Before I address anything else, I have to say this is the best game I’ve seen all year and maybe even longer than that. What began as a pitching matchup between Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw and Rox star (get it ?) Kyle Freeland in the very tight NL West race delivered big time. There was good pitching, some amazing defensive plays, crowd excitement and a beautiful evening. Oh yes, and a walk off homer!
We came to L. A. to visit our son and enjoyed a terrific meal and evening of entertainment at the Magic Castle the evening prior, all to prepare for baseball. Neither disappointed.
This was not my first time at Dodger Stadium – that happened almost fifty years ago and there have been many other visits since then. The facility has been modernized and upgraded since then, but the basic feel remains the same. For this game, we were on the lower level and the problem we encountered was that the slope of the stands is too gradual, meaning that all too often, the folks in front of you sometimes partially (or in our case completely) block your view. The two in front of us did this often, having taken on considerable fan fuel before the game and needing to work it off with (all too) frequent chants of “Let’s go Dodgers” encouraging all nearby to join in. Let’s just say the decibel level was high and constant.
Another feature I complained about during the Heat/Humidity Tour is advertising on the foul poles. Those advertised chicken, but the Dodgers took a whole different approach – an Arabic airline.
One surprising and unfortunate aspect – the visual and audio on the Jumbotron were not synchronized. You’d think that the spend on the stadium upgrade would have fixed such a basic problem.
I thought I was mixed up when the grounds crew came out to drag the infield at the end of the second inning. Turns out they do that every other inning here. The standard everywhere else is every third inning.
As to the game, this was an important one for the NL West race. The D’Backs have tanked, so it’s really down to the Dodgers and the Rockies, both for the division title and the wild card. The Dodgers won the first game of the series, putting them a half game ahead, so this one meant either going up 1 1/2 games or 1/2 game back again. For much of the time, the score was tied at 2. In the bottom of the ninth, with two out and nobody on, Yasmani Grandal just missed a walk off home run – caught at the warning track. But then in the bottom of the tenth, Chris Taylor (former Mariner!) managed it for the first time in his career, to the delight of the home crowd.
And then there’s the food. The “naked chicken” wasn’t really naked – it was breaded and deep fried.
Here’s the always popular helmet o’ grub.
But you can’t go to Chavez Ravine and not have a Dodger dog. Or two. Or three.
Finally, it was bobble head night – Matt Kemp was the subject, shown here in that form and in the flesh.