Just three innings into Game 5 of the World Series, two fans did something that made their stomachs churn: They walked out of Dodger Stadium.
They had their own game to win.
With all five major U.S. professional sports leagues hosting home games in Los Angeles on the same day — a phenomenon dubbed by some the “Super Sports Equinox” — Branimir Kvartuc and Doane Liu made it their mission to attend them all.
“I do feel a little sick to my stomach that I’m in an Uber right now,” Kvartuc said at about 6:40 p.m. from a car departing Chavez Ravine and heading to the early-season Clippers game at the Staples Center. “All those little kids that would die to be at the World Series, please forgive me.”
Their endeavor started well before noon Sunday, when Liu, executive director of L.A.’s Department of Convention and Tourism Development, picked up Kvartuc, the communications director for City Councilman Joe Buscaino, from his home in downtown L.A.
Their strategy was simple: Stay hydrated, stick to the transportation plan, don’t misplace the $700 in tickets they each had purchased, and be ready for the wardrobe changes. Liu, 56, had a visor on rotation for each team, while Kvartuc, 46, paired his Galaxy jersey with a Dodgers jacket for the whole day.
First stop, the Kings game at the Staples Center. After a full period and an invitation to the ice, they hopped in an Uber to watch the Galaxy square off with the Houston Dynamo at the StubHub Center in Carson, where Kvartuc said the fans were the loudest and most intense.
That game was the most special to Liu, who is a season ticket holder. They scored passes to the lounge, where they got to mingle among players.
“Oh my god! Yeah! We just scored, one-nothing!” Liu screamed while talking to a Times reporter on his cellphone at the Galaxy game.
Moments later: “Another goal! You’re good luck! Let’s keep talking!”
At halftime, with the Galaxy ahead, it was up to Exposition Park for a quick pit stop at the Coliseum for the Rams game. By the time the pair arrived, though, the Galaxy had fallen behind, setting the club up for a crushing loss that disqualified them from the playoffs.
Next up, Dodger Stadium.
Kvartuc and Liu rode Bird scooters from the Coliseum to the Metro rail and took a train to Union Station, where they hopped on the bus to Chavez Ravine.
“The stress hit a little bit right now,” Kvartuc said from the bus at 4:42 p.m. With about a half an hour until the first pitch, they were 12 minutes behind schedule. “It’s been a nice day, but at the same time, you’re constantly clock-watching ... I wish we would’ve had another 15 minutes at the Rams game.”
When it was time to leave Dodger Stadium, exhaustion started to set in.
“This is a hard task. We went into this with full enthusiasm — and enthusiasm got us through all of it,” Kvartuc said. “But now, at the end of the day, man, it’s a labor of love. I just can’t wait to walk into Staples right now and claim victory.”
Kvartuc said he was inspired to take on Sunday’s challenge by something he did when he was 16 years old. In 1988, he and Buscaino went to the World Series without a ticket.
They showed up to the Dodger Stadium parking lot with a black-and-white T.V., intending to watch the game from outside the gates, just to feel close to the action.
There, Buscaino ran into a man who urgently had to leave the game because his wife was about to give birth. The man gave Buscaino his ticket stubs, allowing the young fans to enter the stadium and witness Kirk Gibson’s historic game-winning home run.
“We learned that if you just show up, things happen,” Kvartuc said. “That’s why we’re doing this, creating memories. It’s for civic pride, and just having a story for the rest of our lives.”
Pop star Lance Bass followed their trail Sunday. The former ‘N Sync singer tweeted about his journey to the five stadiums for “the most epic sports day in L.A.”
“We’re being very ambitious today!” he said in a tweet.
By the 8th inning, Kvartuc was back at Dodger Stadium, a little depressed. Too many Red Sox fans, he said. Too much cheering when his team was about to lose.