Saturday, October 17, 2009

At-Game Recap: NLCS Game 1: Tough Loss, But Glorious Time (Phillies 8, Dodgers 6)

Orel is politely waiting for me to get off my butt and post thoughts and pictures from NLCS Game 1, which I attended Thursday night. But I'm having trouble uploading the crowning achievement of my digitally recorded memories, an in-the-crowd video of the Manny Ramirez two-run home run that brought us back to within one run and looked as if it was going to turn the game around (it didn't) as well as herald a resurgence for the less potent Ramirez (it hasn't). Alas, my dial-up internet connection isn't allowing the video upload, so I'll have to do it later.

For now, though, let me show you some pictures from a trip to the Stadium on Thursday, October 15, for NLCS Game 1.

Traffic getting into the Sunset gate was brutal, even more so than usual, what with cops busting scalpers up and down Elysian Parkway (I have no idea what the rule is on scalping but would love it if someone could educate me) and cars wedged in bumper-to-bumper. It appears that the Dodgers only hire new ticket attendants each game to staff the turnstiles, as both for Game 1 and Game 2, passing through the turnstiles was interminably slow. $15 = $5 change from a $20. It's not that difficult. Let's go, guys!

And then outside the stadium, people were advertising something called the Holy Bible. Must be an upcoming movie or something. I was impressed by the "grassroots," unconventional ad campaign of people-holding-signs.

Jesus may save sinners, but he apparently doesn't save enough room on the line to fit all the letters.

The Goodyear blimp was circling...

...and the Stadium never looked better.

Robocops and their assorted droids were ready for action outside.

Entering the stadium before the game.

This was my first NLCS game ever, and I had been nervous all day, if not all week. And it seemed like everyone in the stadium felt the same way; with tons of angst and pent-up excitement ready to burst out, we all mostly avoided eye contact, got our food and beer, and went to our seats. I was fortunate to have field level seats, right smack in the middle of Mannywood, which was wonderful. The crowd was crazy and the intensity was palpable the second you walked through the gates.

Here comes Old Glory, during the pre-game ceremonies.


Billy Ray Cyrus sang the national anthem. It was a decent enough job, on key and everything. But Billy Ray Cyrus? Well I can tell my friends, just what a fool he's been, and laugh and joke about him on the phone.

My perspective of Diamond Vision was not that good, not that it mattered. The television screen has never looked more outdated, both in this game and in Game 2. Too bad there will be off-season ownership reindeer games, as this really could have used an investment for an upgrade.

Hey, I'm taking a picture of the TBS guy who is taking a picture of the crowd! It's like an Escher painting!

Manny Ramirez, about to add to his all-time lead in career postseason home runs.

Open seats on the reserved level for the press. Wonder what happened to all of those season ticket holders, and where they've been displaced?

The Dodgers' Power Hitters, brought to you by Wonderful Pistachios.

Somewhere in the middle of this game, my cousin (I went to the game with three family members) noticed that the Dodgers have one sorry list of sponsors for the postseason: LA County Sheriff's Department, Wonderful Pistachios, and a wealth of PSAs (assuming that some of these are MLB directives). "The people in Dodgers Ad Sales should be shot," he said. I don't know; I kinda like pistachios (which at least were being sold at the stadium). But he was right; you could tell it is a bad ad sales market nowadays.

The cool people behind me, one of whom lost faith when the Dodgers went down 5-1, until we mocked her back into support (it was working for a while; every time she said "There's no way we could come back!" we would score. Sadly, she stopped saying it after a while, and our scoring stopped, too).

The NLCS logo, in brilliant black and white!

Mr. Happy.

Cops were out in force, a visible presence for this game, which was good since the ushers are largely useless except when beachballs come around. Nevertheless, we did see some fights break out around us, mostly involving Phillie fans as far as I could tell.

Darkness falls over the Stadium.

Don't Stop Believing, played in the middle of the eighth inning; however this time, without the DSB guy pictured in the video. And we lost. I've opined on this earlier, but we've gotta make sure that Jameson Moss guy gets airtime during every DSB, or at least get another hammy substitute. The omission was noticeable.

This game was great, and if I can ever get this dial-up connection to load a video, you'll get a better understanding of what it was like to be there. It was great. The place was roaring, standing with every two-strike count that a Dodger pitcher had. And it stayed roaring even after we went down 5-1, rallied back to 5-4, and then saw Carlos Ruiz open the lead back up with another three-run home run, off of George Sherrill, which basically put the game out of reach.

I'm not going to belabor the yank-Kershaw-or-keep-him-in debate further, but it did seem like a curious move at the time. Still, this was a winnable game--14 hits says we should have no trouble winning more games against this team, if we can just start stringing hits together--and the home crowd knew it and supported the team throughout (the woman behind me notwithstanding for her temporary loss of faith). The place was electric, towels were waving, people were cheering their lungs out.

And yeah, it's too bad we dropped Game 1. But as Charley Steiner said, now it's a best of five series. And we know from last year and this year, this team can win those.


Kyle Baker said...

Hey, if that girl behind you was wanting more scoring...just sayin'.

rsle said...

I wondered the same thing about the displaced ticket holders. I sat in that section for the NLDS when only the first few rows were used for press. Great seats but we had to contend with dozens of ill-timed announcements blaring from the horn above, including "there are cupcakes in the back with NLDS logos on them for those who haven't been to the dining room in the back".

Steve Sax said...

Rsle, did the cupcakes have a black and white NLCS logo or a color NLCS logo?