Chad Billingsley (1-0, 3.00) vs. Randy Johnson (0-1, 7.20).
COMMENTS: There are times when I feel like I'm the luckiest Dodger fan in the world. Consider this game, the Opening Day home game for the 2009 Dodgers:
- I'm taking the day off from work to attend the Dodgers' 2009 home opener, keeping my streak of home opening day games that dates back to 2002;
- For the first time, I'm going to an opening day game with another Son, SoSG Alex Cora;
- I've got Field Level seats, third-base side;
- The Dodgers come in with a winning record (4-3), one game out of first place to the surprising Padres, but with momentum after two well-played games in the desert against the Diamondbacks;
- I get to see 24-year old Dodger ace Chad Billingsley take the hill for the Dodgers;
- I also get to see 95-year old Randy Johnson take the hill for our arch-rival, the hated San Francisco Giants (about whom I may have mentioned prior, have never won a World Series);
- It's supposed to be a beautiful day tomorrow, as it always is at Dodger Stadium;
- Beer prices are supposedly lower this year, though you can be sure I'll be reporting back if the $6 beer cup is the size of a thimble;
- And, so many of my friends and family are attending this game, that we're holding a post-game party at my house afterward.
Having gone to a Opening Day games at Dodger Stadium for years now, I can say that it's a real treat, worthy of the salivation that it inspires for months in advance. There is nothing like the hope of a new Dodgers season, the crispness of the grass with the Opening Day logo freshly painted near the on-deck circles; all the pre-game pageantry and festivities (last year's "Field of Dreams"-like parade of Dodger legends was truly awe-inspiring); and the intense, blindly-supportive roar of the crowd during the game, cheering on every Dodger from the ones who are going to become gods this year to the ones who are going to be painful disappointments come late July. This is it, it's the game to see, and there's nothing like it. And I can't wait.
Now, I'll be honest, there have been a couple times in my life when I have not felt so lucky. For example, there was one "transition" point in my life, while I was living up in San Francisco, when I spent a lot of time enjoying one too many beers and late nights, frequenting a local haunt called "Lucky 13." Dark, smoky, and unpretentious--and walkable from my place--it attracted the diverse type of crowd from motorcycle enthusiasts to young hipsters. A wholly offensive backlit beer sign behind the bar had Billy Dee Williams, decked out in a flared-collar 1970's era suit with a beautiful black woman on his arm, reminding patrons that Colt 45 "works every time." In short, it was the perfect kind of joint to lose yourself in anonymity while one got one's shit together and once again aspired to do bold things in life, like taking on the identity of an iconic Los Angeles Dodger and starting a Dodgers blog with his childhood friends. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Lucky 13, even though involved a relatively unlucky time in my life.
Today, I'm feeling lucky. Very lucky, and always happy to be a Dodgers fan. But on the other hand, it's April 13, and we're playing the Giants, who would love to rain on the Dodgers' parade (as Barry Bonds and the team did back in 2005). Which one's gonna win out this afternoon? Will Sax come home a happy man?
We're opening this Game Thread when they're opening the gates at Dodger Stadium, at 10:40a.