Monday, October 19, 2009

Helplessly Hoping...

Update: The Dodgers blew it in the bottom of the ninth and lost the game. It's back to the drawing board for L.A.

Okay, I admit that these days I'm one of those Baseball fans who usually only watches games during the playoffs. To me Baseball is game to be watched in person. It's not the same as the NBA or NFL. But - I have been attending Dodger games since the late sixties. I started going to Angel games in the late seventies. As a young teen I often watched televised Dodger and Angel games with my Grandfather. He was a huge Dodger fan until the day he died. So this year I'm caught up in play-off fever as I was in years past.

October 19, 2009...
Today the Angels and Yankees went extra innings in Anaheim with the Angels finally prevailing in the eleventh. As I type, the Dodgers and Phillies are going at it in Philadelphia. Both are/were good exciting games today. The Dodgers have just taken a lead after a big sixth inning and the Phillies are rallying in the bottom of the same inning. I am hoping against hope both Los Angeles teams will prevail and I will get to see something I have been waiting for since the mid-sixties - a Freeway series. Will it happen? It doesn't look so good right now. The Angels are down 2-1 in their series against the Yankees. The Dodgers, should they win, will even their series against the Phillies 2-2. If they lose it will be 3-1 in favor of Philly.

I've seen a lot of Baseball over the course of my fifty-five years....
The first Dodger series I can remember is the sweep over the Yankees in 1963. I still remember the heartbreak of the Dodgers vs Baltimore in 1966. We had to wait another six or seven years before the Dodgers were even a competitive team again while they rebuilt. Then it was the Steve Garvey, Davy Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey glory years. I can also remember seeing Willie Stargell hit a ball all the way out of Dodger Stadium in 1973 - the first time anyone ever did that. Yes - I really was at that game. The ball bounced once on top of the right field pavilion and then out into the parking lot. Awesome! I've seen the late Don Drysdale pitch in person. I was there for Fernando Valenzuela and the hoopla surrounding him as a rookie and the sting of shutouts he had in 1981. It was a great time to be a Dodger fan.

I've driven up to Chavez Ravine at eight in the morning and paid a scalper one-hundred dollars for four tickets in one of the worst sections of Dodger Stadium just to see Jerry Reuss pitch and win in the 1981 playoffs. And I was glad to get em too. We were so high up we had to use Scuba gear to breathe. It was worth the forty mile drive and the cost for the tickets. BTW, the Dodgers won the 1981 World Series too. And who can forget Kirk Gibson and the 1988 shot against Oakland and Dennis Eckersley. That was the last appearance in the Series for the Dodgers.

I've also seen Nolan Ryan pitch in person. That was a treat. I can remember the ultimate heartbreak of the Angels vs Boston in 1986 when they were one strike away from what would have been their first World Series when Donnie Moore made one of Baseball's most memorable pitches. Donnie's suicide a few years later was a horrible tragedy and one can't help but believe it was a lingering after-effect from the home run he served up to Dave Henderson ending the Angel season. I can remember Minnie Rojas and the auto accident that killed his two daughters and left him paralyzed. There was also Lyman Bostock and his tragic shooting death. The Angels have more than once been said to have suffered from some kind of jinx. I've often wondered if it was true. And I am NOT a superstitious man.

Now - if the Baseball Gods are willing to grant an old fart one last request, I'll be happier than a Clam at high tide. My memories of wonderful Baseball games past are etched into my brain forever. One last memory is all I ask.

Now it's time to slaughter a Lamb and say a small prayer.


Winfred Mann said...

I wanted to see Joe Torre face the Yankees in the series.

In my youth, I was fortunate to see Micky Mantle, Whitey Ford and other players form that era--before it was "only for the money."

Greasywrench said...

Damn - I would have loved to have seen Mickey Mantle in his prime. That must have been cool! We didn't have a home run hitter here in L.A. like Mickey. All of the Dodger teams in the sixties were all great pitching, no hitting teams.

My Daughter and I were discussing Joe Torre a week or ten days ago when we watched the Angels come back in their final game against Boston. I had told her Boston would probably fire their manager because of that bottom of the ninth rally. I also mentioned Donnie Moore to her and what happened with Dave Henderson and how the Angel comeback was very similar. She then asked me why Boston would fire their manager and I told her it's a time honored tradition in Baseball to scapegoat the Manager. I then mentioned Joe Torre and how the Yankees had treated him.

I do hope one of the L.A. teams will make it. Last night the Dodgers broke my heart. I gotta give credit to the Phillies for that one. It was a great comeback. But... I'm a die-hard fan so it isn't over yeat.

Winfred Mann said...

Last night's game had an umpiring deficit, but I don't believe LAA could have stopped the Yankees, because they failed to score a run.

Greasywrench said...

The Angels were overwhelmed. The Yankees brought too much hitting and too much pitching. As I watched it was so obvious the Angels were NOT going to win. As early as the fifth inning it was clear how flat the Angels were.