LOS ANGELES — After Tuesday night, I will be able to say I have been at two consecutive Dodgers World Series games. They just happen to be 10,600 days apart.
Prior to 2017, my only World Series experience was attending Game 2 of the 1988 World Series, when Orel Hershiser won my 12-year-old heart with a shutout of the A’s.
Hershiser that night, only days removed from his 67 consecutive scoreless innings, and in the midst of a 63-day finishing stretch through the postseason that saw him post a 0.65 ERA in 124⅔ innings. He allowed only three hits to a mighty Oakland lineup, all by Dave Parker, and Hershiser collected three hits of his own at the plate, which basically made that a no-hitter in my mind.
The Dodgers won that game 6-0, to take a two-game series lead in a World Series they would finish four days later in Oakland.
I grew up in Palm Springs, which was a good two hours away from Los Angeles, and after factoring in how slow my mom drove it was more like three hours. Game 2 was a Sunday night game, and my mom didn’t like to drive at night, which meant after staying the night at my brother Kelly’s house we woke up early to drive back home.
The early wake-up was well worth it in my mind, if only because on Monday morning at school I got to answer every, “What did you do this weekend?” with “I WAS AT THE WORLD SERIES LAST NIGHT,” whipping out my ticket stub as proof.
But that was only half of a rather whirlwind weekend.
I went to Game 2 with Kelly, his wife, and his wife’s mom. He bought a strip of four tickets to every postseason game that year, only he didn’t go to Game 1. None of us did.
One of our sisters turned 30 that year, though not until November 2. Our other sister organized a surprise birthday party for her, and to really throw off the scent we had the party 18 days early.
On October 15.
The date of Game 1 of the World Series.
The game Kirk Gibson won.
In Orange County at my sister’s apartment, we celebrated her birthday quite joyously. There was even silly string involved.
We all watched Game 1 on television, and jumped up and down in celebration after Gibson’s home run, so much so that later that night a policeman came to visit the second-story apartment after receiving a noise complaint from the first-floor neighbor.
Kelly sold his tickets to that game to a pair of couples, and to rub salt in the wound both groups left the game early. Even before Mr. Brake Lights beyond the right field pavilion:
The next day before Game 2, when rosters were introduced, the roar for Gibson was so loud and long that the cameraman had to pan back to Gibson before moving on to the next player. That was a deafening moment that gave me goosebumps.
Twenty-nine years later, I expect those goosebumps to return. It’s the World Series, after all, and I’m glad to be back.