Matt Kemp (right) congratulating Max Muncy (#13) after his home run during the Dodger game I saw this past weekend. Photo courtesy of usatoday.com
SEEING THE DODGERS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS
Though I have been going to Dodger Stadium on a yearly basis for the annual clash between UCLA and USC in March since 2010,
The Dodger game I attended on Sunday was the first time I have seen that team in person since August of 2015, when I went to the game between those Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds and wrote about the experience at Chavez Ravine on this blog, the Dodgers winning 2-1 on a Zack Greinke home run (here’s the link to that article: http://www.socalsportsannals.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/another-day-at-dodger-stadium/
Besides the fact that it was Girl Scouts Day, with thousands of young girls in their green, brown, and blue vests famous for selling those delicious cookies (my favorites are those peanut butter and chocolate Tagalongs) parading on the track surrounding the field,
Everything that I noticed about Dodger Stadium that scorching August day was more or less the same this time around, as I watched the Dodgers use a solid outing on the mound by pitcher Ross Stripling and three home runs to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2;
- The atmosphere was still more circus-like than pure baseball, which while I wasn’t a big fan of it I still understood it and tolerated it a little more as like all other sports venues, the emphasis is geared more toward the customer who may not necessarily be a real baseball fan but who is looking to be entertained.
- The costs – not just the admission (I paid $25 plus a couple of fees for a total of $35 for my seat at the top deck, traditionally considered the “cheap” seats) – remain way too high, as the $4.00 pen that I bought in the Top Of The Park gift shop above the top deck was pretty much the least expensive thing available in the place; the BBQ chicken nachos I saw on the reserved level was nearly $20.00! To paraphrase a quote from the 1990s classic TV comedy In Living Color: “Homey don’t pay that!”
Full highlights – a condensed game, really – of the Dodgers’ 7-2 win which I had the pleasure of seeing. Courtesy of YouTube. (Click on the link)
The biggest thing that I got from my latest excursion to what former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda calls “Blue Heaven On Earth” was something that’s quite significant, considering that I have sat in every section of Dodger Stadium – the field, loge and reserved levels as well as the top deck and both outfield pavilions – at least once;
Sitting in the top deck, a few rows from the front between home plate and third base, I found myself thinking…
“I finally found my spot!”
I found myself really liking the bird’s-eye view of the hills behind the outfield as Dodger manager Dave Roberts’ team was doing its thing, as well as enjoying the game from that prospective.
Like everyone else who watches sporting events from way up high, I could see the entire field and enjoyed the nuances of the game from that vantage point, to the point where I thought,
“I’m gonna see the Dodgers from here from now on.”
A look at the section in Dodger Stadium’s top deck, where I sat this past Sunday. Photo courtesy of foursquare.com
Unlike the previous Dodger game I attended, the temperature was far short of the 93 degrees that I fried through, due to the fact that I vowed after that excursion that I would never go to Dodger Stadium past my birthday again (June 18th, which is coming up! More on that in a bit), because that ballpark is too hot during day games, which I prefer to go to.
Except for the fourth inning, when I bought a frozen lemonade, which I have always done and which I highly recommend as it cools you down on a warm day and is one of the healthiest things on the Dodgers’ concessions menu, I stayed in my seat and earnestly watched the game in what was a relatively mellow atmosphere among the fans.
The Dodger shuttle taking fans (and me) to Union Station after the game, where I proceeded to catch a Metro Bus back to the Westside elicited an internal “Thank You” from me, as I didn’t feel like walking back down Sunset Blvd.
All-in-all, this latest Dodger experience – it was the 51st time that I saw Los Angeles’ flagship MLB team, and the 26th time that I saw those blue-clad players in “The Show” win – can be summed up in a lyric from a well-known rap classic from Ice Cube:
“It was a good day”.
OH YEAH, ABOUT JUNE 18TH…
Exactly forty years ago this coming Monday, I spent my 11th birthday in a significant fashion: I went to Dodger Stadium for the very first time!
I’ll have complete details about day then, reminiscing on what was a big day in my childhood.
Looking forward to telling you all about it…
Ross Stripling, who in the face of 4/5 of the Dodger starters, including Clayton Kershaw, on the disabled list delivered a very good performance in the game i was at. Photo courtesy of greenwichtime.com