With the Bruins and Trojans hoopsters aiming for the next year, the Clippers joining fray although their season is yet to conclude and the Lakers on a championship road to glory, the Dodgers will began a season of promise next week.
After losing in the NLCS to the eventual champion Philadelphia Phillies last season, Dodgers fans have to be quite giddy about the prospect of their team with Manny Ramirez back in the fold for the ’09 campaign.
The Dodgers core of young players such as Matt Kemp, James Loney and catcher Russell Martin had already inspired a foundation for good things to come before Manny brought his Hall of Fame swing to the Southland.
Now, with the greatest home run hitter since Babe Ruth in uniform for a full season and more seasoning underneath the youngsters, the Dodgers are the prohibitive favorites to win the NL West this season.
Their greatest rivalry will come in the form of the Angeles for the enormous fan base of baseball fanatics who may have been divided between which team to choose.
The Angels, just to the south have been eating away at the Dodgers fan base with their success in the American League, but since their Worlds Series title early in the decade, the Angels have been a big tease for yet another banner.
Last year the Dodgers advanced farther than the Angeles, which share the same Los Angeles surname, in the post season.
Add to the equation that Manny had been dangling out there as a free agent for the taking and the Angeles did not bite, and the Dodgers got him back you could feel the momentum shift back to Chavez Ravine.
However, all that matters right now is winning as many of the 162 game grind as you can and hope for the best in the post season.
The Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who knows a thing or two about post season, has said that once you get to the playoffs its like a crap shoot from there.
Having Manny on your side tilts the dice in your favor, but pitching is and always has been the name of the game.
The Angeles have an abundance of it and have been spectacular in spring training, and the Dodgers rotation is thin and untested, something that will play out in full as the season progresses.
It’s the good old American pastime, hot dogs, peanuts and crackerjacks and both the Dodgers and Angels hope to become just as tasty.