Jun 1, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (8) looks on during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Debunking The 2014 Dodger Platitudes

The dictionary defines a Platitude as a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. What does this have to do with the 2014 Dodgers?

Well because every day the Dodgers suck even more than the previous day, and yet I see more and more Dodger platitudes via twitter and facebook than ever before. Apparently some Dodger fans feel they need to make excuses for the club’s mediocre play this year.

The Dodgers, are a club that made a historic 42-8 run last year, preceding their division title and NLCS appearance, were once again a heavy favorite to win the NL West and win the World Series in 2014. So far though, this season has turned out to be one huge dud.

Can Donnie Baseball turn this thing around again?-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodger fans, and apparently even Mattingly shouldn’t be making excuses for the mediocre play this year. The Dodgers are 31-30 through 61 games, and sit in second pace in the NL West eight games behind the first place Giants. The club also has a losing record at home.

The Dodgers just can’t find a way to consistently win games this year. They’ve yet to win more than three in row, or lose more than three in a row. Although they rarely win series at home.

So I figured now would be a great time to go over and debunk all of the typical 2014 Dodger platitudes that I see all over the internet.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting that your club sucks. I love the Dodgers, but I’m not going to sit here and blow smoke up anyone’s rear. I tell it how it is over here. Any other way would be a disservice to you all. No, the Dodgers suck this year. Just because you’re in tune with reality, doesn’t mean you love or support your team any less. Yes we all love the Dodgers, but I’m not going to lie to everyone and say they’re playing great. No, I will never stop speaking the truth over here, and if that means every so often having to ream the club a new one for their mediocre play than that’s the way it goes.

So let’s start with the top ten Dodger platitudes for 2014.

10. They’re playing great! Or the alternate version…”They’re doing ok”

This Dodger platitude is more common than you might think. There are Dodger fans out there that really believe the club is doing well. Hey whatever floats their bloat I guess. I mean if they want to live in a fantasy world, then who am I to stop them.

I mean, in my fantasy world, I’m married to Britney Spears, and we have two children, and live in a large mansion. When in reality I’m actually in my dumpy apartment eating bologna out of a can. Platitudes are fun aren’t they?

But no, the Dodgers are not doing well, or playing great. Need I remind everyone of their 31-30 record, and that they are eight games out of first place. Not to mention they’re losing record at home (13-19). Nope the Dodgers are not doing well at all. Platitude debunked.

9. They need time to gel!

I hear this a lot too. As if the first nine weeks of the regular season plus spring training isn’t enough, but apparently the Dodgers need even more time to gel. Because they can’t start winning games until they coalesce from a gelatinous matter, into a solid.

The club has had plenty of time to Gel, or get into sync or whatever. It’s already June. By the time they “gel” it’ll be labor day, and you can kiss the playoffs goodbye.

8. Blame it on the Australia trip!

Ahhhh, this is a good one. This platitude blames the Australia trip, and shortened spring training on the club’s disappointing season. There is actually some truth to this. The shortened spring schedule and excessive travel certainly didn’t help things. However we’re way far too past that point to keep harping on this. In April and May, maybe, but not in June.

7. They’re all underperforming

Well duh! This one is like number 10. I think some fans say this to try and convince themselves otherwise. For example, if they say it over and over then the Dodgers may magically start winning games. Nope it’s not like calling beetlejuice. You can’t say it three times and then it comes true.

Even Kershaw is frustrated-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

6.  They just need to start winning series!

Again your powers of observation are astounding. I joke, I joke, but seriously, No Duh! Of course they need to start winning series, but they’ve shown that they can’t evidenced by the fact they’ve won just two series at Dodger Stadium this year.

5.  Blame the injuries!

Oh this one may have some merit, but not as much as last year. The Dodgers simply don’t have the volume of injuries they had last year. Yes they’ve had some injuries to important players this season. Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, and Hyun-jin Ryu have all missed time. Juan Uribe, A.J. Ellis, and Carl Crawford are hurt again. But otherwise, the Dodgers have been somewhat healthy. Not like the hordes of injures they had in 2013. Last year 80% of the roster was on the disabled list at one point. This year it’s only like four or five players.

4. Blame the high priced contracts!

Ok, I’m guilty of this one myself. However you can’t deny that high priced contracts to veterans rarely equate to championships. Signing expensive free agent veterans just doesn’t work. It may have worked for the Yankees, but they’re the exception not the norm. I would love to see the Dodgers return their focus to scouting and player development.

3. The Dodgers are still in the Wild Card race!

This one is perhaps my favorite platitude. Some of the fans are so desperately clinging to any kind of hope, that they actually believe the Dodgers are in the race. Uh, no they’re not. Eight games out of first place is not in the race. The only reason the Dodgers are even still hanging around the wild card, is because the rest of the National league is just as mediocre as the Dodgers are.

But I mean do you really want a wild card? Do you want to see the Dodgers have to waste Kershaw in that one-game playoff, and then start every series on the road? Meanwhile the Giants coast into the playoffs as division champs. That kind of tastes like a sandwich that fell in the sand to me.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Anything can happen in a long season

This one seriously annoys me. Yes I know anything can happen in a season. Obviously, but will this “anything” be the Dodgers actually winning more than three games in a row? The way things are going lately, that would be a resounding no. I don’t want to say nothing will happen, but anything happening is usually the norm in this. Yes anything can and will happen. But rest assured the Dodgers playing good Baseball, probably won’t.

