Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
The pivotal third game of the 2018 National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium just ended with the Milwaukee Brewers beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0.
After tonight’s loss, it is clear there is one man responsible if the Dodgers fail to make the Fall Classic. And the relentless booing from the fans is aimed at our catcher, Yasmani Grandal.
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Grandal was acquired in mid-season to help the Dodgers make the playoffs taking them all the way to the World Series. Tonight, a pitch squirted past him and a run scored. He also struck out three times, twice with a man on third base. If this were any other regular season game, the fans would Tweet “Keep your chin up. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.” Instead, the boos birds were out. They were fit to kill like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds.
The boos thundered from all tiers of the stadium, growing louder and angrier like a steady lion’s roar.
This game was not one of Grandal’s grandest performances. Still, he was no Roy “Wrong Way” Riegels who caused the Cal Bears to lose the 1929 Rose Bowl game after recovering a fumble and running 65 yards in the wrong direction. He is no Bill Buckner who missed catching a routine ground ball between his legs that led to the Mets winning Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. He was no Yu Darvish who seemed to be serving up pitches for batting practice during Game 7 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium last year.
It was 30 years ago tonight in Game 1 of the World Series that Kirk Gibson crushed his legendary walk-off homer against the future Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley. The dramatic slammer, made for Hollywood (just down the street), came off a full-count pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth – the Dodgers trailing by a run. Gibson had a bad left hamstring and swollen right knee when he stepped up to the plate. He was so banged up he wasn’t even introduced to play at the start of the game. Vince Scully’s legendary call continued after allowing for a full minute on-field celebration: “In a year that has been so improbable the impossible has happened.”
But that was then and today is now. The day the Dodgers starting catcher is booed by the home ballpark fans!
Tomorrow, all the second guessing and wacky doomsday chatter will begin: The Brewers have outplayed the Dodgers in this series from the start. Why can’t our major market team with its mega payroll and talented roster beat the Brewers? And, of course, why does Grandal suck so bad?!
All but two teams fail to advance to the World Series in a sport laden in tradition, commercial interests, star player contracts, big vs. small market payrolls, collaborative pregame plans, and player analytics that dictate pitcher matchups and outfield shifts. Practically nothing is left to game-time manager decisions.
At the tail end of the regular season, the Dodgers playoff chances were in doubt. And now the team is three wins away (with the next two games at home) from back-to-back appearances in the World Series. But after tonight’s loss our fans are already pointing fingers.
I suppose that if the Dodgers survive this series but lose in the World Series our fans will simply blame the coach! Typical.
I suppose if the Dodgers fail to become World Champs this year, somebody is to blame. And that “somebody” will definitely suuuck! And today’s loser Dodgers of will once again be compared to the 1988 Dodgers. Their faces rubbed in their defeat by our fans until Dodger blue turns to bloody red.
This year’s Yankees, Indians, Braves, A’s, Rockies also suck because they too failed to advance in the playoffs.
No Hollywood ending for Grandal. And no opportunity for redemption this postseason. His entire career marred by a couple of games out of thousands played since childhood.
Does our catcher Yasmani Grandal suck? Of course not. But the boo birds tonight showed Milwaukee who the better fans are in this series.
My guess is that if the Brewers lose the National League Championship their fans won’t blame any one player. They will stand up and roundly applaud their team for a winning season and a chance to play in the World Series.
The Milwaukee Brewers play with passion and heart just like every player on the Los Angeles Dodgers. We live in the City of Angels. But there is something ungodly about booing a player who actually plays the game the fans suck at.