Go Dodgers! World Champs 2017! Whoo-hoo!
There. I got that off my chest.
I take a lot of grief from my friends and family for being a diehard San Francisco Giants fan. I proudly wear the orange and black, know the name of the mascot (Lou Seal) and the history of home plate moving from one park to another, but I can’t spew names or stats. That doesn’t stop the swell of pride when my Boys from the Bay are doing well.
Three World Series Championships in five years that start with a 20. Just sayin’. The stats I do know? The Giants have won more National League pennants than any other team (23), followed by the Dodgers with 21. And they’ve been World Series Champions 8 times, while the Dodgers have been on top 6 times. Let’s hope that number goes up to 7.
Despite many “friends” painting me as the evil enemy, I am thrilled that tonight, the Los Angeles Dodgers will play in the first game of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros. I think it would be an awesome Halloween trick if the Series becomes their treat next week and we get to have a victory parade in early November.
And I will buy a shirt. Because blue looks good on me too.
Unlike my husband, I love baseball. Not enough to park myself in front of a TV for every game or listen to every play-by-play (I am, however, guilty of logging on to MLB.com and “watching” a critical game or two that wasn’t televised), but enough to know most of the rules, enjoy the opportunity to see a game live and agree that it is, despite my track-and-field coach husband, America’s Pastime. (Side note: when my sweetie was cast as the coach in a production of “Damn Yankees,” I thought it was hysterically ironic. There was some really good acting there).
I even played baseball when I was an adolescent, a proud member of the “Coronado Creeps” of the Cabrillo Park Asphalt League. We played in the street with home plate in front of my best friend’s driveway and first base right around the Kennedy’s mailbox. Lucky for us we never broke a window or a windshield. I continued to play for kicks and giggles after college and can still pick up a bat and make a reasonable hit, but at my age, a pinch runner is a given.
As a Southern California resident for longer than I lived in the Bay Area (43 years here, 20 years there), I feel the pressure – nay, the requirement – that I must be a Dodgers fan. I do enjoy the occasional game and am happy when they win (except when they play my guys) and I possess not one but two Dodger caps for wearing when the Giants aren’t playing. I really wanted the Dodgers to take the Series last year for Vin Scully, a man I truly admire (although my childhood hero was Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges). And I have a standing tradition with a good friend to catch at least one North-South rivalry game every season.
My “Free Gift with Purchase” son (i.e., my Son In Love’s brother) and his uncle try to bug me about players and their records. Goes over my head. Not into stats or RBIs or injuries. I just like the Giants. I’ve always liked the color orange. My bedroom at home was painted orange, my first new car was an orange VW, and I thought I won the lottery when my high school colors reflected those of my baseball team. But there’s more to it than that.
Even when the A’s settled in nearby Oakland, I stayed true to the Giants. I went to school with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley who pitched to Dodger Kirk Gibson on that fateful night in 1988. Dennis, who graduated the year after me, was disappointed that he wasn’t drafted by the Giants in 1972 and I shared his adoration of Willie Mays, who we both saw playing at Candlestick Park in our youth.
And by my side at those Candlestick outings was a woman who lived and breathed Giants baseball – my mom. She was determined to give me an appreciation for the sport and for the players. I can probably name more players from 50 years ago than those on the team today – Mays, Willie McCovey, Jim Davenport, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, the Alou brothers, Matty, Felipe and Jesus, were my chosen celebrities. I wanted to have a black satin jacket like hers with the Giants logo embroidered on the back and front. I remember going to the grocery store before a game to load up on peanuts (because ballpark prices seemed high in those days too). She would talk me through the plays and show me how to watch the bases and predict who was going to try and steal or who could catch pretty much anything that was airborne.
Somewhere in her MomWisdom, she must have known I was never going to be an athlete, that I’d probably do something else like act or write. At least, she figured, she could teach me to be a good spectator and fan.
Then there was my dad. He thought Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were the greatest players in baseball and damned if they didn’t play for the Dodgers. So on game days when those two teams were going head to head, the excitement was electric. Sitting between them at the park, it was fun to watch their faces as they reacted to the plays on the field. They were some of the best days – and nights – of my life.
Speaking of days and nights, if you went to a double-header at Candlestick, you were guaranteed to cook and sweat during the first game and freeze all your extremities during the second one, with the wind whipping off the bay and right into the cheap seats. With the team’s move to AT&T Park, I doubt the weather dips nearly as deeply off McCovey Cove to require a complete change in clothes between games.
I was at a Dodger game this spring and a few rows in front of us, there was a little girl and her dad who were yelling and cheering really loud. She was dressed in Dodger blue from top to toe and dad was wearing his favorite jersey. They enjoyed a repast of Dodger dogs, ice cream, nachos, peanuts, soda and beer – the basic Chavez Ravine food pyramid – and they were having the time of their lives. It was a capsule of Americana, a date that I hoped wasn’t a first or last, but a tradition that she would remember and they would both cherish. I could see myself in that little girl and it restored my faith in a good old game of baseball.
That, I told my friend, that is why I’m a Giants fan. Not because I hate any other team (in fact, I don’t allow myself to use that word), not because I want to be a rival, not because I miss the Bay Area (I don’t), but because my memories are wrapped in that black satin jacket and those store-bought peanuts. And they hit a home run every time they come up to bat.
Carol Rock is a writer based in the Los Angeles area. She is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experience covering all areas of news and features. She works as a freelance public relations and media consultant, with writing remaining her strong suit. Her tattoo, if it were real, would read “Don’t Die Wondering.”
Your comments are welcome and always appreciated. Please share this on social media!