Game 16: Brewers 8 – Dodgers 6

The matchup: Dodgers vs Brewers (6.16.16)
Special Guest: My friend Meg.
Snacks: Bud Heavy (x3!) Nacho Helmet. Boom.
Giveaway: Duke Snider retired number pin.
Memorable Moment: Trayce Thompson’s three run homer is the lone standout among all the moments Dodger fans would like to forget.

MEG AND TODD

Taking it out to the ballgame with my friend Meg. Adding to the miscues on the night was the t-shirt I chose to wear. The Dodgers have never won when I wear this shirt. I thought tonight might finally be the night but no dice. Sorry, KISS. This bad boy is going to Goodwill. 

Recap: Let’s start with a quiz.

Which of these bizarre occurrences happened during this game?

A: Clayton Kershaw pinch ran for A.J. Ellis in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.
B: Yasmani Grandal was a nanosecond away from erasing a game tying sac fly by trying to tag up from first to second.
C: John Stamos kissed Bob Saget on DodgerVision
D: Kenley Jansen warmed up but didn’t enter the game with the score tied in the ninth inning.
F: All of the Above.

If you said ‘F’, congratulations. You guessed correctly. And as fate would have it, an F is a more than fair grade for how the Dodgers played and were managed. This game was filled with more bad decisions than a car load of Kardashians.

Perhaps the craziest one of all was Dave Roberts’ decision to put Clayton into the game as a pinch runner for A.J. in the ninth. After A.J. notched a pinch hit single, my friend Marc and I speculated about who could possibly pinch run for A.J. Thanks to Scott Kazmir throwing 10,000 pitches by the fourth inning, the Dodger bench was long depleted.

Kershaw was the only player left who made the slightest shred of sense on the basis that he might be half a step faster than A.J. but putting him into a situation where he might be involved in a gnarly play at the plate with the game on the line?

No thanks.

He’s a gamer and all but man, that’s a season wrecking disaster waiting to happen.

In better news, though, Trayce Thompson continued his tear with a three run shot and back-to-back errors by Brewer center fielder Keon Braxton made for a nice blast of hilarity and gave Dodger fans plenty of optimism that the Boys in Blue would be getting that W.

Just an inning earlier, the situation was so dire, fans resorted to looking at underpants for entertainment.

DODGER BOXER SHORTS

See, look. Dodger boxer shorts. Free to the first 40,000 fans this Father’s Day.

Despite the outcome, it’s never a bad night when you can drink some beers and eat 12lbs of nachos out of a novelty helmet. Plus, random, non-giveaway weeknight games can be the best because the fans who do show up are the ones who really want to be there.

Empty Dodger Stadium

This was the crowd that stuck around for the bottom of the ninth and we were just as loud as a full stadium.

NACHO HELMET

Obligatory Nacho Helmet glamor shot.

Finally, here’s a brand new feature: The Obscure Jersey of the Night Award.

This evening’s winner belonged to a JD Drew fan.

JD DREW JERSEY

JD Drew in the house.

 

Game 15: Rockies 1 – Dodgers 0

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rockies (6.08.16)
Special Guest: Solo mission. I was recruited for bobblehead duty again and scored a pass to the Stadium Club.
Snacks: Dodgers Blonde Ale (x2), taco salad, banana cream pie(!).
Giveaway: Don Newcombe bobblehead.
Memorable Moment: Finding out Don Newcombe was on the mound when Vin Scully made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Banana Cream Pie

Hello, old friend. We meet again.

RECAP: Thanks to my burgeoning career as a bobblehead courier, I was able to crash the Stadium Club again. Now that I knew the drill, I headed directly to the bar and posted up for the pregame festivities honoring Don Newcombe’s 90th birthday.

Don Newcombe - 90th Birthday

“It’s time for Dodger baseball!” – brought to you by Don Newcombe.

