Saturday, April 18, 2009

At-Game Recap: Dodgers 4, Rockies 3 (April 17, 2009)

Opening Week continues at Dodger Stadium, with a Dodger 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

It's always good to see a Dodgers comeback win, and Friday night's 4-3 victory against the Rockies wasn't any exception. After Randy Wolf gave up a quick three runs in an eternal top of the first inning, things looked pretty bleak for the Dodgers, who proceeded to be shut down by Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa through six innings. But then, the Dodgers broke through big-time, posting four in one inning, and despite some shaky pitching from Hong-Chih Kuo, Jonathan Broxton made sure the Dodger win streak prevailed. Good wins. Evil loses. Everyone was happy.

Of course, the evening was beautiful, so I've posted some pictures. First off, note that the big banners at the end of the concourse have a generic logo, rather than sport an enormous picture of a Dodger. Guess that Manny Ramirez signing came too late in the spring for a banner to get produced, huh?

Player introductions now end with these goofy CGI figures that Pixar left on the cutting room the 1990s. These characters, which look more like balloon animals than Dodger player caricatures, are televised on the Diamond Vision, the two outfield scoreboards, and the ribbon scoreboard over the field level. Not only is their animation lame, however--they are STRINKINGLY UNDIVERSE, belying the Dodgers' actual ethnic makeup and insulting the team's rich history of multicultural rosters. Come on, man. Los Angeles is an extremely diverse city, the Dodgers are an extremely diverse team, and these cartoons are extremely homogeneous and insulting. Stop.

Hey, look what microbrewery the Dodger concession stands are serving! Look closely! What great irony, that they're happy to serve a Red Trolley Ale at the Stadium, while Frank McCourt refuses entry for the Dodger Trolley!

Get that Trolley running, Frankie--surely there's a sponsorship deal to be had here.

Meanwhile, salesmen clad in USC colors try to sell season ticket packages. Couldn't we have found something blue anywhere in that closet of yours?

Other odds and ends from the game:

  • I can officially say that the Dodger Hat Shuffle, the majors' easiest and slowest hat shuffle animation for the last five years running, is officially dead. Thank the gods. This was truly mind-numbing, so thanks for retiring it.
  • Jon Weisman was spot on by saying that "God Bless America" is now played at the start of every seventh-inning stretch. As he diplomatically put it:

    I probably won't win too many popularity contests this way, but I have to say this feels like overkill. The national anthem before the game represents a long, hearty tradition. It was meaningful, and certainly few have ever felt baseball to be insufficiently patriotic.

    In contrast, the notion of redoubling the red, white and blue singing while the game is in progress simply feels redundant. It also diminishes "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" -- a highlight for many fans and a feature well-integrated into the fabric of the game -- by making it seem second-class and inadequate.

    I understand that this newer tradition of "God Bless America" is rooted in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks -- that it didn't come out of nowhere. I also realize that the journey of a tradition begins with a single step. Nonetheless, I'm not persuaded that the national anthem doesn't, if you'll forgive me, cover all the bases on a day-to-day basis.

    I share Weisman's view (and apparently, the view of ~90% of his readers) that playing GBA in the seventh-inning stretch (before "Take Me Out To the Ballgame") is a little overkill, and I appreciated the stretch more when they only played TMOTTB, as they did last season and the couple of seasons prior. It also serves to dampen all of the excitement of people getting psyched for Nancy Bea and the cheery TMOTTB, which clearly seems discordant and out of place coming second here. Can't we just go back to Nancy Bea and TMOTTB, please? (It also didn't help that the night's national anthem was sung at a pace so slow, I thought we weren't going to see the first pitch until 9pm. I'm shocked Nancy Bea didn't fall asleep at the organ trying to accompany this dirge of a version.)

  • Thanks to Josh Rawitch for stopping by and chatting for a half-inning early in the game. We kept the conversation off the record, mostly because I was in shock that Rawitch was sans cravat. But all in all, he sounded pretty pleased about how Opening Day went, parking lot incident notwithstanding, and the team's quick start is helpful as well. He also mentioned that Friday night games moved back to 7.10p because they can't have the Friday night fireworks--which will run all season long!--can't go too late, which makes sense. Many empty seats were evident at the time of the first pitch, so maybe people have a hard time getting up there on time (Britney concerts notwithstanding); but I for one am in favor of the 7p Friday start, as I assume most families would agree.
  • The Kaiser Permanente Active Minute thing is back, and it's still awful. I'll try and post a movie of this train wreck later. Please, stop playing this movie. It goes back and kills all the brain cells one saved from removing the aforementioned hat shuffle video.
  • The outfield wall scoreboards are a lot more informative this year, including illustrations of prior at bats as if one was looking at one's scorecard, as well as obscure yet relevant stats ("Ramirez is batting .XXX in his career with a 2-0 count"). Nicely done. The only complaint is, with the right-field display showing the pitch count, there isn't an out-of-town scoreboard displayed real-time anymore. They should put that on the ribbon, perhaps at the edges, particularly for the key games in progress.
  • Kids took the field before the game, along with the Dodger players, and this year it seemed more mayhemic than normal. There was a hilarious little guy that forgot he was supposed to run to Andre Ethier in right field--Andre came all the way back to second base, waving his arms to signal the munchkin--and after he finally got his ball signed, it was hilarious to see this adorable rugrat running full throttle back toward the Dodgers' dugout. Family nights, indeed.
  • The new Brooklyn Dodgers pizza...isn't bad. The crust is too thin to be reasonable, but the new rectangular-sized pizza seems to have fresher ingredients than the old California Pizza Kitchen fare (and, on top of that, McCourt gets to keep the royalty portion he was paying to CPK, in exchange for his private label brand!). I'll have to try it again to be sure, but it was good last night. Total fare: one Louisiana Hot Sausage, one nachos, one Brooklyn Dodgers vegetarian pizza, two beers.

And finally, it was Super 70's Night at the Stadium. They should have publicized this better, as it could have been really fun, but instead there were few participants. But this guy came ready to boogie, and for that, he gets a guest shot!


Celsius1414 said...

At the 66ers you can get local Hanger 24, which is a microbrewery at a nearby airport. Maybe there's some sort of transportation+beer theme. ;)

Celsius1414 said...

Eric Karros said...

Caption for the 2nd-to-last photo:

"It's all good, bro. Sure, she blew me off, but she'll be back. After all, she bought a mini-plan."

Rob said...

I can say this here because my post would get whacked under Jon's Rule 5 at DT, but -- "God Bless America" is really a Bush marching tune. Once a week, maybe, I can tolerate it, but otherwise it's just code for the evangelical lunatics to decipher and get all uppity and self-righteous about. If I never heard it again at a ballgame I would be 100% happy.

Falling LEAVes said...

Gotta agree with you wit the hat shuffle. I stopped paying attention to it a LONG time ago. Didn't even pay attention to it when they did it at Petco Park. And I totally agree with the Kaiser thing. I didn't see it at the first game I went to, but saw it at the second game. Totally annoying.