This weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks, capping off a 1-5 homestand, was incredibly depressing for Dodgers fans. I for one, was a wreck. I went to the Friday game, in which Chad Billingsley pitched well but the offense did not show up, with Juan Pierre being the only base runner to get as far as third base. I went the following evening to the Saturday game, in which the Dodgers fell behind early, only to watch a couple of batters make a weak attempt to show up before ultimately falling short. And I watched the Sunday game from home, which had the Dodgers strand the few base runners they had, meekly ending up in a shutout.
All I had to show for two games this weekend was a lighter wallet, two ticket stubs, and a cooler bag. (Drew McCourt, to his credit, appeared to correctly transcribe the years of the Dodgers’ six World Series titles this time, on the bottom of the promotional giveaway item.)
First place is now a huge four games away. Fourth place is only 1.5 games away. The season isn’t over, by any means; every team goes through losing streaks, and every Dodgers team seems to lose its way in July/August. Kent will be back in the lineup some day. We could get 3/5 of our starting rotation back. The young guys will start hitting again. Olmedo Saenz might even get a hit. But dropping the team’s fifth consecutive series definitely seems to augur more bad futures than good times ahead. And I was really, really depressed.
So I did what any Dodger fan would do in desperate times. I tried to lift my spirits however possible. I went out and bought a Nintendo Wii.
In the course of one weekend, Wii Sports baseball helped me forget many of the myriad issues plaguing the Dodgers and driving true fans crazy. For example:
- My team (clad in blue) can hit home runs with power; some of the majestic shots have even gone “Out of the Park!”, rather than barely inching over the outfield wall (not that I'm lamenting any of Nomar's recent home runs--at least he's hitting them)).
- Sharply-hit ground balls often find holes through the infield defense, rather than the typical Dodgers GIDP of late.
- My team is waiting deeper in the count to swing. 'Nuff said.
- No one on my pitching staff has been injured yet (and in fact, the five-run mercy rule seems to help a ton, since I often can win the three-inning game after just one inning of play, keeping my arms fresh).
- The aforementioned three-inning game duration relieves me of Grady Little-like situations where I might have otherwise left a pitcher in too long.
- Automatic base running has removed the risk of Rich Donnelly getting one, two, or even three guys thrown out at home plate on the same play.
- When on defense, I don’t have to worry about the penguin arms of Juan Pierre allowing runners to score from second on a single (Wii Sports baseball uses straightforward base running, where singles only advance the runner on second to third).
- Nor do I have to worry about Luis Gonzalez not getting to sharply-hit ground balls in left field.
- Nor do I have to worry about Matt Kemp getting to the ball in right field, only to watch the ball drop out of his glove (errors seem to happen on Wii Sports baseball occasionally, but more often from a ground ball to the infield rather than a fly ball to the outfield).
- There’s no Alyssa Milano around to amplify Russell Martin’s weariness on both offense and defense.
- Discussions about the #7 or #8 starter we should have picked up, or the .245 batter just waiting to break out, are rendered moot. The lineups are pre-set.
- Between innings, I don’t have to listen to the insipid CarMax commercials for “HorseMax” or “ChariotMax.”
- Unlike Rick Monday, the game announcer calls the score regularly and accurately. And he doesn’t say “Friends,…” at the start of each sentence.
- Beer is much cheaper, and I can drink it right out of the bottle AND screw back the cap on top if I want. (Plus, I can get good Scotch now.)
- Getting out of the stadium after the game is a breeze. I just turn the Wii console off.
For any of you Dodgers fans suffering through this latest freefall, I would highly suggest the Wii as a remedy. For now, this Steve Sax is feeling a lot more like Pee Wii Reese.
UPDATE: If any of you would like to be a Wii Friend of mine, post here or email me your Wii ID #.