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I often wonder what it is about sports that draws us into an unhealthy obsession unlike (most) any other area of our life. It’s the type of thing I think about in the midst of a depressing Dodger losing streak or a miraculous comeback — and in talking to J.P. Hoornstra about his new book, “The 50 Greatest Dodgers Games of All Time“, I was quickly reminded.
While the book lacks an abundance of recent games, it’s the type that reminded me of the “Where were you when…” moments. I remember where I was and where I was sitting when the Dodgers hit four straight home runs in 2006 to tie the Padres in the ninth, only to cap it off with a two-run walk-off homer from Nomar Garciaparra.
According to Hoornstra, it was the No. 6 game in Dodgers history. Of course, for any Dodger fan who was alive, your location during the night of Oct. 15, 1988 is surely cemented in your mind right alongside the day of your wedding and the birth of your children.
As you comb through these memories and the feelings and emotions they generate, all of a sudden, the motives behind fanhood and the obsession with sports comes clearly back into focus — all of which brings me back to Hoornstra’s book.
The project began for Hoornstra, the Dodgers beat writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, in 2013 after another writer released a similar book about the Boston Red Sox. An avid baseball fan and lover of history, Hoornstra jumped at the opportunity to replicate the project for another one of the most storied franchises in baseball.
But then begins the hard part — combing through more than 10,000 games to find the 50 greatest — whatever that means. “I kind of had an idea of three games I thought would be the top three,” he said.
Aand then I had a list of maybe 25 others that I didn’t have to do much research on. The back-half, however, were games I had never heard of or simply didn’t realize the Dodgers had been the opposing team in. Some were actually embarrassing to admit I didn’t realize the Dodgers had played in.”