Another game at Dodger Stadium? Well, not just any game. This was a Dodgers game against the rival Giants. Have you ever been to a Giants/Dodgers game, either in San Francisco or Los Angeles? It’s like a Yankees game against the Red Sox or a Cardinals game against the Cubs… but more angry. Who knows why they’re all so angry at each other? Anyway, I headed out to L.A. from Irvine to my buddy’s apartment in Glendale. Josh just got back from four months of working on a cruise ship and he happens to be a big Giants fan. So are Brendan and Jason and Marty. I went to college with all of these guys:
From left to right: Marty, Josh, Brendan, Jason
Brendan and Marty are from the Bay Area, Jason lives there now, and Josh didn’t like baseball until he started hanging out with these guys in college… so he’s a Giants fan now, too. I still like the Angels. The last time I’d been to a game with Josh was in May, before he went cruisin’. I saw a game with Brendan earlier this season in Anaheim, Jason went to a WBC game with me… and I’d never been to a ball game with Marty.
Anyhow, I was in Glendale at 4:00pm… I was hoping to get to the stadium for all of BP but since it wasn’t my call and this wasn’t all about me and trying to catch baseballs we left when Marty got there after work at 5:20. I tried to get into the field level of the stadium after we parked but just missed the window (they won’t let you in without a Field Level ticket after 5:40pm)… it was 5:45pm. Now, this wasn’t a big ballhawking outing but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try to at least snag SOMETHING.
I’d never been before, but I had no choice but to check out center field for BP. Basically, the Dodgers let you stand on the field in center, right where the wall normally is. They put up a cheap plastic fence that’s about four feet high and you can pray that a ball gets hit out there or that a player will toss one into the crowd. Here was they view from the back of the section:
And here was my view once I wiggled into a spot right along the fence:
I called out to a few Giants but only one balled got tossed… to a kid decked out in Giants gear. Good for him. I saw a ball get launched to dead center. It was going to clear the mini-wall so I started back, through the crowd, and it ended up flying over my head just a bit to my left (as I was facing away from the field). All those people around and it hit the concrete cleanly and took a big bounce. I was still too far from it…
I squeezed back into the front row again. Barry Zito was fielding just in front of the center field crowd and he rolled a ball back for the kids to fight over. It trickled up next to the fence and they went at it. Eventually, he shagged a fly ball within earshot of me and I said, “Hey, Barry, could you throw that one over here, please?” He turned, saw my outstretched glove and lobbed it.
It was going to be a tough play… I knew it was meant for me but I couldn’t move to either side. The ball was descending just a bit to my left so I leaned as far as I could while still keeping my arm fully extended and trying not to fall over the shabbily zip-tied together mini-fence. Meanwhile, a dude in Dodger duds saw the ball and elbowed me trying to get it. I kept my glove just a few inches further out than his and made the catch.
Now that my streak was still active I took my leave from the front row. I figured that if something got hit to center field over the fence then I’d go for it but I’d get out of the confines of the first row of fans. Once I had a few feet around me I looked at the ball I’d caught. It had a nasty gash on it:
What do you think that’s from?
Knowing that BP would be ending shortly I left center field and headed up to the Loge Level, where my ticketed seat was, and hoped I could get a Giant to toss one way up to me. Here was my view for the end of BP:
I called out to a few players but nobody wanted to try out their arm… not even as they made their way off the field and I was over the dugout. Oh, well… one ball snagged. I went and found my friends as the game started. Here was our view:
Not the best seats for snagging but it was a great section to be in and catch up with your friends. And check out that sunset! It was a great time, made even more exciting by the back and forth nature of the game. We were all psyched when Pablo Sandoval smacked a three-run home run:
HAI-YAH! And we watched to see if Randy Johnson would come into the game (he didn’t):
Sure, my Giants gear-clad friends got booed a bit as they got up from their seats, but that happened to EVERYONE in SF garb. But the Giants ended up winning 8-4… and Manny even hit a homer into Mannywood–ooh! In the eighth inning I decided to try for foul balls behind the plate. I alternated sides based on if a righty or lefty was up. Rafael Furcal fouled one to my left and, had I not been blocked by an elderly couple in the next section over I’d have had it. I ended up about six feet from my second-ever foul ball.
I was back with my buddies when there were two outs in the ninth. Brian Wilson closed it out for the San Francisco win!
After the game a slightly drunk SF fan snuck into this photo:
The reactions of my friends make me laugh. There were fireworks after the game, too. And at Dodger Stadium they let fans down onto the field to watch ’em. We stayed in our seats but here was the scene down below:
And here’s the show:
And Jason photographing the fireworks:
We headed out through the parking lot after that and–“WOW”–we all thought, we made it through a Giants win at Dodger Stadium without any immediate threats of stabbings, without being called f—–s, without any physical violence coming our way. It was a good drive home.