You could feel the excitement in the air around Dodger Stadium on Saturday night. Dodgers fans knew exactly what was on the line, and they were sure they were about to witness history with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
And in the 4th inning, Kershaw gave them history. He got Spencer Torkelson to chase on a slider down and in for the 2697th punchout of his illustrious career. And every single fan in attendance knew what had just happened. The crowd erupted and Kersh stepped off of the mound to tip his cap right back to the fans.
After the game, Kersh added that he didn’t expect that sort of reaction. While he understands the importance of setting a franchise record, it sounds like he didn’t think fans would care as much as they did. But they absolutely did.
“I didn’t really expect it. I understand that the Dodgers are a historic franchise. They’ve been around a long time so the guys on that list I was fortunate to pass, it’s a big deal. But I didn’t know the fans would know or honestly care that much. So it was special for me. It really was.”
But just as you might expect from a guy like Clayton Kershaw, he was as humble as ever when talking about the accomplishment. The Dodgers southpaw talked about being able to celebrate with those around him, and the fans that made it so special for him.
“The first thing I’ll say is any time you get to do something individual record-wise, the people around you to help you celebrate are what matters most. So to have my teammates care about that, to have my family here care about that and then to see the fans care about it as much as they did – all of those things made it special. Not a great game. I wish we’d have won. But it was a great moment for me personally. I’ll remember that for a long time, for sure.”
It’s wild to think that it has been almost 16 years since the Dodgers scooped him up in the draft out of Highland Park High School. But here we are, nearly two decades later, and celebrating the all-time strikeout king for Los Angeles. What a time.
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