What a long strange trip it has been

The last time the Dodgers went to the World Series:

The Dodgers had just completed one of the greatest NLCS in history and shocked the Mets.

I could call my father any time and talk about any sport. Especially the Dodgers

I was courting a girl from work by taking her to Dodgers games

I was 29 and completely broke after a series of bad investments

I was renting a single room in West Los Angeles from a young couple with an annoying dog

I biked to work

I had three best friends who I hung out with just about every day

I played softball three times a week

I worked out two hours a day

I had long hair and wore it in a ponytail

I didn’t have a TV

I slept on a futon

I had come close to being fired because I didn’t respect what my boss told me to do

I had Clipper season tickets because I couldn’t get Laker season tickets.

I had no pets

My oldest brother had yet to have children, none of my nephews/nieces were old enough to know what a Dodger was.

I loved that Dodger team

The internet had just been born. Prodigy was the beginning and I was there.

Twenty Nine years later:

The Dodgers blew through the Cubs in a very one-sided NLCS that will be remembered as the game of castoffs with Justin Turner / Chris Taylor / Charlie Culberson / Brandon Morrow all with major contributions.

No father to talk to about the Dodgers going to the World Series. He is still alive but his brain is not.  I’m reluctant to even call him because I know he won’t understand what I’m saying, and he can’t articulate what he wants to say. Frustration does not even begin to describe this situation.

I married that gal from work and this year was our 27th wedding anniversary.  We aren’t the biggest Dodger fans that we were in 1988 but we watched the Dodgers win the NLCS together,  quietly on the couch.  No children to celebrate with, just us, our cats and dogs.

I’m semi-retired, my plan to retire at 55 almost became a reality as I was let go at age 57 and decided I’d worked for other people long enough. Every company I worked for in the past 29 years does not exist anymore. Every line of code I ever wrote does not exist in production anymore. I have no legacy other than a solid financial well-being. That is not very satisfying.   We are financially comfortable, this time a series of good investments, well-paying jobs, and a frugal lifestyle have allowed us to look forward to our last act without the constant worry about how will we afford it.

I’ve lived in a nice house in Woodland Hills since 1993. I planted an oak tree in the front yard in 1997. It is now a huge tree but has yet to give us a single acorn. I hope to live long enough to see it bare acorns.  A strange hope I know.

I actually ended up working for an electric bike company for eight years before they were merged with Raleigh Bike Company in Seattle. During that time when the headquarters was in Chatsworth, I still biked to work.

One of my best friends died, the other lost his oldest son to Leukemia at age four and moved back to Kansas to raise the rest of his family, and the other moved back home to Seattle.  We rarely talk, maybe once a year. They were never replaced.

After a hiatus of ten years from playing softball, I’m now playing again in two different Senior leagues. At times I’m back to playing softball three times a week but instead of at night it either in the morning or late afternoon. Semi-retired has its perks.

I have no regular workout regiment anymore.  At my peak, at age 29 I was bench pressing 300 Ilbs while weighing 150. I now weigh 168, but I’m in as good as shape as anyone my age.  My constant goal is to get back to 155.  I don’t do heavy free weights anymore, I simply do body weight exercises.

I’ve been bald for twenty-five years.

I’ve got the big screen HDTV with access to Time Warner so I’ve been watching every Dodger game for decades.  Since being in my current house I think I’ve watched 98% of every game the Dodgers have played.

The futon is long gone, replaced with a bed that needs replacing

I still hate being told what to do by those who don’t know what they are doing. Sometimes I still hate being told what to do by those who do know what they are doing.

I still have Clipper Season tickets, but I also have Laker season tickets because when Magic left the fans left and after years of being on the waiting list, we got our seats.  I originally only had the Clipper seats because I couldn’t get the Lakers seats but now I’m a bigger Clipper fan than a Laker fan.

I have buried/cremated thirteen pets in the past twenty-nine years. Several of them were very close to my heart, some were simply responsibilities.  None were as cool as my current dog Katrina who never leaves my side for even an instant.

