Requium for a team

My poor, poor Dodgers.

How glorious it was to grow up as a Dodger fan. It was a team of extraordinary tradition — Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Kirk Gibson. For a great city without roots, the Dodgers were a link back to the old country of New York. And they were a stark contrast to the corporatization that even then was darkening the game. The Dodgers still developed their own players, from Steve Garvey to Mike Piazza. They kept managers for twenty years and a broadcaster, Vin Scully, for fifty. Where other teams were side projects for playboys or conglomerates, the O’Malleys had no business interests but the Dodgers.

Those Dodgers are no more. News Corp. bought the team and promptly destroyed it. Now they’ve put the shell on the block, and the leading bidders are a broadcast group from Indianapolis, more interested in Fox TV stations than the team, and the crazy owner of football’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The horror, the horror.

Baseball is just a sport. The Dodgers are just a team. But sometimes an ordinary thing can rise above itself in the collective consciousness and become magical. Or at least, so it seemed to one little boy.