Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day On-Field Recap

During the doldrums of a losing season (Doldrums? Check. Losing season? Check), a change in perspective can help you appreciate your favorite team in different ways. For instance, the collapse of last year's Dodger team was chronicled in our first full year of SoSG; we all shared in the misery through our blog instead of angry mass e-mails. Progress? You decide.

So far this year's team has been equally dismal, yet some of us were lucky enough to experience something completely different with the Dodgers' VIP treatment on Blogger Night. Yesterday's Father's Day event at Dodger Stadium comes in a close second to Blogger Night but was definitely better in one way: It was open to the public!

Our party, including Sax and me, arrived at 10 a.m. The event was well-staffed, including the cheerful people handing out free foam baseballs for our throwing pleasure. The center field gates were open and onto the field we strolled. Little did I know I was about to be blown away.

I was completely unprepared for the emotion of the moment. First of all, the grass. It's perfect. It's short and dense and green and wow. To the Dodger Stadium greenskeeper (perhaps Eric Hansen, Assistant Director, Turf and Grounds?): (1) I'm sorry hundreds of people walked on your field today, and (2) congratulations.

Before yesterday, I had never taken a stadium tour or done one of those stadium sleepovers or otherwise come close to stepping on the grass of Dodger Stadium. Having spent my entire life rooting for the players in this stadium, it never occurred to me I would ever see the field from their perspective. And suddenly here I was in the Dodger Stadium outfield, surrounded by people playing catch as if this were any other Sunday:

There are precious few things in life that make me feel like a child again. This was one of them.

Dodger management had thoughtfully broadcast the Dodgers-Tigers game on Diamond Vision, so we could watch Clayton Kershaw collecting another no-decision. I chose to walk around the field, amidst a sea of flying foam baseballs, to soak in as much as possible from my new standpoint. It was somewhat surreal, like being fully aware in a dream—and feeling you were going to wake up at any moment.

The infield was gated off, maybe because of the giant red boa constrictor sleeping on the pitcher's mound. Oh wait, that's a hose.

The warning track dirt reminded me of the famous "red dirt" on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I did not attempt to dye any T-shirts with it.

The visitors' bullpen was closed but the home team bullpen was open for people to pitch in. No gnome sightings but the deer is still there.

No, thank you! Seriously, kudos to the McCourts for this event, which is in its fifth year. And I'm going to go ahead and thank Josh Rawitch, because be probably had something to do with it as well. And if you're childless and thinking of going next year: Get crackin' now and for Father's Day 2009 you just might be able to bring a three-month-old!


Josh replies at Inside the Dodgers (thanks for the link!):

And while I appreciate the kudos, I can't take credit for this event...there are a ton of hard-working people in the front office who put this together for the fans and they deserve it far more than me. In fact, I didn't even make it down this year, as my daughter can't quite throw yet.

That Josh. Modest as always!

photo #4 by Jill Weisleder/Dodgers. Hi Jill!


Eric Karros said...

Pretty cool. I'm a little jealous but not at blogger-night jealousy levels.

Steve Sax said...

It was awesome--Orel and I had quite the time. It was worth kidnapping two random kids in order to get in the gates.

Jen said...

On Cinco De Mayo, our sons were picked to do the pregame "It's time for Dodger baseball" announcement which meant that my husband and I - both lifetime Dodger fans - got to accompany them onto the field. Honestly, I think we were more excited than our boys were. I know it sounds corny, but to be on the field, this close to the Dodger dugout was almost more than I could bear.

I don't know about my kids, but I'll never forget that day.

Alex Cora said...

Sounds great! I am jealous. "short, dense, green, and wow" - sort of like the incredible hulk.

Eric Karros said...

"I don't know about my kids, but I'll never forget that day."

Jen, quite impressive that the experience was more memorable than your kids!

Jen said...

Eric: just don't tell them that. ;)

Steve Sax said...

Thanks for the story Jen, and for stopping by...we won't tell your kids.

Delino DeShields, Sr said...

I'm missing Father's Day by two months. But I plan to exploit the future Deshields next year in order to get pictures, exclusive entry to Dodger events, and a broadcast on the DiamondVision.

karina said...

Awesome, i'm glad you had such a great time at Dodger Stadium, the pics rock my world!