Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Deep In The Heart Of Dodger Country

By Joe Chandler

Author’s Note: Last night Trevor Hoffman retired the first two batters he faced and then surrendered the lead to the Houston Astros. The following piece was written yesterday before that game was played. I want it to be known that what happened last night changes nothing about how I feel.

The Case for Trevor Hoffman

I moved to Los Angeles five years ago to pursue my dreams in the entertainment business. Although I’ve made headway in that pursuit, what I’m doing now is nothing like what I originally envisioned for myself. The ideal was laid aside in order to provide a stable and satisfying life. Dreams have been set aside for practicality. I think this is what most of us do in life. We make a series of compromises that protect our sanity. “World peace would be great, but I’ll settle for a really good burrito.” This approach to life could be misread as pathetic, but I believe it’s the path to true happiness, which is why, when I checked the Padres score last night, I nearly had a heart attack. Because of a slow internet connection, my computer told me that the Padres had a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning with Heath Bell on the mound for the save.

Most San Diego fans have been calling for Trevor Hoffman to step aside and allow a more capable arm to close out their games for some time now. Analytically I understand this desire and I can admit that not living in San Diego provides me with insulation to the daily grind of life as a Padres fan. However, as a Los Angeles resident I feel the need to have some connection to my hometown. There is very little familiar to me here; the Mexican food is surprisingly awful and the local television announcer is astonishingly talented. This makes me a man who is very far from home. The one way I’ve found to stay connected is through my (our) baseball team.

If Trevor Hoffman steps aside I’ll be set adrift. Sure maybe Heath Bell will slam the door shut in a big game, but he’ll also be slamming the door on the last remnant of the Padres that existed while I was still a San Diego resident. And what will his presence ultimately provide? The Padres may get better, yes. Winning the NL West and getting swept out of the playoffs by a superior baseball team could be the honor of any of the 5 teams in our division, but that doesn’t give San Diego any ammunition in the war for my soul. The greatest closer to ever play the game does give my city that ammunition.

It turns out Hoffman got the save last night, as he’s done many times before. My panic was unwarranted, but it made me confront the fact that a new day was approaching. When Bell or some other arm takes over for Trevor a new era will be upon us. I can guarantee that era won’t last as the long as the one that we’re enjoying right now. Be careful what you wish for, smoke ‘em while you got ‘em and see the forest for the trees, etc, etc. The Padres are never going to win the World Series as soon as we all set that dream aside we’ll be a lot closer to happiness. We must find the joy in what we have.

I should be living in San Diego, eating at El Zarape and calling for Heath Bell in the ninth, but my compromise is living in Los Angeles, eating Zankou Chicken and bragging about Trevor Hoffman. Don’t upset my delicate balance.


Red said...

No one man is more important than the entire team. Sorry, Joe.

Heath Bell for Closer!

Joe said...

The team would be important if the owner invested money and was actually trying to build a winner. As it is they're running a business. The World Series is a pipe dream.

Dave H said...

Can we at least get rid of that stupid home plate/wave logo and the new "P" ?

Totally wack.

Joe said...

I'm comfortable with that.

reeveoliver said...

Harrison Ford can make a new Indy flick, but really...should he? ok guess time will tell on this one.