Luis Gutierrez Bulletin
By Jessica Olvera
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, I was raised to wear the blue and white color scheme of the Los Angeles Dodgers with pride. Dodgers flags replaced American flags on most of the lawns of the homes I passed by in Elysian Park to get to Dodgers Stadium. I had Dodgers-themed birthday parties. Half of my wardrobe still consists of team gear. It’s hard to miss the sea of blue during baseball season in Los Angeles, and I’m swimming along with the rest of the faithful. I was born into this fan base and will pass it on to my children.
But, this fan loyalty often comes with a price. The price is the consistent backlash that you receive for supporting a team that has a recent history of not performing when it matters most in playoffs. As a fan, you have to constantly hope that “this year will be the year.” But it is an emotional, physical, and financial investment.
And considering the awful end to this season, I wonder how many Dodgers faithful are considering switching to another bank?
Even in star-studded Los Angeles, with all its glitz and glamour and all the championships its teams have won, the Dodgers are special. They’re the most historic of our franchises and the legendary names are part of LA mythology: Koufax, Wills, Scully, Lasorda, that 1970 infield, Fernando, Hershiser.
Only the Lakers, with their 11 titles since 1972, can match the Dodgers’ five since 1959. Fans of each are passionate and loyal, but talk about loyalty tested recently. The Lakers have been a mess since their last ring in 2010, but their 2019-20 season is about to start, so I don’t want to stir up any bad mojo by dissing them. But the Dodgers’ season just ended. And like any Dodgers’ fan over the past decade, I am once again cycling through the seven stages of grief over their latest failure to win a championship.
The last time the Blue won the World Series was 1988. That stings, particularly since that other Los Angeles team won in 2002 when they weren’t even Los Angeles and still aren’t Los Angeles, but I digress. What makes it hurt even more is that over the past decade, no team in professional American sports has done as well as the Dodgers—seven consecutive playoff appearances and two World Series appearances the past three years.
And what do they have to show for it? Lots of wins. Lots of playoffs. No championships.
And this year was the worst. The Dodgers won 106 games, only the third time since 1907 that a National League team had won that many. And they couldn’t even get out of the division series, losing a heartbreaking best-of-five contest to the Washington Nationals.
How do we go from having the most wins in franchise history to getting bounced in the divisional round in playoffs? By a franchise that never won a SINGLE playoff series? This is beyond embarrassing. According to a baseball payroll list conducted by The Associated Press News in late March, our opening day payroll was an estimated $192 million, putting us in the top five. We even have an MVP candidate in Cody Bellinger and a potential CY Young Award winner in Hyun-Jin Ryu. Even with a roster filled with powerhouse names, we still couldn’t get the job done. Our players did not step up when it mattered the most and it’s a shame. As a diehard Dodger fan, I understand that it is all part of the game, but this fan base expects and deserves nothing less than a world championship.
I will forever bleed blue for the Dodgers and count down the days until it I hear “It’s time for Dodgers Baseball!” But I am so sick of having my hopes crushed by year after year, and having to endure the mockery from the fans of that imposter Los Angeles team that plays about 20 miles down the 5 from Chavez Ravine.
Bleeding blue runs deep in my veins but there’s only so much despair that a fan even like myself can go through before I (metaphorically, of course) open those veins.