LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Dodgers are down two games in the World Series, and ticket prices to Game 3 Friday have plunged, indicating fan pessimism – but history says, don’t count the boys in blue out just yet.
Los Angeles Dodgers historian Mark Langill said it probably didn’t look great when Kirk Gibson limped off the bench in 1988, only to hit a home run that led to the Dodgers winning the World Series in five games.
“Three of the six championships, we’ve been in the exact same situation – we lost the first two games on the road, won all three at Dodger Stadium, and then clinched it on the road,” he said.
Tonight, rookie Walker Buehler will take the mound, which Langill seems to believe bodes well for the team when they face the Boston Red Sox in Game 3.
In 1981, “they put their hopes on a rookie named Fernando Valenzuela in Game 3, and now we’re giving the ball again to a rookie in Game 3,” Langill said. “So this has been done before, let’s hope they can do it again.
That the Dodgers made it this far this year into the postseason this year was actually a remarkable feat. Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Hyun-jin Ryu all spent time on the team’s disabled list between April and August, and the team needed to play a one-game playoff against the Colorado Rockies just to make it into the postseason.
“Just remember, last year, it was like the Ming Dynasty – they were winning every single game, Sports Illustrated is saying, ‘Is this the best team ever?’” Langill said, in reference to an infamous magazine feature that some fans blamed for dooming the team’s championship run last year.
“And this year, it’s kind of like the ‘Bad News Bears.’ They’re 10 games under, everybody’s saying ‘No way,’ they’re bringing in new people, new reinforcements, and Dave Roberts is trying to say, ‘keep the faith, keep the faith,’ they’re booing the bullpen.”
But, Langill said, the team simply has to keep going and keep playing.
“We have the rest of our lives to replay this World Series, so in the moment, you have to be optimistic, and in this case, you have to embrace the history that three of the six championships, we’ve been in this same position.”
It was a sentiment that Dodger great Steve Garvey echoed.
“It’s all relative back to 1981,” Garvey said. “We lost the first two games in New York, came back and won three one-run games, went to New York and finished them, so precedent has been set.”
First pitch at Dodger Stadium is at 5:09 p.m.