Saturday, April 24, 2010

At-Game Recap: Opening Day 2010 (April 13), Part 1

This is a little embarrassing, but I suppose now, almost two weeks later, I should be posting my pictures and thoughts from Opening Day 2010, which happened (for the Dodgers) on April 13, 2010. Given the early games at Nationals Park this weekend, I thought I would post them up today for your comments and thoughts.

2010 marked at least the seventh home opener in a row that I was fortunate enough to attend. And given last year's event was marked by Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle and a crowd-pleasing stunt to have the Dodger players come down through the field-level aisles onto the field (a logistic and security nightmare, I imagine, but a wonderful device to fire up the crowd and underline that the Dodgers are the Los Angeles fans' team), I figured this year's home opener would find it tough to match that majesty.

Indeed, it didn't even come close. But it was still a fun time!

First off, even before I got into the stadium, Victoria's Secret-clad women heralded my arrival:

And as I entered through the loge level entrance (third-base side), Miller Lite promotion women accosted me to ask me layup-type questions in order to win mini-Dodger foam fingers. Within one minute of entering the gates, I was indeed a winner. We were off to a good start.

This year's Opening Day Dodgers t-shirt evoked some Frank Lloyd Wright-era fonts and design (a huge improvement over prior years' logo-slapping work):

And then, I headed down toward the center spine bank of escalators in order to head down to my field-level seats. Along the way, the unrenovated loge level concourse seemed a bit brighter than normal, thanks to new column-wraps of Dodgers past and present. First, the Tornado, Hideo Nomo (who was relegated to a column behind a condiment stand, a place unfitting for the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year):

The Dodgers' greatest closer, Eric Gagne:

Fast forward to Dodgers present: the Bison, Matt Kemp.

Okay, this walk was getting tiresome! I need rations for this arduous journey! But wait, when did beer hit $12.25 for a cup? That's highway robbery!

The beer cart vendor tried to tell me that it was $12.25 last year for a cup of beer, but honestly I couldn't remember that extra $0.25. Suddenly, the Dodger players on the column wraps looked slightly disproportionate (like the width between eyes on Jamey Carroll):

And this is where we put King James, behind a water pipe? What an insult!

(Actually, as I walked around some more, I realized that players received more than one column wrap, so hopefully Loney's other placement(s) weren't partially obscured.)

Speaking of rations, as I made it down to Field Level, I came across the ridiculously grotesque Victory Knot pretzel. I kid you not, the vendor had trouble telling me it sold for $18 without bursting into laughter--and when she said that it came with dipping sauces, I couldn't help but ask if the sauces were all liquid gold):

I passed on the VK, and went to go check out the Diamondbacks, in batting practice:

And then the view from my seats toward home plate:

The view of the right-field scoreboard, from my seats:

And finally, a shot of the outfield from my seats. Is it just me, or are there more outfield wall advertisements than ever before?

By this point, I had finished my $12.25 beer, the weather was hot, and I was ready for my first Dodger Dog (and second Dodger beer) of the 2010 season:

First Dodger Dog of the year. Third beer of the year.

Now, with Dodger Dog in stomach, this becomes a real game. More pictures soon!

35 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

That's hilarious that you mentioned the mini foam fingers. Mrs. Dusty-in-law and I got those, too. She had been wanting one for several years, now, so it was a dream come true. Right now, hers is resting on the hand of Matt Kemp's bobblehead.

Mr. Customer said...

I kinda like the graphic design, though I don't really understand the peachy color for the column wraps.

Dusty Baker said...

[Vin is never OT]

Per Ken Levine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkNWsY3eMGo&feature=player_embedded

Dusty Baker said...

It's funny how 4 hours ago we thought Padilla was putrid. Now we're all crying because he'll miss a start or two.

Mr. Customer said...

Actually, I'm not sweating the start until it's called.. I'd guess they'd maybe have Link up for a few days to mend the pen, then switch out for Elbert, as he's still got options.

Dusty Baker said...