Since I’m supposed be training for a triathlon (and didn’t want to feel too guilty about needing to eat a slice of banana cream pie) I opted for the Stadium Club’s taco salad.

Stadium Club Taco Salad

Goes to a baseball game and eats a salad. Yep.

The salad turned out to be a perfect stress-eating companion for the game as the Dodgers proceeded to sleepwalk through nine innings. Kenta Maeda was solid on the mound until he gave up three consecutive hits in the seventh, which led to the Rockies (and the game’s) only run of the night.

Stadium Club Dodger Stadium

Despite the outcome, it was a great night to watch a game indoors.

1981 Dodgers Yearbook

The high five was invented at Dodger Stadium by Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke on October 2, 1977. Four years later, it was featured on the Dodgers’ yearbook.

Game 14: Dodgers 4 – Rockies 3

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rockies (6.07.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Johnny. (See if you can spot us in the crowd back when DeAndre Jordan destroyed Brandon Knight.)
Snacks: Stella (thanks, Marc!), Dodger Dog (x2).
Giveaway: Today’s gift was seeing Julio Urias make his Dodger Stadium debut.
Memorable Moment: About the only thing that could top seeing Urias’ debut would be a walk-off home run and that’s exactly what we got. Thanks, Trayce!

RECAP: All eyes were on Julio Urias for this one but those who arrived early were treated to getting to watch Clayton Kershaw go through his bullpen session. As I entered the stadium, a heavy thump was emanating from the Dodger bullpen. A dozen more steps and that thump began to sound all-too-familiar.

This was the scene when I joined my friends Marc and Leslie at the Bullpen Overlook.

CLAYTON KERSHAW BULLPEN

Clayton Kershaw works out in the bullpen in anticipation for Friday night’s showdown with Johnny Cueto in San Francisco.

Well hello there, Mr. Cy Young/MVP winner.

Clayton Kershaw and AJ Ellis

Must have been a good workout if A.J. led with a fist bump from so far away.

Clayton Kershaw AJ Ellis 2

Clayton and A.J. getting a head start on Best Friends Day.

CLAYTON KERSHAW AND AJ ELLIS 3

Either they’re making plans for dinner or Clayton is busting A.J.’s chops about something.

Once Kershaw wrapped up his workout, the Bullpen Overlook cleared out for all five minutes. Fans entering the stadium wasted no time in staking out spots to wait for the arrival of Urias and my buddy Johnny soon joined us. He’s a Yankee fan for life but is appreciative of the Dodgers’ efforts so he’s always a good time at a game.

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This was the swarm around the bullpen an hour before game time.

Then it happened. Fans’ expressions went from bored to OMG faster than Maury Wills running the bases.

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That moment when a 19-year-old phenom walks onto the field.

Julio Urias had arrived.

JULIO URIAS DODGERS

Julio Urias and Yasmani Grandal make the walk to the Dodger bullpen.

JULIO URIAS YASMANI GRANDAL 1

No pressure, kid. No pressure.

JULIO URIAS BULLPEN 2

No turning back now.

JULIO URIAS DODGER STADIUM

Urias heads to the bullpen mound.

CROWD 2

Gotta get those Chatsnaps.

YASMANI GRANDAL 1

“Hey, guys. What do you think of my new chest protector? Guys?”

JULIO URIAS 1

El brazo de oro. He’s gonna be a good one.

If photos of Urias aren’t doing it for you, here’s a video that I shot because I’m the kind of nerd who just had to bring along three cameras.

(The random voice you’ll occasionally hear is me talking to people who were watching the Periscope I was also doing.)

NERD WITH THREE CAMERAS

I may have a problem.

JULIO URIAS MOHAWK

Time for Urias to go to work.

Once on the mound, the third time was the charm for Urias. He may have only went four innings on 86 pitches but he gave up just one run on three hits and struck out seven of the 17 Rockies he faced.

Following a slightly tense (sorry, won’t describe it as rocky) first inning, Justin Turner got the Dodgers on the board and helped my fantasy team with a three run shot that gave Urias his first lead of his young career and it seemed to settle him down in the following innings. A big positive is that he didn’t unravel when Nolan Arenado doubled home DJ LeMahieu in the third. He promptly erased that threat by striking out some Carlos Gonzalez fellow to end the inning.

JULIO URIAS PITCHING

After years of anticipation, Julio Urias made it to the big club.

The Dodger bullpen was another story. After Louis Coleman and Adam Liberatore combined forces to hold down the fort for an inning, Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez got the Rockies back into the game.

With the score tied at three with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Rockies manager Walt Weiss called on Carlos Estevez to face Trayce Thompson. As Estevez threw his warmup pitches, our conversation shifted to how many extra innings we’d be willing to sit through on a Tuesday night.

Two pitches later we were jumping out of our seats as Thompson hit a line drive just over the left center field wall.

Game over.

Dodgers win.

Cue Randy.

Dodger Stadium at Night

It was a great night to be at Dodger Stadium.

Game 13: Dodgers 12 – Braves 6

The matchup: Dodgers vs Braves (6.05.16)
Special Guest: My friend Jihane. This was her FIRST Dodger game.
Snacks: Nacho Helmet AND an Ice Cream Helmet.
Giveaway: Nope. (Unless you were a toddler.)
Memorable Moment: Corey Seager becoming known as “the guy who hits home runs” according to Jihane.

RECAP: This was a game of many firsts. My first Sunday day game of the season. My friend Jihane’s first Dodger game ever. And most importantly, thanks to the magic of Twitter, I was able to bask in the glory of my first Nacho AND Ice Cream Helmets of 2016.

For the record: When we arrived at the stadium, Nacho Helmet was leading 53 – 47%.

DODGER STADIUM NACHO HELMET

Exhibit A for the perfect outdoor Sunday brunch.

However, I had a hunch that a tie could happen by the time the poll closed so I decided I’d to cover my bases.

DODGER STADIUM ICE CREAM HELMET

Exhibit B for the perfect outdoor Sunday brunch. Ice cream always tastes a little better when it’s served in a miniature helmet.

As for the game itself, the Braves got on the board in the top of the first and held their lead for all of two outs. Back-to-back doubles by Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick in the bottom half of the first evened the score. Kiké Hernandez gave the Dodgers the lead for good when he led off the second with his fourth home run of the season. An inning later, the rout was on thanks to a three run shot from Yasmani Grandal. The scoring would continue throughout the game as Corey Seager belted a pair of home runs, giving him five for the weekend.

With the Dodgers running like a well-oiled machine, Jihane and I ventured out from our shade protected spot and took a little walking tour around the stadium that spanned from the Top Deck down to the Field Level. We made it back to our seats in time to belt out Take Me Out to the Ballgame and watch the Dodger Bullpen give the Braves a glimmer of hope that they could get back in the game.

TODD AND JIHANE

Jihane and I taking a break from the Dodgers’ scoring explosion on the Top Deck. We went up there so she could snag a “First Time at Dodger Stadium” certificate at the Fan Services window.

You couldn’t ask for a better first Dodger experience. Well, technically, I guess you could ask for a better game but Clayton Kershaw no-hitters don’t exactly grow on trees. Plus, the overwhelming lack of drama made for a very chill and stress-free day at the ballpark.

Just the way a Sunday should be.

Game 12: Dodgers 4 – Braves 0

The matchup: Dodgers vs Braves (6.04.16)
Special Guest(s): Us! Our friend Marc invited us to enjoy the spoils of some tickets that he won.
Snacks: Dodger Dog (x2), Dodger Blonde Ale, Souvenir sized Coke.
Giveaway: Don Sutton retired number pin.
Memorable Moment: Since it was just another ho-hum scoreless Clayton Kershaw outing, we’ll go with seeing a brilliantly executed squeeze play.

