Steve Dilbeck makes a list of the “Top Ten Coolest Dodgers” over at the L.A. Times. The top four — Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela and Jackie Robinson — were pre-selected. He picks 5-10. Click through to read them. Milk/cow/free, don’t you know.
With the understanding that “cool” is about as subjective an adjective there can be, I can’t argue too much with his list. Buster Olney — in whose column I saw the link to Dilbeck’s piece — disagrees with one particular ranking:
Sandy Koufax is No. 1, which makes sense … But Manny Ramirez ahead of Kirk Gibson? As a once-rabid Dodgers fan, I’ve got a major beef with that one.
There’s the famous story about how someone pranked Kirk Gibson on the first day of Spring Training in 1988 by putting shoe polish in his hat. Gibson went crazy and tore everyone a new one. That is often cited as his claim to leadership over the team. A clear signal that with Gibson in town shit just got real. The time for joking was over and the time for winning was now. When the Dodgers won the World Series that year — complete with Gibson’s MVP and his stunning home run — he more than backed up his bluster. This is the stuff from which legends are made.
But dudes: that ain’t cool. The shoe polish thing was funny. Lighten up, Gibby. That’s how you make the cool list, and having Manny above you is just the way it’s gotta be, babies.
Oh, and the dude to the right is Casey Stengel when he was with the Dodgers. If that ain’t cool, I don’t know what is.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.