To put it all into perspective, New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden had given up just eight home runs all season by the time Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia came to the plate in the top of the ninth with L.A. down 4-2 in Game 4 of the 1988 National League Championship Series. Scioscia brought a measly three home runs all year into the batter's box, but after watching Gooden inexplicably lose John Shelby to a walk, Scioscia instructively knew the Mets ace wasn't about to fall behind to a light-hitting catcher. "Take a mighty swing at the first good pitch you see," Scioscia convinced himself, rightfully guessing Gooden would challenge him with a pitch over the plate. Sure enough, Gooden grooved a first-pitch fastball and Scioscia promptly whacked it over the right-field fence for a shocking two-run home run to tie the game. We all remember Kirk Gibson's clutch home run a week or so later to beat the Oakland A's in Game 1 of the World Series, but Gibson's historic blast never happens without Scioscia's clutch home run against Gooden on that fateful night in Flushing, N.Y. Instead of falling into a 3-1 series hole against the Mets, the Dodgers evened the series at two and went on to win it in seven games. I'm thinking about 1988 because I'm thinking it's time to bring Scioscia back into the Dodgers fold. Now more than ever. The Dodgers are in need of a jolt, and Scioscia, whose heart undoubtedly still bleeds blue under all that Angels red, is exactly the guy to provide it. I know, I know. Scioscia is managing the Angels into the side of a mountain. And as bad off as the Dodgers are, the Angels are even worse. There is still time for both to get themselves straightened out, but with the Angels pitching staff as bad as it is and the Dodgers stuck in a division with the beautifully constructed San Francisco Giants, time is already of the essence. About the only certainty right now is someone will pay a serious price if their struggles continue. And with both clubs tied down to bloated, long-term guaranteed contracts all over the diamond, the most logical place to look for a culprit is in the dugout, where Scioscia and his Dodgers counterpart, Don Mattingly, are hanging on for dear life hoping to stick long enough to see the turnaround. Which brings us back to Scioscia and that memorable home run 25 years ago against Gooden. The Dodgers need another dose of Scioscia's magic. It's time for the prodigal son to return where he belongs, where he should have been all along had it not been for the ignorance of a former Dodgers regime that undervalued him as a leader. Scioscia needs to be the Dodgers' manager, and while that seems like crazy talk considering the roots he's planted in Anaheim, a long-term contract that runs to 2018 and the fact the Dodgers presently have a manager, it might not be as far-fetched as appears on the surface. As my esteemed colleague Bill Madden wrote in the New York Daily News a few days ago, it could be as easy as Angels' owner Arte Moreno, fed up with throwing $137 million at another mediocre club and in need of a fall guy, calling the Dodgers and offering them Scioscia as a replacement for Mattingly. As Madden points out, there is precedence for this sort of thing.
Time for Mike Scioscia to come home to the Dodgers
L.A. Daily News | May 16