The 2017 Dodgers: Feels Like Home

I have been trying for a good month to put together a piece about how it feels to be a Dodgers fan this season, which is no easy task, as it has already come to mean so many things. This season is pride-inducing, unbelievable, and unprecedented. It also feels like finally coming home.

Once the Dodgers started doing Dodgers things in early May, I started out cautious in my optimism, thinking this can’t really be happening, but all of a sudden Puig hits a 2-out, 3-run HR in the 9th vs Miami, Cody hits for the cycle after a couple of less than stellar weeks, Yasmani “drops the bat” twice in one night, and it is impossible not to start really believing in this year’s magic.

Like those first few promising months after meeting someone who makes your heart smile for the first time in years, it’s hard not to become a little giddy, even while the small part of you who remembers the heartbreaks and disappointments all too well is subtly cautioning you to pump on the brakes. Then, the Dodgers score 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th, without even recording an out, or a rookie named Kyle Farmer hits a walk-off double in his first major league at-bat, and it’s hard not to close my eyes and imagine the same type of on-field celebrations happening late in October.

After first having my baseball heart broken at the age of 9 by Rick Monday beating my beloved Expos in the NLCS, I have been a baseball fan and ardent follower of the game in varying degrees for 36 years. Since re-discovering my love of baseball in the spring of 2014 and starting on my roller coaster journey as a Dodgers fan, I have always – through all of the ups and downs, clubhouse spats, blown leads, batting slumps, injuries, and Mat Latos-caliber trades – been proud to call myself a fan, but this…well this sure feels different. I have not been blessed with children of my own, but this must be how proud parents feel, bursting at any opportunity to talk about their children’s latest accomplishments.

Positive emotions like hope, optimism, and joy, for many, come from the more conventional sources, like marriage, children, family and career. For me, my source of true happiness – and what has become my sanctuary from the disappointment of not always finding the solace I need from these aforementioned conventional sources – is Dodgers baseball. I cherish this time in my life while I can still thoroughly immerse myself in it, still young enough to be able to stay up and watch all of the action, and of sound enough mind that I get to occasionally contribute to the community with my thoughts and opinions. Dodgers baseball is my home – it is where I live.

And home is sure is a fun place to live right now.

Like all great things in life, as I’ve learned, I know this won’t last forever, and I am cherishing every moment, even while I continue to search for the perfect word to describe it, to do it all justice. I simply wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of this season. It is simply unbelievable.

My first Dodgers Nation piece this past April was a few words I put together about the anticipation of Opening Day and the new season bringing promise for every baseball fan, and how this year felt like it was going to be different and the excitement would last well beyond Opening Day. Never in my wildest, craziest dreams, though, could I have imagined this.

As we all know, every life, every season, inevitably, has its share of challenges, disappointments, and heartbreak. In fact, even in this state of Dodgers euphoria, many of us still face the very human realities of being an adult: worrying about the declining health of a loved one, stress over work demands, and financial challenges, among others. That these Dodgers keep saving our lives and soothing the pain of being an adult, night after night, is just another special part of this season. Dodgers baseball is that much-needed lifeline, now more than ever.

I also put a few thoughts on paper back in April about baseball being that lifeline which helps bring balance to the ups and downs of everyday life, and it most certainly continues to. Still though, I didn’t see this season coming in my wildest of dreams. How could any of us have? This season, and the feelings attached to it, is the very definition of unprecedented.

To those of you still in the “but it doesn’t count unless they win in October” camp, I suggest the following to you: enjoy your life while it is happening, and don’t wait for that day down the road when you will one day wake up and be magically happy. Worrying about the future only robs us of the enjoyment of the present, and right now, this is an exceptionally talented, fun team to watch. Cherish it.

Anyone who has experienced loss, sudden or otherwise, can attest to the fact that everything ends eventually, so why not enjoy the here and now in all of its glorious excitement? After watching 500 + games in the last 3.5 years, and living and dying on each pitch, this season is the proverbial reward for that loyalty, and I plan on enjoying every minute.

“Moment after moment, memory after memory!”

Please join me on Twitter – @GJOH29

Written by Gail Johnson

Biggest Dodgers fan north of the border, living about 3,500 miles from my beloved Boys In Blue, in Moncton, NB, Canada. I think Dodger Stadium is the happiest place on Earth. I'll catch up on my sleep in the off-season.


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  1. As a truly die hard lifelong 67 year old Dodger fan, I want to thank Ms. Johnson for so eloquently articulating what it feels like to not only be a Dodger fan, but to help all of us who are, to truly appreciate what we are witnessing in this truly magical season. For all the times that they have broken our hearts ( for me the first was the devistating way the 1962 season ended) , and the many highs they have blessed us with, none more euphoric than what they are giving us this year night after night. I do believe that in Dave Roberts, we are seeing the next in line of long time managers like Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda before him. To the editors of Dodger Nation, please share more editorials by Ms. Johnson. And to Ms. Johnson, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful take on what it’s like to be a Dodger fan.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Gary. Thank you so much for reading! This Dodgers season is truly a blessing for Dodgers fans of all ages and I’m happy to be sharing it with all of you.

  2. Gail, thank you very much. For the life lesson and your great comments.
    Am also a life long Dodger fan from Panama, Central America and as they say in the USA = DITTO ! Please keep up the good work. Kind regards. GO DODGERS !

  3. Just saw this and I agree with the previous commenters; it’s a lovely piece and voices much of the ineffable joy that we’re deriving from this remarkable team and season.

    It can feel odd to be of a certain age (my first Dodgers heartbreak was 1974, and I try to avoid any reference at all to the entire two-year period of 1977-78, which I usually render as “the late Seventies”), rooting for 20-year-olds I’ll never meet who’ve made more money by their 2nd year in the bigs than I will ever see in my life, but that’s the mystery of fandom. It’s precisely the irrationality of it that makes it so compelling and (I’d argue) even important. Most of us must of necessity live in the mundane world of the day-by-day, with all of the frustrations, compromises, and sober consideration of risks and rewards that go with ordinary life.

    Fandom lifts us out of that and gives us an experience of the ineffable, even if only for a few hours at a time, six months out of the year. To be sure, ordinary life has its rewards and even moments of joy, but it is precisely *because* games are so inconsequential that we are able to experience the purity of joy and heartbreak with an intensity that would overwhelm us in “real life.”

  4. Thanks Gail for your great articulation of what it’s like being a Dodger fan this year. I wasbBorn in L.A., and my father was from Brooklyn and had me rooting for the Dodgers when I was like 6 or 7. When they moved to L.A. in ’58, I was ecstatic. I can still remember standing behind the left-field screen at the Coliseum and catching a home-run ball from Gil Hodges during batting practice. Anyway, 60-some years later, I now live and teach in a small coastal community in northern California. The teachers on both sides of my room are big Giants fans. When the Giants won in ’10, ’12, and ’14, they gloated every day about how good their team was and how the Dodgers sucked. Now all I hear every day after a Dodger win is how Kershaw and the team will choke once they get to the playoffs. It makes it very difficult, but I know inside that they’re just jealous of our great run. I’ve never experienced such joy from a Dodger team as I have this year. My only concern is I the home runs given up by the bullpen in the team’s last 3 losses. My hope is that Roberts is just trying to find out who can handle the pressure in different situations. Anyway, here’s to Dodger Blue forever.

    • That’s wonderful Bob, thank you for taking the time to comment. When I hear that Dodgers fans of all ages are experiencing the most fun of their lives as fans, it gives me chills. I also agree with your last comment about Roberts testing the bullpen; good observation. Go Dodgers!

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