By Allen David
Feels like baseball season is right around the corner.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
The Dodgers clinch the 2013 National League West Division title by winning a game that feels spookily like a microcosm of their season. Just as they made a mockery of their $239 million opening-day payroll by playing lifeless and loserly baseball for nearly three months—they spent all 30 days of June in last place—so do the Dodgers allow the Arizona Diamondbacks to score six runs in the bottom of the third inning today, turning Hanley Ramirez’ three-run homer in the top of the inning into a 6-3 deficit. Spooky. But after June 21, when they were in their worst situation of the season—12 games under .500 (30-42) and 9 ½ games behind the Diamondbacks—the Dodgers won at a rate that will become part of Los Angeles lore, winning 58 games and losing only 23. And they bounce back somewhat similarly today, spending the next few innings creeping back before Ramirez hits a second homer to tie the score, 6-6, and highlight a day his offensive numbers were 4-for-5 and four RBI. Spooky! But it is Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis who delivers the difference-maker, a solo home run into the left field seats that accounts for the 7-6 final score. Did we mention this is rather spooky? Relief pitchers Brian Wilson and Kenly Jansen take it from there, each breezing through a three-up, three-down inning to secure the Dodgers 88th win of the season and makes them the first team to qualify for the 2013 post season—only a few months after they seemed destined for a post-mortem. Like we’ve been saying: spooky. And on top of everything else, the spookiness of it all may end up being spooky, too. Because if the Dodgers make it to the playoffs, reach the World Series and the ultimate success of their season comes down to a Game 7, that game is scheduled to be played on Oct. 31 . . . uhhh, Halloween? And that is . . . well . . . you know.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
After the Dodgers, respecting the Diamondbacks’ request that they not celebrate their title on the Arizona field, instead celebrate with a pool party at the cement pond out in the right field seats, everyone gets pissy. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) takes time away from war in Syria and shutting down the government, to comment thusly on his Twitter account: “No-class act by a bunch of overpaid, immature, arrogant, spoiled brats! The #Dodgers are idiots” Overpaid? This sounds like the kind of class warfare McCain and his Richpublican cohorts are always condemning when the Democrats bring up the subject of wealth.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
The last and best word comes from Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson, who tweets the following message to McCain: Senator McComplain knows a thing or two about coming in second and watching someone take a plunge in the pool (I mean poll) #POoLITICS
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Last day of summer.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Six o’ one, half-dozen of the other: Happy equinox!
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
In the High Desert city of Adelanto, where no news is good news but bad news is better, the news today is that better days are coming. The empty lower-security prison built a few years ago by an international prison company is expected to begin filling with inmates by the end of the year thanks to a contract California signs today to lease the space from the Florida-based Geo Group. When filled to capacity, the Desert View Modified Community Correctional Facility will incarcerate 700 people. Bad news. But from the perspective of Adelanto’s mayor, Cari Thomas, that’s make-things-better news for her city—140 jobs in a place that has been hit hard by the recession. Thomas tells the San Bernardino Sun: “Any time we can put more people back to work, that’s a move forward.” That’s the formula Adelanto has previously subscribed to in bringing two other incarceration facilities to town—one of them a two-building complex built and leased by Geo to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the other a federal prison.
Victoria Mena, who part of a program that coordinates visits with immigrant detainees at Adelanto, does share that philosophy. “Adelanto has three of the largest detention centers in the country—a federal prison, the county jail and the Adelanto Immigration Center,” Mena says, “but there are no (Adelanto) high schools, and the elementary schools are failing. “There are no after-school clubs and no community centers. Instead it’s the hub of mass incarceration. It says a lot about the community and says a lot about where their priorities are.