Los Angeles, October 24, 1988
I remember the date not only because the Dodgers were celebrating their World Series win, but because that was the day I moved to Los Angeles. As I landed at LAX there was a parade happening in downtown. Being a baseball fan I was aware of the series, of Orel Hershiser’s dominance on the mound, of Tommy Lasorda’s loud love of his team, and of course Kirk Gibson’s dramatic walk-off homer.
But I wasn’t a Dodger fan. I came from New England. I’m a 3rd generation Red Sox Fan. This wasn’t my party.
This week I will have lived in Los Angeles for exactly 30 years. You can do a lot living in that time. I wrote for TV for a decade, opened, ran, and eventually sold an e-commerce business, I fell in love, got married, we started our family, and my wife and I have both lost relatives – including both my father and brother… It’s been a full cycle of all of life’s ups and downs.
LA has done a lot of living too… they dug a Metro system, opened the Staples Center, Disney Concert Hall, and resurrected Hollywood Boulevard. LA added soccer teams and football teams and closed Tower Records and soon Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater. We survived the Rodney King Riots, OJ, the ’94 Northridge earthquake, the annual brush fires, and the years of drought…
In my decades here, and largely for my son, I became a fan of the local team, the Dodgers. With the teams in separate leagues it has been easy to cheer for both the Red Sox and the Dodgers. Over the years fans have been through a lot – both teams have changed ownership – twice for the Dodgers (the McCourt years didn’t turn out so well).
In October 2004, a month before our son was born, my wife and I flew back to Boston, and witnessed first-hand, future Dodger Manager Dave Roberts steal second at Fenway – creating the spark that sent the Red Sox to impossibly beat the Yankees in the ALCS and then win their first World Series in 86 years.
The idea of a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series seemed nice, but always unlikely. They haven’t met in the series for 102 years, not since 1916. In the years that followed Dodger Day 1988, the LA team has struggled, come close, but created a drought of their own… It’s been 30 years since they won.
The timing of this Dodgers/Red Sox World Series, coming now, THIS October, is an amazing personal coincidence to me. You see, my time in LA is almost over. The cycle of life continues and we have sold our house and will be moving out of town in just a few weeks (for more nature, less city). To start my time here on Dodger Day in 1988 and end it with a Red Sox/Dodgers World Series in 2018 seems too coincidental. It feels like an incredible bit of bookending – like Mark Twain being both born on and dying in years when Halley’s Comet was in the sky.
I was raised on Yaz and Rice and Lynn and Evans and Fisk. My team soared with Papi and Manny and Pedroia and Wakefield and Varitek… But I know what it’s like to be thirsty after a decades-long World Series drought. I know 30 years isn’t 86, but it’s a generation…
My friends ask who am I cheering for. So my answer is this – I hope for excellent baseball on both sides. Great pitching, amazing catches, soaring hits, no scandals (you hear me Machado?) I’m cheering for Sale and Kershaw and Betts and Turner and Martinez and Puig and Jackie Bradley Jr. Let’s make this series legendary – one to be talking about 102 years from now.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, I’ll be happy if either team wins.
If Boston wins I’ll celebrate with the rest of Red Sox Nation. And if there’s a Dodger parade in LA, we will be there to cheer… On our way out of town.