Ok, so the Dodgers are done for 2007. But can't they at least play spoiler correctly? After Arizona shellacked them 12-3 last night, it looks like instead of playing spoiler to their opponent, the Dodgers will end up playing spoiler to the team competing for the division with their opponent. That's not how it works, guys (unless of course the team competing for the division with your opponents is the Giants). To see how the spoiler role is supposed to be played, let's rewind 14 years:
Throughout most of the 1993 season (before the days of the wildcard), the Williams-Clark-Bonds Giants led the 7-team NL West. But a late surge by the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz Braves allowed them to catch the Giants in September, and the teams sat tied atop the standings at 101-58 with 3 games to play. Meanwhile, the Piazza-Strawberry-Davis Dodgers languished 23 games behind the co-leaders. But as fate would have it, the Giants' final series was against the Dodgers - a textbook chance to play spoiler against their arch-rival.
Things didn't look good after the Dodgers dropped the first two games of the series behind sub-par efforts from Ramon Martinez and SoSG's very own Orel Hershiser. Fortunately, the Braves kept pace by beating the Rockies twice. Thus, entering the final day of the regular season, both the Braves and the Giants were tied with an unreal 103-58 record. Braves vs Rockies, Giants vs Dodgers.
Enter Kevin Gross. The man took his 32-year-old low-budget arm into Dodger Stadium and left with a complete game 12-1 victory. Coupled with a Braves victory, the 81-win Dodgers had kept the 103-win Giants out of the playoffs. A lost season redeemed.
That, my friends, is how you're supposed to play spoiler. I vaguely remember some threats Matt Williams made to Orel Hershiser afterwards about hitting the ball back up the middle then next time they faced off, which only made the victory sweeter. Anyways, enough reminiscing...time to snap back to 2007 and the college football season.