Well, I guess I won't have to rush back to Los Angeles anytime soon like I thought. With their stunning loss to the Washington Nationals in the National League Wild Card game, the Milwaukee Brewers abruptly canceled my flight. Like the Brooklyn Dodgers of old, the team and its fans will have to "wait 'till next year."
I don't know about you, but as a life-long baseball fan of both the Brewers and Dodgers, there have been far too many "next years." The last time the Brew Crew sailed the white capped waves of the World Series was 1982 when they played in the American League. In that seven-game extravaganza, Milwaukee lost to -- surprise, surprise -- the St Louis Cardinals. That was 37 years ago.
I attended my first Major League Baseball game back in the summer of 1956. The occasion was a family get-together in Brooklyn, and the game took place in historic Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
I have no memory of that day or game, as I was just an infant in my father's arms. But I guess you could say I was a Dodger fan from birth.
Brooklyn was the birthplace of both my father and the Dodgers, and to the residents of that borough, the team was an extended family.
As is true of most families, the time eventually came for the siblings to leave home, and just as my father left Brooklyn, so too did the Dodgers, relocating to Los Angeles in 1958.
You have free articles remaining.
Growing up, like my Dad, I remained a loyal Dodgers fan. Even though we lived in Cincinnati, and rooted for the Reds, and then in Aurora, Illinois, and cheered for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, and then in Wisconsin Dells, and backed the Milwaukee Brewers, I continued to bleed Dodger blue. Just imagine, sitting by the Dodgers dugout watching Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale cast their spells over the opposing line-up. What childhood memories could be more cherished?
During spring training, Dad would take us to Dodger Town at Vero Beach, Florida, where the Dodgers worked out. He knew former first baseman of the Dodgers, Gil Hodges, from his days in Brooklyn, and it was through him I was lucky enough to meet some of the club's all-time greats. There was Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Maury Wills, and of course, Koufax and Drysdale. Fast forward to the new millennium.
In this age of high speed internet access, when it's time for spring training, instead of travelling to Florida, I watch the Los Angeles Dodgers work out in Arizona, in a facility they share with the White Sox.
Ebbets Field, sad to say, has long been dust. Now during the regular season, Dodger Stadium is home, and when my wife and I take our annual trip to L.A., you'll find me at home in the bleachers all decked out in Dodger blue. Seated there, I feel the warmth of my father's arms around me.
Like the Brewers, there have been far too many "next years" concerning the Dodgers. For the past seven seasons Los Angeles has won the NL Western Division title, making two consecutive trips to the World Series. In both instances they have come away empty handed.
The Dodgers last World Series championship came in 1988, 33 years ago. Every year the question arises; will this year be the one that ends that drought, or will they be forced, like their predecessors from Brooklyn, to once again wait till next year? Irregardless of the outcome, despite all the heartaches, whether Brooklyn or Los Angeles, it's still Dodger baseball.