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A family affair: Rays' Su'a grew up a Dodger fan

The Rays' mental performance coach got his introduction to baseball at Dodger Stadium.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The World Series is a family affair for Justin Su'a.

The Rays' mental performance coach grew up bleeding Dodger blue.

"Born and raised in Los Angeles," Su'a said. "And I guess as a child you tend to adopt the team that your parents pull for."

His father, Murphy Su'a, went undrafted after college and signed with the Dodgers organization. He made his pro debut in 1979 and spent five seasons in the minor leagues with L.A. and the Milwaukee Brewers.

"Having been connected with Tommy Lasorda and Mike Scioscia, the Dodgers greats -- we knew nothing different," Justin said. "One of our family holidays was Dodgers Opening Day, where he’d take the three kids out of school. We’d go to Opening Day and we’d feel like little rebels."

Some of his best memories came after the games when the family was trying to beat the traffic home.

"(We're) sitting in Dodger Stadium parking lot playing a board game called Sequence to the point that security guards were probably like, 'Okay, let’s get out of here, it’s an empty parking lot the game was over hours ago,' but we’re all competitive trying to win this game."

Justin describes his sister Tasha and brother Travis as "avid" Dodgers fans because they stayed in the L.A. area much longer than he did.

But once the Rays made the World Series, family members had to switch sides.

"We were conflicted earlier in the year," Murphy said. "But there’s no confliction here. It’s 'Go Rays' all the way."

Due to MLB COVID-19 protocols, Justin hasn't seen his wife and three children since September when he left for the ALDS in San Diego. They flew to Arlington, Texas, from Bradenton last week. His parents traveled from L.A., and his brother is visiting from Utah.

This life-long baseball family may be physically separated, but they're celebrating together.

"To be at the pinnacle here," Justin said, "Not only at the pinnacle, but with my family who I haven’t seen for a long, long time and to share this together, it's just immense gratitude."

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