I attended this game with my three of my friends: Josh, Jason, and Jeff. We got to the ballpark about a half hour before game time (no need to try to go to BP… see my last entry). We approached and saw a plethora of fans including these guys with giant fans and samurai garb (who’d been featured on ESPN on Sunday during the game).
They gave fans “rally towels”of varying colors as they entered… they have the consistency of a washcloth that’s been run through the laundry 200 times…mine was blue.
Jeff had a ticket for the Top Deck and Jason had one for the opposite side of the Reserve Level from where Josh and I had seats but we all managed to sit together just past first base near Section 32. Tonight it would be Korea vs. Japan for all the World Baseball marbles.
We saw little flags set up on the field before the game (you can see them in the photo below) and it definitely looked like some pregame ceremonies were in the works.
Flags and fireworks and drummers, oh my!
And after three national anthems played by the live orchestra (of which the USA’s was way too long) and some streamers…
…the game was under way. It started off slow if you’re like Jason and want a baseball smashfest every time you go to the park. Korea was getting no hit through three innings and Japan was on top 1-0. In the 5th inning, Shin-Soo Choo, who hit a three-run blast on Saturday, smacked a homer to right center to tie the game at one. The Japanese went ahead 3-1 in the late goings but the Koreans scored a run in the eighth and another in the bottom of the ninth off a wild Yu Darvish to tie it. Extra innings! Dodger Stadium was bouncing with the energy of all the fans.
Later I found out the attendence was 54,846–more than I’d ever seen at a Dodger game. And it seemed like nobody had left. The game came down to Ichiro… he came through for Japan, knocking a two-run single up the middle to give his team a 5-3 lead that they held though the bottom of the 10th. Two-Time WBC Champions: Japan.
It was a fun night out with friends and with fans from all over. Great energy and a lot of excitement. Whatever MLB decides to do with the WBC (the next one’s scheduled for 2013… so as not to conflict with teams prepping for the Olympics in 2012) I hope to still be able to attend. These games are always a blast!
So, I didn’t catch a baseball. Stupid Dodger Stadium rules…
I’d been excited for this game for months! Michelle was coming with me, I’d had the tickets displayed on my desk for a month, I hadn’t seen a baseball game since September 27th, 2008. The game between Korea and Venezuela was scheduled to start at 6:00pm so, naturally, we were parked and out of the car by 4:00pm. The Dodger Stadium website had said gates open two hours early and we headed in for a great evening at the ballpark.
Here’s the view as we approached the stadium:
I’m psyched at this point because there’s hardly anyone around…
The Field Level gate:
That’s when things went south. I told Michelle, “Hey, let’s go to the bleachers for batting practice.” So, we get there and the lady wants to scan my ticket. I said I was just there to watch BP and she gets really confused. She asks the security dude next to her if they’re doing batting practice. He says they are and where’s my ticket and what section should I be in? I’m like, “Just here to watch BP.” He says that this is an international event and only seatholders for the bleachers can get in to the bleachers! WHAT!?!? By the way, I’ve got a lower reserve ticket… my seats are better than sitting on a plank in the sun. Why would I try to sneak in to a section in the outfield? Totally different rules… OK, so update your website, Dodgers. Gah! I hate the stupid security rules at Dodger Stadium. With a shred of hope, after being denied access to the left field bleachers, I go to the Field Level gate and ask a security guy if there is any way to get close to the action for BP… he tells me there is not. I cry a little inside.
Regardless, Michelle and I head up the steps to the Reserve Level. We are there two hours before game time and the closest I can get to the field is:
So I ask loudly (in English AND Korean) for a ball… maybe somebody on the Korean team will show off his arm strength and launch a ball up to me… 100 feet away. Nope, no dice. Alas, Michelle is a trooper. We talk about baseball and batting practice wraps up (apparently Venezuela hit before we even got there… they must have started at, like, 3:00pm. Another thing I HATE about Dodger Stadium: once you’re inside you’re locked in on your level. At this point we can’t do anything that’s not on the Reserve Level… there’s not a lot to do. Other stadiums have exhibits, games, a plethora of food and merchandise options, and other fun stuff. Stupid Stadium has three merchandise booths, a half a dozen food stands, and that’s it. I debated buying a ticket for the Final specifically for the bleacher seats just for BP (I already have my same Lower Reserve seats) and I checked–$55–for outfield bleacher seats. Now, here’s the main problem with the WBC. Cost. Nobody wants to pay 55 bucks to sit in the outfield and watch players they don’t know. Bum Ho Lee is good, but nobody who doesn’t follow the Korean National Baseball Team cares.
