After 161 games in 180 days, the Dodgers are headed to the postseason. During the 2017 season, photographer Wally Skalij spent many days at Chavez Ravine finding the spaces in between — those areas that normally get overlooked — yet offer a different look at the stadium and those who frequent it.
The Boys in Blue finished with a 104-58 record, the most victories in a season since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. They will host Game 1 of the World Series against the Houston Astros, who finished the season with a 101-61 record. It will be the first World Series meeting of two 100-win teams since 1970, when the Baltimore Orioles (108–54) faced off against the Cincinnati Reds (102–60).
Top, Giants catcher Nick Hundley stretches in the bullpen as a couple arrives early before a game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Left, Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto runs the stairs during a workout on his day off at Dodger Stadium. Right, A Dodgers pitcher warms-up in the bullpen before a game at Dodger Stadium. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A mantra that has been quietly repeated throughout Los Angeles for the last couple of months has, at last, become a full-throated plea. It’s October, and a city is now collectively begging its Dodgers to bust some ghosts.
After four consecutive postseason failures, these Dodgers roll into the playoffs with their best chance in 29 years to advance to the World Series. They finished with the best regular-season record in Los Angeles history, the best record in baseball, and a fifth consecutive National League West championship.
Clockwise from top left: A member of the ground crew pours sand on the infield before a game at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger slides back to 1st base during a game at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers Yasiel Puig turns to teammates after applying eye drops in the dugout at Dodger Stadium. With pine tar covering his helmet, Dodgers Yasmani Grandal prepares to bat at Dodger Stadium. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
These Dodgers seemingly have everything, including a mandate to show their eternally loyal yet forever frustrated fans that they have shed the nasty baggage of previous autumns. If they can’t finally find their way into the Fall Classic, it will be a classic fall. If this group can’t do it now, then when?
Top, a concession worker takes a break at the upper level during a game at Dodger Stadium. Left, a muslim prays between innings at Dodger Stadium. Right, a lone fan waits for a ball in left field during batting practice at Dodger Stadium. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
They don’t need to win a World Series championship for this to be considered a successful season, but they need to be one of the two teams competing for one, because that is the next step in their evolution, and the only step that matters.
Andy McCullough and Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times