This was supposed to be an in-depth recap of Game 6 of the World Series, but then I actually went to the World Series. And the game sucked. I did get to meet Yankees legend Reggie Jackson, aka Mr. October. And yes, we get to stave off the offseason a little longer with a November game, and yes, we get a Game 7 for the second year in a row, but apart from meeting one of the greatest ball players in history – even if he is a Yankee – did I enjoy myself last night? Nope. Not at all.
For starters, it actually rained. Rain is so rare in Southern California that musician Albert Hammond actually has a song called “It Never Rains in Southern California.” And I’m not a particularly superstitious person, but considering I’d sat in the rain for my last game on my last night in Boston and then again to watch us lose Game 4 of the ALDS a few weeks ago, maybe I should’ve heeded the signs.
This was only the third major league ballpark I’ve ever been to. In 7th grade, our school took a trip to Washington DC, and because we were spoiled brats, they took us all to a Nationals game. The only thing I really remember about that stadium was that it was so empty all sixty of us were able to sit around 10 rows back from the dugout; our original seats were nosebleeds.
Dodger Stadium is so not my kind of ballpark. It’s flashy as hell, definitely beautiful, but I felt absolutely no spirit there. That’s partially on me; I’m so deeply connected to Fenway that I don’t even know what I expected it to be like at another park. The food is pretty good, though. I definitely wouldn’t complain if Fenway added garlic fries and churros to the menu.
The atmosphere at Dodger Stadium was such a downer, too; I honestly didn’t even feel like I was at a World Series game. There was no intensity, no electricity; people in my section attempted to start The Wave at least five times, and it never made it out of the section. The DJ had to keep hyping the crowd up, at least once every five minutes. Their organist is no Josh Kantor. I’ve never heard the beat from “We Will Rock You” so many times, and they played the “Cha Cha Slide” so many times that I had traumatic flashbacks to bar mitzvah parties. It felt more like a weak attempt at a rave than a baseball game, somehow flashy and dull at the same time. At the end of the night, my friend and I left the game with matching headaches.
Compared to Games 2 and 5, arguably two of the best World Series games ever, the hitting was so nonexistent it was like watching the Red Sox. Too soon? I don’t care. I came to see some juiced balls, some flame-throwing pitching, and I just left underwhelmed. Rich Hill and his bullpen were dominant, but the Astro bats also didn’t seem to be trying so hard. Justin Verlander stayed in too long and blew the small lead given to Houston by George Springer’s homer, the Astros only run of the game. Like my Red Sox, the Astros definitely play with more passion at home. I was more fired up listening to the previous games on the radio. Not seeing the Astros win their first World Series ever was also kind of a bummer, for what it’s worth.
So maybe all of this is just me being homesick. But I truly think Dodger Stadium and other teams’ games aren’t for me. I was actually a little nervous that I would love Dodger Stadium and then I wouldn’t have Fenway as an excuse to come home all the time. But no. Dodger Stadium doesn’t have any of the charm of Fenway Park, nor does it have the beautiful hustle and bustle of its city all around it. It’s bigger and cleaner and fancier, but it isn’t mine. I love my park and my team so much. I root for them. I know my players and my stats and it’s deeply personal for me. There’s no history or emotion with these teams, and those are two of the main reasons why I’m the Red Sox fan I am. And I’m very proud of that.
Tonight’s going to be the first Game 7 at Dodger Stadium ever. I wonder if people are actually excited and my bias and love for my own team just have me blind. But I’m definitely not trying to go back. While I need baseball in my life, it’s really only Red Sox baseball that will suffice, and I was reminded of that in spades last night. In a stadium with a capacity of 56,000, I felt so alone. I missed my people, my Red Sox Nation so terribly last night that I actually burst into tears in the car on the way home. In all honesty, it was one of the saddest nights of my life.
Counting down the days until opening day at Fenway. It’s 155, if you’re wondering.