As I sit here watching the renewed Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Arizona Diamondbacks, something looks very familiar. The team, the energy, the enthusiasm — this team is strikingly similar to one that North Texans fell in love with back in 2010.
Not much was expected of the Rangers of two seasons ago. The 2008 and 2009 Rangers were disappointing ball clubs. They finished in second, but in the case of the 2008 team, they might has well finished in last place. They were 21 games behind the first place Angels.
The same could be said for the 2010 and 2011 editions of the LA Dodgers. Both of those clubs struggled to finish above .500 and neither brought any excitement to their devoted fans.
The things that changed for the Rangers in 2010 are exactly the same things that are changing for the 2012 Dodgers. The Dodgers have settled a long, grueling ownership battle much like the Rangers did two years ago. The Dodgers were purchased by an investment group featuring a hometown hero. Sound familiar? In LA, the name on the team belongs to Magic Johnson. In Texas, it’s Nolan Ryan.
The Dodgers are getting strong starting pitching from a great left-handed pitcher by the name of Clayton Kershaw. His pitching mastery from the south-paw side could be compared to that of Cliff Lee — on a good day. And they are getting timely hitting, especially from an outfielder who swings a strong bat. Matt Kemp is to the Dodgers this season, what Josh Hamilton was to the Rangers that season. If I had to guess, I’d say that Matt Kemp will be named the MVP of the National League this year.
It will be interesting to see if these similarities hold true through the rest of the season. If so, we could be seeing the Dodgers play on into October. Wouldn’t that be an intriguing matchup? The Dodgers and Rangers in the World Series. Ron Washington of today, esentially managing against the 2010 version of Ron Washington. I wonder what decision Wash might make then, in the face of himself two seasons ago.