Tagged: dodger stadium

NLCS Game 4: Hot Takes

fullsizerender-3

  • Unnecessary to say this, but if the Cubs lose this game I have very little confidence in a series win. A win tonight and I feel like this is a brand new series.
  • I like John Lackey but his antics on the mound make it hard to watch him sometimes. Especially when he is bristling about a pitch the was, in reality, called correctly.
  • The Cubs catchers are absolute beasts throwing out baserunners. I’ll never get tired of seeing that.
  • Once again, Adrian Gonzalez can’t run. Adrian Gonzalez has never been able to run. Is the Dodger third base coach unaware of this fact? That’s been two bad sends during this series.
  • Like it or not, there wasn’t a definitive enough angle to overturn the play with Adrian Gonzalez thrown out at the plate. If you have to slow a clip down 100x and zoom in 25x to try to find something, that play shouldn’t be overturned. It has to be clear and incontrovertible evidence to change a call. It was not there in that play. I feel like that is the case in most extremely close replays. That’s OK. That would be OK even if it went against the Cubs. I wouldn’t be thrilled with it, but that’s how replay works.la-dodgers-vs-cubs-live-updates-game-4-dodgers-don-t-score-in-second-after-1476925465
  • Oh thank God. The Cubs can indeed score.
  • This game is significantly more fun than the game I attended last night. ct-cubs-dodgers-nlcs-game4-score-20161019
  • I may or may not be more relieved by Anthony Rizzo’s home run than Rizzo himself. He needed that. The Cubs needed that.
  • Josh Reddick’s “Lambeau Leap” is my favorite thing I’ve seen the Dodgers do all season.
  • I can’t believe there’s still any thought that the Dodgers will have Clayton Kershaw pitch in Game 5. Kershaw is a great pitcher, but there is no way he is ready to start a game tomorrow.
  • I actually kind of like Andrew Tolles. I don’t know that he’d be in my starting lineup, but I like him as a bench/utility piece.
  • With two walks to start the fifth I think Mr Lackey is done for the night if I’m Joe Maddon. This game is too important to lose with a pitcher losing his edge.
  • Well, the bottom of the fifth was rough, but the Cubs defense bailed them out. I don’t necessarily need a shutout. I just need the Cubs to end this thing with at least one more run than the Dodgers. However that happens.
  • I think Anthony Rizzo should buy all of Matt Szczur’s bats.
  • There have been more than a few plays tonight that look like they were choreographed by the Keystone Kops..not the least of which was the sacrifice fly that led to two runs and almost looked to be setting up a little league home run. From where I sit, that was a lot of fun to watch.
  • image
  • Addison Russell has found his swing again even if they don’t always drop for a hit.
  • Hoping that the injury to Carl Edwards, Jr. is just a leg cramp or something minor. He has been too important out of the bullpen to lose him for the rest of the postseason.
  • Hey Anthony, I’m loving your production tonight, but you don’t have to make up the entire postseason in a single game.
  • Dodger Stadium is emptying out like the rats escaping the Wrigley Field bleachers. I realize that 10-2 is a rough score to swallow, especially on a weeknight, but leaving a game early is a sin to me.
  • Tonight was a big momentum shift and with the series now even at 2-2, the path to the World Series goes through Wrigley and I like the Cubs chances in that situation. I think tomorrow is definitely winnable and even if Kershaw pitches like Kershaw in the first game back at Wrigley, the Cubs can take Game 7. I’m feeling very good about this series.

NLCS Game 3: I Was There. Wish I Wasn’t.

peanutsbaseball-1

I swore off of Dodger Stadium two years ago. The parking lots are miserable, there’s little to no charm and I have been harassed by fans (read: hooligans) more than I care to remember. I also don’t understand the appeal of Dodger Dogs. They are just extra large Farmer John hot dogs. Essentially the same thing anyone could get at any little league game across the country. Sorry, I just don’t get it. I broke that oath for Game 3 of the NLCS. What could go wrong? Jake Arrieta was pitching in California, where he has been utterly dominant over the previous two years, and at a ballpark where he threw a no-hitter. I took nothing for granted, but I also was hedging my bets on this one and broke my own rule.

The last time I was at Dodger Stadium a guy named Rich H. got lit up by a team wearing blue. I was hoping for history to repeat itself. It did, but not in the way I was expecting or hoping, but I’m guessing you know those gory details and I won’t waste time or emotional baggage on them. Instead, I want to address my Dodger Stadium experience, which, after talking to many other fans, seems fairly typical.

