Two years of college French did nothing for my ensuing 50 or so years of baseball coverage. Given the explosion of Latin players in the majors, two years of Spanish, three years, why not four years, would have been of far greater benefit.
But I have finally found a use for my French: Plus ca change, plus c’est la même chose
This is an old proverb familiar to French students and other French-speaking people, meaning the more things change the more they stay the same.
How does it apply here? I refer you to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After they loaded up on expensive players for last season, beginning it with a club record $216 million payroll, the Dodgers struggled to a 30-42 record that put them in last place in the National League West, nine and a half games from first.
That was June 21. Two months less four days later, Aug. 17, the Dodgers were in first place, leading the division by eight and a half games. The difference? A remarkable 42-8 stretch that converted into an 18-game swing in the division standings for the Dodgers.
Starting this season with an even fatter payroll, $235 million, the Dodgers, as of June 7, had a 32-31 record and were in second place, both improvements over a year ago. However, they were the same nine and a half games out of first.
“We had a 42-8 run last year,” general manager Ned Colletti said Friday. “We haven’t had that this year. That’s tough to do once, let alone twice. It’s not something you would expect to duplicate.”
OK, so the Dodges haven’t duplicated it, but they did have a two-month (June 7-Aug. 7) 34-19 run that …