Last year hell seemingly froze over when the long-suffering Cubs won the World Series, a mere 108 years after their last championship. On Tuesday evening at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, the only thing freezing at Game 1 of the World Series was the stack of fruity popsicles stashed in a freezer at Dodger Stadium’s media cafeteria. When the game started at 5:09 pm, the temperature was cooling down -- to 103 degrees. Only two other times has the game time temperature of a World Series game exceeded even 90 degrees, and both of those happened in Phoenix when the Diamondbacks hosted the Yankees during the 2001 World Series. Heck, Tuesday’s temperature was higher than that of the last two World Series Game 1s combined.
The heat certainly didn’t keep fans away, as more than 52,000—mostly dressed in Dodger blue or white—packed Dodger Stadium for the first World Series game there in nearly 30 years. Occasional orange shirts, worn by Astros fans, dotted the stands in Where’s Waldo fashion.
A major sporting event in Los Angeles means some presence of stars. A partial list of sightings includes Jerry Seinfeld, Dustin Hoffman, Arsenio Hall, Jason Bateman, George Lopez, Rob Lowe, Lady Gaga, Jason Bateman, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth McFarlane, Kirsten Dunst, Val Kilmer, and Toby Keith. Of course major sports figures were also on hand, from past Dodgers legends such as Tommy Lasorda and Sandy Koufax, to former Laker Magic Johnson—a co-owner of the Dodgers—and his longtime teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A touching pre-game moment saw Rachel Robinson throw out a ceremonial first pitch. She is the widow of Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier when he suited up for the Dodgers in 1947, when they still played in Brooklyn. I temporarily stood with TV personality Larry King as he reached for a popsicle while I grabbed a glorious Dodger Dog.
Dodger Stadium itself is one of the more charming and ideal baseball parks I’ve seen—and I’ve been to more than 20 of them. It reminds me of a bilaterally symmetrical, robot-like human, with the left and right sides nearly mirror images. Extending over each of the two video boards are four poles topped by lights, giving each assemblage the appearance of large eyes with eyebrows. Features of the infield diamond complete the look of a face, with the pitcher’s mound serving as a nose and the painted-on logos paralleling the base lines looking sort of like a mouth.
The perfect look of the stadium was matched by the play of the Dodgers, whose leadoff hitter, Chris Taylor, hit the first pitch the Dodgers saw in the game for a homerun. The game flew by quickly, lasting just 2:26—the fastest World Series game in a quarter of a century—and ending with a 3-1 win for the Dodgers. Afterward, I threaded my way through the mass of mostly happy fans leaving the game, enjoying the now delightful air temperature of 75 degrees on my 1.1-mile walk back to my room, while listening to the fading chants of “Let’s Go Dodgers” echo through Chavez Ravine.