It’s easy to think of the Los Angeles Dodgers now as industry juggernauts. After all, the club has led Major League Baseball in attendance each of the last six seasons; it has won the NL West six straight years too, and reached at least the NL Championship Series four times in that span, including this year’s edition against the Milwaukee Brewers; and it is perennially among the game’s top spenders in payroll.
Despite that success, however, it has been 30 years since the Dodgers last won the World Series. That year’s Fall Classic against the Oakland A’s ended in five games but is remembered for just one swing: a two-out, two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning by a hobbled Kirk Gibson off future hall of famer Dennis Eckersley.
It was the only plate appearance of the series for Gibson, but it provided one of the most unforgettable moments in baseball history. The inspired Dodgers, who had taken out the favored, 100-win Mets in the National League Championship Series, soon did the same to the vaunted 104-win A’s that featured “Bash Brothers” Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.
Thirty years later, Gibson’s home run represents one of MLB’s most iconic and oft-repeated highlights, punctuated by his vigorous fist pumps as he rounded the bases on two injured legs, and the legendary Vin Scully’s call on NBC: “High fly ball into right field … she is … gone!”
The Gibson homer and its movie-like sequence also represented the centerpiece of a recent MLB Network documentary on the 1988 Dodgers, “Only In Hollywood,” which premiered this past summer.
Since winning that title, the sixth in franchise history, the Dodgers have gone through three separate ownership groups and spent more than $3 billion in total player payroll fervently chasing another World Series crown.
This year’s Dodgers team, with its star-studded roster and nine-figure payroll, in many ways bears little resemblance to the 1988 squad. But at least one longtime Dodgers employee can hear the echoes of 30 years ago.
“The thing I always remember about 1988 is that no matter what was happening in the game, I still had a feeling we were going to win,” said Sam Fernandez, Dodgers executive vice president, general counsel and a 35-year team employee. “Watching these guys now, I have a lot of the same feelings. It’s been a joy to watch.”
Cirque du Soleil is producing a show on the life of soccer star Lionel Messi. No dates have been announced for the show, which is set to debut next year. Messi is the first sports star to be the focus of the famed acrobatic troupe.
The NCAA rejected a proposal for the University of North Carolina to play South Carolina in a men’s basketball exhibition game to raise funds for Hurricane Florence relief reportedly because both teams already had two exhibition games on their schedules.
A new women’s international motorsports series, W Series, plans to begin next year. It will provide new opportunities, but IndyCar driver Pippa Mann said it will “segregate” female drivers instead.
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The United Shore Professional Baseball League promoted JEREMIAH HERGOTT to vice president of client services.
The Class A Carolina League Myrtle Beach Pelicans promoted KRISTIN CALL to assistant general manager.
The Heat Group named KIM STONEexecutive vice president of business development and JARRED DIAMONDgeneral manager for AmericanAirlines Arena.
Eastern Washington University hired SARAH ADAMS as senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. Adams was associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at the University of Northern Colorado.
James Madison University hired KHALIL GARRIOTT as director of branded content and executive editor of Madison magazine. Garriott was managing editor for Red Bull Media House.
Marist College named JANE MCMANUSdirector for the Center for Sports Communication, effective Dec. 1.
The University of Maryland added the role of senior woman administrator to SUE SHERBURNE, senior associate athletic director for academics and student development, and hired SHAWN FLYNN as senior associate athletic director for internal operations and RESA LOVELACE as assistant athletic director for student-athlete development.
The University of Miami hired KORTNE GOSHA as associate athletic director for athletic facilities. Gosha was associate athletic director for operations at Middle Tennessee State University.
North Carolina State University promoted NATE BROOKRESON to assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning of Olympic sports.
SMG promoted LYNDSEY EDWARDS to marketing manager for Intrust Bank Arena.
The Fiesta Bowl hired JOHN TORRIS as vice president of business development. Torris was senior director of business development for the Phoenix Suns.
Activision Blizzard hired J. ALLEN BRACK as president of Blizzard Entertainment. Brack succeeds MIKE MORHAIME, who will remain a strategic adviser to the company.
The United States Hockey League hired KATIE GAUS as media and communications coordinator.
Trine hired STEVE SKUBIC as chief executive officer. Skubic is the former president and chief executive officer for SportsMark Management Group.
Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment hired as part of its collegiate services division DAVID KAYas general manager at Valparaiso University, SAMANTHA BERIZZIas general manager at Loyola University Maryland, SYDNIE TELSON as an account executive at the University of San Francisco and LAMAR THORPE as marketing coordinator at Georgia State University.
ESPN named LAURA GENTILEsenior vice president of marketing.
Turnkey Search promoted NICOLAS BERNALto director of marketing and creative services, EVAN KASHANto director of operations and integration and REBECCA OLIVER to director of strategic communications.
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