Not to be a negative Nelly, but we are now looking at:

1)Kershaw decent but still scuffling a bit
2)Bills on the brink
3)Kuroda decent but far from over-powering
4)Haeger (see: Adam Dunn)
5)???

This is not the way to win the West, or even the Wild Card.

Sorry to have to put it in that perspective...Karina, come kick my ass.

Dusty Baker said...

Per D. Hernandez:

"ERAs in triple A: McDonald 4.97, Elbert 8.36, Lindblom 5.79, Towers 2.25. But, remember, Towers isn't on the 40-man roster."

Whew.

Dusty Baker said...

Why is Willie Mays always wearing the shittiest, BP-looking hats?*

*Discounting the fact that it's a Jints hat

Mr. Customer said...

@Dusty Downer

I'm only saying that subbing one of the guys from ABQ would be that much of a downgrade from the Padilla of yesterday. I'm not implying that they'll be game-changers.

Bottom line, our pitching is crap right now whether it's VP out there or not.

That said, that Elbert line is pretty terrible. What say we try someone else.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

I wouldn't mind J-Mac, just because he has experience starting in the bigs.

Though the Dodgers could easily make room for Towers by moving Ausmus to the 60-day DL. Just saying.

Mr. Customer said...

@MLASF

Indeed. The one upside to having replacement-level starters is that they can be er...replaced.

Paul said...

Why didn't somoneone tell the Dodgers they needed pitching in the off-season!?!!

I mean how would they know that??

It wasn't like it was mentioned everytime there was a review of the team or anything.

Josh S. said...

I recognize that beer! That's the one you had in your hand when you came up to say hi.

And to play devil's advocate on the pitching, there was no way anyone could know that just about every pitcher would get off to a disappointing start.

Paul said...

Thanks Sax.

One thing I wish the Dodgers would do especially on the field level going towards the outfiled, is have the ushers hold people from going to their seat until the inning half is over.

They do this at Petco but it works there because they have little holding cells up on top. It is annoying to try and watch a game and having some late confused fan stand around in front of you for 5 minutes looking for their seats in the first second and third inning!

Paul said...

True Josh.

Still Bills was a big ? because of his crappy finish last year. And Padilla does what he normally does which is be inconsistent and Charlie Knuckler hasn't exactly destroyed the league before this year.

Dusty Baker said...

Josh said:

"And to play devil's advocate on the pitching, there was no way anyone could know that just about every pitcher would get off to a disappointing start."

I'm hearing you, I'm just saying that to look at other teams who have legitimate, no question guys (plural), and then to look back at our own pitching staff...

It's not like SF looked over at their two-time Cy Young winning pitcher and said "We think he'll at least get off to an okay start." Or Sabathia. Or Greinke. Or...down the line. Our "thinking" was always along the lines of "IF Bills comes back around, and IF Kershaw picks up another pitch and continues to grow, and IF Padilla can eat up some innings..." Just not a way to contend.

Dusty Baker said...

^ Not hatin', just sayin'.

Mr. Customer said...

A wise man once told me, regarding a similar situation, "if ifs were fifths, we'd all be drunk"

Steve Sax said...

@Paul 559p: totally agree with you on the ushers making people wait until the half-inning, I enjoyed this behavior at Petco as well; it is a nice courtesy.

Compunding this is the disappearance of that painted line ahead of which standers could not congregate. Now that they've removed that line, the crowd lingering in the concourse moves all the way up to the back row of seats. That's bad.

It's a much less civil experience for field-level seat attendees.

But, we have Langer's Deli!

Fred's Brim said...

Padilla was supposed to go on Tuesday vs the Mets. The Mets have had trouble against our lefties the past few years. I wonder if Joe will give Elbert a shot

Fred's Brim said...

Been watching the highlights of the game, in particular the play at home in the 13th. Rob Dibble is such a terrible homer. He is openly screaming against the call. What a clown.

Paul said...

FB

I agree I am not sure when it was decided by people in charge of teams that their announcers must basically be fans in the pressbox. Rockies,Zona, Nats are announcers are freakin annoying as all hell with that.

They might as well have all of us in the pressbox.

