I have been to several weekday games at Dodger Stadium over the years. Some have been great, some have been lousy. My senior year of high school I went to opening day with my dad, his friend and my brother. It was one of the best times I have ever had at the stadium. I had just returned from Italy about 16 hours earlier, a bit jet-lagged perhaps but still 17 years old and able to ignore it. Hideo Nomo beat the Braves 1-0. I wore the free t shirt I got that day for several years until it disintegrated.
6 years later I returned on opening day with my friend Taylor. It was a nightmare. We left UCLA well over an hour before game time and still arrived in the 4th inning. I had to park in a lot up a dirt road in the hills, probably closer to Pasadena than home plate. The Giants crushed the Dodgers, Kevin Brown was horrible, and traffic getting home was even worse.
In the years between I went to a few weekday games, usually with my high school buddies, and it was usually a good time. Other than opening day, the crowds are never too bad, and there is something cool about seeing all the kids from day camp at the games in their matching colored t shirts. When my friend Murph called me this morning and said his boss had given him tickets to today's game, I first said I had too much to do. But I thought about it for a couple minutes and called him back and said "why not?"
I took the train downtown to meet him at his office. He had a parking pass and $2.50 in train fare sounded a lot better to me than paying $15 for parking to meet him there. As I waited downstairs on Figueroa I noticed the giant "Mannywood" sign across the street. Not so much lately, I said to myself. Despite leaving downtown 20 minutes before game time we were in our seats before the first batter was done.
Neither team did much hitting. The Dodgers didn't get their first hit until the 5th inning. Both teams left a few runners in scoring position. The Dodgers got a run in the 8th inning and won the game 1-0.
It was warm but nowhere near as hot as the last few days. There is definitely something special about a day game in Dodger Stadium. Years ago my friend Hatcher and I talked for a few hours one evening about how much we both love baseball and he made a comment about the pace of baseball matching the pace of summer. I thought about that comment this afternoon. Although I'm an Angels fan, I've always cheered for the Dodgers against other teams. But as the years go by and I hear more and more comments from Dodgers fans about how the "Angels suck" when I'm wearing my Angels hat in public, I wonder if I care at all about the Dodgers anymore. But when I sit in the sun at the stadium, hear the organ music, and see Vin Scully on the diamond vision, I still find myself cheering for the Dodgers. I don't know if that will ever change.