donderdag 19 april 2012

Dodgers Home Opener 2012

The morning of April 10th was sunny. A perfect day for a home opener. I had accepted an invitation to a tailgating party at Elysium Park from one of my fellow facebook Dodger fan friends. I arrived at 9am and people were already firing up the bbq’s, wrapping Dodger Dogs in bacon, East LA style, and playing catch. It was fun to see how people reacted when they saw this fan from the Netherlands, actually at opening day. I talked to some people and we had a group picture taken. Turned out, most of them were Left Field Pavilion season ticket holders. I told them I had an LFP ticket for tommorows game. And what do you know, I’d be right in their section.

Van LA Trip

Around 11am I walked to the stadium and the place was a already filling up nicely. When I arrived at the stadium club level I heard someone call my name. It was Dodger Bobble. I was surprised he recognised me since I was donning my Dodgers Jersey and cap. So was everybody else. He’s a great guy. We talked for a while and during that time we saw Larry King walk by and Maury Wills. Old dudes, but highly respected ones. Larry was already a Dodgers fan when they still played in Brooklyn.

Van LA Trip

The pregame stuff was awesome. The Beach Boys, including Brian Wilson (the only Brian Wilson who is welcome at Dodger Stadium), sang Surfer Girl, which gave me goose bumps since it’s all so very California for a guy from the Netherlands. A group of at least 200 army personnel walked in this (excuse the language) fucking huge American flag which was rolled out and the Beach Boys sang the national anthem.

Van LA Trip

White doves were set free and two F18 planes did a fly over. Only in America! Retired Dodger players came onto the field. Then the daughter of former owner Walter O’Malley threw the first ball, to Tom Lasorda. It was all very impressive, but what we came for was only just beginning.

Kershaw, who had a cold a few days earlier, was lights out on the mound. Dee Gorden was the first hitter, got on base, stole second and before we knew it, he scored and we were 1 run up. The Pirates scored a few innings later. Kenley Jansen (a real Dutch Dodger) threw an amazing inning and in the eigth inning, Andre Ethier celebrated his birthday by hitting a ball out of there. Final score 2-1 in a short game (2 and a half hours). I met up with Enrique who had saved all six bobble heads that were given out last season as SGA’s. He lend me his MVP card zo I could ho on the field and play some catch. Unfortunately there was a long line and I didn’t bring a glove.

It was the experience of a lifetime. That first week in which every fan dreams of the Commissioner's Trophy, everthing is possible at that moment.

Some more impressions in frozen and moving pictures:

Van LA Trip

Van LA Trip

Van LA Trip

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