LOS ANGELES (AP) — When your team hasn't been in a World Series in 29 years, it begins to feel like watching them play in one is a once-in-a-lifetime experience — and for many Los Angeles Dodgers fans this week it is just that.
That's why warehouse foreman Gilbert Camacho says he forked over $2,400 for a pair of $240 tickets to last week's second game of the 2017 World Series. His Los Angeles Dodgers may have lost that one to the Houston Astros 7-6 in a marathon slugfest that saw a record eight home runs hit over 11 innings, but the chance to share the moment with his 16-year-old daughter made it worthwhile. She wasn't alive to watch their beloved team win its last World Series in 1988 and her father, a recent immigrant from Mexico, couldn't afford a ticket then.
"I put all my end-of-the-year Christmas shopping money right into that game," he said with a smile as trucks filled with frozen food were loaded and unloaded at the sprawling LA Cold Storage warehouse Tuesday morning. "But like I told my daughter, this is a once in a lifetime experience."
All across Los Angeles and its environs on Tuesday, hours before the beginning of the series' seventh and deciding game, that feeling was mutual.
Public relations professional Ross Goldberg of Westlake Village flew his 22-year-old son, Josh, out from the East Coast, where he recently graduated from Georgetown University, to see the game. On Skid Row, Johnny Revalavo, who unloads trucks in the city's nearby warehouse district, planned to be back in the camper he calls home in time to tune it in on his TV.
"See the antenna on the roof?" Revalavo, decked out in Dodgers gear, asked, pointing to the vehicle.
In the city's Solano Canyon neighborhood, which leads into Dodger Stadium, houses had shed their Halloween decorations overnight in favor of Dodgers signs, flags and other memorabilia for Tuesday's game.
In front of the nearby Dodger Stadium gate, Ron Cervenka was parked in his SUV more than eight hours before game time, waiting to be the first one inside.
"I knew this team was special, even in spring training," said the retired police detective, who saw his first World Series game in 1963, watching as Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale shut out the Yankees 1-0 on a three-hitter.
The Astros have been far tougher than the Yankees, who lost that World Series in four straight games that year. Houston led most of the series until the Dodgers tied it with a 3-1 win Monday.
Still, Cervenka believed in this year's team so much so that during a visit to Las Vegas in April he put $100 down on the Dodgers to win it all. At 8-1 odds, he could win some serious money if he can find his misplaced gambling marker.
"I'm hoping that I have to tear my house apart tonight," he said, laughing.
Goldberg, who flew his son out to see his first two World Series games last week, brought him back when it became clear Monday there would be a seventh. "I feel real good about tonight. I really do," he said.
Still, at the end of the day it's not just about winning or losing, say some fans. Really, they do say that.
The Dodgers have played in nine World Series since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, winning five of them. But they have never played a close-out seventh game in Dodger Stadium.
"Tonight is the biggest game in the history of baseball in Los Angeles," said Goldberg. "It's not just a matter of waiting 29 years. You don't know if this will ever happen again."