Dodger Stadium has staged concerts, soccer games, a Papal mass, even a bullfight.
But Wednesday will mark the first time baseball’s third-oldest ballpark will play host to Game 7 of a World Series.
The Dodgers forced a final game by defeating the Astros, 3-1, on Tuesday as Rich Hill and four relievers combined on a six-hitter.
Two World Series-clinching games have been played in Chavez Ravine, both against the Yankees: In 1978, when New York won in six games, and in 1963, when the Dodgers swept.
The Dodgers also have won two Games 7 on the road, in 1955 at Yankee Stadium and 10 years later in Minnesota. Both games finished 2-0 with a left-hander tossing a shutout in the final game — Johnny Podres in the first case for Brooklyn, Sandy Koufax in the second.
That streak is likely to end Wednesday because Yu Darvish, a right-hander, is starting for the Dodgers. But a left-hander could still figure in the decision with Alex Wood and ace Clayton Kershaw — along with Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani — available out of the bullpen.
Still no apology from Gurriel
Yuli Gurriel still hasn’t apologized in person to Yu Darvish for making a racially insensitive gesture after hitting a home run against him in Game 3 of the World Series.
Darvish said he told the Houston Astros first baseman it was “completely unnecessary.”
“When a Dodgers staffer told me what was happening, at the time, it’s not like I was that irritated by it,” Darvish said in Japanese. “About the extent of my reaction was me telling [interpreter Hideaki] Sato, ‘He did something he shouldn’t have done. This is going to be a problem, isn’t it?’ But I wasn’t angry at all.”
Gurriel reached out to Darvish the day after the incident, saying he wanted to meet so he could apologize face-to-face.
“I was told the next day he wanted to speak to me and I communicated to him that it was completely unnecessary and that I wasn’t bothered by it,” Darvish said. “Even now, I’m not bothered by it at all.”
Darvish was born in Japan to an Iranian father and Japanese mother. He said he considers racial discrimination to be a serious problem.
Gurriel received a five-game suspension, which he will serve at the start of next season. Asked if he thought Gurriel received a sufficient punishment, Darvish replied, “It hasn’t really been explained to me, so I don’t know how to judge it.”
Dodgers fans let their sentiments be known when Gurriel was introduced for his first at-bat, loudly booing him. The boos came back between every pitch of every at-bat, and Gurriel went one for four.
Halo of a story
As Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger worked in the batting cages Tuesday, Shawn Wooten told a little story.
Wooten, one of the Dodgers’ hitting coaches, played on the 2002 Angels, the last Southern California team to win the World Series. That team flew home after a crushing Game 5 loss in San Francisco, just as this Dodgers team did, down 3-2 in the series and unsure who might pitch in for the 54 outs necessary to win the series.
Wooten thought of other similarities: Each team had a supporting actor that hit three home runs in the game that clinched the World Series appearance: Adam Kennedy for the 2002 Angels, Enrique Hernandez for the 2017 Dodgers. And each World Series has been a festival of homers: a combined 24 in the 2017 Series, eclipsing the old record of 21 in 2002.
The story Wooten told: On the bus back from the airport after Game 5, he stood up and asked his teammates if, back in spring training, they would have taken the chance to win two home games to become World Series champions. The Angels indeed rallied to win two games in Anaheim, beating the San Francisco Giants.
In Angels lore, that line is generally attributed to Darin Erstad. Wooten swears it was him.
L.A. is spooky cool
For Chase Utley, Game 6 was not the first time he has played on Halloween.
Utley played on Oct. 31, 2009, in Game 3 of that year’s World Series. The temperature at game time, in Philadelphia: 70 degrees.
The temperature at game time in Los Angeles on Tuesday: 67 degrees.
Andre Ethier was used as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, making his franchise-record 50th appearance in a postseason game. … Charlie Culberson, late-inning defensive replacement at second base, singled in the eighth inning in his only at-bat, driving up his World Series batting average to .600. Culberson is three for five, meaning he has as many hits as Justin Turner.
Times staff writer Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.