In my family room, the world exploded with the energy of a supernova. In a year where joy was so scarce, that room was full of it. The Los Angeles Dodgers had just won the 2020 World Series, ending a 32 year long championship drought. As the Dodgers dogpiled on the mound, my dad jumped up and down like a little kid and fell to his knees. I sat back on the couch and soaked it in.
People always ask me, “Why are you a Dodgers fan? You live in Connecticut.” Well,“It’s about family.” The Scherers have lived in Connecticut for generations and when the Dodgers organization was founded, in 1883, in Brooklyn New York, my great, great grandfather became a fan. He would go to games so long ago that the Brooklyn Dodgers’ legendary stadium, Ebbets Field, est. 1912, didn’t even exist yet. He took my great grandfather to games, and he took my grandfather a generation later. However, in an unfortunate turn of events, the Dodgers uprooted from Brooklyn and trekked out to sunny Los Angeles in 1958. They literally went as far away from my family as possible. When your beloved baseball team (or, as my grandfather refers to them, simply “The Beloveds”), leaves you, what do you do? Who do you root for now? The Yankees? Nobody?
It turned out, however, that there was another, more simple, option. Just keep… rooting for the Dodgers. Yes, you might not be able to get the games on the radio or TV, and maybe you won’t even know the score until a few days after. That’s how my dad was raised. He grew up a Dodger fan even though he was scarcely able to go to games, lest even know what happened in them. Still, he invested himself in the team and shared that connection with his father and grandfather.
I, for a long time, lacked that passion, that fire, that raw emotion, that familial connection. I was horrible at playing. I’d seen some games on TV, I knew who a few players were, I’d traveled to beautiful Dodger Stadium and seen them play a couple of times. I didn’t feel the passion. Until they won the 2017 National League and played in the World Series. I remember sitting on the couch in silence with my dad as Corey Seager grounded out to second base and the Dodgers lost the World Series that year. When I watched that World Series, the incredible joy and the heart wrenching pain throughout the series, I fell in love with the game. I now live and die with every pitch, and the sport consumes my life every October. I now have a blog about the team and interact with other fans on social media. This sport, this team, comprises a huge part of my identity.
My grandfather, though, I think is my deepest connection to the game. I talk to him after almost every game, commiserating over losses and celebrating giddily when they won the 2020 World Series. It has kept us especially connected during the pandemic, as we often talk about it over the phone when not much else is happening. He acts as a conduit to the past, telling me stories about going to games when he was my age while I try to teach him about on-base-percentage and hard-hit rates.
While it might seem like just a sport, baseball is a tool that connects me with my family and our history. From my grandfather watching Jackie Robinson to me watching Clayton Kershaw, the Scherers have always bled Dodger Blue. We love the Dodgers. It both feels like a family requirement but also like the most natural thing in the world. It’s hard to describe. But aren’t all the best things in life?