Dodger Lament

By Stuart Shea

Being a Dodger used to mean something.
The blue, white and red,
An American team playing the game the right way.

Jackie, Newk, Campy, Junior Gilliam,
Duke Snider and Carl Furillo.
Drysdale and Sandy,
An integrated team in Brooklyn.

When did it start
To fall apart?
When O’Malley ripped out the borough’s heart
And took his business to California,
Greedy and mean,
Displacing locals living in the ravine?

My dad, a Dodgers fan since the 30s,
Watched his team go from Wills, Davis, and Fairly
To Bob Bailor and Jack Fimple–
It was almost that simple.

He swore off the team in 1985
When they brought up some gawky-looking flotsam pitcher named Tom Brennan
Who was just trying to survive.

He raised his leg like a flamingo
And fluttered junk toward the plate.
“That’s not a Dodger,” Dad said,
And he was right. The old team was dead.

There was Gibson’s homer in 1989,
A thrilling victory, a special time,
For a team that wasn’t very good,
But had magic and Orel.

Then Peter O’Malley sold the club to Fox,
Who treated the franchise like a TV show,
Jumping the shark with grumps like Gary Sheffield,
Raul Mondesi, Kevin Brown, Chan Ho Park,
Four managers in five years wandering in the dark
And winning no titles until Frank McCourt bought in.

Now, they’re just another team,
Trading their magic beans
For vets like Nomar, Andruw,
And the worst: Manny Being Manny.

What does it mean to be a Dodger
When a jaker and malcontent
Can wear the same colors as Jackie?
That’s not what his example meant.

Posted 8/27/08 

Published in Free Verse, History, Los Angeles Dodgers, Management, Players, Stu Shea | Link to this poem | No Comments

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