LOS ANGELES - 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.
"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 neighbourhood, which leads into Dodger Stadium, houses had shed their Halloween decorations overnight in favour 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."
Associated Press Writers John Rogers, Andrew Dalton and Krysta Fauria contributed to this story.