3nlcs2

My brothers and I arrived at the ballpark a few hours before the game and slowly made our way to our section in the top deck. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by the section. There was a spacious concourse with high bar tables scattered around and a nice view. My brothers enjoyed a beer (in the process becoming beer holders/hand models for some unknown publication) as we whiled away the time until the game. We headed to our seats relatively early due to the fact that I have mobility issues and don’t like being a spectacle or recipient of pity as I make my way to my seat.

We ended up sitting in the front row, which meant that–unlike some other ballparks I have visited– I had to walk down many very steep steps, rather than entering at the lowest level with the rest of the section above and behind. While not terribly comfortable or convenient, the trek to the seats was not the end of the world. As we waited for first pitch the seats around us started to fill up–as expected–with Dodger fans. While there were other Cub fans in the general vicinity, we were all scattered apart. No little pockets of Cubdom in our section.

Immediately sitting behind me was a gentleman who was very knowledgeable about baseball and more or less a decent guy until he met his neighbor, who was a loud, ignorant aggressor throughout the entire game.

3nlcs1

My brothers and I sat fairly quiet during the entire game, only talking to each other in relatively quiet voice and not at all engaging with the people around us. This didn’t matter to the aggressor who spent the game screaming and making comments intending to infuriate us and get us to engage with him. We did not, but that didn’t stop him. In addition to his harassment of our group, he was adamant about getting a “wave” started. In the NLCS. The “wave” is never acceptable and certainly not in a game of this import, but I digress.

As the game ended my brothers and I stayed in our seats and let our section empty, again due to my slow speed and lack of mobility so I wouldn’t block or delay any other fans trying to exit. As our area cleared we recieved some empty platitudes of “good game” and “there’s still a lot of baseball to come,” which redeemed some of the fans around us, but, of course, nothing from the aggressor. I expected nothing less. As we were walking to our car there was a man in a Dodger jersey literally walking up and screaming in the faces of any Cubs fans he could find. Simple people and families who were just minding their own business. Seeing that left a terrible taste in my mouth. Fortunately we were able to avoid him and get to the car without further harassment.

What started as a promising redemption for Dodger Stadium ended as further damning of my least favorite ballpark that I have ever visited. The staff was friendly and helpful, but the all too common dealings with bad fans negated any goodwill that the staff earned. On the way home I went on Twitter to vent about my experiences and got many responses from fellow Cub fans who indicated that my experiences were not isolated incidents, which saddened me further.

Would my feelings be different if the Cubs had won 6-0? Maybe. Maybe that would have quieted the cocksure fan and their bullying…or maybe it would have made things worse. There is, after all, nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose and this is the place where an opposing fan was beaten into a long term coma.

3nlcs5

I do not condemn all Dodger fans. I have many friends who are fans and are civilized human beings. I’m not even saying that the bad fans make up a majority of the fanbase. Every team has their “bad fans.” Witness the idiot throwing a bottle of beer on the field at the Orioles in Toronto of all places. All I’m saying is that a majority of my experiences with Dodger Stadium have been tainted by bad fan interactions and I know I’m not the only one.

Hey future self, please remember this game the next time you think about visiting Dodger Stadium and remember one of the most miserable sports experiences of your life. I went into this game expecting very little and left receiving even less.

 

Rick Monday: Patriot

 

image2

It was 40 years ago today that Rick Monday performed the greatest play of his 19 year MLB career. He didn’t hit a home run in extra innings or make an amazing catch to preserve a perfect game. It wasn’t anything like that. What Monday did, for those uninformed, was to save the American flag.

Monday, playing center field for the Cubs in the bottom of the 4th inning when he noticed two protestors jump on the field and kneel down and begin trying to light an American flag. This did not sit well with Monday, a veteran of the Marine Corps reserves.

image3

Now, the words of Vin Scully.

“And wait a minute, there is an animal loose. Alright…I am not sure what he’s doing out there. It looks like he’s going to burn a flag! And Rick Monday runs and takes it away from him! I think the guy was going to set fire to the American flag! Can you imagine that?”

Monday grabbed the flag and turned and ran it over to the Dodgers dugout for safekeeping as stadium security apprehended the protestors; a father and his 11-year old son. The father was later fined, charged with trespassing and placed on probation.

image1

When Monday came up for his next at bat, the scoreboard flashed the words, “RICK MONDAY… YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY…” and the Dodger fans gave him a well deserved standing ovation. Monday was later presented with the flag on May 4, 1976 on “Rick Monday Day” at Wrigley Field once the Cubs returned home. He has since been given the Peace 1 Earth medallion by the organization Stand Up 4 Vets and was later gifted with a flag flown above Valley Forge, in recognition of his patriotism and valor shown in the Dodger Stadium outfield.

I was able to attend Rick Monday bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium in 2013 (full write up here) and am pleased to note that when the videoboard showed the footage of Monday’s historic grab, it was once again accompanied by a standing ovation.

