Before you read this, just keep in mind I have not gone back to change any information or any opinions on anything since writing this back in 2017. 2017 at the time, was the best and craziest year of my life. But then 2018 and 2019 happened.
2017 was easily the best and craziest year of my entire life. The number of games I attended, the events I was a part of, and even the people I had the opportunity to meet and speak with. So many things happened this year that I never thought I’d have the chance to do from Opening Day to meeting so many new friends thanks to Twitter. There’s a lot that happened this year, so let’s just take it from the top.
Opening Day 2017 couldn’t come quick enough after another disappointing exit from the playoffs. I was ready for more baseball, and I was ready for it shortly after the 2016 season ended. Luckily, Fan Fest is always in January, which gave me something to do while waiting for the season to begin. I was lucky enough to get an autograph voucher that day to have Nomar Garciaparra and Austin Barnes each sign an item. I had a Garciaparra jersey for about 10 years now, and I finally was able to get it signed.
After Fan Fest, I was more ready for baseball season than ever, and we still had a little over two months before the season began. In the meantime, I went to the Dodger history museum at the stadium and even went to watch USC play at Dodger Stadium, just to hold me over.
2017 also happened to be the year that the World Baseball Classic was happening. The semi-finals and championship games were held at Dodger Stadium. I bought tickets for all the games at Dodger Stadium back in December, just hoping team USA would make it that far. Luckily, they did make it that far and even wound up winning the entire thing. Watching Team USA win the championship game at Dodger Stadium gave me the chills. Now I could only imagine what that would feel like if I could watch the Dodgers win a World Series Championship.
The WBC is what sort of started things for me, and I only say that because that was the first time I had ever attended a game alone. Once I realized I loved going to games alone, I knew my bank account was in for a lot of trouble. After going to 20 games in 2016, I had set a goal for myself to go to 30 games in 2017. I knew this would be hard for me, considering there are only 81 home games, and I live in Orange County, but I was going to give it my best.
When I set my goal for 30 games in a season, I had two rules; I couldn’t count preseason games, and the Dodgers had to be playing in the game for it to count. Well, I’m proud to say that I easily hit my goal of 30 games in 2017. I ended up at 42 games, which includes postseason games as well. I was super happy I hit 42 games until I realized I just beat my 2018 goal of 40 games in 2017. So now my 2018 goal has gone up to 50, which is an insane amount of games to attend in one season.
Anyways, back to 2017, and my 42 games I attended. Technically I went to 46 games, but four of them didn’t count because they were WBC games and a preseason game. I would say a good 25-30+ games I attended alone. When I tell most people I attend games alone, they pause, look at me like I’m crazy, and then go on to tell me how cool it is that I go to games alone. I get it, it sounds weird and all, but what most people don’t understand is my true love and passion for the game of baseball.
When I go to a game alone, I don’t have to talk to anyone, keep them entertained, or worried about them wanting to walk around. I can do whatever I want to do, and that’s not move a muscle out of my seat until the game is over. I refuse to ever miss a pitch of a game. If I’m late for a game, it’s only, because I went with someone else. I was NEVER late to a game when I went by myself. I also will never leave a game early. Even when the Dodgers got blown out 13-0 on Labor Day against the Diamondbacks, I still refused to leave early. There’s never an excuse to leave early. Unless you have a family emergency, don’t try to convince me you have a valid reason to leave early, because you don’t.
Now that all the preseason stuff is done, we’ve finally made it to Opening Day! This is a holiday for most baseball fans. A lot of fans take the whole day off of work just to watch their team play the first game of the season. For the third year in a row, I was lucky enough to be attending Opening Day. The Dodgers completely blew out the Padres that day, beating them 14-3. It was finally baseball season, and looking back to that day, and I could never imagine I’d get to do the things I did that season.
In April, I was able to travel to Chicago and Arizona with Pantone 294 to see the Dodgers play, and those were two great experiences to start the season. Traveling to watch the Dodgers play is always fun, no matter the outcome. I only say that because going to another stadium where you’re easily outnumbered and cheering on your team is still an adventure in itself. And of course, I was at Jackie Robinson Day to celebrate his incredible life, as well as seeing the statue that was built on reserve level this season.
The Vin Scully Ceremony in May, was probably one of the most emotional games I went to all season. Having Vin out on the field with the players and watching his reaction when they revealed his retired “number” next to all the other Dodger greats was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was there. It was a moment I’ll never forget, and it’s one of the greatest memories I’ll ever have. To hear his voice over that microphone again gave me goosebumps and a feeling of pride knowing that Vin Scully will forever be a Dodger. One of the coolest things for me is the following month. Vin was doing an autograph signing, and I was able to send a ball in for him to sign. Within a month, I was at his retired “number” ceremony and receiving an autographed Vin Scully ball in the mail. The one autographed ball I just couldn’t live without.
