Looking Back at the Miracle Men of 1988 With Josh Suchon

miracle_menAs we’ve noted before, 2013 marks a full 25 years since the Dodgers last made it to a World Series. In that time, every other member of the NL West has managed to get there — yes, even the Rockies — and it’s depressing, it’s embarrassing, and it’s long past time for that to change.

Still, as we hope that this year is the year that streak breaks, a quarter-century is a good time to look back on just how amazing and wondrous that 1988 season truly was, and a new book from an old friend promises to do just that. Josh Suchon, host of KABC’s Dodger Talk from 2008-2011 — I’m assuming his tenure ended because he was foolish enough to actually invite me onto the show in 2009 — and recently-minted broadcaster of the Triple-A Dodger affiliate in Albuquerque has a look back on the greatest season we’ve seen in decades: “Miracle Men: Hershiser, Gibson, and the Improbable 1988 Dodgers“.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard there was a retrospective of the season coming out, I wondered what more could be said, but Suchon prefaces the book with a very personal tale of a chance meeting as a teenager with Orel Hershiser during the 1988 World Series that arguably shaped his life and unarguably helped this book be written. From there, at least through the first several chapters that I’ve made it through so far, it goes on to a nearly daily diary of the stories that went into the magical season, complete with lineups and interviews with everyone from Vin Scully on down. From the publisher’s description:

Bringing the majesty of the ’88 season to a whole new generation of Dodgers fans using original interviews with players, managers, broadcasters and fans, Suchon transports fans back to the days of Don Sutton’s final season of a Hall of Fame career and Hershiser’s remarkable 46-day pitching stretch. From Kirk Gibson’s memorable homerun game to incredible tales of how the team defied all odds in the playoffs without Fernando Valenzuela and Pedro Guerrero, their two most iconic players from 1981-1987, as well as stories from unlikely heroes like Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher and Mike Davis, Miracle Men is a must have for the 2013 season.

For those of us too young to remember much about the season other than Gibson’s homer, it’s an instructive look back at a year that will never be repeated. “Miracle Men” is available now.

O.K., So Maybe We Don’t Have To Play Them ALL The Time

So, a thoroughly miserable game all around.  I mean, it wasn’t a blowout, in fact, it was only a Manny82309  .jpg3-1 loss, but it was definitely a frustrating loss.  Chad Billingsley managed to go 6 IP, giving up 3 ER on 9 hits, while walking 1 and striking out 5.  Billingsley was, for the most part, decent, and managed to pick up another quality start, but also hit a wall in the 6th inning, which brought in the 2 runs that ended up making the difference in the game.  The 6th inning hasn’t been a particularly good one for Billingsley, this year, as he seems to either fatigue or loses something that causes him to become much more hittable. 

However, the bulk of this loss can’t really be blamed on Billingsley.  He wasn’t great, but he pitched well enough.  Unfortunately, even despite the fact that taking three out of four from the Cubs deems this a very successful series, the offense for the most part hasn’t really changed and continues to struggle.  The offense did come alive a little bit on Thursday, scoring 7 runs (albeit 4 of them came on a Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin, Jr. Grand Slam), but Randy Wolf singlehandedly won the game for them on Friday (both at the plate and on the mound), while eeking out 2 runs yesterday afternoon and barely mustering one run today.  As has been the case, the problem isn’t necessarily getting the runners on base, but the inability to hit with RISP.  Take today: in the bottom of the 6th inning, Juan Pierre PH for Billingsley and singled up the middle, only for Furcal to ground into the force play at second and then for Ethier to ground into the inning ending double play.  Things become the most maddening in the bottom of the 8th, when the Dodgers wasted two leadoff walks and after Loretta grounds into a force play at second, Hudson comes in to PH and hits into the inning ending double play. 

Those two innings in some way have been a microcosm of what’s been killing this team over the past month or so, in addition to Furcal, Loney, and Martin having a miserable August (.221/.287/.267, .227/.320/.273, .238/.304/.349, respectively), and, well, Manny not being Manny.  Hopefully this does amount to nothing more than just a bump on the road, but those bats are going to need to pick up beginning Tuesday, when they begin a critical series in Denver against Colorado, who are 3.5 games behind after today.  Should be fun… 

Lastly, to take care of some business, as you may know, this weekend marks the ThinkCure radiotelewebethon and one of the notable contests is the Battle Of The Josh’s, which pits Josh Rawitch, the VP Of Communications for the Dodgers, against Josh Suchon who, along with Ken Levine, host KABC’s great “DodgerTalk” show, the same show, if you remember, MSTI (who, by the way, I think is still somewhere on the 5) appeared on back in May

Anyways, there’s a lot of cool things you can bid on, but one of the cooler things on there that we encourage you to look at is the opportunity to stalk… err, excuse me, follow Josh Suchon around Dodger Stadium for the day, amongst other cool things, which can be found on this link.  Bidding ends tomorrow, so check it out, especially as it all, of course, goes to a great cause. 

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg