World Series loss saddens most – but not all – Shalhevet baseball fans


BP Photo by Neima Fax

AFTERMATH: Red Sox players meet the news media in Dodger Stadium after winning the World Series four games to one Oct. 29. The stands above them, which had been a sea of blue and white, had mostly emptied out — except for Boston fans, dressed in red.

UPDATED Nov. 11, 2018

The drought continues.

With the Dodgers coming fresh out of a critical, 5-1 Game 7 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS, Shalhevet’s Dodger fans had high hopes of a World Series win by the boys in blue.

But now, disappointment looms large after their team was defeated by the Boston Red Sox, four games to one, after a Game 5 loss of 5-1 at Dodger Stadium Oct. 28.

It’s the second year in a row that the Dodgers advanced to the World Series but were unable to win it all.

Many students had expected the Dodgers to win this time, finally ending their three-decade World Series drought.

But most said the Red Sox simply played better baseball.

“The Red Sox outplayed us,” said junior Jonah Tochner. “They put balls in play when they needed to, especially with two outs.”

Jonah cited the Dodgers’ failures at bat as they main reason for their loss. As a team, they hit a meager .180 in the series, though many of them had regular-season averages of .250 or more.

The Red Sox’s team batting average wasn’t much better —  only .222 in the World Series. Yet they managed to score almost double the number of runs the Dodgers did.

Sophomore Ze’ev Remer last week thought the Dodgers would win the World Series, but that it would only happen in Game 7. Reflecting on the loss, he blamed a lack of teamwork, and the Dodgers’ trying too hard to hit home runs instead of moving runners along base by base with inside-the-park hits.

“They played for themselves selfishly,” Ze’ev said. “They didn’t play as a team.”

He referred to the Dodgers’ inability to put the ball in play, especially with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers had more strikeouts than walks and hits combined.

Much happier with the results were the school’s small but spirited cadre of Red Sox fans. While they aren’t nearly as numerous as Dodger fans at Shalhevet, there wore red and cheered Boston at school throughout the series.

One of them was senior Yakir Kanefsky, who said he was proud of his team for winning so quickly — winning it all before Games 6 and 7 of the series, which would have been played in Boston.

“There are 30 teams in the league, and only one team comes up top,” Yakir said. “The fact that this year it was my team, it was amazing and really special.”

“It’s a good age to be a Red Sox fan,” he added.

Junior Neima Fax was at the final game Sunday at Dodger Stadium, with her Red Sox-boosting dad and Dodger fan mother.

She said it almost felt like a Red Sox home game because of the huge presence of loud, diehard Boston fans in attendance.  

“The Red Sox fans were screaming louder because they were more excited than the Dodger fans,” Neima said.

For Dodger fans–at least in hindsight– there’s less to be excited about.

Strategically speaking, the Dodgers, especially manager Dave Roberts, were heavily criticized for some of the decisions made. Already down two games to one after Game 3, many deemed a Game 4 win crucial for their hopes to win the World Series.

Up 4-0 at the end of the Game 4’s sixth inning, it seemed the Dodgers would cruise to a victory and tie the series at 2-2. But their lead soon evaporated.

On the first pitch he saw in the 7th, with two outs and two men on base, Red Sox pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland crushed a three-run blast to to right field. Then in the top of the eighth, Steve Pearce tied the game at 4-4 with a solo shot of his own. He was later named World Series MVP.

Making matters worse, in a rare occurrence this postseason, the Dodger bullpen fell apart. They gave up five additional runs in the ninth inning of that game. Although L.A. managed to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth, the damage was done. The Dodgers lost 9-6, putting Boston ahead 3-1 in the series.

Roberts’ decision to pull Rich Hill after six-and-a-half innings that night was heavily criticized by fans, especially since the bullpen’s lackluster performance cost the Dodgers the game and likely the World Series.

But Jonah Tochner thinks Roberts has become a scapegoat, bearing the blame for the team’s poor overall performance.

“We’re looking for somebody to blame,” Jonah said.

Jonah also said that although Roberts should be held accountable for his poor decisions in the World Series, overall he’s done a lot of good for the franchise.

“You can’t really throw away a manager after he’s brought you two World Series [appearances],” Jonah said.

And at the end of the day, Jonah said, responsibility lies with the players.

“A manager has confidence in them — they have to close it out,” he said.

With the next baseball season getting underway in five months, the Dodgers have already made some major deals. Most notably, the Dodgers re-signed ace Clayton Kershaw to a three-year, $93 million deal on Nov 2.