How Sweep It Is! (aka: Dodger Clinch Day part 2)
Wow, my voice is pretty much gone at the current moment, and I think I may need to rest all day tomorrow to recover… but it was all worth it.
In three very exciting games, the Dodgers completed an improbable sweep over the cursed Chicago Cubs, winning game three, 3-1. This NLDS has been a thrilling one, and if you were there for that game…. you were among the lucky ones!
As you may have read from the previous post, the day started off with me meeting former Dodger, Bill Russell, and him being very excited that the Dodgers were about to sweep the Cubs. It was an omen… a sign, if you will. That early meeting in the morning was like a foreshadowing of just how great of a day it was going to be.
After taking a short and well-deserved nap, I had to leave the house early so I could visit my cousin, who was having his going-away party. The reason he was having a going-away party is because he’s off for military service. He’s in the Marines…. and he will be in Camp Pendleton for a short stint before… being shipped… overseas. Yeah. =/ Please wish him well. This picture I took before the game is for him.
Right after that, I headed off for the game. After darting my way around the packed freeways through the surface streets and taking shortcuts, I got slammed right as I was making my way through the gates. The way I look at it, if I had stayed on the freeway, I may have gotten to the stadium at 6:50pm, instead of around 6pm. Next time, I’m not taking any chances and getting there MUCH earlier. So we get to the stadium, and my buddy, Matthew, brought out his broom and waved it around like crazy before we headed to the stadium. We got in there with rally towels, got settled in, and saw an amazing introduction with the huge flag that you see above. Simply incredible.
I know that Dodger fans get a lot of crap about arriving late and leaving early. When I walked inside the stadium before the game, our section was almost full already! Before the game even started, there were already about 50,000 fans in the stadium watching the pre-game festivities. These are the true fans. The passionate fans. The fans that will always be behind their Dodgers through thick and thin. Through the victories and heartbreaks (notice that heartbreaks is underlined), they showed up.
Throughout the night, we had some drizzle here and there, but nothing too significant. But when the Dodgers took an early 2-0 lead thanks to our awesome offense, the fans didn’t seem to care.
By the way, I’d like to send a thank you note to Jim Reynolds for giving the Dodgers that close call at third base when Russell Martin slid into third while trying to avoid the tag. On the replays, it looked like it was a bang-bang play, but when I got home and looked at that play even closer… Martin was out by just an eyelash. But at full-speed, it looked like Martin was safe, and that call really could have gone either way. It’s not as obvious as the play from the Rays/White Sox game earlier this week, or the 1985 World Series. But let me say this one more time.
THANK YOU, Jim Reynolds!
Those two runs seemed to be all we needed because we have awesome starting pitching. I’ve been saying this all season, but I love seeing Hiroki Kuroda starting at home because at any given home game, he can pitch a shutout. Last night, he had pretty much everything working for him. With every pitch, the crowd cheered, and with every strikeout, there was a definite roar across our section. Once it got into the fourth inning, the crowd could see Kuroda really settling down, and every Dodger fan there was behind him 100% of the way. At the end of each inning, when Hiroki had a two-strike count, everybody was standing up hoping for a strikeout, and he got it three innings in a row… all of them swinging! I’ve never heard the crowd so pumped up in all my years at Dodger Stadium. It was amazing.
That’s when I started counting down the number of outs for the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS.
Eight. Huge ovation for Kurdoa. Seven. Six.
With a three run lead, and Wade and Broxton closing the game out, there were at least two people that left the game early. The two Cubs fans that sat next to us during the game had enough, and one of them had that same sad look when they lost the NLCS in 2003, and the NLDS last year. Even though I was a little happy to see them leave, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sympathetic towards those fans. They haven’t seen a World Series title in over a century and counting. I felt for them. The countdown was back on.
Five. Four. Run scored… crowd gets a little tense. Broxton enters for Wade. Three outs to go!
The excitement level is rising very quickly throughout the stadium as the Dodgers are that close to clinching their first NLCS appearance in two decades. The Dodgers get out of the 8th inning very quickly, and the countdown is on!
Ryan Theriot up to bat. He quickly gets the count against him… he strikes out swinging. Two outs to go.
Alfonso Soriano is the Cubs’ last hope. He swings and misses for strike one. The dugout is looking on in anticipation. Almost everybody is on that front step!
I will admit this right now. I shed a couple tears. I could hardly contain myself. Imagine if they make it to the World Series? If they win the whole thing, I will probably lose it. I laughed, I jumped for joy. I high-fived everyone around me. Heck, I even hugged a few people. We were all united as a legion of Dodger fans. It was an amazing feeling. The last time my Dodgers made it this far was twenty years ago. Even though it’s been over a century since the Cubs won it all, 20 years is still a long time!
After watching some of the celebration, I was pretty adamant in my wanting to get a closer look of the celebration before all of the players came out from their locker room. We raced our way down the stairs from the top deck, to the reserve level, and finally arriving at the loge level since the ushers wouldn’t let us go down any further. That’s fine, I was totally okay with that.
*chuckles* …and to think, it all started when I met Bill Russell earlier that day. I told you it was an omen!
Once again, much congratulations to your division series winners, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bring on the Phillies!