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Chavez Ravine rocking with postseason back in LA

Dodgers fans have great expectations after club's magical run to NL West title

LOS ANGELES -- In 1988, when the Dodgers won their sixth World Series championship, David Gomez was in diapers.

A lot has changed since then, but Gomez hopes his 25th year as a Dodgers fan will end exactly the same way his first year did.

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"If they win this year, it will be fitting: 25 years and my 25 years [alive]," Gomez said. "Twenty-five years since we've won, and something about this year just feels right. I think this is the best time of year for Dodger fans, we're just so pumped."

On Sunday night, as the Dodgers hosted their first playoff game since the 2009 National League Championship Series, that energy and excitement was evident.

Amid thousands of fans waving blue towels and chanting "let's go, Dodgers," Matt Dieterle also expressed how happy he was to see playoff baseball back in Dodger Stadium.

"There's a lot of excitement," Dieterle said. "We're fully loaded. This team seems like it's built to go all the way, so everybody in this city latches on to that. L.A. loves a winner, so you put together a winning team and fans will come out."

The fans certainly came out for Game 3 of the NL Division Series, but as Dieterle said, "L.A. loves a winner," and the Dodgers hadn't won their division since 2009.

Not only were the Dodgers absent from the playoffs for three seasons, but those years were especially trying as the club went through a highly publicized ownership change in addition to the on-field struggles.

"Out of all the fans in baseball, I think we Dodger fans have it the hardest," Gomez said. "We've had such a roller coaster of a ride. Sometimes it's so bad and other times, history has shown, we just have the best moments in baseball. I feel we are going to have one of those moments."

However, when the season began, Gomez -- and other fans -- admitted the confidence was not quite as high.

Just as the past four years had been frustrating, the beginning of the season was also rough on the Dodgers.

On June 21, they were eight games under .500 and 9 1/2 games back in the NL West.

"We were pretty down in the dumps," Dodgers fan Juan Bravo said. "I was in the top deck drinking beers with my brother-in-law talking about where things went wrong, and we didn't know if we were going to come back to any more games, to be honest with you. Then, that streak happened."

The Dodgers went 42-8 over the next 50 games and ran away with the division crown.

The disappointing start is now a distant memory to Dodgers fans, as a seventh World Series title is the new expectation.

"Going 42-8, all of a sudden expectations go much higher," Dieterle said. "That's great and it's bad at the same time, because now it's crunch time."

William Boor is an associate reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers