Sunday, September 17

For love of the Game

It's odd that my favorite sport is Baseball because i have never played it in my life. I only started watching the Dodgers when my family and i migrated here in 1994. For some reason i took an immediate liking to it. I don't think because it was visually exciting or colourful, but because my Grandmother, who because of her bum knees, sat around all day watching the games, and the Edgar Allan Poe of baseball commentators Vince Scully. My lola (tagalog for Grandmother) hardly speaks any English but she could tell you if a bunt play or a suicide squeeze was going down like she was Tommy Lasorda herself. Okay maybe that was a bit of a stretch but she watched the Dodgers a lot. I never asked her why she watched the games or how she became a fan, but perhaps in 1978-79, when the Dodgers lost in back to back years to the heralded Yankees in the World Series, she became a fan. That year is the same year she along with all of my mothers siblings migrated to California.

Initially, believe it or not, it was Vince Scully that made me yearn for more Dodger Games, not Hideo Nomo who won Rookie of the year honors that year or Mike Piazza, arguably the best hitting Catcher of all time. Vince not only calls the games in a unique and poetic rendition but also punctiliously. He'd tell you if the pitcher was leaning in for the pitch-sign from the catcher or if he stood in attention atop the mound. Best yet he is fond of telling stories about the players. Elaborately at that like only Vince Scully can. One of my favorites in particular is one of Marquis Grissom, a quiet but scrappy center fielder (played for the Dodgers between 2001-2002). According to Vince, Marquis is the youngest of 13 boys and before he was born his mother wasn't quite sure what to name him. When his mother was in labor she didn't quite make it to the Emergency Room and gave birth to Marquis in the back seat of their then family car on the way to the ER, a busted up Mercury Grand-Marquis. Exhausted and still unsure of what to name her new son, she did the next logical thing which was to name him after his birthplace -Marquis-. Charming eh? "Just imagine if he was born in a Ford" Vince quipped...

Although i have adopted the Dodgers as my own, i am a bigger fan of the Game itself rather than the Team. I enjoy good pitching mostly. I loved to watch Kevin Brown and Greg Maddux who i've had the privilege of watching more than any other pitchers in the Major League. Kevin Brown in fact won every single start i attended in Dodger Stadium... And imagine my reaction when i heard news that Greg was acquired by the Dodgers earlier this year. I actually yelped in excitement. And although he is 40 years of age and probably doesn't have a lot of gas left in the tank, i couldn't wait to see him in a Dodger uniform... But where ever i may go or where ever i may end up in this life, i will always watch the Dodgers play. Its like i have fallen in love with them even though i am a relatively new fan (only since 1994). Despite that i am an astute fan and not your casual dodger dog eating fan who couldn't tell a curve ball from a slider. That is why i feel sad for the franchises that have gone without winning Championships in quite some time. The Chicago Cubs in particular. The team has not won a World Series in over 100 years. Talk about an eternity huh? And if you are a baseball fan i'm sure you remember what happened to them the last time they battled for a pennant. A fan interfered on a foul ball that could have been a key out, that could have won them the pennant lol. The fan had to be escorted out of the Ball Park for fear of fan retribution... How ironically cruel is that? The Red Sox and White Sox before them went without a World Series win for over 80 years. Good God, can you phantom rooting for a ball club for 80 years without winning a championship? Of course my 12 year tenure thus far as a Dodger fan has no great achievements to brag about either, except for a handful 'Rookies of the year', two playoff appearances (one a sweep), and Eric Gagne.

I hope that one day before i leave this mortal world that i see my beloved Dodgers in the World Series, preferably against the New York Yankees. I suppose i have 50 years to wait God forbid... Who the hell else would i like to see them go against? The Dodgers have met the Yankees 9 times in the world series losing a disconcerting 7 times. Yes that record would seem lopsided but the Dodgers and the Yankess in the World Series would just seem right... The Yankees you may or may not know lead the Majors with 26 World Series Championships with the Cardinals trailing a distant 9 wins behind (LA Dodgers with 5 and 1 for Brooklyn). But more than anything, more than witnessing the Dodgers play a World Series in historical Chavez Ravine, perhaps even more than actually securing a World Series, is listening and or watching Vince Scully call the pitch by pitch plays because that would be the Ultimate Dodger fan experience. Because Vince is not only the face and the voice of the Dodgers but a staple of the Los Angeles Dodger community and fan base just as Chick Hearns was for the Los Angeles Lakers. Because without Vince or Chick, a Laker or a Dodger Championship, although equally great in terms of achievement would somehow be fleeting in a way. Wouldn't it? Or at least it wouldn't be the same...

2 Comments:

At 1:13 PM, Blogger zenmasta said...

I forgot to mention.. the Dodger are in first place...

 
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