Dodgers dropping back to pack
Updated: August 9, 2009, 4:56 PM ETBy Buster Olney
I hated the Cincinnati Reds as a kid, because they were the Big Red Machine that seemed to zoom past my own favorite team, the Dodgers, giving me little hope for contention. Oh, sure, L.A. went to the World Series in 1974, when I was 10 years old, but Oakland crushed the Dodgers; I can remember Bill Buckner getting thrown out at third base trying to stretch a double, snuffing out the last ember of my summerlong optimism. The Reds resumed their dominance in 1975, winning 108 games and losing 54, finishing 20 games ahead of the Dodgers, not even pretending to be in the same solar system with the rest of the NL West. Pete Rose would throw out 200 hits every year, Joe Morgan was the best all-around player, Johnny Bench was the biggest star in the game, Tony Perez was driving in more than 100 runs a year, at a time when that was still a really big deal. Dave Concepcion, their shortstop, was excellent, and Cesar Geronimo was a great center fielder, and corner outfielders Ken Griffey and George Foster were just coming into their prime. Because of Rose's swagger, it seemed like they played with this maddening arrogance. I was in Little League at the time and getting the constant reminders about sportsmanship, going through the requisite lines at the end of games and shaking hands with the opponents and droning over and over and over again, "Good game good game good game good game." And Rose would slash a single or draw a walk, sprint to first and circle the bases -- usually with three or four Reds following him across the plate in the same inning -- with this perpetual grin that screamed a profane version of You ain't got no bleeping chance
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