In a time when politics and policies are becoming more and more divisive, it’s nice to look back at an event like this–by no means earth-shattering or revolutionary–and remember that there are some things that can just unite groups of people, regardless of socio-political-economic division. The act that Monday stopped that afternoon was wrong and almost everyone in that ballpark knew it at the time and seemingly still know it today.

Thank you, Mr. Monday!

“If you’re going to burn the flag, don’t do it around me. I’ve been to too many veterans’ hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it.”

–Rick Monday

Retro Reviews: All Good Things Must End (Originally published 10-13-2013)

To start off, let me address the obvious. There are no pictures in this recap. Despite bringing my camera to all 17 previous games that I attended in 2013, never having any issues, it was the Dodgers in my final game to declare that I could not bring my lens in with me. I was told that despite it being available at many consumer retailers, to bring the lens with me I would need a press pass.

I was forced to return to the car and deposit the only companion who had joined me for every single game this year. Yes, I could have put on a different lens, but I was angry and the shorter lens would have essentially done me no good, since we were–quite literally–stranded in right field.
Since I was still battling the bit of illness that had kept me out of the finale of the San Diego series, Lauren and I decided that skipping the first game of the Dodger series might be in my best interest. I was determined to go to the second game, since the Dodgers were giving away a bobblehead of Rick Monday saving the American flag. In a Cubs jersey. If you don’t know the story behind that, click here. That being my primary goal, we decided to treat ourselves to the “All You Can Eat” Pavilion in right field.
The pros of sitting in the pavilion include all the hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and soda that you can eat and drink up through the 7th inning. The major con was that once you enter the gates to right, you are stuck there. It makes sense, not wanting people wandering in and out or taking food to people in the cheap seats, but it makes it significantly inconvenient for wandering the stadium, though being camera-free, that was less of a concern for me.
We loaded up on snacks and found our seats next to the Cubs bullpen. Actually, we found someone else’s seats next to the Cubs bullpen. Our assigned seats were taken by a group who decided to lounge across the whole bench. Not feeling like making a fuss we sat a row down and right next to the fence separating us from the pen. We got to watch Travis Wood warm up and then we were forced to retreat to our seats, when the real owners showed up. Unlike the people at the Padres game we had the common courtesy to look ashamed at being caught.
With a little grumbling the people in our original seats moved over and we set ourselves to watch a game we expected the Cubs to lose. After all, Clayton “Cy Young” Kershaw was opposing the Cubs who were playing at essentially their lowest point of the year. The Cubs were able to get toKoufax, I mean Kershaw, with some unexpectedly clutch hitting and managed to hang on to a 3-2 victory, despite ex-Dodger, Kevin Gregg, causing some heart-attacks in the 9th.
The most exciting part of the game was the fact that Bob Newhart was in attendance, and rooting for the Cubs along with us. Except in a luxury box. Far away from us. He was with us in spirit!
I guess that was the point that we were at in the season, where Bob Newhart was more exciting that what occurred on the field, but when you are basically playing to stay out of the cellar, these things happen.
Camera incident notwithstanding, I find Dodger Stadium to be the worst place that I saw a ballgame this year. The facilities are very dated and there is little to no charm to redeem that fact. It is a concrete monster stadium, built in an era of concrete monster stadia and is largely unremarkable. Add to that a largely unfriendly and clueless fan base with aggression issues and you have an unpleasant place to experience a game. I say this not only as a visiting fan, but even as a neutral observer, having come to Dodger games with random opponents. This all doesn’t even address the hell that is parking and entering/exiting Chavez Ravine. I’m sure I’ll be back next season when the Cubs come to town, but I probably won’t try to catch any more random games. It’s too much of a hassle and there is little payoff reciprocated for the effort required to visit.
With that, my season comes to a close.
This season was by far my most ambitious and I was very pleased with how it turned out for the most part. Obviously I’d love to have seen better results on the field with both the Cubs and the Angels, but I had fun nonetheless.
This year I attended 18 games in 5 stadia, saw the Cubs in 3 different states as well as all 5 of the previously mentioned stadia. I got one baseball and one autograph at a game. I saw Mike Trout’s cycle and the most impressive comebacks that I have ever seen, one good and one awful. The teams I was rooting for went 12-6 for a winning percentage of .667 and I am 20% complete with seeing every major league ballpark.
Onward to next season and trips to Wrigley Field for the 100th anniversary, US Cellular Field and Miller Field, with a possible side trip to Fort Wayne to see the minor league Tin Caps. Overall a successful year, I’d say. I got to spend a lot of time watching the game I love with a lot of great people and that’s the best part. Aside from the rare Cub win.