My favorite experience of the year, though, had to be meeting Alanna Rizzo at her bobblehead signing. For anyone that has been following my Twitter or Instagram for a while, you know how huge this was for me. Alanna is a huge role model of mine because of the work she does in baseball, and I respect her on so many levels. A few months before that, I had written an article on Alanna’s importance to the Dodgers and women in sports. She had read the article, and I asked her if she’d sign it for me, and she happily agreed. To have your role model sign, a piece of your work you did on them was unimaginable. It easily went down as one of the best days of my life. On top of that, I even got to meet Alex Wood that day as well and get his autograph. Oh, and I went to the game that night, so it was a pretty awesome day from beginning to end.
A week later came another one of the coolest days of my life (There’s a few of those in 2017.) Pantone 294 was hosting a voting party for Justin Turner at the stadium, to help him with his final votes to make it to the All-Star Game in Miami. I had tickets to go to the game that day, so I just showed up a few hours early and went into the room to start voting. A few players came by to thank the fans and do some on-air interviews for the Dodgers. I was able to meet Turner and Gonzalez that day and have them each sign a ball. After all that was done, we got to go on the field for batting practice, which I had never done before. I don’t think I stopped smiling once the entire time I was out there.
One game I attended, I ran into Kenley Jansen’s wife, Gianni, who was the sweetest person ever and happily took a picture with me. Later that night, I went to an autograph signing to meet Jansen. He was just as lovely as she was, and I was able to take a selfie with him too. About two weeks later, I went to an autograph signing for Joe Davis, and he was exactly how he is on tv. Just an easy-going and fun guy to be around. Weirdly enough, when I told him my name, he remembered me from a time we spoke on Twitter. It’s always a super cool feeling when someone like him remembers you off of such a meaningless interaction.
As the season was reaching its ending point, I was attending more games than ever to reach my goal of 30 games. I went to San Diego for a game to watch the Dodgers play and even went the entire home series against the Giants, where they clinched the NL West. The NL West Division clinching game was also Tommy’s 90th birthday celebration they were doing at the stadium. Even better, though, this game was my 30th game of the season. I hit my goal of 30 games and also got to watch the Dodgers clinch the division. I had attended six games within six days to end the final homestand of the season. That was an exhausting week.
That same weekend I had won some Twitter sweepstakes for the Dodgers, and the experience was incredible. I took my younger brother with me, and we showed up to the game about three hours prior and got to go on the field for batting practice. I had the opportunity to meet a few players as well; Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Jeren Kendall (2017 first-round draft pick), Andre Ethier, Kike, and even had the chance to talk to Kyle Farmer, who was making his first big league start that game. The Dodgers gave my brother a jersey and me, and I went with Seager, while my brother went with Bellinger. After we were done with everything on the field, we headed over to our seats, which were baseline club and four rows back from the field. This also meant we could get all you can eat food from the Ketel One restaurant. Dodgers ended up losing this game, but my brother and I had a great time regardless.
Then it was time for the playoffs. I went to NLDS game 1, NLDS game 3 in Arizona, NLCS games 1 and 2, as well as games 1, 6, and 7 of the World Series. I attended seven playoff games, and the Dodgers won every playoff game I had been to until game 7 of the World Series… Every single game had an energy I hadn’t felt at a playoff game before. This year seemed like the year, and it seemed like the entire stadium felt the same way. I’d never been at a clinch game before and going to Arizona, and watching them clinch made it that much sweeter. Turner’s walk-off home run in game 2 of the NLCS was the loudest I’d ever heard the stadium in my life. But, nothing beats the sound of the crowd when Taylor hit a home run on the first pitch in game 1 of the World Series. I was sitting top deck, and the ground felt like it was going to fall out from underneath me. I stood there just smiling because I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. I’m only 24 and never had the chance to see the Dodgers in the World Series in my lifetime. I was at game 1 of the World Series, and I still couldn’t believe it. It was easily the best experience of my life.
I’m not going to get any deeper into the World Series, because we all know how that ended and I know I don’t want to relive it. The season itself was the most fun I had in my entire life and didn’t regret a minute of it. Everything I did felt like it was all a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I couldn’t feel any luckier to have done these things. I have this dream of working in baseball, but I’m not quite sure exactly what I want to do. I just know I want to be involved with the sport in some way or another and hopefully involved in a way I can still watch games and interact with other fans. Of course, working for the Dodgers would be the ultimate dream.
Baseball took over my life in 2017, and I couldn’t be any happier about that. In a way, I got fired from my job, because of baseball; I was working eight straight hours and not taking a lunch. All I wanted was to get to the game as quickly as possible, so I could just be at the stadium. Not one part of me regrets losing my job this year because all it’s done is push me that much more and allow me to experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise. All I know is I’m ready for 2018, and it’s going to be even better than 2017 if that’s even possible.