Our bandwagoning series is nearing its end. So far, we’ve heard about the Diamondbacks from AZ Snakepit writer Charlie Gebow; the Twins from Brandon Warne, who writes about Minnesota sports for the Athletic; the Cubs, from BP’s Zack Moser; the Nationals, from the staff at Federal Baseball; the Yankees, from Bradford Davis; and the Rockies, from Connor from Purple Row; the Red Sox, from BP’s Mary Craig; and the Astros, from Tim’s friend Alex. Today, Eric Stephen from True Blue LA, SBN’s Dodgers blog, stops by to talk about the Dodgers.
1. The short pitch: in a tweet, limerick, haiku, or other short form, tell us why we should bandwagon your team.
Chris Taylor is here
I can't believe he's this good
A great turnaround
(Ed. note: Uhhh...Eric...I don’t think that helps your case.)
2. The longer pitch: Expand on the most compelling reasons to root for your team.
Here are four reasons to root for the Dodgers:
- Clayton Kershaw getting the October monkey off his back:
Imagine a world where there are no “Kershaw choke” memes. It’s a beautiful world.
- Justin Turner getting a bigger national stage:
If you watched the first postseason game, you see the kind of difference-maker Turner is. He somehow remains a relatively unheralded player on a team that’s constantly in the spotlight.
- Kenley Jansen, too:
Do you love Mariano Rivera and the wizard pitch? Then you love the beautiful simplicity of Kenley Jansen and his cutter. He’s so good, and he makes it look so easy, and he doesn’t walk anyone, at all.
- Putting the idea of September momentum to bed:
The Dodgers were 13-17 in the final month and finished 13-22 (but weirdly that included 8 wins in their last 10 games. This truly was a bizarre year. They followed a 91-36 start with a 5-20 stretch). As analytic baseball fans, you should appreciate this counterpunch to the old-hat idea of “momentum.”
3. Help us fake it: What's a cool stat we can casually drop to make it seem like we've been following this team all along?
The Dodgers are the only 100-win team ever to lose at least 10 games in a row (they lost 11 straight). They are the only team ever to have stretches of 15-1 and 1-15 in the same season. If you love weird baseball, you should love the 2017 Dodgers.
4. Our new favorite player: Which under-the-radar player has a particularly cool backstory, social media presence, or is just generally awesome and worthy of our love and admiration?
Kiké Hernandez is your man. He'll start in LF against lefties, but perhaps most importantly is a fun dude who always knows where the camera is.
He’s a good teammate, too.
5. Mariners fans love an underdog, and being miserable. What's your team's misery quotient?
It's hard to claim "misery" since the Dodgers have had just three losing seasons in the last 25 years, but the Dodgers haven't won -- or been to -- a World Series since 1988, a 28-year drought that still looms over the franchise.
6. The happiness quotient: What are the chances your team can go all the way?
The team is still very good! They won 104 games, their most wins in 64 years. They have a deep starting rotation and loads of talent on offense, plus Kenley Jansen. They are as well equipped as anyone for a deep October run.