1. It’s Early! (said in annoying nasally voice)

This one is the worst. Every time I hear this platitude I want to gouge my eyes out with a fork. Let’s get one thing straight here. It is not early. The Dodgers have already played 60 games. The halfway mark of the season is 81 games. That means the Dodgers are just three short weeks away from hitting the halfway mark in the season. We’re already in June, and approaching the special date (June 22) from last year that started the historic run. No, it’s not early. It was early in April, and it was early in May. But it is not early in June. It’s midseason now. I don’t want to ever hear this platitude again.

Also Blame Mattingly should be an honorable mention on this countdown. Everyone loves to blame everything on the manager. I’ve been guilty of this on more than a few occasions.

I think we should all come to terms with the stark possibility that the Dodgers may not recover this season. This may turn out to be a lost year, or just a down year for the club in general. It happens, and it’s not the end of the world. But it is horribly disappointing and aggravating. These are the repercussions from having a roster made up of mostly overpaid over age 30 veterans that aren’t good anymore. The Dodgers need some youth on the roster, besides Yasiel Puig.

We need to stop kidding ourselves about the 2014 Dodgers.

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Tags: Clayton Kershaw Don Mattingly Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig

  • SteveJbleedsblue

    Dee? Did you forget him, or does he not count?

    • LasordasLair

      Gordon? What about him? I don’t really see many people blaming Gordon for this

  • RaggedyBlue

    Thanks for this piece — you seem to be the only blog saying the difficult things that need to be said. I want to add a couple of viewpoints on the subject of Mattingly. First, while I don’t blame him for the Dodgers’ malaise, it’s getting pretty obvious he has no plan or program for dealing with it, either. If the team needs a fire lit under its butt, he is the one who has to apply the match. Instead, he just shrugs and tries another lineup. He seems, at times, to be little more than a spectator to what’s going on in the clubhouse and on the field. If he was at all responsible for last year’s epic comeback, he is giving no evidence of it now.
    Instead, and this is my second point, he now seems to be distancing himself from the situation. His post-game comment last night about asking the players (because he’s tired of answering the same questions) doesn’t sound to me like the “player’s manager” we’ve all heard about in previous seasons. If Mattingly distances himself in this way, the players will do the same to him, and then what does he have left work with? Nobody’s ever compared him to Gene Mauch as a strategist — if he loses the support of the team, he’s got no traction (a term he likes to use) left. Personally, I like Mattingly, but I wonder if he isn’t in over his head with this team.

    • LasordasLair

      I can’t argue with anything you’ve said, because you’re right. I don’t blame Mattingly either, but it’s clear he is utterly clueless as to what to do with this club. I think a good way for them to start to turn things around is to jettison a couple of the high priced contracts. But I see a guy who is very frustrated with his club. I don’t blame him really. This team is very frustrating to watch. I think at this point, it’s time to start breaking up the roster.

      • O M

        Raggedy and LL – 9 times out of 10 I agree that Mattingly seems to not have a clue about how to do things better, but to Raggedy’s point about Mattingly not having a plan whatsoever, I gotta disagree.
        As a matter of fact, I’m saying his calling out of the team is exactly planned.
        I spell it out on my blog better than I can do here in a comments box.
        Unsure if I may leave a link to my blog, but if I can, I will.
        Or you can google ATBATT blogspot,
        Thanks in advance if you go over and read my take on all this.

        • RaggedyBlue

          Hi OM — I read your blog post and I certainly hope you are correct in your analysis of what Mat’ly is up to. If he can pull a winning streak out of his hat I won’t mind being proved wrong a bit. I’ll cross my fingers and we’ll all see what this road trip brings.

          • LasordasLair

            I don’t know about Mattingly guys. if him saying the club sucks is a way of motivating them, then I guess it could work. He may have to do more than that to motivate these stiffs though.

          • O M

            That’s his last big play – and it’s a huge gamble.
            Now Colletti and ownership have to decide who’s dead wood on the team and make a couple of moves for a new run at the season….or 2014 is toast.

          • O M

            Thanks for stopping by and reading. That Mattingly play won’t be enough though.
            If we don’t improve on the road trip – management is absolutely going to change the team. Wild card prediction: 2 of those 4 outfielders will be traded and/or benched.

        • LasordasLair

          OM, no worries, you are welcome to post your blog link here. We don’t have a problem with that. What’s it called again? ATBATT?

  • a tomato

    Saw this coming. Dodgers are a flawed team constructed with declining, unathletic, and expensive players. Everyone thinks they’re awesome because of that absurd 42-8 run they went on last year. Take away those two months, and over the other 6 months of baseball (over two seasons) the Dodgers are well under .500. That’s pathetic. They have two elite starters, a very good to excellent number 3 and closer, and an elite slugger. They should build a team around those guys. You know, a team that can actually defend, move runners up, and get lock down bullpen innings. Instead we want to sit back and wait for home runs and extra base hits from guys whose best days are behind them. Case in point yesterday where Turner makes an ill advised throw leading to a game tying run to get into scoring position and the dodgers leave a man on 3rd with nobody out in a 4-4 game. Basically a typical loss this year. It’s great when guys hit homers, but this team can’t win close games this year.

    This team isn’t going anywhere this year and they should try and trade some of these guys if they can. I’d let Hanley walk this winter, and try and get Pederson into a starting spot and open the door for Seager in a few years.