Omens are for fools, and cheap movies, and lazy plot points. They are a triumph of lazy thinking and belief that there is a controlling power who actually gives a fraction of damn about what happens in your life, no matter how small or meaningless.
But if I were the Los Angeles Dodgers, I might start thinking about taping down the windows just in case.
They lost again Monday night, this time 8-6 to the freefalling San Franciscos. They have lost 11 games in succession and 16 of 17. Their game in HappyTown didn’t start until nearly 8 p.m. and subsequent delays were longer than the game itself because of a lighting storm that looked like it came to San Francisco because it was tired of waiting in the queue over Florida. The game ended at 2:11 a.m., which isn't even a fit time to close a bar.
And for all that, the Dodgers can still clinch a playoff position Tuesday if they offend the gods and win while St. Louis loses at home to Cincinnati and Milwaukee loses in Pittsburgh.
The Dodgers’ stunning run of bad form is in its way more amazing than Cleveland’s 19-game winning streak, and as rancid as they have been, they remain nine games ahead of the second-place Arizonas in the NL West, and are 3½ games better than resurgent Washington in the overall race. They may use all their massive cushion to get this done, but they will still end up a playoff team, a division winner and quite possibly the home field defender.
This is not the way to bet, and there has been three weeks of evidence to suggest that the last of those three won’t happen at all. You don’t lose 16 of 17 games for no reason, and you don’t go from 13½ games ahead of the field to 3½ without badly losing your way.
But there is a very real possibility that the Dodgers could be an official playoff team this evening anyway, and find themselves confronted by a style conundrum.
Do they ignore the last three weeks, remember their long proud history with the Giants and celebrate on the field just to honor the rivalry by shoving the Giants’ faces in it? Or do they play it cool because the petty concerns of a rivalry with a team 36 games behind you are unworthy of notice?
Or does manager Dave Roberts say, as Bruce Bochy has in happier times for him, “You celebrate whenever you can because this stuff is hard to do,” and let the out-of-state pundits mock as they see fit?
Either way, this should happen just for the hilarity and upset feelings. And if the Dodgers still haven’t clinched anything by the time they leave, they should lose all the rest of their games. Because, let’s face it, this isn’t about the Dodgers, or the Giants, or the playoffs. It’s about us, and the value we place in non-violent chaos and undifferentiated shame. I consider it the best two reasons to follow sports, and you should, too. After all, the Dodgers are showing their fans just how much caring excessively about a team can suck.