Stevenson Ranch residents Manuel Lujan and John Hartung both have vivid memories of where they were the last time the Dodgers were in the World Series.
Hartung was 19 years old and a student at San Diego State University when he attended Games 1 and 2. Whether the Dodgers won or lost, he was thrilled for the experience, which was highlighted by Kirk Gibson’s game-winning home run
“People did not calm down,” Hartung said. “I was sitting in an aisle seat … and there was a guy sitting across the aisle. We didn’t say a word to each other the entire game … after Gibson hits the home run, everybody is just going bananas.
“I look at the guy over there, he looks at me and we just hug each other. It was the most awkward thing ever, but it was really cool.”
Lujan, who was fairly younger, was in his home in San Diego with his best friend playing R.B.I. Baseball when Gibson homered.
“I just remember we were going crazy,” Lujan said.
Now, 29 years later, Hartung and Lujan are watching the Dodgers in the World Series together, and from quite a different perspective. The pair works at Spectrum SportsNet covering the Dodgers, with Hartung as a studio anchor and Lujan as a director.
Their work day hours are contingent on the Dodgers’ game schedule, but the two are consistently in the El Segundo studio three to three and a half hours before the pregame show goes live.
Since the playoffs began, however, the hours have become longer and the work has become more intense. But neither Hartung nor Lujan, who is a relative of former Dodgers outfielder Dusty Baker, seems to mind. Rather, they’re enjoying the World Series ride that their team has provided them.
“I was telling John how excited it was to go to a high school football game last week and see how many people were in Dodgers gear, how my son is coming home every day and saying everybody is talking about the Dodgers,” Lujan said.
“So it makes it more exciting for me at this time just to go in and know how many people are watching and care about the team.”
Spectrum SportsNet began four years ago and Hartung and Lujan were two of its first employees. The Dodgers have reached the playoffs in all four of those years, and the tandem is hoping the success only continues as their tenure with SportsNet extends.
As for this year’s postseason, there’s already a World Series champion show planned out and a parade route designed in the event that the Dodgers win it all.
“That’s one of the things about being in television and we’ve had this come up in the last week is you have to be prepared for all this,” Hartung said. “And you think, gosh, I don’t want to jinx this.”
The Dodgers continue their playoff journey tonight at 5:20 p.m. in Houston.