Lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan Manuel “Skipper” Marquez, a native of Strathmore, was surprised by his close group of friends Wednesday morning when told that they wanted to buy him a ticket to Game 7 of the World Series.
All Marquez had to do was get out of work early and make the 3 1/2 hour drive south.
His friends – Marcus Moreno, Sam Villagomez, Dustin Fox and Luis Avila – would split the $800 ticket four ways.
It’s Game 7. The World Series. He should be there.
Marcus Moreno on helping buy friend and longtime Dodgers fan Manuel Marquez a last-minute ticket to Game 7
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“He’s the biggest Dodgers fan I know and we just felt he deserved to be there,” Moreno said. “He’s one of those fans who stresses out about the Dodgers. He knows all about the team and the opposition.
“It’s Game 7. The World Series. He should be there.”
Marquez, 33, spent an hour thinking about his friends’ offer – contemplating whether it’d be worth the money and the long drive there and back – before finally accepting their gesture.
Marquez then took off early from Strathmore High, where he works as a campus supervisor, and made it to Dodger Stadium with about 45 minutes to spare before the first pitch.
“My heart was popping out of my chest the closer I got to the gates,” Marquez said. “I was so stoked.
“These four buddies of mine worked their magic, and worked their wallets to get me here. They’re so generous.”
Because his ticket was significantly marked up, the $800 Marquez’s friends spent got him a seat in the upper deck along the right field side, along the yellow foul pole of Dodger Stadium.
Marquez also sat next to a couple that had brought a baby with them.
“It was interesting sitting next to the baby,” Marquez said. “It was actually pretty cool, seeing how they interacted with him during the game.
“I had a perfect view. The atmosphere was amazing. Everything was great.”
Except, of course, the final score if you’re a Dodgers fan.
The Houston Astros defeated the Dodgers 5-1 – scoring of their runs in the first two innings – to capture the World Series.
Marquez was asked afterward if the money his friends spent was worth going to the game.
“The loss hurts, but the experience was great,” Marquez said. “I got to experience something I thought I’d never get to experience in person.
“It was absolutely worth it. I’m sad about the outcome. I’m bleeding blue right now. But I’m all smiles.”
They’re the best friends a guy could have and I’m forever grateful to them.
Longtime Dodgers fan Manuel Marquez, who attended Game 7 after his friends bought him a last-minute ticket
Marquez added that he looks forward to the day when he can return the favor to his friends.
“I love those guys,” Marquez said. “I’ve known most of them since elementary school. They’ve always taken care of me.
“They’re the best friends a guy could have and I’m forever grateful to them.”