“Feel the strength
In the twilight
Break the chain
That binds your heart to the dead of night
Come feel the hope
In the twilight
Let it take your soul
And we’ll go on forever and ever…”
From “In The Twilight” by BLVD.
Twilight, the “soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the refraction and scattering of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere”, occurs in Los Angeles at varying times during the baseball season, depending of course, on the time of sunset. At Dodger Stadium, twilight is a beautifully special time, and the unique glow on the field is one I will forever remember fondly, as it has already brought this long-distance Dodgers fans sweet memories that take me back to special moments in time.
It’s approximately 5:30pm on October 24, 2017, and the sun is just starting to descend on what would be one of the greatest days in my then 45 years. I’m sitting way up in the Top Deck, in a seat purchased on StubHub in my euphoria as I watched the Dodgers celebrate their NLCS win a week earlier. The overwhelming heat in LA that day had turned my trek to the stadium into an adventure, complete with an introduction to some fine members of the LAFD, so I’ve decided not to chance it with any beer consumption and am gratefully drinking water with a cold towel wrapped around my neck. With that sweet swing of his, our beloved Chris Taylor hits the first pitch seen by a Dodger in the 2017 World Series, and I see the Left Field Pavilion erupt, followed by the rest of the stadium as we realize what has happened. I throw my arms up in the air and look to the sky, the happiest I’ve been as a baseball fan. All roads have led me here, and though it’s not a dream, it sure feels like one.
I think back to my first trip to Dodger Stadium the year before, to a trio of days that will ultimately make the Top Ten Days of My Life list – if I were to make one – September 23-25, 2016. It occurs to me that most of my special Dodger Stadium memories have taken place during that special twilight hour.
Friday night, September 23, 2016. It’s 6:30 pm, the sun is starting to set, and Dodger Stadium has that sweet late afternoon glow that I will come to adore. I am sitting in the Left Field Pavilion, beer in hand, having arrived in LA for the first time earlier in the afternoon from my home 3,500 miles away. The greatest broadcaster of all time, the one and only Vin Scully, is being celebrated on the field, and I look around. Am I really here? A series of gloriously serendipitous events has led me here, and all I can do is smile and soak in the sights and sounds of my new happy place.
The following day, Saturday, September 24, the day is leading into evening and I am standing as close to the greatest pitcher of my lifetime as I will ever get. After doing touristy things during the day, including finding Jim Carrey’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, my new friend Andy and I are sipping tall blue drinks and watching Clayton Kershaw warm up from directly behind the Dodgers bullpen. Andy gets a picture from our vantage point and besides the absolute thrill of watching Clayton prepare for his outing, my biggest take-away from the experience and the photo is how beautifully tanned the back of his neck looks in person, in the late afternoon sun. I don’t think the weekend could get any more perfect or memorable, but I am very wrong.
In what will forever be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Dodger Stadium history, late in the afternoon the following day, September 25, improbable hero Charlie Culberson hits a ball into the left field seats to win the Dodgers the NL West, and from my field level seats purchased with money I’d been saving for 2 years, I am happily shocked as I watch that ball sail by. Minutes later, Vin Scully stands with his wife while the stadium speakers play a recording of the legend’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”, and there is not a dry eye in the house. Since the game had gone into extra innings, the sun has almost set at the stadium as the players spray each other with champagne and the set figuratively begins to set on Vin’s career in the broadcasting booth. I take a quick photo of the sunset on my way to the airport after the game, still not having processed the magnitude of the memories made at twilight over the course of my first weekend at Dodger Stadium.
It is not until this past off-season that I first felt that bittersweet pang of nostalgia. It was when I saw a replay of Taylor’s Game 1 home run. In that now familiar lighting of early evening at Dodger Stadium, I fully realized the magnitude of all that I’ve experienced there in the last two seasons in that twilight. I vow to return this year and in upcoming seasons. I’m certain to experience more memories and moments that only Blue Heaven on Earth can bring.
What memories will be made in the magical twilight of Dodger Stadium this season? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.