World Series was a true ‘classic’
The World Series is named the “Fall Classic.”
However, as I watched Games 3, 4, and 5 of the series in Dodgers Stadium in 80-degree, sunny weather with the mountain surrounding Chavez Ravine serving as a picturesque backdrop, it did not feel like “fall,” but the series clearly had its “classic” moments.
Game 3, won by the Dodgers in 18 innings, was the longest postseason game in history. It was actually longer than the entire 1939 World Series that had a combined playing time of seven hours and five minutes.
The beauty of playoff baseball is the sheer intensity of the at-bats when each and every pitch and swing of the bat could mean the difference between winning and losing the World Series. With the Dodgers down 2-0 going back to Los Angeles, the teams played 25 straight innings where neither team had more than a one-run lead.
Both Games 3 and 4 had the feel that if the Red Sox won either game, the series would be over. Notoriously laid back and relaxed Dodger fans, including a ton of celebrities who attend, stood and cheered at each two-strike count.
Jason Bateman sat in front of me in Game 3 for all 18 innings waving his blue towel and screaming for the Dodgers as inning after inning went by with the Dodgers just needing one run in the bottom of an inning to win the game.
I estimated that 90 percent of the fans stayed the entire game, even though beer sales were stopped in the seventh inning and all concession stands closed by the 11th inning.
In Game 5, I sat next to Dyan Cannon (a three-time Academy Award nominee) who was super friendly and fun but was bleeding Dodger blue during the painful loss.
By Game 5, the red jerseys worn by thousands of Red Sox fans gave the stadium a patriotic red, white and blue feel. The Sox fans were so loud that it was impossible to determine whether a ball was foul or a home run by the noise in the crowd.
Many Dodgers fans and Red Sox fans wanted to name Dodgers manager Dave Roberts as the MVP of the series, as time after time his decisions, mostly guided by statistical analytical analysis, did not work.
In Games 1 and 2, Roberts chose to not start three of the Dodgers superstars — Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Joc Peterson — because of “analytics.”
In Game 4 with the Dodgers leading 4-0 and starter Rich Hill throwing a one-hit masterpiece, Roberts, to the thunderous booing of Dodgers fans, took Hill out of the game after just 91 pitches (and striking out his last batter).
Just as in Games 1 and 2, the Dodgers bullpen, including star closer Kenley Jansen and Mark Madsen, imploded and a 4-0 lead became and 9-4 deficit.
I sat behind the Red Sox dugout for Game 3 and the Dodger dugout for Game 4, and you could see the contrast between the team chemistry for both teams.
Even in the 18-inning loss, the Red Sox players had rah-rah, Bad News Bears enthusiasm during the entire game while the Dodgers were much more stoic and methodical.
It was the bottom of the lineup players for the Red Sox, like World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who were able to get big hit after big hit and carry the Red Sox to victory, even when their superstars like Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez went virtually hitless for the first four games.
The sheer beauty and history of Dodger Stadium should make a game there a bucket list event for any baseball fan.
Three close World Series games between two storied franchises made it a classic.
Kaufman is an Altoona native, attorney and traveling sports fan. He hosts a Monday night radio show called “Ira on Sports,” that can be heard on FM95.9 and FM106.9 in West Palm Beach, Florida.