Has there ever been a more complicated relationship in Los Angeles sports than what Dodger fans and future HOF Clayton Kershaw are going through right now? How many times can the Dodgers be knocking on the door only to have the guy with the biggest knockers be the one who doesn’t knock the hardest when they need it the most?
After the latest Dave Roberts enabled debacle on Wednesday Night when Clayton gave up a two-run lead in the 8th on two pitches you had Kershaw fans throwing their Kershaw jersey onto the field, and crowds erupting into Kershaw sucks. Can you imagine that? After everything Kershaw has done in this town that is what was happening. I can’t talk about what was happening on Twitter because I don’t follow that kind of Dodger fans but I understand it got twitter nasty. His defenders will say these are lousy fans but are they? Yes, some are, but the majority are just frustrated fans acting out because once again they feel let down by the greatest Dodger of the 21st century. I could understand the need for them to vent.
In the aftermath of all this Kershaw nonsense, this tweet showed up yesterday.
This tweet broke me as no tweet related to sports ever has. As mad as you might have been at Clayton before you saw this tweet, you probably had tears in your eyes after you read it. I sure did.
“I love you,” said Rick Honeycutt, the pitching coach for Clayton Kershaw’s entire career. “You always give everything you’ve got. Sometimes it don’t work out.”
Kershaw burst into tears. https://t.co/DkhinPhurP
— Stephanie Apstein (@stephapstein) October 10, 2019
In the past, Clayton has been stoic about his failures in October, but this time, this time he couldn’t hold back the pain. I hurt for Clayton Kershaw. His pain is our pain but damn, he also delivers pain.
It made me think of his career and how maddening it has been for me, for Dodger fans.
I love that Clayton was the most consistent greatest regular-season pitcher I ever saw.
I love that he was so dominant in the minors that while still a teenager he got his own nickname.
I love that when he made his debut for the Dodgers, my niece was visiting and staying at my house (the only time) so we got to watch his debut together.
I love that at just age 21 in 2009 he was already one of the best pitchers in baseball.
I love that on April 17th, 2009 he gave me the game that enabled me to write one of my saddest and favorite articles for TBLA.
I hated that he would get crushed by the Phillies in the first game of the 2009 NLCS paving the way for the Phillies to win 4 games to 1.
I loved that at age 23 in 2011 he would win his first CYA, lead the league in Wins, ERA, Strikeouts, WHIP, and Hits per Nine Innings.
I loved that at age 24 in 2012 he would finish 2nd in CYA voting
I love that Clayton would give me the best opening day ever when in 2013 he broke up a 0 – 0 game with a home run and tossed a four-hit shutout.
I loved that at age 25 in 2013 he would win his 2nd CYA with a crazy 1.83 ERA
I love that in 2013, Clayton gave up just one run in nineteen innings in his first three postseason starts.
I hate that in a game the Dodgers had to win, Clayton got drubbed for seven runs in only four innings by the Cardinals in game six of the 2013 NLCS making his first three starts of that postseason a distant memory. Clayton would lose the last game the Dodgers played in 2013 and it would become a pattern.
I loved that at age 26 in 2014 Clayton would win his 3rd CYA, and also be the MVP by having one of the greatest pitching seasons in baseball history.
I hated that the best pitcher in baseball would give up eight runs in the first game of the NLDS against the Cardinals. He would also lose game four and once again pitched the last game of the year for the Dodgers.
I loved that in 2015 Clayton struck out 301 hitters. 301 hitters!!!
I loved that with the Dodgers down 2 games to 1 he beat the Met’s 3 -1 in the 2015 NLDS and for once, did not pitch and lose the last game of the Dodgers season.
I loved that in 2016 Clayton would work his way back from his back injury and be the best pitcher in baseball when he was able to pitch. Limited to only 144 9 innings he still put up an ERA of 1.80 marking the 3rd time in three years he had a sub 2.00 ERA.
I hate that in 2016, once again, Clayton pitched the last game of the Dodger season, and it was a loss and it wasn’t close.
I hate that five days later Clayton would pitch three shutout innings and then give up a four-run and three-run lead in back to back innings. This was the game that Clayton had to win, and if he had, all of this nonsense would be no more.
I loved that Clayton was able to prove the naysayers wrong by having a remarkably strong season in 2019 at the age of 31 and made the most starts he’d made since 2015.
I hated how the 2019 season ended. For him. I don’t really care so much about myself anymore. At this point, I’m rooting for the players. For Clayton most of all.
Most of all I have loved that Clayton Kershaw the baseball player might even be a better person.
It is possible that much like Dan Marino and Miami that Clayton and Los Angeles simply don’t get that final celebration, and if that ends up the case, Clayton will have to accept some of the blame, but never all the blame, and so what.
Yeah, so what.