Nominating Justin Turner For Dodgers Team Captain
Playing a game that’s in love with numbers, the Dodgers have employed five team captains in 134 years. That’s a team leader being named once every 26.8 seasons.
Here’s the entire list: Leo Durocher (SS), 1938-1941; Pee Wee Reese (SS), 1950-1958; Duke Snider (OF), 1962; Maury Wills (SS), 1963-1966; Davey Lopes, 1978-1979.
That’s it. Five guys, five leaders of men, for a grand total of 20 summers. And falls, because the boys of Brooklyn and Los Angeles won nine pennants in those 20 seasons, which is nine more than this generation’s group has been able to muster in three decades.
I’m not suggesting that L.A. is a captain away from the World Series, but the drought is curious. What’s the hesitation? Naming a team captain is an entirely positive thing, and would make for a nice touch to an already uplifting season. And tell me everything about JT doesn’t just make you want to smile.
Did you see him Wednesday, on his night off, counseling Yasiel Puig about his home run stare-and-trot, which led to a bit of silliness? That’s just one example, obviously, but it’s clear Turner is a leader on the team, and has had an increasingly important role in the clubhouse over the past couple of years.
A Google search of “Justin Turner + team leader” calls up an April article by Bill Plunkett in which is A.J. Ellis is quoted describing Turner as “the new heart and soul of this team,” which is high praise coming from a guy with a lot of both characteristics himself. In the piece, @redturn2 explains his philosophy:
“I think I’m at a point where I don’t care if someone disagrees with me or if someone says that’s not right or someone has a different opinion … I’ll go up and talk to a guy and if they blow me off or they don’t like it or whatever – hey, it works for me. I’m not worried. Whereas four, five years ago if I’d said that and someone said, ‘No, you’re wrong,’ I probably would have been like, ‘Oh, crap. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe what I’m doing isn’t right.’ But I’m not at that point anymore … I think it’s just, I don’t know, I’m a very inclusive guy.”
Exactly. And whether JT gets that that kind of thinking makes him the perfect captain for this team, or whether he’s thought about it even for a second doesn’t matter. I see a leader — and not a born leader; but one who has grown into one, which is better — and that’s why I’m making the suggestion.
Its important to note that the naming of a team captain is not a slight at anyone else. At least, it doesn’t have to be, and I’m confident that skipper Dave Roberts would know exactly how to handle it. There are other leaders on the team. Clearly, Clayton Kershaw is one, and on the field once every five days. Adrian Gonzalez is another, but on the field less and less moving forward. Chase Utley, obviously.
I just think the Dodgers third baseman is perfect for this one. And I’d love to see it happen. The sixth team captain in franchise history — Justin Turner. What do you say?
And remember, glove conquers all.
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