Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Exorcists

My God.

No one who's reading this needs to be told how amazing yesterday's win was. You saw it. You know it.

I will say, all hyperbole aside, that it was the greatest moment in Dodger history since Kirk Gibson's homerun. The pain of 1991 and 1992, the unfulfilled promise of the Piazza years, the Trade, the dark years of the Davey Johnson/Kevin Malone era, were all swept aside in one magnificent half-hour.

No matter what happens in the playoffs, you get the feeling now that the organization has finally turned the corner.

It was absolution for the Dodger fans who've been questioning their faith in recent years, and vindication for those whose faith never wavered. It's been tough to be a Dodger fan lately. We're witnessing the longest stretch without a pennant or a playoff berth in L.A. history. We've endured seven humiliating seasons behind the Giants in the standings. We've watched that misbegotten Orange County team suddenly challenge our boys for So-Cal supremacy. We needed this.

A routine win, where they led the game from the beginning and let Gagne close it down at the end, would've done the job nicely yesterday. But it just wouldn't have been worthy of this team to clinch the division in such a de riguer fashion. This is a team that has 53 come-from-behind wins, and has led a game from start-to-finish only once in the last five weeks. They don't do anything the easy way. You just knew that for them to win the division, they were going to do it in cardiac style. And besides, there were 16 years of demons living in that ballpark. Dodger Stadium needed an exorcism.

Anyway, now it's on to St. Louis, where the Dodgers will be an enormous underdog to the best team in the National League. A sweep at the hands of the Cardinals is not an unlikely scenario, but I'm not even going to let that ruin what has been the most pleasurable Dodger season since the magic year of 1988. No matter how it ends, I'll consider 2004 a success.

But a playoff win would be nice.

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