You’ve seen it happen before: The basketball player that flubs an uncontested dunk; the quarterback who overthrows a wide-open receiver; the golfer who misses a 12-inch putt.
Indeed, not everything is a given in the world of sports. Especially in baseball.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, on pace to win a National League record 115 games and 15½ games ahead of second-place Colorado, are the prohibitive favorite to win the 2017 World Series, which would be their first in 29 years.
With the acquisition of ace Yu Darvish from Texas just before the July 31 trade deadline, the Dodgers only bolstered their chances.
Yes, it’s starting look inevitable that the Dodgers will be world champions.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants, whose fans have taken great delight in taunting Dodgers fans with their three recent World Series triumphs, are 36½ games behind the NL West leaders, with the third-worst record in all of baseball.
Still, some Giants fans aren’t willing to concede anything to the Dodgers.
“In the end, I don’t think they have what it takes,” said Giants fan Anthony Dickinson, 21, of Modesto.
Through Monday’s games, the Dodgers have posted a 119-63 record dating back to last season’s All-Star break, when the Giants owned the best record in baseball. San Francisco is 74-112 over that span, a whopping 47 games off the LA’s pace.
“(The Dodgers) are a really good team, really successful,” said Giants fan Cole Franks, 17, of Escalon. “It sucks to be a Giants fan, but I’ll stay loyal.”
Some Giants fans have a message for their friends who bleed Dodger Blue.
“Don’t peak too soon,” said Benay Lopez, 29, of Modesto. “As we remember, back in 2001 with the Mariners having the best record of all time … fell flat in the first round.”
In this century alone, only four out of 17 years has the team with the best record gone on to win the World Series, so 115 victories doesn’t guarantee the Dodgers a thing.
The Mariners won a Major League record 116 games in 2001, only to fall short in the ALCS against the New York Yankees, who went on to lose the World Series despite having a better record than the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Giants fan Derek Hutchins, 21, of Modesto, thinks the Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year curse is a good omen for the Dodgers.
“A lot of weird things happen with baseball,” said Hutchins. “If the Cubs can do it, I think the Dodgers can, too.”
As for Dodgers fans? Well, some admit to being just a little bit nervous.
“I’m absolutely nervous,” said LA fan Chris Peterson, 39, of Modesto. “I’m confident until October. It’s going to come down to the pitching.”
Of course, most Giants fans would probably relish the chance at seeing their rival reach the World Series, only to have their hearts stomped in Game 7.
“Wouldn’t we all, buddy?” said Dickinson. “Wouldn’t we all?”