02-04-08 - Hu's Your Daddy, the Five Man Infield and Opening Day

Hu's Your Daddy, the Five Man Infield and Opening Day

We left the house at 6:30 on Friday. My brother (above) drove and we listened to "Home Plate" on XM Radio. We were giddy to be making the drive to the stadium for the first time in months. Giddy and giggly. My brother drove like a NY cab driver, weaving in and out of traffic. Normally this would drive me nuts but I knew he was just excited to get there.


Once there, we parked the car. We went through security where we were greeted with "welcome backs" and "how have you been's?" As soon as we walked through the gates we noticed all the renovations on the field level at Dodger Stadium - our home away from home. Wowie! The stadium looks gorgeous. The McCourt's have outdone themselves this off-season. Everything looks sparkly, clean and bright. There  are many new vendors like - Canters Deli, Mrs. Beasley's (love their lemon cake), Ruby's and Camacho's. The walkway seems to have been widened. Say what you will about Frank McCourt but I think he has done an outstanding job with  maintaining and improving the stadium. I guess coming from real estate the man understands the value of property. I appreciate what he has done to better the fan experience at  the park. And that's what it is all about isn't it? The experience. Sitting there with your family and friends enjoying an evening in the yard.


What is it about the smell of a ballpark? It smells so deliciously distinct. You know how your home has a specific smell? As soon as I unlock my front door, it is the smell that tells me I'm home. I feel the same way about the ballpark. As soon as I walk through the gates, it is the smell that tells me I'm home.


We got to the seats and got settled in... and low and behold...there he was. Joe Torre in all his glory. So yeah, I squealed like a teenage girl at a Jonas Brother's concert. So  what? He wears his hat down low and his jacket was zipped all the way up (it was chilly). All you could see was his tan nose. Tommy Lasorda was right there next to him. So exciting.


It was a good game. Billingsley looked good with 7 strikeouts in 5 innings. Sweeney, Kent and Ethier all doubled. The rooks  looked solid. My brother and I made endless jokes, a la Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First" routine. I would ask, "Who's on deck?" and he would reply "Hu". I would follow up with "I don't know. I asked you." That's never going to get old. I can see us driving everyone nuts with banter like this. Brother and sister humor. Ah, thank God for siblings.


And then there was Saturday's exhibition game celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers moving from Brooklyn. The  last game played in the Coliseum (pictured above and below) was in 1961. I was sitting next to a gentleman who used to go to those games with his dad. He was there with his son. Baseball is such a generational experience. I was there with my family. We lost but being a part of the record turnout and listening to Vin dedicate his tribute to the great Dodger fans was enough for me.


There were 115,300 fans. That was the most ever for a baseball game, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The best part of all was that it benefited a wonderful cause: ThinkCure, the Dodgers' new official team charity, which aims to raise funds for the treatment and eventual prevention of cancer. "This record is a tribute to the passion and compassion of our fans, with whom this event clearly struck a chord," Frank McCourt said. "It's a marvelous launch for 'ThinkCure' and great news for our partners at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital L.A."


Poor Loaiza. He had his hands full with the odd shape of the field. Anyone know the distance of left field? It looked like  only 200 feet! Loney homered and rookie Dewitt made up for his two-out error in the second with a two run homer off Paplebon in the 9th. The fans created a massive wave. It was the biggest I have ever seen (inclusive of the players in both dugouts participating)!


It was a great weekend. Spring has sprung. You know how I know? Vin told me so. He said, "It's time for Dodger baseball."







P.S. How about that Opening Day win?


P.P.S. I have two words for you. Larry Freaking Bowa.


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