“As a lifelong Dodger fan, I am in blue heaven.”
That was supposed to be the last line in my column this week, celebrating the Dodgers’ first World Series championship since 1988.
Instead, “I feel Dodger blue” is more apropos after they lost the World Series to Houston on Wednesday.
It has been 29 years since the team’s last appearance in the Fall Classic. Despite having the best record in baseball and home field advantage through all three rounds, they came up one game short.
The media’s spin is that the Dodgers lost to an offensive juggernaut. Yet in the three Astro defeats, the Dodger pitching staff limited them to four runs in three games.
Actually, the Dodger and Astro teams were almost identical.
Houston’s team batting average was .230, while L.A.’s was .205.
Houston’s team pitching ERA was 4.64, L.A.’s was 4.45.
While Houston had 56 hits compared to L.A.’s 41, each team scored the same number of runs: 34.
The Dodgers’ three victories were games that they had won without a challenge: Game 1, 3-1; Game 4, 6-2; Game 6, 3-1. The Astros’ victories in games 2 and 7 were likewise unchallenged: 5-3, 5-1.
Games 2 and 5 were the battles, exciting for the casual fan, gut-wrenching for the Dodger fan with the team on the losing end both times despite having the lead in the ninth inning of Game 2, and giving Kershaw a four-run cushion then a three-run cushion in Game 5.
The Dodgers should have won five of the seven games.
As horribly disappointed as I am, there were positives that came out of the month-long marathon of playoff games.
For the first time, my youngest son got involved in watching the games, riding the emotional roller coaster that Dodger fans know too well.
The Dodgers put on a show that my whole family sat down to watch together on TV in real time (no DVR-ing). At jubilant moments, we yelled and jumped up and down; at heart-stopping moments, we turned off the TV.
In following the Dodgers and their October run, I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy Halloween.
I was in a Dodger coma.
Reading every article I could find on the Dodgers, even skimming comments posted on the Houston Chronicle website by Astro fans after their losses, did not satiate my cravings.
On game days, I found it hard to focus on my work.
I would tune in to the Dodger pre-game show on radio, then hear callers voice their opinions after the game concluded.
And I did cross off an item from my bucket list when I got two tickets for my oldest son and I to see the first game of the World Series.
Donned in Dodger jerseys and caps, we sat in the reserved section on the third base side halfway towards the foul pole. It was a record-breaking 103-degree scorcher of a day; even in the shade, my body glistened with sweat.
The game ended up being one of the shortest played in recent World Series history, clocking in at 2 hours and 28 minutes.
Eight days later, the dream season ended.
Still, the Dodger odyssey gave me a respite from Trump’s tweets, natural disasters, and vans mowing down bicyclists.
And that is the beauty of sports—to take you away from the ugliness in the world and give you hope that your team will win. For if they do, we are all winners. And if they don’t, after the dust settles, it was still worth it.
Hey, I got to go to a World Series game with my son.