My Favorite Moment of the Decade: The World Series home run that went for naught

It came in a loss, but Corey Seager provided Dodgers’ fans one of the most exciting moments of the last decade. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

Second of a series

October 25, 2017.  Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. World Series Game Two.  Astros 7, Dodgers 6.

It has been a rough go as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan for the last 30-plus years. No, I’m not talking about the team being competitive and spending money on players. I’m talking about a World Series title.

I was only 6 years old the last time the Dodgers won the World Series. I’d be lying if I said I remembered much — or any — of it. As of 2013, they had made the playoffs only six times since then, including two crushing National League Championship Series losses to the Philadelphia Phillies. So, when the new ownership took over in May of 2012 and basically rebooted the organization, we knew good things were in store.

The Dodgers have won the National League West every year since 2013, but 2017 stands out most. They won 104 games, which included besting their 42-8 streak in 2013 with a ridiculous 44-7 run. It’s hard to believe that about three weeks later, they would be at the start of a 1-16 slide that would give people reason to doubt the then-best team in baseball. Their 104 wins ended up being the most in the majors that year, and it was just one win off the Dodgers’ franchise record. The postseason came, and they swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series despite going 8-11 against them during the regular season. They took out the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs in five games and were on a collision course with the 101-win Houston Astros. It seemed like everything was going the Dodgers’ way (despite the 1-16 hiccup), and no one could stop them from winning it all.

That feeling was further reinforced after a dominant Game One performance by Clayton Kershaw and a timely two-run home run from Justin Turner. The Dodgers held a 1-0 series lead with Rich Hill and a rested bullpen set to take on the offensive juggernaut from Houston. Then, in the sixth inning, Corey Seager came up with what ended up being my favorite moment of the 2010s. His two-run home run to left field off Justin Verlander gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead and increased their win expectancy from 53.4 percent to 84 percent.

It wasn’t a tape measure shot. It wasn’t a no-doubter. It didn’t matter.

I was euphoric.

***

My wife, the most awesome person I know — especially since she puts up with my baseball shenanigans — had to work late that night. That let me be a bit more animated while watching the game than I normally would be. The Dodgers not being able to touch Verlander was getting frustrating and annoying. A few (dozen) expletives were uttered while watching him carve up the Dodgers lineup. More expletives — this time joyous — were yelled by yours truly, but nothing compared to what would happen one inning later.

On contact, I thought Seager had flied out to left field. I was too wrapped up in the game to hear Joe Buck’s call. He wasn’t terribly convinced, either, that it was a home run off the bat. It was unseasonably warm in Los Angeles in late October. The game time temperature was 93 degrees. With Dodger Stadium being notorious for having a marine layer, the fact that Seager’s fly ball traveled as far as it did was a minor miracle. The brief moment I saw Seager’s reaction to the contact, it came across as a scream of frustration rather than a scream of joy. I had never been so happy to be wrong.

***

Alone in my living room — if you don’t count my pets — I fell to my knees and exclaimed, “Oh my God! He got it!” or something like that. I remember feeling a way I had never felt before when it came to baseball. I played the game growing up, I’ve always watched it, but this feeling was on another level. It was the pinnacle of my baseball fandom. It wasn’t going to get any better because the team that goes up 2-0 in a seven-game series goes on to win 85 percent of the time. With Kenley Jansen looming, all the Dodgers had to do was get nine more outs before the Astros could score two more runs.

I don’t really need to rehash what happened after that because, as far as I’m concerned, that’s when the 2017 season ended. That’s my story.

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It’s weird that my favorite moment came in what ended up being not only a loss (7-6 in 11 innings), but a potential turning point in the series. Sure, we didn’t know at the time the Dodgers losing Game Two would have as big an impact on the series as it did, but seeing the way the next five games played out, it was a significant moment.

Despite the eventual heartbreak, the elation I had felt when Seager’s fly ball traveled 383 feet and gave the Dodgers a two-run lead was unmatched. In hindsight, I feel like even if they had won the series, I wouldn’t have been as happy as I was in that moment. I remember watching Game Seven with more of a sense of pessimistic uneasiness than optimistic eagerness. It’s impossible to know how I would have reacted if the Dodgers had won Game Seven, but I do know that feeling at 7:16 p.m. Pacific time on Oct. 25, 2017, is a feeling I’m not sure I’ll ever feel or experience again as a baseball fan.

A sane Dodgers fan might have chosen Kershaw’s shoulda-been-perfect-game-no-hitter from June 19, 2014, or perhaps Enrique Hernandez’s three-home run game six days earlier to give the Dodgers their first World Series berth in nearly three decades as their favorite moments. Trust me, they were on the short list, but for me, nothing compared to that feeling Seager’s homer gave me. Nothing in baseball has even come close to that. It’s going to take something really special to dethrone that moment, but I’m hoping the Dodgers can (finally) make that happen.


Dustin Nosler is a writer at Dodgers Digest, co-host of the Dugout Blues podcast and a wearer of many hats for FanGraphs and The Hardball TImes. Follow him on Twitter @DustinNosler.
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jamesdakrn
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jamesdakrn

Also the bellinger non-homer in game 2. I will never forget that moment when I jumped off my couch thinking he’d hit a walkoff only to be caught at the wall :(.

now excuse me while I go grab a drink at 7:40 AM in the morning

Gabriel T
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Everyone in my house watching that game jumped off the couch when the ball left the bat. You can imagine the air taken out of the room as Reddick (I assume it was him) caught it.

dodgerfan88
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dodgerfan88

Heartbreaking. Corey’s primal scream pic was going to be my phone’s lock screen pic for the rest of my life. Now it hurts just looking at it.

WhatLeylandNoooo
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WhatLeylandNoooo

As a Tigers fan, I emphasize way too much with your best baseball moment coming in games you’d otherwise rather forget.

Pepper Martin
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Pepper Martin

My favorite baseball moment of the decade happened in a game I was at — game 3 of the 2012 ALDS in Yankee Stadium, I was sitting in the right field stands at field level, and Raul Ibanez pinch hit for ARod in the bottom of the 9th down 2-1 to tie it, and then hit a game winner in the 12th.

WARrior
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WARrior

When I saw the title of this article, I thought it referred to Josh Hamilton’s HR in extra innings in Game 6 of the 2011 WS.

mikejunt
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mikejunt

This play was so great. Seager is such a quiet, head-down, player that the most emotion he expresses on a baseball field is usually a slightly embarrassed smile

When he let out that scream it was one of the most surprising and exciting things I’ve ever seen. I wish he played like that more often

Gabriel T
Member

As a Dodger fan, I say thank you for this. I never like seeing highlights from that series, even games they won. But this was great to read.

seungchanlee
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seungchanlee

Justin Turner’s walk-off home run in the NLCS is one of my favorite memories 🙂