Anywho, Michelle and I checked out some TV/media reporting areas, walked around the whole level, I ran up to the highest and farthest seat from home plate (in Section 58).
I also found a shirt that had been given away supporting Team Korea.
Michelle and I had determined that she’d root for VEN and I’d root for
KOR so I kept my free souvenir.
Then we listened to all three national
anthems, grabbed a Dodger Dog (which was good!) and some pretzels and
water and sat down to enjoy the game.
The Koreans scored in the first… five runs. It didn’t help that Bobby Abreu (new Angel) dropped a fly ball. Carlos Silva lasted less than two innings and Korea was up 7-0 in the third. It didn’t get any closer than that. You know what was awesome? The energy level around us in our seats. I’d say that about 3/4 of the crowd was rooting for Korea and they had thundersticks, flags, face paint, drums, trash bags… I don’t know what the trash bags were for… but they were blue and they made noise apparently. Here are some of my favorite pics of the crowd:
MLB.com said there were over 43,000 people at the game… it didn’t seem like it. Anyway, it got a bit cold and Michelle and I bundled up as best we could. We stayed until the last out (like always) and it was cool to see the Korean team acknowledge all their fans before they headed off into the dugout. Man, they’re a good team. They pitch well, they play good defense, and they hit the long ball. It will be interesting to see who makes it to the Final… I’ll post again in a few days!
In two days it will officially be Spring. In two days Winter will be gone and with it, the lack of baseball that’s left my evenings far too free for six months. Sure, Spring Training’s underway… and the Angels have a 15-4 record! I don’t put a lot of stock in Spring Training records but I am way more excited that they’re 15-4 rather than 4-15. Right?
Two days until Spring! And then just a couple of weeks until Opening Day! I’ve already been approached by a few people that want to go to games… I’m all for it! I hope to go to two or three in the first week or so of the season. And, of course, the WBC is still going. Team USA’s win last night was incredible! Just a great baseball game regardless of who you are–WOW! I’m really looking forward to an energetic crowd when I’m at Dodger Stadium this weekend. My goal is to come away with at least one World Baseball Classic ball. I’ve already read a couple of blogs/comments that say that folks have gotten them…
Two days ’til Spring… then… baseball takes over. March Madness is OK… basketball is fine, pro or collegiate. I just never really got into it. Hockey–whatever–I’m not from anywhere north. Soon, six months of baseball!
So, two exciting things happened this week in the world of Matt and baseball.
1. Who’d the Angels sign?
Yep, Bobby Abreu’s an Angel, at least for this season. Why is this a good deal for the Angels? Well, as much as I liked Garret Anderson (and I really did–and do like him), it was going to cost us $14 million dollars just to keep him around and we got Abreu for about $9 million less than that. Abreu’s two years younger than Anderson and he has played in at least 150 games each season for the last ten years. So, he’s durable and should remain so because he’ll be splitting DH time with Vladdy, Mike Napoli (maybe), and Juan Rivera. I’m projecting seventeen homers and 100 RBIs for Bobby, which is about what G.A. would’ve given us. Also, he’s a career .300 hitter and he’s got a one-year deal which means he’s playing for a 2010 contract that he really wants to get… so he’ll go all out every day. Welcome aboard, Bobby, now just stay healthy.
And the next exciting thing?
2. My WBC tickets arrived!
I came home last night and my roommate said there was a package for me on the table… it was from Elysian Park Ave. Thrilling? Yes! I tore open the cardboard and…
Ooh. Pretty. I love specialty tickets. C’mon, March–get here soon!
I’ll be attending one game with Michelle and one game with my buddy, Josh, who you may remember from this entry back in September of last year. The third game will probably be a chance for Josh to take his brother to a game… assuming he pays me for the tickets.
I’m all jazzed about the start of the season… and there are still a few pieces to the MLB puzzle to connect: ManRam, where’s he going? How will fans treat A-Roid this year? And when on earth will my cable company here at UCI provide me with MLB Network?!? C’mon, guys!
My favorite part about the week after the Super Bowl is that people start talking about baseball again. ESPN’s coverage turns from the gridiron to the diamond. We talk of free agents, sluggers, OPS, ERA, RBIs, and Ks. The weather gets slightly less cold (but what do I know, living in southern California?) and I start hearing,”X days until pitchers and catchers report.” Oh, man, it is exciting!
Last year was a great baseball year. This year has a lot to offer. The Yankees and Mets have new stadiums. This will be the first full year that umps review home run calls. There are a lot of rookies that are just waiting to break out and there are a lot of veterans that have ended up in (or will end up in) new ballparks. Oh, and don’t forget about milestones, Web Gems, building your collections of memorabilia, and calling your buddies to ask ’em if they just saw that double play.
