Sunday, October 05, 2008

At-Game Recap: NLDS Game 3, Part 1

THE JOURNEY

It's not an uncommon refrain from Dodger fans of a certain generation: I was young when the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988. It's taken me 20 years to appreciate how lucky we were.

Saturday night, 56,000 fans channeled 20 years of anticipation into three hours and three minutes of nail-biting playoff baseball. This was not your ordinary Dodger game. How could you tell? Because the crowd never did The Wave. Not once.

In fact, the atmosphere was downright—dare I say it?—Yankee Stadium-esque. Fans stood, unprompted, for the home team's two-strike counts. Never did the Dodger Stadium scoreboard operator flash that stupid MAKE SOME NOISE message. It wasn't necessary.

THE TRIP

But to enjoy this baseball nirvana, you've got to earn your way in: You've got to pay dearly for playoff tickets. And you've got to make it to the stadium on time. We finished dinner at Alegria on Sunset at 6 p.m. We took our seats at 7:25 p.m. That's right: It took us nearly 90 minutes to travel 2.39 miles.

Lesson: If you're going to the NLCS: Leave early. Really early. But at least the traffic allowed us to spend some quality time with other die-hard Dodger fans:

THE GAME

Fortunately, we arrived just in time to see James Loney's two-RBI double in the first. Unlike Games 1 and 2, the rest of Game 3 was not a laugher. It was tense all the way through. One picture sums up the nine innings of suspense:

After Matt Kemp's acrobatic grab to end the seventh, I had to pick my heart out of my popcorn.

And I have newfound respect for Jonathan Broxton, who's provided us with so many rollercoaster moments this season. He was absolutely nails in the ninth; eight of his 12 pitches were untouched strikes.

THE ENTERTAINMENT

Cheers to whoever assembled the between-innings videos shown on Diamond Vision. They were much better than the regular-season bits and helped keep the crowd fired up.

Jeers to the low-wattage celebrity quotient featured on Diamond Vision: Vince Vaughn (wearing a Cubs cap and summarily booed), Billy Crystal (wearing a custom-made black Dodger championship cap—now there's a true Yankees fan), former Journey lead singer Steve Perry (recognized after "Don't Stop Believin' " was again shoved down our throats—this has Charles Steinberg written all over it) and "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart (who, to her credit, seems like a big Dodger fan based on her ubiquitous presence in the Dugout Club behind home plate).

Stay tuned for Part 2!

photos 1 & 2 by Orel/SoSG
Kemp photo by Alex Gallardo/LA Times
Broxton photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Vaughn photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

16 comments:

Eric Karros said...

Nice recap! FYI I think that license plate belongs to Dracula.

Statistics N@1 said...

Hahaha I was about to say that license plate looks more like thick blood. GO BLUE!!

Steve Sax said...

Orel, I kid you not, I saw that same license plate. It was on a big SUV driven by an annoying jerk who pulled an asshole move to illegally cut in front of us. If he hadn't been a Dodger fan, I think we might have keyed his car...or did we?

Ginger said...

I think it was rude to insult the celebrities that came to the game. And Don't Stop Believing was one of the most downloaded songs of the year, who cares if the writer hates it? Many of Steve Perry fans were happy to see him in the stands. I wonder if part of the problem getting "big celebrities to show up" might have to do with the treatment of the few who do.

Orel said...

It's not the song I object to; it's the contrived attempt to create a traditional song, à la the Red Sox and "Sweet Caroline."

Crystal and Perry were cheered, by the way. I mean "jeers" in the sense of "thumbs down."

Ginger said...

With all due respect, the article reads as a slam to all three celebrities that went to the game. If Perry was cheered, it was not evident in the way the article was written. Several of his fans have been quite excited to see him at the game, and even though some are not Dodgers fans, they cheered the Dodgers along on his behalf. Maybe it might even bring more fans to the team. But some were disapointed to see how the article was written about him.

Erin said...

Careful, Orel. You don't want to cross a Journey fan.

Steve Sax said...

I never would have guessed that Steve Perry's blogger handle would be a Gilligan's Island character. Cool.

Orel said...

Advice well-heeded, Erin.

Orel said...

I can't get "Don't Stop Believin' " out of my head now. So I guess Steve Perry gets the last laugh.

Eric Karros said...

Speaking of Steve Perry - Ginger, how is your son these days?

Eric Karros said...

Ok, I noticed my last comment was technically incompatible with Sax's earlier one. But in spirit they're right in step.

And we mean no offense, Ginger. I'd love for Steve Perry to show up at any event I organized.

DanGarion said...

Not sure what game you attended but there was about 5 failed attempts from the left field bleachers to get the wave going, for some unknown reason.

karina said...

Lovely recap! you made me feel like i almost was there!

Cindy said...

I was there Saturday night. What fun. I was jumping up and down like a high schooler. My throat is still a little sore today from all the annoying yelling I was doing.
I agree the videos were nice. But some of that music...give me a break. Hey the 70's called and want their music back!
I do like the Ozomamatli song. (Is that wrong?)
And why is it rude to boo a celebrity? That's what he gets for wearing that Cubs hat.
But it was cool to see Steve Perry there.
Regarding the wave; This is my 2nd post season game I've attended and it's a different crowd. People actually want to watch the game, so when the wave starts up it's difficult to keep it going because it's too easy to become distracted.

Orel said...

I count The Wave as one full revolution around the stadium. Failed attempts warm my heart.