Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Saxless Dodgers Opening Day in 2011

Some time during the torrential rains this Sunday, I went to the closet to grab a rag to mop up some of the water. And there in the stack lay the ripped shreds of a t-shirt from one of my earliest Dodger Stadium Opening Days:

Opening Day 2004, the Dodgers ended up getting smoked by the Padres, 8-2. Hideo Nomo lasted only five innings and gave up 7 ER, and the Dodgers were beaten by Brian Lawrence despite a Shawn Green HR. The shirt's logo design is pretty ugly, with its goofy elongated "g" and "y" letters extending the length of their respective words, and a sunset-like color scheme which is completely discordant with a 1pm start time.

But I recall wearing the shirt with pride--until the holes finally rendered it useless for normal wear and it was sacrificed to the rag pile--because it was OPENING DAY. Sure, the Dodgers went on that year to win the division outright, despite getting swept almost swept in the playoffs (thanks Lima Time). But that wasn't what made it special; playing hooky, on a Monday, just to spend a day out in the sun and enjoying the afternoon in the world's most beautiful outdoor cathedral: now this is living.

I have made the last seven Opening Days at Dodger Stadium without fail, skipping work without reservation, because it is my right as a Dodger fan. It doesn't matter how good or bad the team might be. Opening Day is a day of hope, a day of promise, a day when no player can do all that poorly ("he just had an off-day") but the player stands to gain immortal upside (imagine ending the day with a 1.000 batting average--like Jason Grabowski did in 2004). It's a wonderful, magical time to be at the Stadium.

The bunting alone adorning the periphery of the field is both patriotic and elegant. The lawn has never looked greener. The Dodger Dogs have never tasted better.

The Opening Day experience at Dodger Stadium ROCKS.

And this year, I'm missing out. I have tickets, but I can't go (don't worry, the tickets are spoken for). And though the cause is noble and just, the sacrifice of the streak is sad and disappointing.

I am taking solace in the fact that a 5pm start time won't be the same as a full day at the Stadium, which usually ends with a sun-bleached and dehydrated SoSG Steve Sax coming back home for a huge dinner and barbecue with family and friends. Never mind that beating the Giants on national television would be heroic. I'm trying to tell myself that missing the game won't be that bad. I can pick up the Opening Day shirt for half-price at year's end, right (which I always swear to myself I will do the next year, after seeing the stack of unsold shirts in the offseason; yet in the excitement and pageantry of the actual Opening Day game itself, I always end up paying full-price like an idiot).

So one week from now, for those of you lucky cats who get to attend: have a blast. I'll make it out to the Opening Series. Until then, root, root root for the home team. And have a beer this year for me.

Earlier:

  • Opening Day 2010: Recaps and photos here, here, and here.
  • Opening Day 2009: Recaps and photos here and here.
  • Opening Day 2008: Brand-spanking new urinals found here.
  • Opening Day 2007: Recaps, photos, and a disastrous new parking system introduction here and here.

20 comments:

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

GAH I JUST REALIZED WE'RE A WEEK AWAY FROM REAL BASEBALL

Josh S. said...

AND I HAVE ZERO IDEA WHAT THE ROSTER WILL LOOK LIKE!

Dusty Baker said...

Man, Sax, you got me all weepy on my way into work. This sucks - I feel some sort of cosmic disturbance brewing because your streak is in such jeopardy.

But I'll soldier on. I'll be there and I know some other SoSG regulars will be as well.

I've made it to many an Opening Day since moving out here, and consider it the holiest of holy days. I'd have to be in surgery to miss it. Fortunately, my boss feels the same way so we often go together, making the work thing more manageable.

(cries)

Dusty Baker said...

PS-WASH YER HAIR, TIMMEH!!!

MeanieBreanie said...

We are on the final countdown. Saxy, sorry for your loss. I too feel your pain.

Steve Sax said...

For any of you guys going to Opening Day, send me some pix and recaps! I'll be with you in spirit...

Jason said...

Something I've never had the honor to experience is Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. One of the few, great regrets of my life that I still have time to correct.

My current streak of Opening Days in whatever city I currently reside will hit 10 this year but I long for someplace with nice weather so I can be just as sunburned and dehydrated as Sax at the end of the day.

Also, Seattle's Opening Day start time is freaking 7:10 pm. Is it not bad enough that the roof will probably be closed at game time? We're not afraid of the sun even if we haven't seen it in 5 months.

*continues week of grumbling*

karina said...

awwwww Sax but I'm sure Dodgers will pull off a victory over the hated ones

Spank said...

There is no crying in baseball,Peeps. Only when we lose.

(cries)

DodgerDug said...

The Dodgers didnt get swept in the playoffs in 2004. Jose Lima's gem in game 3 of the NLDS prevented that from happening

Josh S. said...

I may go, I may not. The 5pm start time is proving more difficult to pull off than the 1pm.

(Not that I have tickets, but I'm in on that ticket purchase opportunity thingy.)

Spank said...

I'll be here at the GT giving thoughtful comments about the Gnats while at the same time keeping my streak of 26 years since the last time I've seen the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium alive.

Steve Sax said...

@Dodger Dug 10:17a: Thank you; corrected. You're right.

I had to miss the 2004 playoffs as well as I was out of the country at the time (which is probably contributing to why I didn't recall the outcome)

Steve Sax said...

@Spank 11:10: are you insinuating that you've seen dead Dodgers at Dodger Stadium?

Or that you're actually dead?

I don't get it.

Dusty Baker said...

There's no Sax in the champagne room.

Spank said...

@ Saxy

Yes. Field of broken dreams.

Paul said...

I would poor some beer out in your honor Sax but I'm guessing Frank has upped the prices.

Been to opening day in 99,04,07,08. I missed the last two years but I won't miss this year. I have a sinking feeling it might be the only time this season I will be optimistic. Oh wait it looks like I already lost that optimism.

Well at less I can look for Simers and make money on MRLASF's bounty.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

A shiny new donkey for whoever brings T.J. Simers alive.

Steve Sax said...

@Paul: tell you what, take a picture of you spilling (some of) one out at opening day (you'll have to be creative to prove the locale and occasion), and I'll buy you a (domestic regular-sized) beer when next we meet...

Josh S. said...

Looking at the shirt again...It looks like "Opening Dayo 4." Is that a Harry Belafonte event?