The Angels play their home opener on April 6th. I won’t be there… too expensive. I may go on the 7th and I may go to an exhibition game against the Padres on the 4th. The WBC is coming… YES! And. There. Are. Only. Six. Days. Until. Pitchers. And. Catchers. Report.
At the beginning of September 2008, after reading about Fan
Packs on another baseball blog, I decided to send a letter to each of the 30 MLB
teams. The letters were polite, sincere,
and I asked for any leftover giveaway items, or just a letter back. I hoped that, if nothing else, the 30 teams I
sent letters to would respond. Here’s
what has been sent to me in the last three months:
Orioles – form letter, 2 pocket schedules, 2 player cards, 1
autographed card from the Orioles bird, stickers, Camden Yards postcard
Athletics – history of the team, 1 player card, pocket
Cubs – Wrigley field history, “how to get autographs”
letter, 2 pocket schedules, full roster list, sticker, 2 order forms
Mariners – 2 sticker sheets, decal, 2 pocket schedules, Ritchie Sexson autographed card, activity
sheet, form letter/brochure
Phillies – 7 player cards (including 1 faux Jimmy Rollins
autograph), pocket schedule, “tips for young ballplayers” guide
Indians – Cliff Lee
autographed player card, 2 activity/coloring sheets, copy of Little League
Magazine (Summer 2008)
Rays – sticker, decal, pocket schedule, Rays baseball camp
Rangers – five-piece stationary set, cloth logo (large), Jr.
Rangers wristband, 3 logo stickers, 4 player cards (including faux Hank Blalock
and faux Michael Young autographs), Kevin
Millwood autographed player card
White Sox – form letter, 2 order forms, 2 pocket schedules, 1
sticker, Sox kids club brochure, sausage magnet
Brewers – set of 3 baseball cards (random), Jason Kendall
promo card, Robin Yount promo card, pocket schedule, 2 player cards
Twins – official merchandise catalog, new ballpark poster, 5
player cards, kids club brochures, team photo, Justin Morneau (reading) poster
Tigers – form letter, fact sheet, 2 pocket schedules
For a while, nothing else came. I opened my mailbox and saw coupons, bills,
and the occasional letter or card from someone I knew… but it seemed that no
one else in Major League Baseball was going to reach out to me. Then, my hope was renewed on:
Red Sox – 2008 Red Sox wall calendar, Red Sox keychain,
personalized card from the Red Sox, 2 pocket schedules
Marlins – set of 5 Marlins baseball cards, pocket schedule,
bookmark, temporary tattoo, a Cornerstones for Kids sticker, 1 player sticker,
license plate advertisement, 2 player cards, 2008 Marlins roster, autographed
photo of Billy the Marlin
Yankees – Yankee Stadium magnet, Yankee Stadium keychain,
Yankee Stadium virtual tour DVD
And that’s it… so far. All I have to say is, “What’s up, other MLB teams? Nothing? I am sorely disappointed in you.” Anywho, feel free to give it a try for yourself… The teams that did respond (thank you) actually sent some cool stuff! I am steadily adding to my baseball collection in the offseason. Soon, I’ll blog about some autograph requests I sent out. Enjoy the chilly days of Winter! Las Vegas will certainly give all us baseball fans a lot to talk about for the next few months.
Oh, and lastly, I just bought my tickets to the WBC at Dodger Stadium in March! I went in 2006 when it was at Angel Stadium and, let me tell you, the energy is fantastic!
UPDATE: Just before the Winter Meetings the Dodgers came through with a pretty substantial Fan Pack:
Dodgers – personalized letter, Dodgers hat, two packs of baseball cards, four Dodger player cards, Dodgers poster, September issue of Dodgers magazine, Jackie Robinson poster, Dodgers rally towel
UPDATE AGAIN: The Padres just sent me a package… it’s 2009 now. Better late than never–pretty cool stuff, too!
January 27 (2009!)
Padres – Teamwork in the Community pamphlet, set
of DAV Padres baseball cards, 2008-09 Padres wall calendar, Adrian
Gonzalez mesh jersey
AND the Pirates:
Pirates – PNC Park tour brochure, pocket schedule, 9 player cards
UPDATE AGAIN: Out of the blue, in June, I got a couple more packs. Forgive me; they came shortly after the wedding and I saw them and simply didn’t blog about them.
Mets – Carlos Beltran player card, brochure, sticker
Giants – activity and coloring pages, form letter, pocket schedule