Dodgers, Phils go separate ways since 2009

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Jonathan Broxton is the game’s best closer. Manny Ramirez is one of the most feared right-handed bats in baseball. Joe Torre is a damn genius.

It’s LA’s year this year. Nothing will stand in the way of the Dodgers, who look to be a perennial powerhouse in the National League. Well, that is except the Philadelphia Phillies.

This was the tone in 2008 and 2009 in Los Angeles, the same years Matt Stairs and Jimmy Rollins each had monumental hits in the NLCS off Broxton, one of the game’s most feared closeres at the time. But it seemed ever since Rollins’ bases clearing double in the bottom of the 9th bounced off the wall in right center at Citizens Bank Park, the wheels fell off the Dodgers’ bus.

Broxton is a shell of his former self, left in the fetal position sucking his thumb in the padded cell the Dodgers locked him in. Dodgers fans no longer feel safe with a lead when he walks to the mound in the 9th thanks to two two-run jacks he coughed up against the Phils in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS in LA and the game-winning double by Rollins in the 2009 NLCS, also in Game 4.

Broxton is just a piece of the mess the Dodgers have become since the 2009 post season. Mannywood, the savior of LA, became a headcase as well, getting released by the Dodgers and signing with the Rays. He wound up failing another drug test and ultimately quitting baseball.

Torre was brought over to manage the Dodgers in the 2008 season. Along with 3rd base coach and former Phillie Larry Bowa, many thought he was going to bring a World Championship back to LA for the first time since 1988.

But the team couldn’t stay strong under his reign, failing to beat the Phillies twice in 2008 and 2009 and then failing to even make the post season in 2010 before Torre stepped down as manager. Torre is currently in Bud Selig’s commissioners office.

But not all the problems with the Dodgers were on the field. Someone should have told the McCourt’s that if they really really really didn’t love each other, they shouldn’t put an entire franchise in the middle of their marriage.

With the McCourt’s filing for divorce and fighting over a franchise, the Dodgers are looking at a loss of $27 million in revenue, which will still put them in better shape than the NBA because people in LA actually care about the Dodgers – that is, when they are their from the 3rd inning until the 7th (wow, that was a lot of effort put into a handful of cheap shots).

Phillies pinch-hitter Matt Stairs circles the bases after his 8th inning two-run homer off Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton gave the Phils a 7-5 lead in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

All kidding aside, the Dodgers average attendance this season did drop down to 37,000, a decrease in 8,000. And that is a lot of good baseball fans lost. Long story short, the team that was once a guarantee sell out with an unbelievable product on the field has turned into the West Coast version of the New York Mets.

On the other side of that NLCS match-up, the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, lost in 2009, won their division in a disappointing 2010 despite boasting the best record in baseball and may actually have the best team of the last four years. With the addition of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence all while dumping sacrificing Brett Myers and Jayson Werth, the Phillies have turned into an older, more mature and more talented team than the two pennant winning teams in 2008 and 2009.

There are a couple bright spots in the Dodgers organization and they lie in do-it-all centerfielder Matt Kemp and one of the most dynamic young arms of baseball in Clayton Kershaw. Kemp has one of the most potentially dangerous bats in baseball and has complimented their other star outfielder Andre Ethier well offensively. Kershaw has won 39 games in less than four seasons with a 3.07 ERA.

The present may be dim for the Dodgers but the future still has hope for the sunny city of LA.

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