The Morning Column: October 7, 2021

Nothing brings L.A. together quite like Dodger Stadium in October and Dodgers fans waited two years for a moment like the one they got last night. After the walk-off home run, Los Angeles was back.

👋🏽 Hello on a beautiful Thursday and welcome to The Morning Column. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. It will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. To avoid the email ending up in your spam, social or promotion folder, please add to your contacts. You can also email me there as well.

OK, let’s get to it!

1. ⚾️ Dodgers advance to NLDS on emotional night

Chris Taylor celebrates with teammates after his walk off two-run home run in the ninth inning to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

I’m not normally the emotional type when it comes to sports. Yes, I’m a sports fan and like everyone else I grew up with my favorite teams and players. I was happy when they won and sad when they lost but they rarely moved me to tears. But last night at Dodger Stadium was different. It was emotional.

The Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, on walk-off home run by Chris Taylor to advance to the NLDS and their first postseason series against the San Francisco Giants. But it wasn’t the game that made me momentarily lose my breath.

It was the reaction of the 53,193 fans at Dodger Stadium that got to me. Dodgers fans had waited two years for an October moment like this at home. I watched the walk-off home run with a friend in the crowd and as Taylor’s homer sailed into deep left field, complete strangers began hugging, high-fiving and kissing each other on the cheek.

“Come here you son of a bitch,” said a much larger and taller fan next to me as he gave me a bear hug and kissed my forehead. “I love you!”

That’s the beauty of sports. They have the ability to bring people of all walks of life together and connect them even during a global pandemic where we’re still supposed to wear masks and keep our distance.   

Two years ago, the Dodgers were bounced out of the postseason early by the Washington Nationals in the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. Last year, the Dodgers played in front of empty seats and cardboard cutouts at Dodger Stadium before winning the World Series in the “Texas bubble.” Last night, Dodger Stadium was sold out and let out two years’ worth of emotion after the walk off win. Los Angeles felt normal again. Even if it was just for a moment, it felt incredible and reminded us why we love this city and this team so much. It was a night no one in the crowd will ever forget and could be the start of another memorable October for the Dodgers — this time in front of their home fans at Dodger Stadium.  

2. ⚾️ Juan Soto at Dodger Stadium to Turner, Scherzer

Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and agent Scott Boris look on during the National League Wild Card Game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

One of the highlights of the Dodgers-Cardinals Wild Card Game was Washington Nationals outfield Juan Soto sitting behind home plate wearing a Trea Turner jersey and National hitting coach Kevin Long seated next to him wearing a Max Scherzer jersey.

The last time the Dodgers were playing in the postseason before a capacity crowd at Dodger Stadium they lost to Scherzer, Turner, Soto, Long and the Nationals. Now the Dodgers are looking to repeat as World Series champions with the help of Scherzer and Turner after completing one of the greatest in-season trades ever.

Soto stayed at Dodger Stadium long after the game was over to congratulate his former teammates, take pictures with Dodger fans and laughing at their pleas for him to join Scherzer and Turner in Los Angeles.

3. 🎶 Song of the Day

4. 📸 Photo of the Day

Max Scherzer of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with his daughters Brooklyn and Kacey after they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3 to 1 during the National League Wild Card Game at Dodger Stadium on October 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada

Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:

6. 📆 Oct. 7, 2020: Dodgers defat Padres, Bellinger robs Tatis

On this day last year the Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 6-5, in the “Texas bubble” to take a 2-0 series lead in the NL Division Series. The highlight of the game and one of the highlights of the Dodgers’ postseason run was Cody Bellinger’s leaping catch at the centerfield wall to rob Fernando Tatis Jr.’s potential go-ahead home run on a night when the 2019 NL MVP also hit a home run. He became the first player to hit a home run and rob an opponent of a home run in the same postseason game since 2012. The Dodgers can only hope to see that Bellinger again as they head into Friday’s NL Division Series against the Giants

7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Johnnie Morton

Happy birthday to Johnnie Morton. The former USC wide receiver is turning 50 today. Morton, who was born and raised in Inglewood and went to South High School in Torrance, was a star wide receiver at USC and broke 12 USC and Pac-10 receiving records with the Trojans. He went on to be a first-round pick of the Detroit Lions and also played for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers before retiring in 2005.

8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub

Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game this week.

Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers – $70 (Sunday)

9. 📺 On The Air

5:20 p.m. – Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks – FOX

10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show 

On Wednesday’s show we talked about Pau Gasol retiring and why he's a first ballot hall of famer and will get his Lakers jersey retired.

Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc SteinHenry AbbottChad Ford and Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight and Joe Posnanski on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.

That’s it for today. I’m heading to Las Vegas tomorrow. I’ll talk to you Monday!