One of the reasons I love baseball so much is because I love the history. I loved reading player biographies as a kid and learning about games I’d never get to see. And I love the continuity; the players come and go, but through great moments and simple statistics, players are irrevocably linked, from year to year, like the golden threads of a team’s tapestry.
So in last night’s Game 1 of the World Series, when Clayton Kershaw not only pitched in front of Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax, but joined him in the record books, I was elated. No, moving here has not turned me into a Dodgers fan; but this was a seriously incredible moment that reaffirmed my belief that baseball is the absolute best.
Last night was Kershaw’s first World Series appearance ever, and he was phenomenal. He threw 83 pitches over 7 innings, allowing just 3 hits and 1 run, with zero walks and 11 K’s. The last Dodger to record double-digit K’s in a World Series game was Sandy Koufax himself, back in 1965. And even better, Kershaw’s hero-turned-advisor Koufax was there, sitting in the second row, to see him do it.
Imagine getting to pitch in front of one of your franchise’s greatest, one of your personal heroes, and achieving what Kershaw did last night. Kershaw has said that his dad used to read him books about Koufax, and that he even did a few book reports about the left-hander. When asked tonight about his relationship with Koufax, Kershaw smiled and said, “He’s here!”
No matter who wins this series (because honestly, the Red Sox aren’t playing, so I’m not too invested), this will be one of those magical little baseball stories that I’ll remember. I have no doubt Kershaw will too.