When the season is over and we look back on how and when the Los Angeles Dodgers turned things around to meet the expectations we all set for them, most will point out June 3.
That’s the day the blue crew, nine and a half games out of first place and sitting in the cellar of the NL West, called up Yasiel Puig from Double A.
Well, no doubt, the kid’s energy and performances set the pro baseball world on its ear and directed the attention to him. He didn’t intentionally do that … he was just playing out of his mind. It worked.
While we were focusing on the mystique of the young savior, manager Don Mattingly and crew were quietly able to steady the ship.
Right under our noses, but practically unnoticed, injured Dodgers stars got healthy.
Under-performing Dodgers began to accept their roles and started to elevate their personal games for the better of the team. What was probably the most important thing was that Mattingly, at long last, was able to manage his team without being second guessed.
Other less-glaring parts have come into play in L.A. Zack Greinke has become the solid right-handed compliment to ace Clayton Kershaw the team envisioned when they signed him and Hanley Ramirez, who has gotten healthy and into rhythm and basically has become what Mattingly called “a beast”.
The first game back after the All-Star break, which many Dodger fans feared would break the team’s steamrolling momentum, forgotten-man Andre Ethier hit the game-winning home run.
This is the Dodgers team we’ve been waiting for. The blue crew, that we may have to soon start referring to as the Big Blue Machine, has shown up.