World Series Game 7: When Horror Is Also A Dream Come True

It was a glorious year to be a Dodger fan in 2017 -a horribly glorious year.               Photo by Nico Melendez.

First, there was the “Vin Scully Effect.” Watching or listening to games was painful for me without the familiar voice of my youth spinning yarn after yarn. But, as the summer wore on, it was hard to refute we had a great team. By mid-August, I was forced to tune in more often to hear our new broadcast crew.

The reward for enduring the post-Scully broadcasts was a pretty fantastic post season, if you don’t count a Game 7 World Series loss.

But, it could have been much worse. I woke up Wednesday morning pretty devastated I wouldn’t see a single series game, even though 29 years ago I promised myself I would.

See, in 1988, I purchased tickets for Game 6 when the Dodgers and the Oakland A’s squared off. But, it took the Dodgers just five games to win the title.

As I cashed in those unused tickets, I thought, I’ll just get tickets next year. “Next year” turned into a very Cub-like next year, as did the next year after that and the next year after that.

And when the team’s fortunes did turn, and my team once again returned to the series, I was forced to admit at the outset that the pressures of finances on a family of seven made it fiscally irresponsible to purchase $900 tickets, especially for seats in the parking lot.

But, by Wednesday morning, I couldn’t help myself. I asked my wife to do me one little favor: FIND TICKETS.

I don’t know what she paid, and probably don’t want to, but she came through.

And there I was, set all day Wednesday to fulfill that childhood dream of watching my Dodgers celebrate a game 7 victory on our home field.

Didn’t stop to think the Houston Astros had other plans.

With five kids, how do you choose who to take? Some of you would answer “your favorite.” But, I have none. What I had is a significant commute through L.A. traffic to get to the game. What I had at my required departure time were two high-schoolers at their practices and two in grade school still in class.

So, I chose my 18-year-old son, whose last college class of the day put him out of school and in the car with dad by 2 p.m.

Now, the emotions while driving into the Chavez Ravine parking lot for World Series Game 7 were all encompassing. From, “I can’t believe it!” to “How much did these tickets cost?” to, “OMG, I’m actually here!” and back to, “How much did these tickets cost?”

With nearly 90 minutes before game time, we spent the time walking around. I was surprised when my son said he was glad to have the extra time because he wanted me to explain the history of Dodger Stadium and to tell him who all those numbers belonged to and about the team’s success as evidenced by the pennants hanging in right field.

It was a special night sharing my Dodger knowledge with a kid who -until that point, October 2017- had never really expressed any interest.

I became a Dodger fan in 1977 and I clearly remember the Yankees beating our butts, only to have the same thing happen a year later.

That’s the year I became a Steve Garvey fan. My lifetime as a Dodger fan was rewarded when ole number 6 threw out the first pitch.

I always search the left field line for his number, up there with the Dodger greats, immortalized for all of eternity: 1974 MVP, four-time Gold Glove, eight-time All-Star, .301 batting average as a Dodger. But, somehow, the number 6, it’s still not there.

The only other disappointment, besides the final score, was the pre-game announcements, because the 8-year-old boy in me looked forward to the team introductions as the teams lined up on the baselines and observed the National Anthem. For the first time in my memory, that either didn’t happen, or I just couldn’t see it from my seats.

The game seemed to end really before it even got started, The bats were quiet, the bullpen tired and the crowd annoyed (but energetic). Maybe it was the sound of Vin Scully that was missing.

With each hard, line-drive out, and every Bellinger strikeout, we all seemed to know this wouldn’t end well.

Houston was a team that seemed to always be a threat in the 1980’s and 90’s with players like Nolan Ryan, Jose Cruz, JR Richard, Mike Scott, Craig Biggio and with that Astrodome. It’s still hard to believe this World Series pitted us against our old National League West, now representing the American League.

With my dream of attending a World Series Game 7, also came the dream of watching a team celebrate its world championship. And while I couldn’t watch my team rejoice, I’d have to say, it was nice to see the Astros celebrate.

At least it wasn’t the Yankees.

Regardless, I did get to go to Game 7.

And it… was… awesome.

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