LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles sports fans get a bad wrap in sports circles but the 53,000 that packed into Dodger Stadium on Friday were loyal to the end, cheering their team to a 3-2 victory in a record-long seven hour and 20 minute World Series Game Three.
The Dodgers needed 18 innings to complete the win over the Boston Red Sox, which ended early on Saturday morning when Max Muncy crushed a solo homerun to left field, causing pandemonium in the still full Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers now trail the Red Sox 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
“The fans were unbelievable,” said first baseman Muncy, who has had a career year since joining the team in the offseason.
“LA kind of has a reputation of fans showing up late, leaving early, but that wasn’t the case tonight. They were there early and they were there for the whole game, and they were loud for the entire game.
“Every time we got into a big moment on defense they got loud and we got the out. The stadium was rocking. Same thing on offense, anytime we got something going, they were loud. They were unbelievable tonight.”
Fans of the underdog Dodgers haven’t seen their beloved team win a World Series in 30 years and all indications from the first two games were that they were outmatched by the Red Sox, who won 108 regular season games to the Dodgers’ 92.
But the mood in the stadium was unexpectedly light ahead of the first pitch and confidence among the blue and white clad fans grew as the game wore on - and on - on a gorgeous Southern California night.
“We’re down 2-1 but I think that the crowd tonight was outstanding,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game.
“It was loud from before the first pitch, and we anticipated that. So to get in front of 50,000 Dodger fans to drive us and to stay for... seven hours and 20 minutes,” he said. “There are still probably fans here.”
The crowd seemed to relish in the absurdity of the marathon affair, which was the longest World Series game by time and innings.
In the middle of the 14th inning the stadium announcer said there would be a ‘14th inning stretch’ and a singing, once again, of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’.
The fans leapt to their feet and delivered an impassioned, deafening performance of the classic tune.
Those same fans would not have much time to rest, however, as Game Four will be played at the same venue later on Saturday.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Sudipto Ganguly