Last night, in both dramatic and controversial fashion, my Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League Division Series by defeating the hated San Francisco Giants, 2-1, in the 5th and deciding game. It was a very emotional moment for me as a longtime Dodgers fan. On so many occasions, the Giants have crushed me, whether it was the Brian Johnson home run that basically ended our season or the infamous “Buster Posey ends it” moment or Barry Bonds destroying us on Opening Day 2002, I’ve definitely gone to sleep pissed off many a time at the hands of our fierce division rival. Winning Game 5 of the Division Series on their home field after trying to catch them all season long in the standings was sweet. In fact, it was so sweet that the Max Scherzer strikeout of Wilmer Flores on a checked swing to end the series is my new Best Moment as a Dodgers fan. Move over Julio Urías. Anyway, the polishing off of the Giants means that the Dodgers advance to the National League Championship Series, where the Atlanta Braves await in a rematch of last year’s epic comeback on the way to the title. This is the 5th time we’ve squared off against the Braves in the playoffs during my fandom and we’ve won the last 3 postseason meetings. But it was the 1st time we beat the Braves in October that lives with me. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Juan Uribe NLDS-clinching home run.
How I first came across this moment? Is that a serious question?!? Of course, I was watching the game live on TBS in my apartment back in Opelika, Alabama.
What it meant to me then? In the immediate moment, I leaped off my sofa and let out a cheer so loud that my neighbor from downstairs came up to ask if everything was OK. The moonshot into the Los Angeles night meant everything. It meant that the Dodgers were back and weren’t just some scrub team from the weakest division in baseball that year. For me, it was something of an arrow straight into the chest of Atlanta after the Atlanta-based Miss Stillman College had basically sabotaged our relationship a few days earlier over a weird dream.
What it means to me now? It’s been 8 years since the Juan Uribe homer. The Ernie Johnson call is still fresh in my mind. That moment resonates because it spearheaded this current run by the Dodgers. We’ve made the playoffs every year since that moment. We’ve made 6 trips to the National League Championship Series and 3 World Series trips since that moment. We’ve become one of the best teams in baseball since that moment. Uribe has since retired but he remains one of my favorite Dodgers of all time because of that moment. Who knows…maybe our current veteran at the hot corner can replicate the moment next Wednesday or Thursday to thrust us into the World Series for the 2nd straight year.