It’s a tie game, bottom of the 9th. There’s runners on first and second with two outs. And here comes the beloved redhead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Turner. With the crack of his bat, Turner sends the baseball high into center field—and as the baseball romantics say “it’s outta here!”
It’s a walk-off home run. The first the Dodgers have seen since Kirk Gibson’s in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
If you’re worth your salt in baseball lore, you can easily picture Gibson’s iconic pumping of his fists as he rounded the bases. In similar fashion, Turner’s triumphant chest pounding and raising of his arms will certainly go down in history.
It already has. In addition to being the second postseason walk-off homer in Dodger history, it happens to have happened exactly 29 years after the first. That’s right. Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run was hit on Oct. 15, 1988. Turner’s is marked in the record books as Oct. 15, 2017.
It’s enough to inspire goosebumps for even the most apathetic sports fan.
There’s been quite a lot of chatter surrounding this team all season long. Whispers of this Dodgers squad being a World Series-bound team were passed around as early as spring training. The season was spent shattering baseball records, establishing a historic win streak and, with the Dodgers’ usual flair for dramatics, almost losing it all.
The boys in blue have been serious contenders for the past four years, getting so close to the big show that they can almost taste it. Each year, they came up short.
But this year is a different year. And the Dodgers seem to feel just as defiant of past mistakes as their most loyal fans. Turner’s classic moment in Sunday’s game marked a new way of repeating history.
When living legend Vin Scully announced that he would hang up his microphone at the end of the Dodger’s 2016 season, the Dodgers were losing their charismatic beloved redhead. Unbeknownst to Scully, someone was getting ready to fill that vacancy.
Justin Turner is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. His presence, both in the dugout and on the field, are paramount. The Dodgers’ Sunday night walk-off 4-1 win is a testament to that.
In a postgame interview, he recalled his own childhood memory of watching Kirk Gibson celebrate the exact same moment Turner had just lived. A legend in the making himself, Turner showed that knowing his Dodgers history made him destined to repeat it.
The Dodgers will now travel to Wrigley Field for the next three games of the National League Championship Series and they will do so with a 2-0 advantage over the Chicago Cubs.
If we truly are to let the chips fall as they may, then these chips sure have fallen quite nicely. The future for this Dodgers team doesn’t bear any resemblance to bleak.