So, what happens next?

The Dodgers’ season is over.  They lost to the Phillies 5-1 last night, ending the NLCS, and ending 2008 for the Dodgers.  The Phillies will wait for the winner of the Boston-Tampa Bay series, and the Dodgers will start their vacations. 
I’m not going to say anything more about the series.  The Dodgers lost to a better team, the young guys inexperience showed, and the Phillies have been there before and were just a little hungrier, I guess.  That’s Ok, though.  I feel the future will be bright for the Dodgers.
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Provided the team brings Manny Ramirez back, they’re already assured of being one of, if not the best team in the National League last year.  It appears the team also wants to bring back Rafael Furcal.  Furcal has been very oft-injured during his three years here, but when he’s healthy, Furcal is one of the most dynamic players in the league, with his game-changing speed and aggressiveness with the bat.  Most importantly, though, the young core of the team, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Blake DeWitt should all be back, with a full-year more of experience under their belts and a wealth more of knowledge.  And the club will be stable too with Joe Torre and his staff also returning.  The main questions in the offseason for the Dodgers will be the pitching staff.  The only two starters assured of returning are Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda.  The team may or may not exercise its option on Brad Penny, who was pretty much of a non-factor this year, but has also been an all-star the past two years, as well.  Derek Lowe’s four years with the Dodgers is probably up as he will most likely depart for free agency, and probably return to the East Coast or his hometown Detroit Tigers.  Lowe was always reliable and effective during his tenure here, but never got the run support to put up the near Cy Young numbers he had in Boston.  His high-mark in wins in L.A. was 16 when the Dodgers won the wildcard in ’06.  But, before we can have some free agent moves, there’s a World Series to play.  For the first time in their history, the Tampa Bay Rays will be in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Tampa has the momentum, as the Phils have been off for about a week now after dropping the Dodgers 4-1.  Despite being one of baseball’s original teams, the Phillies have only one World Series win, in 1980.  We’ve seen first hand how quickly the Phillies high powered offense can score.  But, Tampa Bay’s pitchers pretty much shut down the vaunted Boston Red Sox offense other than one game.  However, the whole country got to see that Boston is not a better team without Manny Ramirez.  Will the cinderella Rays taste glory for the first time, or will the Phillies bring a championship to a city that’s gone 100 combined years without a major sports victory.  Game 1 is tonight. 
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