There are only two kinds of people: Dodger fans for whom this is very exciting news, and people who either do not care a bit about the Dodgers or about sports in general. In my family we are not casual about our Dodgers. I have been a Dodger fan since 1958 and my son Jacob inherited my love for the team as a small child.
My wife Laura and I took him to his first Dodger game when he was 5. He was a big kid and he loved to eat so we got there early and bought him Dodger Dogs and snacks and soft drinks and by the end of the first inning he had consumed about $40 dollars worth of stadium food. I will never forget what happened next. Before I could even start explaining the game of baseball to him he turned to me and said, “daddy, can we go home now?” If I remember correctly we made him sit there for about 4 innings before we gave up and agreed to do as he requested. He was too young to really appreciate being at a baseball game.
At 7 we did took him again. By then he was already playing baseball and had a much better understanding of the game and at the stadium the sound of the fans cheering really excited him. He has been an avid Dodger fan ever since.
He played baseball in the Culver City Little League and at Culver Middle School and High School and was the Ocean League catcher of the year in 2016. He went off to college on a partial baseball scholarship and ended up playing until he hurt his arm and had to hang up his cleats.
But he never lost his love for the Dodgers. If anything that love has intensified over the years. It may be hard to imagine that a 22-year-old with a bucket list but the top item on his was to see his Dodgers win a World Series and celebrate on the field.
Sometimes the world works against you when you try to do something like this and sometimes not. He would have seen the Dodgers celebrate at Dodger Stadium in 2017 if the Houston Astros had not cheated and nothing anyone can say will convince me otherwise. When the Dodgers lost to the Red Sox in 2018 the dream was delayed.
This year he had it all figured out. The Dodger would beat the Tampa Bay Rays in 5 games and he and his girlfriend Jade would be there. Sure the game would be played at Globe Field in Arlington Texas because of the pandemic but that was only about a 21 hours drive. It would be a piece of cake for these youngsters. They would watch game 4 from a restaurant to save money and they buy tickets to the close out game 5 Sunday night.
When the Dodgers blew the lead in the ninth inning of game 4 and game 5 could no longer be the final game they were devastated. But they went to game 5 anyway and then they were planning to drive home.
As luck would have it a huge snowstorm got in their way so they decided to stay in Arlington and wait it out. They were going to watch game 6 from the same restaurant where they watched game 4 because it was loaded with Dodger fans but Jake keep looking at his phone hoping that someone would dump their tickets with a ticket broker at the last minute so that they could afford to go.
Sure enough 15 minutes before game time someone did just that and they bought the tickets at a big discount and got to go to the game.
Now all the Dodgers had to do was win. And the rest is history. Check off one thing on that bucket list.
Why do people care so much about their teams and this sport? Each season is like a novel with all of its plot twists and ups and downs and each game is high drama, especially in the playoffs, but there is so much more to it than that. A true fan gets so involved in the stories of the players that it is like they become part of their family. It becomes personal. And when the people in your family succeed it brings a great sense of joy and the losses bring heartache.
And for this dad, who did not make it to Texas, I felt the joy of this Dodger win so much more intensely because I felt it through my son.
Photo from May, 2019; Larry, Jake, Jade, and Sam for the Max Muncy bobble head night at Dodger Stadium
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