MILWAUKEE -- As a franchise and as a baseball brand, the Los Angeles Dodgers have everything going for them.
Desirable market? Check -- L.A. is one of America's biggest cities and has the glam factor of being the entertainment capital of the world. Climate? Didn't you hear? Seems it never rains in Southern California. Iconic status? The Dodgers were one of the most recognizable teams in sports even before they carpetbagged it to the West Coast in 1957. Money? That franchise is swimming in gravy -- it's what comes with all of these other factors.
On top of everything, the Dodgers are smart. You can argue about how long this has been the case, but there's little debate about it now. When Andrew Friedman took over and installed the think tank that now oversees things for the Dodgers, they became a fully modernized operation, with best practices in every aspect of running an organization.
Given the inherent advantages the Dodgers already had, it almost seems unfair for them to be run as efficiently as a small-market franchise. The very least they could do is wallow in excess. The Dodgers now not only can outspend almost every other team in free agency and in analytical operations, they can do so in a targeted fashion and with purpose. They can cast the widest of nets in searching for talent, both obvious and hidden.
One of the manifestations of this last trait is that L.A.'s souped-up operations team has been uncanny in its ability to pull players from other organizations' scrap heaps and turn them into impact contributors. This is where Max Muncy enters the story. You'd have to be a pretty hard-core fan to honestly be able to state that before this season, you knew who Max Muncy was, much less that he'd be a go-to interview guy in the postseason podium scene. Muncy, as it turns out, is as surprised as any of us.