Happy Halloween!

Oh, man, we have a Game 7.

The sweetest and most anticipated game of a baseball season. It would be wrong to have it any other way after this season, this postseason and this series.

And after this night.

We did the whole trick-or-treating thing tonight -- for the second consecutive night. The 'Ville has a unique trick-or-treating culture in that the community and the university step up big time to provide kids and their families with safe and fun environments to do the traditional dress-up and candy collecting stuff -- which renders the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating almost pointless.

We spent Saturday at a farm outside of town that opens each fall as a Halloween-season wonderland with a large pumpkin patch, corn maze and a load of kid-friendly activities that include rubber duck races, a huge slide, pumpkin bowling and mini train rides. This year there was an air gun that the girls especially enjoyed, shooting tennis balls at targets posted at various distances across the field. ... We spent so much time there Saturday afternoon and had so much fun that we skipped our annual trip to the trick-or-treating and haunted campground tour at the city's recreation area.

Last night was the annual downtown trick-or-treat. Kates packed the girls' costumes in their backpacks when we left the house yesterday morning for school. They changed into the costumes after the school day, we rushed from our respective places and met in the church parking lot at 5 p.m. to join the downtown crowd. For the downtown trick-or-treat, the city's square is sprawling with activity as all of the businesses open their front doors and invite children to step inside for candy and treats. A police and fire departments park their vehicles along the streets and hand out goodies. Mascot greet children and pose for pictures at the corners. Last night temperatures in the 40s made it easily the coldest one we've done, but the girls were troopers and would have visited several more businesses had Kates and I not forced them to cut some corners and stay on one side of the road at times.

And that brings me to tonight -- trick-or-treating in the university residence halls. It's another fun Halloween event that we took forward to each fall when the students on campus open their doors and hand out candy to the visiting children. Some of them even dress up, and it's fun to see them "awww" at the kids' costumes as they walk the halls and visit each room for candy. But after an hour or so of trick-or-treating -- and their classroom parties during the school day, not to mention the trick-or-treating Monday night -- the girls were done. The feet were getting heavier. The tears were starting to flow. And I was frustrated that they wouldn't pose for me to take a photo of them in their classrooms.

They were mermaids this year. Kates' mom crocheted mermaid tails for each of the them that were open at the feet but designed the fins so they covered their shoes. They had matching bikinis tops and crocheted flowers to place in their hair as well. Kates got matching pink shirts for both girls to wear. And they were adorable. But no picture.

Suffice to say, I could hardly wait to get them to bed so I could hide away to watch Game 6 and hope for a Dodgers win.

And they came through. Say all you want about Justin Verlander -- I agree, he's one of the greatest pitchers of his era and I enjoy watching him -- but the Dodgers got to him in Game 2, and I was confident going in the Dodgers could get to him tonight.
For five innings, Verlander was awful hard on the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig's single in the second gave them their only baserunner in that span, and George Springer's solo shot in the third seemed as if it might stand as the only run the Astros would need. 
But then came Austin Barnes' at-bat to start the sixth. When he worked the count to 2-0, it was just the fifth time all night that a Dodgers hitter had been in an advantageous count. And Barnes took advantage by anticipating that run and ride, staying on top of the 94-mph four-seamer that came his way and smacking it to left for a leadoff single.

Then Chase Utley -- one of my favorite players of this generation, I'm really disappointed he hasn't seen more playing time this series -- was hit by a pitch, and Chris Taylor -- who has seemed to come up with so many key hits in this series -- Taylor hit the game-tying double. Corey Seager hit a huge sacrifice fly to score Utley. The Dodgers -- with some fine glove work by Cody Bellinger -- went on to win 3-1 and all was swell.

Good reads ...

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