I was wrong. Imagine that. I predicted a 3-K series in which Kershaw, Kenley and Kemp would play significant roles in the Dodgers play-off push. Perhaps their roles were significant in the final outcome but not in the manner I had envisioned. Clayton demonstrated to us that he is not the Clayton of days gone by for whatever reason. One does question his health as at age-30 he should not be on a downhill spiral yet. At least one would think not. As suggested, perhaps he has to reinvent himself since his velocity has dropped. He does not seem to have that fire in his belly anymore. Kenley seems to suffer from the Tom Niedenfuer syndrome once again giving up the devastating home run on two occasions. Matt got only 10 plate appearances in the series and may have played his last games as a Dodger. My period of mourning is relatively brief stretching for a few hours, not for days. This one was easy. The Red Sox were definitely the better team and earned full marks for their efforts on a number of fronts. In the interim until spring training my options are limited. I follow hockey a bit but the Detroit Red Wings are on the bottom of the scrap heap right now and for the foreseeable future. Although I coached junior high basketball for 40 years I really do not watch the NBA. Giants slamming a ball down through a hoop twice as big as the ball is not very exciting for me. I do follow the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League which wraps up in a month or so. I watch the NFL only at play-off time and only if the Patriots are playing. What to do? I figured I would get back to looking at the real world of baseball where the game is still a game. That is, minor league baseball. During the 2018 season three Dodger minor league affiliates won championships – the Arizona League Dodgers, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Tulsa Drillers. As always there were players of interest within the minor league system and many that I followed from afar. Among others, Stephen Kolek of the the Great Lakes Loons really caught my attention. The 6’3”/220-pound right-hander was selected by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Texas A&M. He was born in Houston, Texas and raised on a 10,000 acre ranch in Shepherd, Texas . Shepherd is about 58 miles northeast of Houston. If the name Kolek sounds familiar, that is because Stephen’s older brother Tyler was selected by the Miami Marlins with the second overall pick in the 2014 June draft out of Shepherd High School. Tyler had Tommy John surgery in April 2016 and has yet to pitch above A-ball. Both boys, only one year apart in age, benefited from a family devoted to them. Their story was highlighted in the Houston Chronicle on June 16, 2017. The boys were kept busy and expected to do their part on the family ranch. Their parents, James and Brenda Kolek, also made sure they had ample time to throw a baseball even when daylight hours were short. “After we’d get done with working or whatever we needed to do, we’d go inside the barn, turn on the lights and just play catch,” said Stephen, a starting pitcher for Texas A&M in 2017. As the boys grew older and stronger their father grew the farm pitching facility with them. He constructed an outdoor mound in an alleyway near the horse barn where the brothers would spend hours pitching to each other. “There was a big rubber mat on it,” Tyler said of the large target behind home plate. “It didn’t really matter what we were doing, our dad always made time for us. It wasn’t a strict, written-down schedule, it was just something that we did so much, it helped us get to where we are.” The Dodgers selected Stephen Kolek following his junior year at Texas A&M. At that time Baseball America ranked him No. 372 and had him sliding down the charts a bit. As a junior he posted a less than stellar ERA of 4.58 along with a WHIP of 1.40 due to issuing 38 free passes in 78 innings. He struck out 59.