand slam and set the tone for the season. Little did we know what was ahead.
We did not know that Cody Bellinger would make his MLB debut and change the game of baseball forever. We didn’t know that Chris Taylor would become one of the best leadoff hitters the Dodgers have ever had. Nobody thought that Clayton Kershaw would win a World Series Game 1. We didn’t know any of it, yet all of it happened.
This team played 177 games this year. They won 114 of them. World Champions or not, that is something to celebrate. They won the pennant, and they forced a Game 7 against the best team in the American League. It’s easy to be upset, and mad about the fact that the Dodgers fell short, and they may not have won, but they sure didn’t lose, either.
If I learned one thing from this season, it’s that baseball is at it’s best when it breeds emotion. An inning is at it’s best when Rich Hill walks off the mound with a subtle ferocity that is unlike any other pitcher. A game is at it’s best when the team surrounds home plate, celebrating a walk-off win. A season is at it’s best when it is filled with victory, even if it ends in defeat.
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Oh, and the player who hit the last Dodgers home run in 2017? The same guy who hit the first.
This season was one of the best that baseball has ever seen, and we can’t let 5 runs in Game 7, or lack thereof, define it.
I get it, the Dodgers lost, and it stings. If this situation had happened last year, I would have spent the night crying and wishing for the better outcome, but this isn’t last year. This year, I went through the five stages of grief fairly quickly, and I looked forward before I felt tempted to look back.
Game 7’s tend to define the season for a lot of teams, no matter the outcome, but the 2017 Dodgers are not one of those teams. Besides, what is October baseball without a little heartbreak?
So, what happens next?
What happens now is we allow ourselves to enjoy the last few weeks of fall. We look back on a season that was anything but boring, and as the calendar turns to December, and the Winter Meetings begin, we can once again look towards Spring.
I know Game 7 was rough and I, like many of you, will allow myself a few days to let it all sink in, but with the end of the season comes anticipation for the next, and spring is a sight worth waiting for.