Los Angeles' postseason woes plague big-money philosophy
College Contributor Network
Two of the biggest World Series favorites in baseball combined to win just one postseason game, talk about a disastrous formula for Los Angeles party plans in October.
The dubious postseason outcomes for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the past few years certainly brought forth some concern heading into the 2014 playoffs, but the fashion in which both teams were defeated spoke wonders about the oversight exhibited by upper management.
The lack of any real bullpen depth for the Dodgers (with a $235 million payroll), outside of closer Kenley Jansen, along with the assortment of struggles on offense for the home run-dependent Angels ($155 million) fueled early exits from the postseason and left fans devoid of any real payoff.
Even though the Angels don't actually play in Los Angeles County, and might even move to Tustin, Calif. in the years to come, the heart of Southern California is split between the prideful colors of Dodgers Blue and the Disneyland-fueled, fan-friendly vibe of the Halos.
Success in the first 162 games can be fickle, especially when the ultimate prize rests solely on those final 11 wins that are so difficult to come by. Led the best offense in the American League, and arguably the best pitching rotation in the National League, fans were salivating over the possibilities of an Interstate-5 Freeway World Series.
Which by the way, as a native Angelino I can attest, the I-5 Freeway is arguably worst drive in town, and might actually fuel the growing intensity between these clubs, as exhibited by the raucous four-game set where the Dodgers took three out of four games earlier this summer.
The Alpine Village Oktoberfest in nearby Torrance, Calif. is certainly not a bad consolation prize for celebration-hungry baseball enthusiasts, but folks expected a little more "fight" than painstaking 7th inning letdowns from the Boys in Blue and lifeless extra inning games from the free-swinging Halos.
Pulsating cheers of M-V-P engulfed Chavez Ravine every time Clayton Kershaw stepped on the rubber, while spanning across the Southland there were the awe-inspiring at-bats, fish-themed headgear and the "Angels in the Outfield" like glove work from 23-year-old superstar Mike Trout. Los Angeles and Orange County had superstars to rally around while battling the suffocating 90-degree heat that has plagued Southern California during the (supposed) coming of Fall.
The results were terrible, and this staggering trend of both Division and Championship Series futility leaves baseball fans (some of whom can be classified as bandwagon) begging, pleading, even suffering for some legitimate postseason success.
Outside of a magical postseason run in 2002 by the (then) Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles hasn't created a brand of postseason baseball that matches the recent success of the Los Angeles Kings, the quietly impressive run from the L.A. Galaxy and the Lakers' Championship banners hanging in the Staples Center rafters. Don't run and hide Clippers fans, the pressure of winning in the postseason is back on your shoulders as well.
Both Ned Colleti and Jerry Dipoto entered the postseason in must-win territory, despite the fact their teams took steps forward in the win column from last season.
In a town thirsty for championships, both general managers are on short leashes. Despite heavy payrolls, both teams did not invest dollars and cents into the finer details of the game; areas that separate the good and great teams come October. Both teams had their chances to win series, but for one reason or another (many of which were just flat-out frustrating to endure as a fan of general athletic excellence) both teams must be now examined under the microscope.
Perhaps the offseason will be a great chance to hit the reset button, but the pain of losing so quickly in the MLB postseason won't be wiped away in a flash. The Boys of Summer folded in the first real sign of adversity come fall, leaving everyone to question whether the great summer of Dodgers' and Angels' baseball was real or just a tease for the painful moments of coming so close, yet standing so far from raising the World Series trophy in Los Angeles.
Evan Budrovich is a senior at the University of Southern California. He has a passion for the 49ers, Dodgers baseball and all things USC athletics. Follow him on Twitter: @evanbud