NicJ said...

I would have to say the cubs announcers are probably the biggest homers.

I guess you get spoiled when you have Vin who likes to call your own players out for being awful.

Dusty Baker said...

I love (meaning hate) how the new crop of "broadcasters" are hired to be the team's house men and then act like they've been hardcore rabid fans of that team since childhood. Dibble is in this category. Victor Rojas definitely is and I love to give him shit about it on Twitter. He used to be a very good MLB Network guy then after being hired with the Angels suddenly, overnight, became the biggest homer for Angels. Seeing him in that Snuggie was the last straw. It's something he would have totally been bagging on three weeks before but overnight thought was best idea in the world. There are fewer and fewer and fewer real play by play guys worth one squirt of poop. Been watching a lot of stuff about Chick Hearn the last couple of days, and thinking back to what a great caller he was. You could listen to his call and know exactly what was happening without having to see it. Clearly this used to be more important in the pre-TV era but even with TV (and for those of us who still relish radio), it's an important concept in broadcasting to be able to paint a picture for the audience no matter the medium. And despite who signed their paycheck and despite that they were clearly for the home team, they at least were fair adn called a spade a spade on plays. Hell, I often got mad at Chick for being too neutral or bagging on our own players too much.

It cracks me up that as FB reported Dibble was wailing about the call at the plate. If it's the Pudge call, it's ironic because Pudge after the game watched the play and pronounced it the right decision.

NicJ said...

Gotta add Ken Harrelson the white sox announcer. I still laugh everytime i hear that Mark Buehrle's perfect game call.

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! History!"

NicJ said...

Haha, and i also remember last year when the dodgers played colorado i think it was loney hit a HR that wraped around the foul pole and the announcer said something like "Oh No!!! Get foul, get foul, get foul. Ahh its outta here."

Dusty Baker said...

@Nic

You are totally right. Cubs announcers are THE WORST.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Very quickly on all topics:

Rotation was an obvious question mark. The bullpen? Not so much, though the injuries and absences (cough, Belly, cough) took their toll.

The Kings have a very great policy of making you wait to go back to your seat if the puck is in play.

Everybody's a homer nowadays. Even national broadcasters have their favorites (cough, Joe Morgan, cough). Makes you appreciate Vin. Er, moreso.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

ALEXEI!!! YES!!! YES!!!

You only get away with that bullshit if your doing TV.

Paul said...

What is up with that wretched "Go Cubs Go" song? I heard that last year when I traveled to wrigley and couldn't erase it from my memory no matter how much of that Old Style crap I consumed.

Josh S. said...

I remember Hawk being a bit more subdued last season, thanks to one Mr. James Loney.

Steve Sax said...

@Mr LA SF 10:09p: You sound like you're coming down with a bad cough. You may want to have that checked.

See you guys bright and early tomorrow for more morning baseball!

Dusty Baker said...

Head for DC, good people. I won't know the score til I land so I will just be miserable in-flight. I'll leave you with Nats lineup for today's game:

Morgan 8 Kennedy 5 Guzman 4 Dunn 3 Willingham 7 Rodriguez 2 Harris 9 Desmond 6 Olsen 1

Yesterday their B squad took us to 13. What will today hold?

Steve Sax said...

Damn, Dusty. Your traveling life is nuts!

Hope you have time for lunch at Obrycki's Crab House!

karina said...

Not that this comment will add something:

1) that Opening Day shirt has really beautiful typography, the color scheme is gorgeous, it's a great shirt :)

2) True, to place a King behind a water pipe is disrespectful, no matter if there are other King James banners around the stadium. Not cool, Dodgers people. (you used King James awww)

3) I really want to have a Dodger dog with a beer, though i rarely drink beer

4) @Mr Customer i think they used that shade of orange to give some "beach vibe" to the stadium

5) Pitching is going to give us serious heartbreaks and nightmares. In the other hand, i do trust Honeycutt abilities to work with what he has. Also, i agree with @MrLASF they should free J-Mac.

6) Dusty, i couldn't do that. Ever.

Now, back to today's posts :)