With Magic Johnson, a minority owner of the Dodgers, becoming the public face of the team, many fans wonder whether the franchise is using a model for winning employed by legendary Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who died earlier this year. Lon Rosen, the Dodgers' chief marketing officer, was a Lakers publicist under Buss and became Johnson's agent.

Rosen said that the Dodgers studied how other great teams around the country and in Europe did business, and that there's clearly a Lakers way of doing things in that mix. "We all learned quite a bit from Jerry Buss," he said.

The Dodgers have some die-hard celebrity fans, including "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston, but the team has reached out to stars — including NBA players — and made it easier for them to come to games, Rosen said.

"It's fun for them, and fans love to see them," he said. "If you talked to Jerry Buss, that was one of his mantras."

Clement Hanami, 51, a visual artist and art director for the Japanese American National Museum in downtown L.A., said he recently took his 20-month-old son to watch his first game, a slugfest against the Colorado Rockies in which the Dodgers scored 11 runs.

"He's been running around the house with a baseball bat, swinging it everywhere. He gets excited hearing us cheer," Hanami said, adding that if the team falls short of a championship this year, it won't dim his hope. "In my mind, they are committed to winning.... It makes us proud to be in Los Angeles with the Dodgers."

Amaya was so excited to get home Thursday night for the Dodgers' first playoff game that she left her keys in the car with the radio on — and found the battery dead early the next morning. The computer programmer, who has a popular blog about the team, walked into her condominium, past a light switch with a cover custom-decorated with a famous picture of Pee Wee Reese pushing his wheelchair-bound former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Roy Campanella.

She wore a Dodgers shirt emblazoned with a 22 and the name of one of her favorite players, ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw, and earrings with the Dodgers' interlocking "LA" logo. Her friends sent her constant text messages as the game went on, such as, "6th strikeout in a row for kersh." When Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis couldn't make an at-bat count, a friend smitten by him texted in Spanglish: "My AJcito no pudo." My little A.J. couldn't.

Amaya talked about Vin Scully, about the Sandy Koufax signed baseball she won and about being teased by Fernando Valenzuela and how Kershaw is always smiling. Amaya gushed about Hall of Fame Spanish-language Dodgers announcer Jaime Jarrin, and about how he calls her "Emmita" and follows her on Twitter.

"Jaime follows only 88 people. And he follows me," she said, smiling widely. "Isn't that special?"

Amaya was worried after Atlanta's starting pitcher struck out the side in the first inning as she took her Metrolink train from Chatsworth. When the Dodgers scored two runs to open a lead, she yelled and clapped so hard she woke a friend and startled other passengers. By the time she got home, around 7 p.m, the Dodgers had scored a barrage of runs. They won, and now the series is split with the Braves as they return to Dodger Stadium on Sunday. All was right with the world.