This is a story of two glorious days that are 16 years and 5 days apart, each which are officially etched into my memory forever, the details of which I shall never forget.
Day 1: October 3, 1993. I'm 9 years old, and it is my 3rd full year as a diehard Dodger fan (my fanhood may go back a bit farther, but that is as far as I can consciously remember). The Dodgers are finishing up their second straight miserable season 80-81 for the year, but this day the story is not about them. It is about the 102-59 San Francisco Giants who being the day tied with the Atlanta Braves for the NL West Crown (this was when there were only 2 divisions in each league). It is Fan Appreciation Day at Chavez Ravine, and as becomes our custom, my dad and I go to the game. The pitching matchup pits Dodger vet Kevin Gross against Giants rookie Salmoan Torres. The Braves win their game against the Rockies early in the day 5-3 behind Tom Glavine's standard shutdown performance (yes I really remember all of this off the top of my head, if you ever doubted me, that's how important baseball is to me). As for the Dodgers-Giants game, it is never close. Gross pitches a gem, allowing only one run, and Torres gets rocked early, with Mike Piazza capping his ROY season with 2 HR's giving him 35/121 for the year, as the Dodgers route the Giants 12-1. Until today, this was one of the greatest moments in my life as a Dodgers fan, just to watch us inflict so much pain on the hated ones.
Day 2: October 8. 2009. Game 2 of the NLDS pits Clayton Kershaw against Adam Wainwright. Each starting pitcher pitches his heart out, but it is Wainwright who leaves the game with the 2-1 lead going into the 9th. The Dodgers make two quick outs in the 9th, when James Loney hits a line drive right at Matt Holliday who boots the routine fly ball. What follows is the most improbable win, as unsung and forgotten players Ronnie Belliard, and the 25th man Mark Loretta come up with huge hits to propel the Dodgers to a 3-2 victory, and a 2-0 series lead.
The Connection: For both games, I was sitting in the Reserved Level Aisle 35, and when I saw my ticket for last night's game, my first thought was memories of that glorious day so many years ago. When I saw the ticket, I really got the feeling that something special was going to happen today, and for the first time in my life, the Dodgers did not let me down when I needed them the most. The difference between these two days, is that 16 years ago, I was a young fan rooting for a bad team, just hoping to spoil the rivals season, but today, my team has a legitimate chance of winning the whole damn thing. Winning a World Series is something that I have wasted countless birthday wishes on, and the reason why I pour my heart into every at-bat of every inning of every game for the entire season, and to see my boys in blue come through today was a moment that I won't forget for the rest of my life. Win or Lose, I love being a Dodger fan, and I'll support my team until the day that I die! This is THE YEAR GUYS!