Did the Dodgers win Game 1 of the World Series? Yes. Did Chris Taylor and Justin Turner homer? Yes. Clayton Kershaw pitched a gem, but quite possibly the most important part of the whole thing was the crowd. Dodger fans flocked by the thousands to Chavez Ravine on Tuesday night to witness a game that had the possibility to be one of the most historic nights in Dodger history.
After 29 years, it’s once again time for World Series baseball.
I was there on Tuesday night, and I heard the roar of the crowd grow and grow the closer it got to 5:09 pm. It’s like every single person knew what they were walking into, and as they passed through the gates of Dodger Stadium, they joined the rest of the crowd. They cheered the same melody and held their breaths with the rest of the world.
This is what being a fan in October is all about.
I’ve been a baseball fan for nearly 15 years, and I grew up knowing what my Octobers would look like. I looked forward to watching World Series games being played in cold cities, at stadiums I’ve never been to. I thought my perspective of the World Series was accurate.
It’s no secret that last night was one of the hottest nights of the year for the wonderful folks of Los Angeles, but for one night, one single night, the heat did not play a major role. I think everyone in that stadium knew what we all there for. I think we all knew that this is the World Series, and that it’s bigger than the weather outside.
It could’ve been 25 degrees and snowing and I still would have gone.
Being a baseball fan changes in October. It takes on a different form. In the summer, we’re anxious and nervous and hoping for a win, but not too much is at stake, so we can accept a loss. In October, everything is at stake and every pitch, every at-bat can change the tide of the game, or even the series. In October, we are more on-edge. In October, we are louder, and we are stronger.
The crowd at the Ravine was alive last night. Home field advantage means more than just an extra game playing in the city in which the team resides, and at the field in which the players tend to be most comfortable. Home field advantage means being able to feed off the energy of the thousands of people shouting your name. It means being around a crowd that has nothing but faith, and confidence.
Baseball fans change October. Baseball fans create the environment and they set the tone in which the cheers will echo.
Last night, Dodger fans all over the world experienced something that hasn’t been truly known in 29 years. They experienced Fall. It may not have looked like autumn, but I promise you, that’s what it felt like. Not even record-breaking heat could change the meaning, and the feeling, behind postseason baseball.
The heat wave may break, but the echo of the crowd will live on, for a little while, at least.
(Sarah is an eighteen-year-old from Southern California. She’s grown up a Dodger fan and her love for the team—as well as the game of baseball—has grown up with her. She’s now embarking on a year of writing, reading, and learning more about baseball before she leaves for college in 2018. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahManinger)