My memories of Dodger Stadium are all exceptionally good ones; I unabashedly consider it my “happy place”. The minute I stepped foot in it the first time on Vin Scully Weekend in September 2016, I knew exactly why it had been affectionately dubbed “Blue Heaven on Earth”.
I’ve been asked before what my fondest Dodger Stadium memory is, and it’s impossible not to list the 2017 World Series as number 1, with a bunch of other rich, special moments tied for number 2.
Three years ago next month I threw caution to the wind and spent the equivalent of about 9 mortgage payments to fly out to LA and watch my team play in their first World Series in 30 days. I like to say I was adopted by the Dodgers 8 years ago, having grown up as Expos fan, so this would be the first time in my then 36 years of being a die-hard baseball fan that “my” team had a chance to win it all. They were by far the best team in the NL that year and had treated us to a magical summer of thrilling on-field moments and many walk-offs late into the night as they dominated the league.
They had swiftly handled both the dreaded D-Backs and the Cubs in the playoffs. If we could get past a hot Verlander, the series was theirs. For everyone in the extended Dodgers community, this was finally our time.
Attending games 1 and 2 of that World Series will forever be one of my fondest memories, not just as a fan but as an adult who had seen her share of ups and downs. I had a worked hard all of my adult life, and now was allowing myself the rare luxury of being able to afford a trip and an experience that many cannot. I don’t regret a single minute, and I still don’t.
This weekend, however, as these Astros returned to Dodger Stadium for the first time since that so firmly etched in my memory, I feel an odd sense of nostalgia mixed with a resurfaced sense of grief and loss. We know now that glory days don’t last forever, that’s why they’re called glory days, and we’ve also learned that World Series opportunities don’t come around every year, even when a team finishes the regular season with the best record in baseball. Three years later, the Dodgers are still elite and have remained that way without trash cans and buzzers, but that still may not lead them back to the championship until many of us are long gone.
We were robbed of our place in history, and this is becoming more and more apparent as the years tick by. We know how quickly the world can change now too; the Dodgers could still make it back to the Fall Classic this year but if they do, it’ll be in front of cardboard cutouts at a stadium in Texas, not in front of 50,000 plus screaming, devoted fans at Dodger Stadium. In 2017, we had an opportunity as fans to celebrate this team in a way we will not see again for years to come. With nothing in life guaranteed, who knows when that chance will return?
For the most part, as an adult I’ve learned to forgive and forget – no one is worth holding a grudge against to the detriment of my mental health, but something changed in me when this scandal was brought to life and the extent of the Astros scheme was revealed. These unrepentant cheaters not only stole signs, but precious moments in time that none of us will ever get back. I know as a fan that I will never, ever forget all the joy that season brought us, but I will always wonder what might have been for this team and for many of us who devote a lot of our waking hours to this team…and for that, I will never, ever forgive.