32 Years

I was 21 years old the last time the Dodgers won the World Series. If someone had told me back then that I would surpass the half-century mark before they won again, I would have said, “Yeah, right. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.”

Three years ago — in 2017 — I thought the drought was over. As good as the Houston Astros were, I believed the Dodgers fielded a better team. Of course, we all know now that Houston cheated its way to a ring. To that end, I will always be bitter about 2017; and so long as their core roster is together, I will bask in schadenfreude every time they lose.

Before I continue, allow me to share how I — a Bay Area boy — became a Dodgers fan. There’s actually nothing too romantic about it. In the mid-70s my older brother played on a Little League Dodgers farm team, and I’ve been a fan since. And while I was aware of the A’s, Giants, and a few others, like the Reds and Yankees, I didn’t pay much attention to baseball. I was more interested in Raiders football, and Lakers basketball.

Incidentally, my brother’s team won every game that season except the last one — the championship! Perhaps it was foreshadowing what was to come for me as a fan of the Major League Dodgers.

I realize that most of my friends and family members didn’t celebrate the win like I did. That said, I was thoroughly surprised and touched by the messages I received from friends and family last night. One texted: “There you go, brother!!! Congrats!!” And another: “Congrats Rigo! You’re the only Dodgers fan I’m congratulating.” LOL! I’ll take it.

My favorite Dodger of all time is Steve Garvey. But that’s not to say that I haven’t loved plenty of others like Baker, Sax, Cey, Guerrero, Lopes, Scioscia, Valenzuela, Nomo, Green, Piazza, the list goes on and on. Moreover, as a true fan, I’ve read books about players I never got to see, like the late Jackie Robinson, and the great Sandy Koufax.

When it comes to today’s Dodgers, it’s difficult for me to choose a favorite. My middle daughter, Jada, and I were in San Francisco for Cody Bellinger’s major league debut against the Giants, so he’s someone we’ve grown to love and admire from the start. If I had to choose one, Seager is my guy. Jada likes Hernandez and Betts, and my son, Atticus, likes the Fresh Prince of LA, Will Smith.

Since last night’s win, and the jubilation in my house, which included a dog bite (I’ll get to that in a moment), I haven’t been able to wrap my head around everything that’s happened over the last couple of weeks.

Because of the pandemic, I didn’t put any thought into being anywhere other than home during the World Series. That my wife and I were able to take our kids to game 2, is something I’ll fondly remember with a deep sense gratitude and appreciation.

When the Dodgers were down 3-1 in the NLCS, I didn’t waver. When all hell broke loose at the end of game 4 in the World Series, I didn’t waver. And when I sensed doubt in my own house, I kept saying this: “We are the best team in baseball until someone beats us!”

When Gibson hit the ball over the fence at Dodgers Stadium in the 1988 World Series to beat the heavily favored Oakland A’s in game 1, announcer, Jack Buck, said, “I don’t believe what I just saw!” And longtime Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully, said, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.” For 32 years, those two statements have been a part of Dodger lore. And as much as I appreciate them, I have also grown tired of looking back.

Last night, right after the last pitch that sealed the game, I could hardly contain myself. In fact, while I was jumping and screaming, I startled our dog, Winston, and the son of a bitch bit me!

In a series that was an emotional roller coaster for me on the inside, it was just as brutal on the outside, and I have a scar to prove it.

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