Brace yourself (if you are a (Anaheim) Angels, Giants or a Padres fan - as I am sure there may be quiet few on this blog). This is going to be shout out to my favorite team in the National League - the Los Angeles Dodgers (don't even have to add "of"). Another thing I missed during the last few weeks of March Madness is the opening day of MLB and also the launch of latest (and the last) MLB blog from SB Nation - True Blue LA:
My most treasured memories are the nights that my late father and I drove out to the ravine, parked in our usual spot near the Elysian Park exit, stayed for the last pitch, and made our traditional dash for the car. It was a place where it was O.K. to root for our side, no matter what. There was no moral ambiguity in rooting for our guys to embarrass Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Doc Gooden. You didn't have to be nice, just loyal.
Some of my greatest frustrations have come at the hands of the Dodgers, as well. The many false starts, underachieving seasons, and painful farewells to favorite players that have come in the post-O'Malley years. Particularly frustrating was the aborted DePodesta experiment. Whether you share his philosophy or not, it is foolish to spend two years pursuing a plan and then change directions. LoDuca and Roberts are gone, and Ned's not bringing them back. Nothing was proven, and nothing changed. That was a lot of pain for nothing. But baseball pain is temporary, and there's always next year.
I love the Blue Crew, which happens to the team of greatest Bruin of all time:
Before Jackie Robinson was embraced as the man who changed the color of Major League Baseball and opened doors for millions, he first burst upon the national scene at UCLA.
Robinson had known local fame at Muir High School of Pasadena and Pasadena Junior College, but it was as a Bruin that the country first learned of one of the most incredible athletes it would ever witness.
Robinson was a star halfback for UCLA's first undefeated football team, a dazzling open-field runner. In basketball he was twice the conference's leading scorer. He was the NCAA long jump champion for the track and field team while at the same time playing on the baseball team.
Ray Bartlett was a friend and teammate of Robinson's since they were 7. It has been 65 years since they last played football at UCLA, yet he still shakes his head in wonder.
"Jackie accomplished something at UCLA that will never be duplicated," Bartlett said. "Lettering in four sports in the same season is unheard of. You just cannot do that today.
"In those days, I'd see Jack have to change uniforms from track and run up and finish up a baseball game."
Robinson was a remarkable athlete, one of the greatest this country ever produced.
Yet his extraordinarily versatile accomplishments at Westwood have been overshadowed by his fame for being the first to integrate baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
If I had a favorite Dodger, it was Sandy Koufax. He was modest and unassuming, and he left at the height of his career when he could have played longer. He had enough strength to walk away and not stay too long as some do.
PS: Of course there are great blogs from other teams conveniently blogrolled on our right hand side. Now I will expect to come on and give a shout to his Orange County Angels sometime very soon on the home page. And putting up a special poll to celebrate the baseball season. Note the category others - if you have a favorite team besides the one listed - let us know who you root for in the comment thread. I know I will be really interested to know.