A Cliffhanger Season

Is destiny that the Dodgers season will go down to the last game, maybe the last inning? The Dodgers can't shake the dreaded Padres, clinging to a very, narrow lead as the season grinds down to the last two weeks.

Derek Lowe is given a 7-0 lead but the Dodgers manage to lose when a half dozen seeing eye ground balls get through the infield untouched and one of the few to find a glove also found an errant throw.

Set back on their heels, the Dodgers rebounded with a shutout win behind Brad Penny, who looked so bad his last start in Shea stadium.

Then, after a great game by Kou, Tompko served up a creampuff and they lost the third game.

Down one day, up the next. From aspirin to champagne. Same team, same players, one day chumps, next day champs.

Gosh, the look like Democrats one day, Republicans the next.

The thing is, so do the rest of the teams in the division. And it could be that the National League West will get TWO teams in post season play, with the runner up getting the wild card berth. Now nobody expected that at the beginning of the season.

Who would figure Greg Maddux and Derek Lowe would LOSE but whatsisname Kuo and Eric Stults, no household name, would win. Well, if baseball were a game of probable odds, bookies everywhere would go broke.

We were interested in seeing 78 year old Tommy Lasorda chewing his fingernails and looking for all the world like he had just seen Jack Clark coming to bat in the loss to the Cubs, but the next night snoozing between pitches in the shutout win.

No telling how long he have napped if some observant club flunky hadn't rung old Tommy on his cellphone saying "if you want to be on a highlight film fast asleep during a critical game, keep right on snoozing old buddy."

Now Tommy is entitled to sleep when the mood hits him, as are all 78 year old geezers. He's talked his way into, if not earned, the right.

When somebody noted lefty Kuo struck out half a dozen, Tommy, as he is want to do, reminded himself and anybody listening that he himself once struck out 18 in a game. Course it was in the minor leagues and it was five teams removed from the Dodgers who had a big league club, two triple A and two other Double A Clubs ahead of him on the ladder.

Us older Dodgers junkies are a lot like Tommie, living on memories, biting our nails, sneaking a snooze (in case the other team should come to life), desperately wanting another sniff of a winning post season. Heck I was only 48 in 1988 and in less than six weeks, we will be 67, and forced to go easy on the old folks digs on Tommy.

Course he has been getting paid all these years to do what Holmes and I have been doing on the cuff, and the cuffs are getting more frayed every year.

Since Holmes and I are getting our biggest checks from Franklin Roosevelt's Social Security program, do you think if we had a chance to sup with Tommy, he might be tempted to grab for the check? There has to be a first time for everything. Tommy has saved so much meal money over the years, truth be known, he's probably more well heeled than the team owners these days.

On the days the Dodgers are winning, there is a nice aroma all around. The aroma of Dolph Camilli and Pee Wee and Karl Spooner before he got hurt, Sandy after he learned control, the sweet swing of the Duke, Roy, Carl, and all the others.

On the days the Dodgers are looking, we are old enough to remember the classic line Dick Young of the New York Daily News wrote after one loss - "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (there was a best selling book of that name at the time). It is a cherry tree, a cherry choke tree."

In two short weeks, if we live that long, we will get the final verdict. Will it be elation or gloom, happiness or another winter of doldrums, tap beer or a bottle of Mums.

Holmes and me both got bum hearts these days (No pun intended but we both gave our hearts to the bums decades ago) (Holmes, as he freely admitted not long ago, saw Jackie Robinson and forever eschewed the closer St. Louis Cards). In my case my twin and older brother got first pick and, front runner that he is, took the Yankees.)

I got both a pacemaker and a defibrillator in my bum heart, one to regulate the beat and the other device to kickstart me long enough to get me to a hospital in time. I don't think I will be needing the pacemaker for the next two weeks, but if Brett Tomko keeps throwing up them marshmallow pitches in key relief situations, there are good odds the defibrillator will be put into play.

Oy vey? (Which in classical Baptist means Boy Are We Nervous).

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