Everyone in Los Angeles knew it. This was the Dodgers' year. And then it wasn't.
The boys in blue, who had the best record in Major League Baseball, never threatened Wednesday in a Game 7 World Series loss to the Houston Astros. And people who thought they would be watching a parade through the city streets this week will have to turn their thoughts to next spring, again.
On a day the team's fans thought they would finally get the sweet taste of 1988, the last time the Dodgers won a World Series, they instead got the bitter taste of 1978, the last time they lost it.
Downtown L.A. restaurant Philippe the Original is a frequent stop for Dodgers fans before and after a home game. Gabrielle Casasola of San Bernardino had hoped be there to celebrate a Dodgers World Series win.
"I’m a little emotional but I’m excited, I’m proud of the Dodgers," she said to KPCC. "I’m not going to take anything away from my boys, I think they had a great [expletive] season, sorry."
Fans said this World Series was an emotional roller coaster that ended on the lowest low.
"I feel like the bridesmaid right now, not the bride," said Art Hermosillo from Torrance, also giving credit where credit was due. "Hats off to Houston, they played a hell of a game, hell of a series, look at game five, look at game two."
"I'm more heartbroken over this loss than I was over my last relationship," Dodger fan Jess Bishop said.
"Heartbroken" was a word that came up constantly in the Dodger corners of Facebook and Twitter after the 5-1 loss.
Some fought back real tears.
"Houston deserves this," said Rene Lopez of Pomona, choking up. "It was a great baseball series and that's all I can wish for."
Fans did their best to stay optimistic but the Dodgers made it hard, falling behind 5-0 in the opening innings and never getting close.
"I smell a comeback!" one person shouted during the fifth inning at Tom's Urban, a sports bar in downtown LA.
But the comeback never came.
Sasha and Ryan Mendeville from nearby Torrance were still glad they got tickets and went to the game.
"We don't regret it," Sasha said. "This is history and we're huge Dodger fans."
Joanne Lopez-Rojas, 71, said she was going to "cry and stop on the way home and have a drink."
She and her husband Delfino Lopez-Rojas, 71, are retired restaurant owners from Ventura who watched the game at Tom's Urban.
Joanne had her face painted. One side was white with colorful flowers painted in celebration of the Day of the Dead — the Mexican holiday where people celebrate loved ones who have died — but her right cheek had the Dodgers logo: the linked blue letters LA.
Now both cheeks were likely to be streaked with tears.
It was a far cry from Wednesday afternoon, when the city was buzzing with excitement and bursting with joy at the thought of a Game 7 in town.
In the city's Solano Canyon neighborhood, which leads into Dodger Stadium, houses had shed their Halloween decorations overnight in favor of Dodgers signs, flags and other memorabilia for Tuesday's game.
Public relations professional Ross Goldberg of Westlake Village flew his 22-year-old son, Josh, out from the East Coast, where he recently graduated from Georgetown University, to see the game.
"Tonight is the biggest game in the history of baseball in Los Angeles," said Goldberg. "It's not just a matter of waiting 29 years. You don't know if this will ever happen again."
On Wednesday night, the city desperately hoped it would, someday, happen again.
"I'll survive," Lopez-Rojas said. "They'll be back. They'll be back. I'll be a fan forever."
We asked you to craft a "Dear Dodgers" condolence message to the team in the wake of their World Series loss. Here are the words of encouragement, sadness and hope that you wrote:
I've bled blue from the moment I was born. For the 1st time I got to see you go all the way to the world series. My mom passed away before the season started. She was the one who taught me to bleed blue. I thought this is the year. My mom is cheering in heaven. We lost today and now like previous seasons its till next year. But this season was a hell of a season. And the Dodgers did amazing. Next year will be our year. I will always bleed blue
Dodger fan for life."
— Clover Novelo, via Facebook
"Dear Dodgers, drink the champagne anyway!"
— Sharon Gutierrez, via Facebook
"You proved yourselves by stretching the series to the distance. As a team with a history of a strong battery but not so heavy bats, you were able to stave off a team with a crazy combined batting average. My dad saw you in Brooklyn and I have been a fan since childhood, having been born and raised in LA. You taught me the poetry of baseball; Vin Scully taught me its history. There are no losers tonight- just great sports. And PS: that ump of Game 5 should be dishonorably discharged."
— @thundermumble, via Instagram