9 Sound Reasons To Admit You Are Fully Aboard The Los Angeles Dodgers Bandwagon

This year, America’s Team is from the Left Coast.

The Dodgers.

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Their fans show up late. They leave early. We’ve all heard it because it’s true.

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Their new ownership group’s strategy is to “use Magic Johnson’s charm to distract everyone from the fact that we’re just brutally outspending everyone else in the league à la the early-2000s Yankees.”

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Also, Los Angeles has such a glamorous reputation, but it’s, like, 90% billboards and exhaust fumes. Taking a vacation there is like taking a vacation in a gas station.

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And yet…

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1. The Dodgers are perhaps the quintessential American baseball team.

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Six World Series titles since 1950. They broke the color barrier. Born in Brooklyn, they headed west to make their fortune.

2. Besides Jackie Robinson, the archetypal Dodger is Sandy Koufax, one of the greatest and most badass pitchers of all time.

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At age 29, he threw 335 innings and struck out 382 batters. In the World Series that year he pitched three games in eight days, throwing a complete-game shutout in Game 5 on a Monday and following it up with a Game 7 complete-game shutout on Thursday. When his arm started hurting so badly that he decided it would adversely affect the way he wanted to enjoy the rest of his life, he quit. Sandy Koufax was a goddamn badass.

3. The Dodgers’ play-by-play announcer is Vin Scully, whose stature makes the phrase “greatest sports broadcaster ever” sound like silly faint praise.

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He has announced Dodgers games for 64 years. Vin Scully has seen them come and watched them go for seven decades with the same quick-witted, inquisitive disposition. (Or so I assume. I wasn’t around for most of it because he is OLDER THAN GOD.)

Vin Scully is the man.

(The Dodgers also, as it happens, helped launch the career of Ernie Harwell, another all-time great baseball man.)

4. The Dodgers play in a classic stadium that is scenically perfect.

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It’s somehow still just called Dodger Stadium, too, not Giant Bank Burger King Corporation Field Park at MasterCard Gulch.

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Pretty.

5. They gave us one of the top two or three baseball moments ever.

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6. And this Dodgers team is still at that up-and-coming stage where, after a big win, it’s hard to tell who’s more excited, the fans or the players.

Despite the Dodgers’ history, it’s been 25 years, since the year of Gibson’s home run, since they played in a World Series. They’ve made the playoffs six times since, but the best they’ve done therein is to lose in five games in the NLCS (which happened twice). Right now the team is a mix of veterans whose careers have been re-energized by playing for a winner — Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez — as well as young stars like electrically balls-to-the-wall right fielder Yasiel Puig and the eminently lovable/filthy pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

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That’s Kershaw.

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7. Juan Uribe’s no-doubt go-ahead homer to win the NLDS has been the highlight of the playoffs so far…

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Uribe’s hammer-jack turned Dodger Stadium into a rocketship of crowd noise. Flip that bat!

8. …except perhaps for the celebratory explosion of lights, tinsel, fireworks, and blasting music that erupted when Kenley Jansen whiffed Justin Upton to seal the team’s NLCS trip.

9. Actually, no, never mind: The highlight of the playoffs so far, and maybe the entire baseball season, is this picture from the locker room after the game.

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Kershaw and Koufax.

So on the minus side: They’re still a big-money team from Smogtown, USA.

But on the plus side: The iconic American history; the rocking stadium; and players who can run, hit, and throw the hell out of the ball.

I, for one, will take it. It’s time to DODGER UP.

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Or whatever it is Dodger fans say. This is all new to me. Let’s go, L.A.!

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