Monday, October 06, 2008

Dodgers-Phils NLCS: One Team HAS To Win, Right?

Where's Mike Schmidt? Rick Monday? Steve Carlton? Anyone see Davey Lopes running around anywhere?

Ahh, the Dodgers and the Phillies. For the National League Pennant. Just like they did when the disco balls were still spinning.

It's a battle now between two franchises who are both fragile and with chips on their shoulders. The Phillies haven't won the whole enchilada since 1980, and were World Series losers in 1983 and '93. The Dodgers were last world champs 20 years ago, and only just the other night won their first post-season series since then.

Two Rodney Dangerfields about to clash in the NLCS.

The Phillies and their fans are certainly used to this kind of a drought. Before the '80 championship, which is their only one in franchise history, the Phils hadn't been to a WS in 30 years. Their existence has been mostly pock-marked with stumbling and losing. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are having trouble abiding this 1988-2008 thing. Theirs was once an organization synonymous with winning -- even if it meant eventually losing in the WS to the Yankees.

I don't think Dodgers fans could have imagined that the Kirk Gibson-led team of 1988 would be the last one to sip champagne for two decades.

Yet the Dodgers still managed to trump the Lovable Losers, AKA the Chicago Cubs, in the NLDS. The baseball gods finally gave the Dodgers a team they could beat in October.

The Phillies have jobbed the Mets two years in a row in the NL East, but it still doesn't make up for blowing the 1964 pennant. You know, the year they lost ten in a row in the season's final days and committed the worst self-larceny in baseball history.

Someone once asked Gene Mauch, who managed the '64 Phils, if he ever thought about that blown pennant. This was decades later.

"Every day," was Mauch's reply.

Most of you know that I don't do predictions. Not my style. Plus, I'm usually pretty lousy at it. But SOMEONE has to win this thing. SOMEONE has to have a chance to exorcise their WS demons, representing the National League.

So, Dodgers in six. Or maybe the Phillies in seven. Dodgers in six-and-a-half? Phillies in eight? I have no idea. But one of these teams can't lose. And neither of them have been in that position in quite some time, if ever.


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