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The Dodgers will wait 'til next year once more

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Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, the Dodgers’ talented core, and the Astros finally winning it all.

Dodgers Fans Cheer On Their Team As World Series Goes To Game Seven Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

In the 1940s and 1950s, "wait 'til next year!" was the rallying cry of Brooklyn Dodgers fans. They won the National League pennant in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, and lost the World Series each of those times. To make matters worse, the Dodgers lost every single one of those World Series to the crosstown New York Yankees.

They also suffered a horrible collapse in 1951 that cost them the pennant to the New York Giants — you know something about this particular moment in baseball history, given it was heard 'round the world. It was both an incredible time to be a Dodgers' fan, and an infinitely frustrating one since they could never go all the way.

In 1955, "next year" finally came, and Brooklyn toppled the Bronx Bombers for their first World Series championship. It seemed impossible given all of the near-misses and failures, but it finally happened.

The modern-day Dodgers can relate to their Brooklyn ancestors, even if they're now located in Los Angeles. These Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988: since then, they were eliminated in the NLDS four times between 1995 and 2006, winning exactly one game in the process. They made it to four separate National League Championship Series between 2008 and 2016, and the closest they got to the World Series each time was a Game 6. Just for good measure, in 2014 and 2015, the Dodgers didn't even make it out of the NLDS.

The 2017 season was different, though, or at least it seemed like it was. The Dodgers led the majors in wins. They had enough starting pitching that Clayton Kershaw wasn't going to spend the NLCS gasping for air in between his short-rest pitches. They finally won the NLCS, their first such series victory since 1988, and they were in the World Series again.

Los Angeles won Game 1, and it was as good as everyone had dreamed the moment would be. Everything went downhill from there, though: the Dodgers dropped Game 2 and Game 3, and from there, they were playing catchup. The Astros might not even be better than the Dodgers, but they were better in a decisive Game 7, and that's enough to make Dodgers fans have to wait 'til next year once again.

Maybe next year, Kenley Jansen won't throw a flat 0-2 pitch down the middle of the zone that costs the Dodgers the game. Maybe next year, Yu Darvish won't falter in consecutive World Series starts, and will look more like the guy who helped them get there in the first place. Maybe next year, Yasiel Puig will make the decision to swing 1/100th of a second faster, and one of those foul balls hit directly behind him will end up in the bleachers instead.

Dodgers fans are used to waiting, and while it's not fair, nothing in baseball ever is. All you can do is wait 'til next year, or give up. The Dodgers will be back next year: Cody Bellinger will be a year older and wiser, and maybe with a smaller hole in his swing. Clayton Kershaw is going to be just 30 years old. There will be more money to spend as Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford and others hit free agency — the Dodgers will be back, and they'll be better, and then, maybe it'll finally be next year again.


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