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!”
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