Despite the way I feel about the Dodgers these days - basically nothing - there is nothing better than a summer game in Dodger Stadium. And 5PM is the perfect start time. Elizabeth has lived here for more than two years and, although we have been to several Angels and Quakes games, we have never been to Dodger Stadium together.
She loves the Yankees. Yes, this is perhaps her biggest flaw, but I can't say I blame her. (I mean, I love the Lakers; I can understand people calling that my biggest flaw.) She grew up in New York, going to Yankees games with her dad. She was born during a Yankees game and it took a while to find her dad because he was off watching the Yankees. She went to school in New York City (Fordham University - just like Vin Scully) and the Yankees won the World Series 3 of the 4 years she was in college. She can't help it.
So, with the Yankees coming to Dodger Stadium for the first time in years, I knew we had to go. In a typical Dodgers move, they did not sell tickets to this series unless you bought a season ticket plan of some kind, so tickets weren't the easiest to get. But my friend Tim came through and was able to get us two tickets on the field level.
I have a Dodgers hat and I like to wear it when I really want to cheer for the Dodgers - basically, when they play the Giants, Red Sox or Yankees. But I wasn't sure where the hat was. I looked for it for quite a while, then decided maybe it was at my parents' house, so we went over there. Sure enough, it was there - buried in a duffel bag back on a shelf in a closet. I put it on.
"I thought you didn't like the Dodgers," my mom commented.
This is a common misconception amongst my friends. It's not that I don't like them - although I did hate them when I was a kid - it's just that I used to have a lot of fun going to Dodgers games when I was a teenager, and I actually did like them. But too much has changed with the team in the last decade and I hardly ever go to games anymore. I liked cheering for Piazza and Karros and Chan Ho and Nomo. There hasn't been anybody on the Dodgers whom I have wanted to cheer for in the last few years.
My dad told us that he had stopped by Philippe's to get sandwiches on Friday night and the place was packed with people going to the game. One guy was trying to sell an extra ticket that he didn't need.
"He was only asking face value for a ticket in the Loge level," my dad exclaimed. "And it was fifty dollars! I had no idea you had to pay that much for a ticket these days."
Instead of dealing with the parking, we took the Gold Line down to Union Station and the free (as long as you have a ticket) shuttle bus to Dodger Stadium. This was spectacular; I don't know why anyone would do it differently. Ten minutes after boarding the bus at Union Station we were dropped off in center field about 300 feet from our gate.
We sat in our seats for a few minutes and I ate some garlic fries. They were full of garlic but not very warm. This could have been a great stadium food, but it was not. We had 45 minutes until the game started, so we walked around a bit.
I wish I could have seen Koufax pitch: 4 no-hitters and 3 Cy Young Awards, when he won the pitching triple crown each year.
At least we knew where we weren't going to eat...
Andy Pettitte: Elizabeth's favorite Yankee of the last 15 years. She was lucky enough to see him pitch and, since it was at the Dodgers, see him bat. He actually put down a pretty good bunt.
Elizabeth wearing the shirt of her favorite Yankee of all time: Don Mattingly. More than any other team I can think of, when you see Yankees fans they are often wearing jerseys and shirts of their former players. (Well, almost every girl between the ages of 12 and 35 is wearing a Jeter jersey, but the others often have older players.)
"It's funny," Elizabeth said, "how many people are wearing jerseys of past Yankee greats."
"Yeah," I said, "and Don Mattingly."
This is somewhat unfair, although I often like to make fun of her love for Donnie Baseball. He was a great player, but one fact remains: the Yankees played in the World Series in 1981. Mattingly came up with the Yankees in 1982. They did not play in the World Series for his entire 14 year career. They did not even make the playoffs for 13 years. Then he retired after the 1995 season. The next year, 1996, the Yankees won the World Series, the first of four championships in 5 years.
My Dodger Dog: mustard, relish, onions.
Elizabeth's first Dodger Dog: only a little mustard. Simplicity.
Elizabeth's $10 Budweiser. At Yankee Stadium I once paid $11 for a Miller Light, so I guess this was a "deal."
The reason I think 5PM is the perfect start time in the summer: it's an afternoon game, then everything in Chavez Ravine turns golden and it's an evening game, and then it becomes a night game. Well, it would have been for us, except....
We left after the 8th inning with the Dodgers up 6-2. Elizabeth was sick of the way the Yankees were playing. "They can't come back," she said. I was just plain sick - I had a headache from the out-of-control fans of both teams screaming insults back and forth at one another in our section. A girl a couple rows back was actually going hoarse from screaming "Yankees suck!" I guess that's fun for a lot of people. I hate to be the grumpy old man, but I would rather relax and watch a ballgame, cheering when my team does something good and reserving boos for only the most deserving of instances. Like whenever ARod bats.
So we took the Dodger Express bus back to Union Station and the Gold Line home, and got back just in time to see the last out of the 9th inning - it was now a tie game. The Yankees scored twice more in the 10th and won the game. Oh well. For the most part it was a great time at the ballpark, and Elizabeth loved her first trip to Dodger Stadium.