Braves 5, Dodgers 2

Not to knock Dodgers fans, but something took place tonight that really bothered me. Well, maybe that’s a little strong. It didn’t really bother me, but it struck me as strange. Given a menu of three alleged Fourth of July songs they could hear played in the middle of the eighth inning, the crowd cheered the loudest for Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. I honestly don’t remember what the other two choices were. But here’s the thing: that song isn’t a patriotic, Fourth of July song. It’s a Vietnam War protest song (which, incidentally, was released about a decade after we pulled out of that war). There is absolutely nothing patriotic about it. Remember the embarrassment the Reagan campaign suffered in 1984 after it used that song at several of its whistle stops, and the Boss came out himself and publicly said something like, “Hey, that isn’t a flag-waving song?” Not that the Boss should have HAD to come out and say that, because all you have to do is LISTEN TO THE LYRICS. I suppose the real question here is not why did the fans cheer the loudest for this song, but why was this song even included as one of the choices? … I take Mr. Tomko to task pretty harshly in tomorrow’s paper, and I’m sure there will be repercussions when I enter the clubhouse tomorrow. But this guy just continues to prove that he can’t be trusted in key situations with the game on the line. OK, maybe the ball Francoeur hit could have been caught — not SHOULD have been, mind you, but COULD have been. And maybe then the whole inning turns out differently. But the ball was still smoked. Tomko has now given up at least a run in each of the past four innings he has pitched (two runs in three of them). No way the Dodgers pick up his option for next season. It will be interesting to see what kind of a free-agent market there is for him this coming winter. … Matt Kemp seemed slightly annoyed when I asked him after the game if he would have been better served to see some pitches in that sixth-inning at-bat, when he GIDP’d on the first pitch after a four-pitch walk to Nomar with the bases loaded and none out. His answer was a short, “I just saw a pitch that was good to hit, and I just missed it.” Grady had a different answer, conceding that Kemp is a young player who just got overanxious in that situation. This guy is going to be a superstar, and that day isn’t that far off. But in order to get there, he has to learn the harsh lessons when they come up, and I’m sure someone on the staff will make sure this one sinks in. The good news is, wasted at-bats like that haven’t seemed to happen nearly as often, with anyone on the club, since Bill Mueller replaced Eddie Murray as hitting coach. … Dodgers fall to 48-37 and a game behind the Pods. Happy Fourth of July everyone.

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