Friday, April 18, 2008

Dodgers 11, Padres 1

On a night when the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-3 at Fenway, I was 3,000 miles away in California. Ironically, I was about 4 blocks away from Angels Stadium in Anaheim, staying at the Marriott for a company conference. Unfortunately, the Angels weren’t in town. They were up in Seattle facing the Mariners. So, I went with about a dozen colleagues an hour up the road to Dodger Stadium to see the Dodgers host the Padres.

Things you need to know about Dodger Stadium:

  • You can generally get tickets without a problem, and frequently good ones. Had it not been a group of 14, I’d have been able to score killer seats anywhere I wanted in the park. As it was, we had decent field-level seats down the 3rd base line.
  • Even though it’s almost 50 years old, it’s still a beautiful park. Far better than some newer facilities like US Cellular, but definitely not in the same class as Camden Yards. Regardless, it’s more comfortable than Fenway.
  • There’s no such thing as public transportation in LA, so you need to drive, but allow LOTS of time for traffic and parking. I’ve never seen traffic jams quite like that in a ballpark before.
  • Dodger Dogs are excellent: footlong and grilled.
  • Beer is insanely expensive: 11 dollars. Bigger portions than Fenway, but not enough to stop you from saying “I’m sorry, HOW much?”.
  • As you may have heard about southern California, fans arrive late and leave early. Get there early and leave when the game ends. It’s what most sensible non-west coast fans do, anyway.

Dodgers-Padres. The pitching matchup was Chris Young of the Padres against (wait for it) Derek Lowe!! Young had already won a game against LA in San Diego, and when he’s on, he’s terrific. Not last Saturday night, though. Young was batting practice. Rafael Furcal led off the game for the Dodgers with a homer to right, and that was pretty much the ballgame. The Dodgers have some eye-opening young talent, and most of them were on display at one point or another. Rightfielder Andre Ethier was 3 for 5 with a homer, a double and a great diving catch. Matt Kemp replaced Ethier in right and he went 1 for 2 with a homer. Even D-Lowe got on base 3 times, had two hits and 3 RBI. When he was on the mound he was in complete control. After he allowed a run in the first inning, he was dominant for the next 7, and the Dodgers won an 11-1 laugher.

The Padres had a couple problems: First, their pitching was dreadful. I didn’t know Wilfredo Ledezma was still in the majors until he came strolling out of the bullpen, and when he reached the mound I remembered why I thought he had retired: he was worthless, and in fact almost as bad as Young had been. Young, as stated above, should have had a fork stuck in him in the second inning, but Bud Black thought Young would get out of his early game problems. Sadly for both Black and his starter, they only turned into mid-game problems. Young didn’t stick around long enough to have late-game problems.

Their other problem is the Padres rolled over and put their paws in the air. The defense was listless, and the team simply appeared to give up mid-game, as if they all said “oh, ok, we’re behind, so much for this one”. The Dodgers have got some very intriguing kids who will put a scare in the National League over the next number of years, and the Padres should be better than they looked. After all, Jake Peavy wasn’t pitching.

If you get a chance to see a game in LA, definitely do it. Dodger Stadium is worth the traffic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At least you got your tickets at face value before the game. Ignorant me, scalped a $15 ticket for $40 not realizing I could have purchased a ticket at the gate for a better value.

Regardless, that ballpark is cool, and I am glad you got to see a game there.

I saw Lowe pitch there the year after he got greedy with the Sox.