Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ten Hours with the Dodgers (Part one in a three-part series)

So I say to my wife, “Honey, how about you and me spend some quality time together?” She says, “Sure, what are you thinking?” I say, “How about we start the day at the park, then grab some dinner, and end the day with a movie?” She jumps at the idea and says “Great, I’ll get my purse and let's go!” Of course, the devil is in the details.

Turns out I had 10 hours of great Dodger activities planned for Saturday. My wife was, of course, a great sport – I’m so glad she loves the Dodgers and was more than happy to join me. The first leg of the journey started out at Dodger Stadium for photo day (the park), then to watch the game and eat (the dinner), and finally to see the premiere screening of BLUETOPIA (the movie).

First off was the Dodgers Photo Day. WOW! Even though I have been a life long Dodger fan, I had never been on the field before. The grass is so nice: soft green and perfectly manicured. The Dodgers set up the outfield in a “M” shape with plastic fences. The fans stand around the fences and the Dodgers come out of the dugout and circle the inner portion of the fences.

We got there pretty early and Kershaw was throwing a side session on the warning track. It was great to hear the smack of the glove out there. Seemed like everyone passed by: Kuo, Kuroda, Wolf, Kershaw, Ausmus, Ohman, Stults, Trancoso, Castro, DeWitt, McDonald, Pierre, Hudson, Loretta, Ethier, Torre, Loney, Martin, and Kemp. Oh, and then there was that other Dodger in dreadlocks that every single Dodger fan kept running to – Manny something. Boy, wherever Manny was, people were crowded around, snapping pictures, yelling, screaming. It was a madhouse. And I must admit that people can be very rude to players. Of course a player is not going to come over to you if you are screaming like a wild person (lady in pink, you know who you are). It just scares them away. And of course, right after I was lucky to get a picture with Manny, he sprinted to the other side of the field. Man, were people disappointed.

Most of the players were really cool about taking pictures. Players that REALLY get a hat tip are Martin, Kemp and Pierre who each took time with everyone and really seemed to care about the people that they was meeting. Martin didn’t get out of our section because he was taking so much time with everyone. I felt bad for the fans on the other side, but you can’t fault a guy for caring. Also, Kemp seemed to enjoy himself and even said to us after we took his picture – “Man, I think you got my boogers, your camera was so close!” – really funny. After Pierre’s pictures, he would say “BAM, there it is!” and move the next person while trying to accommodate everyone. He might not play, but he seems like a pretty nice guy (and I think he smiled for our picture too). Hudson just ran by and high fived everyone (I think he felt late to get warmed up for the game). My “Dodger Blues” award goes to Andre Ethier who would only stand so you took a picture of him and he wouldn’t take a picture with any of the fans in our section. A little disappointing as I know there are a lot of people that like him. Torre came out toward the end and also wouldn’t take a picture with the fans as well, but I think he was pressed for time.

After it was all over, I took a couple of pictures laying down on the grass and by the Dodgertown sign in the outfield wall. On the way out, I picked up a autograph by Matt Luke (remember him, because I don’t) and circled back to our seats. It was nice having my wife there who also takes great pictures with her camera – my own personal photographer. I recommend anyone who wants to do this next time to do the same: bring someone that just shoots the pictures and isn’t too invested in getting one themselves, as the players come by pretty quickly and you don’t have a lot of time to snap the picture. Before you know it, they are gone – just like my time on the field. Below are some pictures from the day. Enjoy!

Everyone on the field, no one in the stands.

So soft! Why can't I get my grass to look like this?

Manny and Mota - Didn't we already have one on the Dodgers?

Wade working the crowd.

Kuo saying hello.

Hi Blake! Better than New Mexico, huh?

Yo Brad - Merry Ausmus!

Mota and Raffy - Big man and little man.

Hey Andre, take some pictures WITH the fans, not just of you.

Freed James saying hello.

Here's Manny!

You yelled too much like a deranged crazy lady and you scared Manny away! You know who you are!

Martin with the shades.

Kershaw saying hello to the fans.

The skipper posing for the fans. Glad you are here Joe!

photos by Alex Cora/SOSG


Orel said...

Great stuff, AC! Your wife is a saint. Lady in pink, on the other hand....

Steve Sax said...

Great pictures AC. How 'bout dem boogers!

Steve Sax said...

AC, you're not the only person to mention that Andre Ethier appeared less than hospitable to the fans...

Roberto Baly said...

I have no idea what Ethier was doing there. I think it would of been better if he just stayed inside the clubhouse.

Steve Sax said...

Hey, great post btw Roberto. AC had a LOT of awesome pictures with the players, sort of like your well-done post over at VSIMH--but we have to keep the shroud of secrecy, so we can't show 'em on the site (I've seen them, and they're uproarious)! If we can hire a staffer to put the blue dots over AC's face, we'll get those pictures up too.

Alex Cora said...

Roberto: I totally agree. Torre was the same, but come on, it is JOE TORRE, he can do whatever the heck he wants. Andre? Dude you are still a youngster. Maybe it is because he didn't come up through the Dodger system - doesn't know the true Dodger way. BTW, I have MORE DIRT on Andre in part 3 of the post which will be up shortly!

karina said...

Great pictures, Alex Cora!
it was like almost being there. Sorry for the lady in pink and i gotta say your wife is an angel for putting up with hardcore Dodger fandom.

Roberto Baly said...

@ Sax - Thanks :) I think I saw A.C.

@ A.C. Apparently it's the wife that has him act like a jerk

@ Karina - I missed Ronald Belisario ! Tu paisano... Sorry lol We were all looking at Man-Ram that he just passed by me....

Alex Cora said...

Karina: I'm glad you liked the pictures. You have to come to LA to goto a game - you would have a blast. And yes, my wife is a saint (and a little crazy like me).

Falling LEAVes said...

You and Roberto must've been close to each other. I spotted myself and my friends in the backgrounds in at least one of both your pictures