A glance at the headlines over the past two weeks or so underlines the point: we find ourselves now in very uncertain times.
The financial services industry meltdown has dragged global economies with it. And seeing long-term stalwarts Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch exposed by housing market overleverage, and perhaps moral hazard further stoked by a formerly forgiving Federal Reserve, one can't help but be struck by the suddenness and finality of the outcome. Reflecting as a former investment banker, the recent shocks altering the Wall Street landscape are profoundly unsettling, both for the US and global economies.
In political circles, the tightening race between Obama/Biden and Palin/McCain has put the future of our nation in rancorous debate. We at SoSG have pledged to refrain from political discourse on this site, but it is apparent that both slates, at least at some level, are selling themselves as agents of change. Different changes, but changes nonetheless.
In foreign affairs, the European Union has appeared strong, but its collective currency and interdependent economies are starting to show points of weakness. Russia is attempting to recapture a post of political strength unseen since the end of the cold war. And the Beijing Olympics demonstrated how autoocratic countries like China can mobilize a synchronized world event so flawless and apparently seamless in its execution, that the country's untapped power as a growing global force is both impressive and daunting.
Hurricanes are pummeling the south and rain is flooding the north. Here in Los Angeles, commuter trains are pitching headfirst into freight trains, with tragic results.
And then, amidst all this uncertainty and fear and change, there are the Dodgers, 4.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks with 12 games to go, magic number at 9, and clicking offensively and defensively to a cadence that hasn't been seen all year let alone since the McCourt regime began. The lineup is formidable--how long has it been since we've said that about a Dodgers offense?!--as the unexpected addition of Manny Ramirez has brought benefits to those before and after him in the batting order. The bullpen is used with patchwork, illogical tendency by manager Joe Torre, yet the outstanding results speak for themselves. Veterans are contributing off the bench and for the most part appreciating their roles. Youngsters are rising to the challenge and some of them are showing feats of brilliance in pressure situations.
And while the other divisions and wild card in the National League are causing ulcers (and in some cases managerial changes), and the American League East race goes down to the wire, our Dodgers look surprisingly steadfast in their pursuit of a divisional crown. Sure, the Angels have already clinched their reward. But these Dodgers, staring right in the eyes of their pathetic road record, are remarkable as well, continuing their roll by finally winning the series we need to win (i.e., versus the Diamondbacks), as well as the series we should win but would expect to lose (i.e., versus sub-.500 teams).
It's crazy. The Dodgers are actually performing up to expectations, for an extended period no less. Fluidity is all around them, in baseball, in the country, and in the world, and yet the Dodgers are starting to look almost...solid.
I'm counting on the Dodgers now. How weird is that?