My oldest brother ended up having four children, all four were valedictorians, two are huge Dodger fans, they watch the games and text about it with their mother who tells their father what they are saying about the game. It is so 2017.  My first niece from my brother Chris became a huge Dodger fan, I was able to take her to games, we shared season tickets until she joined the air force. During her early years I took her to see Ken Griffy, he beat the Dodgers 1 – 0 with a home run.  Every nephew/niece is now over 21. I have been a great Uncle for nineteen years.

The internet brought Dodger blogging into my life and a strange connection to a group of Dodger fans that deserves a bigger column.

I love this Dodger team.

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Jon Weisman

    So glad to know you, Phil. What a journey for you and the Dodgers.

    Like

  2. Michael

    Hey Phil. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you! I remember reading you way back when you were at TBLA (maybe it was called something else then) with Andrew Grant. Your writing has come a long way. I love this blog. Sounds like you’ve made your life a good one.

    I can’t really do a comparison to my life in 1988. I was five years old then. I learned about baseball the next season I think. I started with baseball cards. Not sure I really got it, I think I was following my grandfather, my older cousin and my brother. But in 1994 I fell in love with the Dodgers. I loved Piazza and Mondesi. Butler. Hershiser was my favorite, which was a remnant of the glory of 1988 I suppose. That was a tough season to fall in love with a team though, since they weren’t allowed to finish it. A few years later I strayed from baseball–in high school I thought sports were just for idiots, and besides, the Dodgers traded Mike. Got back into it by 2000 when I “discovered” Rob Neyer and Bill James. Soon I was a devoted reader, but not a commenter, on Dodger Thoughts. Jon Weisman gave me a great perspective on being a fan.

    I love the Dodgers. This team is great, and have been a great joy all year. My other favorite Dodger team was the 2011 group. I loved Kemp and Kershaw. I loved their comeback to finish the season above .500. Baseball is about more than being the champ at the end of the season. For me, the great thing about being a fan is having that constant in your life. Like you wrote about for your life, you can look back and think of how life has changed. The teams change too of course, but the act of watching and following, and hoping for your team, is constant.

    I’m really excited for the World Series. I am excited to watch it with my wife, who has become a fan because of me. Our two-year-old son loves the Dodgers already, and he’s learning about baseball. He has his own card collection.I gave him my Mike Piazza action figure. He decided he wants to be Mike for Halloween this year. I’m so happy they won the pennant finally, but seeing my son learn about baseball and the Dodgers has been my favorite thing this season.

    Like

    • Thanks for the great comment. I also left the Dodgers for a while after they traded Piazza. I followed them, but for a while, my passion was cooled. I had also gotten into Bill James and Baseball Prospectus so when they hired Paul Depodesta as the GM I jumped back in with both feet and even got my 1st season tickets in 2004.
      It is too bad Andrew Grant stopped writing, he was the first to explain linear weights in a way I could understand.

      Like

  3. 68elcamino427

    This is a good one.

    We did some of the same things.

    At 29 I worked for my dad. We became much closer and better friends than at any time previous. Observing his business and management techniques propelled me to wonderful successes years later when I had the opportunities to implement them. He was a wonderful man.

    I did not have tv. I did not have a tv for seven years. I liked to read.

    I pumped iron for 2 1/2 hours a day, five days a week.
    I weighed 205 and benched over 400lbs. I did reps with 315.

    I was renting a small studio apartment.

    A couple of years later, no longer working with my dad, I did get fired for the same reasons you give.

    I went through the Alzheimer’s with my mom, the phone calls … yeah, that was tough.
    I watched over her closely for seven years.
    She passed last February, I’m having a difficult time letting go still.

    I kept trying to work with the weights after my surgery in March 2015, but my tummy just wouldn’t respond. Last December I gave it up. Then a month ago I tried it again and the body is responding. I benched 225 for ten last Thursday.

    I am playing baseball and softball four days a week.
    I just arrived in Phoenix today and am playing on a 65 and older team with a game every day through at least next Wednesday. I’m eager to see how I do vs my own age group.
    We had BP this afternoon and it went well.

    I have always loved the Dodgers and USC Football.

    Thanks for sharing some of your personal “inside baseball” stuff.

    Like

    • Good luck with the softball, that is a busy schedule.

      Like

      • 68elcamino427

        heh

        it’s baseball this week in Phoenix!

        Like

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