Opinion: What the Dodgers Gave to My Dad and Me


Hannah W

My dad forces a photo of us right before the game starts.

“WOAH, Corey Seager takes a big swing to Blake Snell’s changeup, adding to his ninth strikeout this evening; the score is still 1 to 0, Rays leading. What a pitcher!” announced Joe Buck, FOX’s sportscaster during the third inning of Game 7 in the 2020 World Series. I nervously paced throughout the living room, repeatedly wiping my sweaty palm on my pants. Unable to keep still, I tried to sit back down onto the leather chair, but immediately stood back up. “Why is Snell so freaking good?!” my dad cursed into a pillow.  

Shaking my head, I murmured, “We are never going to win.” Disappointed by the results, my dad and I slumped onto the couch. 


For as long as I can remember, my dad, after a day of work, has rushed to the family room and immediately turned to channel 789 to watch the Dodger game. My sister and I, often in our rooms doing homework or perhaps helping my mom prepare dinner, would hear a booming “YES!” echo throughout the house every time a batter hit a home run. Occasionally, a “goddammit” spilled out of his mouth when the pitcher threw a wrong ball. Even though I heard sparks of exhilaration, his interest in the game was something I never understood, in the same way, he probably viewed my interest in My Little Pony or Barbie.  We were content to keep a safe and respectable distance.  

That distance was bridged on July 13, 2018, when my dad dressed me up in Dodger Blue, drove to Dodger Stadium, and sat me in Row R of the Right Field. I wasn’t really sure what compelled him to take me. He had not consulted me. I dragged my feet and slumped down into my seat. The game moved at a glacial pace, and I only vaguely understood its rules.  Throwing a big fit, I whined, “Appa, no, I told you that I didn’t want to be here!”

“Stop it! Or else I am leaving you in the hot car without AC,” he warned me with his frowned eyebrows. “Here, just watch silently.” He handed me a cup of vanilla ice cream and a basket full of garlic fries. I glared at him and huffed a long sigh as I grabbed the food out of his hands. I angrily bit into a fry and impatiently shook my right leg, convinced I was already dying of boredom. 

But then “crack” went Chris Taylor’s bat, and the whole stadium watched the ball sail into the sky and finally land in the outfield seats. “Did you see that? Right on the first pitch!” my dad shouted over the crowd as he jumped up from his seat to cheer along with other fans. 

The pitcher, Alex Wood, trotted up to the mound. For the next five minutes, my dad rambled on about how he hated Wood’s throwing position, complained about his slow fastball and the lack of spin on his slider. 

“Why choose him out of all the pitchers? Come on! He’s the worst out of the worst,” my dad shouted angrily. 

“He can’t be that bad,” I said while I pulled down my dad to his seat. 

“Look, look at his first pitch. He missed the freaking plate by a foot,” my dad exaggerated and pointed towards Wood. My dad explained the different kinds of pitches, and I watched carefully, studying Wood’s pitches. For once, we agreed on one thing: Wood had a horrible slider. 

The game progressed and the Dodgers hit-run after run. I gradually slid to the edge of the seat and started to feel the exhilaration and energy of the crowd. The next thing I knew, I was jumping up and down with my dad, cheering the runners as they slid into home plate. When I left the game that night, I left a baseball fan. 

After that, I began joining my dad to watch Access Sportsnet LA. Throughout the program, I asked questions like, “When can a runner steal a base?” or “How does a pitcher throw a 100 mph fastball?”. To every question, my dad responded with patience, even demonstrating some of the movements.  

That game was the start of a new relationship, and I don’t just mean the one I have to baseball. For me, it was a chance to understand my dad’s obsession. During the day, I never see my dad; work seems to consume much of his time and being.  Sometimes the distance I feel between us makes me sad. It almost seems that he has forgotten about us and never has the time to fully sit and create a real conversation. His answers to questions are always “yes” or “no,” rushing to get to work. If there is a day without a Dodger game, the only time I can actually talk with my dad is at dinner. Even during the pandemic, my dad is cooped up in his office all day, searching for another project to work on or making another phone call.

But on those days, when at 5:08 pm, he walks with a cup of coffee to the couch and sits right next to me, we are both ready to enter the world of baseball. We both kick out any distractions and stress from work or school. It’s my favorite part of the day because it’s the only time I have the chance to sit and enjoy a moment with my dad. I wonder if he feels the same.

Hannah W.

Speaking to him about this article, when I asked about my first Dodger game three years ago and why he took me, he shared that his own father took him to watch his first baseball game in Korea. The Korean team, the Doosan Bears, were playing on the same day 30 years ago. That game was the only thing he remembered from his childhood and the feeling of love and attention from his father when they discussed baseball. Maybe he wanted us to have the same kind of relationship and the same love he had with his own father.

When it comes to work, my dad speaks with confidence, and when it comes to baseball, he and I chat casually with a mixture of English and Korean. But, when it comes to expressing sensitive emotions, my dad becomes shy and embarrassed, mumbles his words, and shifts uncomfortably. Towards the end of the meeting, I asked him about his favorite part about baseball. He stopped fidgeting and silence filled the room. I could hear the clock tick. After a long time, my dad looked up and slowly grinned. This time in full Korean, he revealed, “I have always turned my back on you when working, and in the back of my head, I knew what I have been missing out. Watching the Dodgers with you has been the best time of my life. I love hearing your laughter, excitement, and sometimes excessive analysis of players. It’s the best part of the whole game.”  

Deep down, I have always known that my dad’s love was there, but I never realized the extent of it. Thinking back to the last moment of the interview, it really felt nice to hear salang, Korean for love, out loud from my dad. 


It is now the bottom of the 9th inning of the World Series. “Come on, come on,” he whispers nervously as we desperately stare at Julio Urias, the Dodgers closing pitcher, waiting for the last strike that would end Game 6 of the World Series. My head throbs, and I feel every beat of my heart. Urias takes his position. The whole house is suddenly silent. We hold our position, anxious to move a muscle. “It looks like a fastba” 

“SHHH!” I yell at my dad as Urias takes a breath, lifts up his leg, starts to throw the pitch, and

“STRIKE!” calls the umpire. 

Hannah W.

“THEY WON!” my dad excitedly bursts out. I squeal and drop down to the floor, unable to hold a joyous cry. I watch my dad pump both fists in the air, loudly chanting “Let’s Go, Dodgers!” His grin spreads across his face, from dimple to dimple.  My mom and I join him to celebrate the Dodger victory we had been waiting for for a long time. 

In this moment, I can see my real dad, not full of work or distractions, but just a dad who shares a common love of baseball with his daughter. At least I can have that, and it’s more than enough.