Monday, October 19, 2009

At-Game Recap: NLCS Game 2

While we Dodger fans lick our wounds following that 11-0 nail-biter last night in Game 3, I thought it would be appropriate to regale SoSG readers with tales of sweating to death while watching NLCS Game 2, which saw the Dodgers steal victory from the jaws of defeat, beating the Phillies 2-1 to even up the series (just like they are about to do today).

It was hot. The box score says 93 degrees, but with an unusual humidity and air that had all the circulation of Domino Magazine. And I know I've already mentioned this heat before, but unless you've made the Oregon Trail walk from Lot 1 up the hill to the Stadium, risking dehydration and dysentery along the way, you don't know how challenging getting to this game was. Ms. Sax and Sax's sister cursed mlb for its Yankees favortism, and I thought this game was going to get the hook before we even set foot on the reserved level.

Luckily, others were not dissuaded by the early start time, nor the heat.

How hot was it? Let's just say, it was so hot, that waiting in line at the reserved-level concession stands was almost not worth the effort, even to purchase beer. The Master Card rubber placemats had melted onto the metal counters:

...which was ridiculous, when you realized that they couldn't even process credit card transactions in the first place (due to system errors) (click for larger image):

Hmm, divorce proceedings, expensive lawyers, cash-only transactions. Coincidence?

Bonus of the year was finding out that our seats were in the shade. Jackpot! Ms. Sax decides not to kill Sax (that is, until she realizes how poor cell phone reception is in the Stadium, and how her blackberry battery is draining at rapid speed), and Sax's sister valiantly opts to stick it out. This was huge, by the way; my sister was really feeling ill, with whatever it was becoming exacerbated by the heat, and for a while I thought we were going to have to call it. My sister is a real gutty person, though, and stuck it out to the end (only vomiting post-game). Thanks, Sis!

I'm not sure if "This Is Beyond Baseball" referred to my seat location. I was happy enough to be in the shade.

Padilla was dealing all game long. Also, take a look at how beautiful those NLCS logos look on the grass.

And with every Padilla strikeout (he ended up with six), they had this sweet "Phillies" video on DiamondVision in which capital "K" stamps would be stamped against it like it was a used passport, set to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out".

The Backstreet Boys sang God Bless America (and I assume the national anthem, though I didn't get into the park in time to see it). It appears there's only four of these guys now, and they seem to have lost a lot of bass, but if this is them, then I've got to say, I don't think Justin Timberlake or Donnie Wahlberg sound like they've missed a step!

"I never want to hear you say,...anything."

The NLCS ribbon logo.

The awning above our reserved level seats. Wow, there is some serious disrepair there; it looks dangerous. But hey, the field level concession stands still look great!

Who could possibly eat that many dibs (now that Andruw Jones has left the team)? I shudder to think of the price of that tub.

When Yoda came on DiamondVision, right about the time that Hong-Chih Kuo took the mound (to secure an inning-ending double play ball from Ben Francisco), I knew good things were in store.

One pissed-off Jedi, at your service.

The eighth inning was when it started to happen for the Dodgers. Casey Blake gets a leadoff single, and then Ronnie Belliard pushes a bunt past Chan Ho Park, who is toppling over like a sapling. Two on, none out, and Russell Martin comes to the plate to attempt to bunt--and misses all of his attempts. Okay, Martin, swing away instead...

Martin's tailor-made 5-4-3 double play goes awry when Chase Utley airmails a ball past Ryan Howard at first, allowing Martin to reach safely and Juan Pierre (pinch running for Blake) to score the tying run. How Utley could have missed Howard at first is unfathomable; that guy is enormous. But we take the run, and up comes Jim Thome to pinch hit for Kuo.

Guys in the right field pavilion lay out a target for Thome (look directly below Jackie Robinson's number (from this camera angle; find the 42 sign and run your eyes down. As SoSG Erin pointed out, it's "under" Drysdale's number if you looked from home plate), about midway up the pavilion crowd).

I've been pulling for Thome all year (at least, since he's become a Dodger), and I was really hoping that he could make the most of his PH appearance, both for the team and for himself. Thome was 1-for-11 coming down the homestretch of the season, but seemed to get back in a groove of late. Sure enough, he banged a base hit to right field that not only was clutch, but also wisely positioned to allow Martin to advance to third from first. What a veteran!

All that drama set up a revolving door of Phillies pitching changes, as well as a Rafael Furcal walk (yay!), a Matt Kemp K with the bases loaded (boo!), and finally, the fateful Andre Ethier bases-loaded walk that had him battle back from a 1-2 count to earn the free pass. The stadium was up:

Up for the Dodgers!

...and even better than that, there was an old guy keeping score in the program (I love seeing this at the ballpark; it's such a throwback).

Man with Mets cap and high socks keeps score.

And Broxton came out to register a quick ninth and dispatch the Phillies. Cue up Randy Newman, because We Love LA (sorry, this isn't a very good video; you can barely hear the song until it gets to the bridge):

This was Sax's third LCS game and first NLCS victory. I credit Ms. Sax, as well as all the other Sons (Alex Cora, Delino, and Orel) for attending and bringing the Dodgers the positive vibe. Just seeing those two videos again gives me chills, and fires me up for tonight's game. Let's go, Dodgers!


Erin said...

I would say the target is more under Drysdale's number. It took me forever trying to find it under 42.

Great write-up, Sax.

Nostradamus said...

Yeah, the bb was not liking the reception for me either. Probably a result of a significant portion of the national sports media complex attempting to use the lines all at once. Didn't get any reception until I was fully 5 miles away.

Only those in hollerin' range got to experience my rapier wit for that 4 hours.

Josh S. said...

Did Randy Wolf explain why he was sitting up in your section AND not wearing a Dodger hat?

Steve Sax said...

@Erin, aha--I see the problem. It's "under" Jackie's number from my camera's angle and perspective, but "under" Drysdale's number if you were looking from home plate. No wonder why Thome didn't hit it out, he must have been confused too.

Kyle Baker said...

Did that Mets fan keeping score understand what scoring runs actually means? It must have been foreign to him.

Steve Sax said...

Funny, DB. He's clearly a White Sock fan as well.

Maybe he was here to find ex-Laker Michael Cooper.