For the first time since April, the Dodgers have finally recaptured first place in the NL West. Yeah team! They have played some incredible baseball throughout July and August. It is great to see them playing as a team again. For most of the first half, it seemed they were relying on just a handful of guys (Piazza, Karros, Modesi) to win games. I just pray they don't choke like they did last year with the Padres. You gotta be hungry for the taste of victory, otherwise forget it. That's a fact. The Padres were starving hungry and the Dodgers were just nibbling their way through the end of the season. Recently, signs of hunger have begun to show.

Geez, I was in shock when I heard the news that Fred Claire actually made a late-season trade! I don't often like or agree with the trades made by the Dodgers. Seems we're always getting burned (Delino Deshields was a big bust) or losing a cherished player.

I must admit my surprise at their trading Pedro Astacio, but absolutely thrilled to get Eric Young back. When he first came up with the Dodgers, you could see potential in everything he did. He could hit, run, steal and was outstanding defensively! I was heartsick when he was left unprotected and the Rockies snatched him up, but in hindsight, which is always 20-20, he had the opportunity to mature and really get his chops together. In his first few weeks with the team, he has already proven he is truly an asset.

Another great move was getting Otis Nixon. He plays hard and with heart! He can still rob the opposing player of a hit by climbing the fence to steal that homerun and make those incredible diving catches. Darren Lewis was yet another great pickup. He's extremely talented both offensively and defensively. The team has become more exciting - more speed makes for more exciting baseball. It was getting pretty boring before these players came along to ignite the team and fans by making things happen on the bases.

Personally, this year I was finally getting excited about baseball again. I'm a long-time Dodger fan, and since the '94 strike, which I personally found devastating and beyond unbearable, I've been slow to warm up to the game again. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I truly LOVE the game, it's an addiction I acknowledge. This is the first year (since 1994) that I've actually watched teams (other than the Dodgers) with great interest . . . getting into the other division races . . . it has been fun. Last year's playoffs, especially between the Mariners and Yankees, touched that deep down passion I had tucked neatly away after the 94 strike.

I'm still convinced that the owners caused the 1994 strike due to their own greed by the bidding wars between each other for top players - they seem to lack self-control especially when their team is in the running late in the season. Suddenly, money is no object - that is until they realize (too late) that now they have to cough up the bucks. I can't blame the players. What would you do if your boss offered you double your current salary knowing a competing company may try to lure you away? Are you gonna say "no, that's not right, it's not fair to the rest of my co-workers." Don't think so!

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