Continuing my very-delinquent At-Game Recap from Opening Day from Part 1...
Whoops, in my Part 1 recap, I forgot to mention one celebrity sighting, which occurred as I made my way down from the loge to the field level. Near the Dodgers' silent auction tables (on the suite level, near the escalators) was none other than the Penguin, Ron Cey:
This marked the second time I had met Cey in person, and during both times I noticed how Cey was incredibly polite and receptive to fans. Last time, we met under much more sedate circumstances, and he ended up taking time to have a fairly personal and revealing conversation with myself and my father. This time, it had to have been a little more challenging for Cey to remain composed, as he was literally accosted by fan after fan who were trying to get autographs and pictures with the 1970s Dodger legend, shoving paper in front of his face and muscling in to take shots before he even obliged sometimes. Cey, to his credit, maintained his calm and cool despite the encroachments on his time and personal space, and I have to hand it to him for not losing his temper at some of the fans, who were a little aggressive. (I took my picture early on, before he was surrounded--asked permission first--and Cey respectfully complied.)
In fact, aggressiveness ended up being one of the themes of Opening Day, as it seemed like the crowd was a bit more charged and less civil than years prior. A couple of seats in front of us was a very happy gentleman who kept standing up and yelling "Agua!" at the top of his lungs, looking at the rows behind him for validation. It was annoying, and a little ridiculous, but the fan didn't do it during key at-bats, and he wasn't cursing or threatening anyone, so it was weird but cool.
Or maybe not so cool, to someone else. About three innings into the game, security came down the aisle and asked the guy to mellow out; I believe they told him that they had heard he was cursing. This intervention, unsurprisingly, proceeded to piss the guy off; after all, he was indeed being mildly annoying, but he wasn't cursing or making anyone feel uncomfortable (as far as I could tell), so he took umbrage at the cops' allegations. And then he got more vocal, and a little more histrionic. And an inning later, the cops came down, and took him away.
Normally, I'd applaud this sort of amplified security presence; after all, it's Opening Day and a packed crowd, there are plenty of kids around, and if someone who is clearly going out of his way to be seen and heard is bothering other fans and impeding their ability to enjoy the game, then a verbal warning and subsequent consequences seems a reasonable course of action.
But on the flipside, said security was nowhere to be found when a fight broke out a couple of rows behind us. And when a friend of mine went up the aisle to get some more beer, and found cops wiping up red liquid from the ground at the top of the aisle, he realized (and the cop confirmed) that it wasn't a ketchup spill. This violent environment isn't the kind of Opening Day at which I want to spend. I don't want Dodger Stadium to turn into a police state for home games, but maybe there's a better balance to be struck between guys screaming for water and guys throwing punches. At the very least, we can get ushers who are more dilgent and visible in walking up and down the aisles and making sure everyone is keeping civil; it appeared from a cursory glance that ushers had been cut back this season as well (or perhaps they weren't as visible).
But back to the game.
The crowd was still rolling in as the flag was rolling out in the pre-game ceremonies (I took a lot of these pictures, partially as I was trying to capture the fireworks that were launched from the field following each of our nine starters' introductions):
And it's pretty funny that I took the same shot as SoSG regular Josh S., calling attention to the Dodgers' woeful lack of proofreaders (must have been another one of those McCourt divorce-related cutbacks). I mean, seriously. "Lightening"? And "Farenheit"? In the same sentence? As the Dodgers try and educate us on science facts? What a disaster:
Note the lack of a CPK-sponsored strikeout meter, below the right-field scoreboard:
And here's one more shot at the game, as afternoon shadows started to cross the field:
Despite the Dodgers' Opening Day triumph, the highlight of the day for me was the opportunity to meet SoSG regulars Josh S. (and his lovely wife) and Dusty Baker. Josh S. and I said hello before the game began, as the crowds were just starting to file in, so we had a chance to talk a little bit and shoot the bull about our respective experiences playing mid-week hooky. Dusty and I met at the end of the game, which yielded a much shorter conversation. By this time of the game I was pretty buzzed, but I do recall thanking Dusty for his regularity in helping us post the Dodgers' starting lineups in GameThreads.
I recall when Dusty started doing this on SoSG GTs, around a year or two ago (rather than Orel or I fumbling around trying to add this to each game), I had to pause to realize how incredible it was that the blog had evolved (matured?) to receive input and contributions from the whole SoSG family, not just those of us "on staff."
That experience, along with the contributions and feedback from a number of you, has made my involvement with SoSG so much more rewarding as this blog has evolved. And this is why it was a real thrill to meet both of them at the game, as (like many of you SoSG regulars) the SoSG readers have become so much of the reason why we have kept this blog going, and why we invest time in it in the first place. I'm continually impressed with the SoSG readers' wit, sarcasm, baseball understanding, humor, pop-culture and trivia knowledge, and delicate balance between optimism and pessimism. So thank you for all your readership and comments and emails and puzzle answers and feedback--and get ready for more surprises in store this year.
No matter how badly this Dodgers season ends up.
Oh yeah, and one more thing. I'd comment on how awful the traffic was on the way out, but I fell asleep in the backseat of a car my aunt was driving. (Thanks, Auntie!)