For three days, the eyes of the baseball world were focused on Chavez Ravine. (I’d say the entire sports world but a little footy contest in South Africa may have drawn some attention as well).
Sure there was Halladay vs. the Jays. Santana vs. the Twins. The North Side vs. the South Side. The battle of the Lone Star State. Even the Red Sox vs. the Giants. But one series stood above the rest this weekend as the World of Dodgertown took on Yankees Universe in a marquee matchup that felt like Opening Day…in October…for three games in a row!
First things first, we lost the series. There’s nothing to say that will change that and nothing can erase the pain of Sunday’s defeat. Our fellow blogger, Alyssa Milano, said it best as she tweeted, “#Yankees, breaking hearts since the early 1900’s.”
The good news? This was not October. In fact, these games meant less in the standings than the three to come in San Francisco. So if I may, I’d like to take a quick step back to remember the last 72 hours before the next series is upon us. They were pretty special.
From the moment the teams began BP on Friday afternoon, it was easy to see that there was something different about the weekend ahead. It was made easy by the traveling band of media that accompany the Yankees from town to town. It was wall-to-wall press on the field as Joe Torre, in his first appearance AGAINST the Yankees since he departed the Bronx, greeted his former players. From Derek Jeter to current Yankees Manager, Joe Girardi, every hand-shake and hug was documented.
In case you missed the ads – we’ve been running them since February – there was also a Rivalry being Renewed at Dodger Stadium and a few men who help define the term were also on hand including Tommy, Garvey, Cey, Russell & pinstriper named Reggie. They all exchanged pleasantries as well, including a feisty ‘discussion’ between Lasorda and Jackson on the air during Saturday’s telecast (all done in jest). One thing was certain, Tommy bleeds Dodger blue.
Opening Night (as it could easily have been dubbed) was kick-started by a rocking National Anthem performance by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was immediately followed by a standing-ovation-inducing first pitch by Lakers Center, and World Champion, Pau Gasol. If that wasn’t enough to get the engines started, the Dodgers went up 1-0 in the first inning…of course they would fail to score again. However, despite falling 2-1 in the opener, Vicente Padilla gave the fans plenty of moments to cheer.The tight score gave game one the drama the series deserved and the renewal was underway.
Game two of the series was the first of two to be broadcast across the country and included its own pre-game, made for TV – rather HBO – moments as E, Turtle, Johnny Drama and Vinny Chase threw out the first pitch. The Entourage boys got their fair share of applause, but the ovations would come even more often during the game with the Dodgers loading the bases three times, knocking AJ Burnett out of the game early, and earning a much needed victory despite falling behind 3-0 before an out was recorded.
The series finale had it all. First of all, it was on ESPN with Joe Morgan, Jon Miller and a familiar face, Orel Hershiser, calling the game. Second, the stars of Hollywood came out in droves to experience the rubber match of the rivalry for themselves. There was Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise. Alyssa Milano and Jack. Jake T. Austin and Zac Efron. And those were just the famous faces found by DodgerVision! The celebrities added an air of importance to the game and the Dodgers youngest star took his cue as Clayton Kershaw masterfully shut down the Yankees without allowing a walk for the first time in his career. Of course the drama continued late into the night in a heart-breaking sequence of Broxton, Cano, Mariano, and scene.
As we look ahead to the Giants and D-Backs, followed by the final homestand of the first half, this series will eventually fade in our memories – especially since we ended up on the losing end. However, from the rally towels to the Yankees rally, Dodger fans were treated to a 3-part drama that is typically reserved for the fall. The title, “Christmas in July” is a phrase often used to describe an event that brings about unexpected excitement. I think if we take a step back, we’ll realize that we all just experienced “The World Series in June”. At least in my own estimation. I hope to see you all at the sequel this October.
– Josh Lukin
On blogger night at the stadium, some of you who frequent this site got the chance to meet Josh Lukin, who works in our Consumer Development Department and who is himself, a blogger. He used to write for the Ravens’ website back when he worked over there and he’ll contribute from time to time at Inside the Dodgers, too.
His department is the one that put together Bleacher Beach and the first one was pretty darn cool, so here’s his first-person account from Sunday at the stadium. I only stopped by for about 20 minutes during pregame, but I have a feeling this is going to become a popular spot in the ballpark on Sunday.
Jamie Hoffman’s first career home run sailed into the Left Field Pavilion on Sunday afternoon, igniting a 54,000-fan frenzy around Dodger Stadium. But for 800 Dodger die-hards enjoying the debut of Bleacher Beach on the Lower Reserve, the three-run blast brought about a second wave of water from what seemed liked the skies above. However, this is Los Angeles, with no threat of a rain shower until Thanksgiving. In this case, the spray was courtesy of a water hose held by the ‘lifeguard’ on duty, celebrating the score with a sunny day respite.
And with that, Bleacher Beach was officially christened. The latest section of Dodger Stadium to feature unlimited nachos and Dodger Dogs also included enough BBQ burgers, chicken and watermelon to keep beach goers full all afternoon. The party began with the music of KIIS-FM entertaining the crowd as they basked in the mist of the cool zones and shade of the Malibu Clout tent.
Unlike Hermosa or Santa Monica, this beach came sans sand, but did offer a view of both the field and the surrounding foliage as the sights over the side of the tiki-hut handrails made for picturesque postcards from a three-hour vacation to Dodgertown. Among the sights at this beach were flip flop beach passes, flip-flop-footed fans, and a flip of the traditional lid with drink-holder boxes turned into cardboard cowboy hats. The unusual headgear kept a group of fans protected from the sun, but not from the attention as the crew posed for more photos than the lifeguard girls.
As the day came to a close, and the Angels turned to their closer, the mist had settled on Bleacher Beach as dusk rapidly approached – this was interleague baseball with the time of the game pushing four hours. The fun-filled day in the sun, with a dash of Dodger baseball thrown in, was coming to an end. But for the first flock of fans to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the game from the beach, they walked out of the Stadium with more than the joy of a victory could have provided (although that would have been a nice way to cap off the day). Rather, they walked away with misty memories, mild sunburn, and an exclusive Dodgertown beach bag given to every beach bum on their way in. Excuse the obvious plug…as I said, it would have been easier if the boys in blue had won, but I still believe the fans enjoyed the experience. In this case, it was a day at the beach.
Castro, SS (Furcal still out with the back tweak…obviously the lineup changed after I posted it yesterday)
Torre pregame (not exact quotes)
Raffy is better. It’s in his cheek. Could he play? Yes. But we’ll sit him another day.
Just a day off for Russell.
With Milton its all about feel and command. He hasn’t pitched in a couple years. He’s very similar to Stults in some ways.
We stopped Schmidt’s rehab. Nothing to do with the beaning. Its his shoulder. This way we can stop his rehab days. We don’t think it will be too long. He threw a bullpen and had some discomfort.