DODGERS BEER TAP

The Dodgers Blonde Ale is can be found at the bar next to the Left Field Pavilion.

RECAP: Barely a week after I won a major award through the new Dodger Pride Rewards in-game drawings, our friend Marc, who sits in front of us up in Section 2, hit a jackpot of his own in the form of Field Level tickets. My wife and I joined him along with our mutual friend Leslie for a night down in the Larry King adjacent seats.

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound, we met up extra early to snag seats above the Bullpen Overlook. Like always, it was well worth the wait watch him warm up.

AJ ELLIS AND CLAYTON KERSHAW

A.J. Ellis gets loose while Clayton thinks deep thoughts about all the ways he’ll mow down the Braves.

AJ AND CLAYTON GOING TO WORK

Clayton and A.J. make the walk to the Dodger dugout.

CLAYTON KERSHAW PITCHING

Clayton Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.46 after throwing six scoreless innings.

The first big dramatic moment of the game came in the top of the second when first base umpire Joe West, yes, that Joe West, called a rather iffy balk on Kershaw to send Jeff Francoeur to second base with nobody out. Once the steam stopped shooting out of his ears, Clayton responded by throwing a pair of strikeouts and inducing a ground out to end the threat. The Braves would get a runner to third the following inning but that would as close as they’d get to putting a run on the board the entire evening.

On the Dodger side of things, Clayton (of course) gave himself all the lead he needed in bottom of the third by knocking a single to the fringe of left field and then hustled in from second off a Justin Turner single. One detail worth noting: Justin changed his walk up song from his long used Turn Down for What. I didn’t recognize his new jam but hopefully it gets him hitting again like the Red Dream we all know and love.

BRIAN WILSON JERSEY

When you spot a fan wearing a Brian Wilson jersey, you gotta take a pic.

LIGHT UP PHONE CASE

Not far from Brian Wilson’s last remaining fan was this pro selfie taker. Check out the light up phone case. It’s Kardashian approved!

Things got a little tense when the Dodger bullpen took the wheel in the top of the seventh. Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez each gave up a hit in their respective innings but were able to bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers took away any potential ninth inning drama by adding a trifecta of insurance runs. With Turner and Trayce Thompson on the corners, Braves manager Brian Snitker called in Ian Krol to face Joc Pederson. Joc laid down the first pitch he saw and it couldn’t have been a more perfect bunt, landing in the no-man’s land between the mound and second base. Turner scooted home with ease and two pitches later, Thompson and Pederson executed the Dodgers’ first double steal of the season.

And if those offensive fireworks weren’t enough to put a Saturday night Dodger Stadium crowd into a partying mood, our section was treated to an epic lap dance late in the game. A group of ladies in the row behind us were celebrating a birthday and a fellow sitting next to my wife seized the opportunity jump over his seat to get his Magic Mike on. It just wasn’t a couple quick air humps either. The dude went for it to the howls and screams of the birthday girl’s friends and he kept on bumping and grinding her until they all snapped souvenir photos. It was such an impressive display of moves that I fished three bucks out of my pocket so I could make it sprinkle for him but my wife pumped the brakes on that. It was probably a wise decision as the sight of dollar bills likely would have had him ripping off his shirt.

I just hope he’s out of the doghouse by now. The poor guy’s boyfriend was not pleased.

CLAYTON KERSHAW

Kenley Jansen, a millisecond away from getting his 16th save of the season.

 

Game 9: Dodgers 5 – Angels 1

The matchup: Dodgers vs Angels (5.17.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Ned. (The last time went to a Dodger game, Jake Arrieta threw a no-hitter.)
Snacks: Caesar salad, Non-Garlic Fries, PBR Tall Boy.
Giveaway: Dodger Welcome Mat
Memorable Moment: Winning a Kenley Jansen autographed baseball. Wut?

RECAP: The best part of the meltdown above? It happened in the top of the first when Clayton Kershaw reintroduced Mike Trout to Uncle Charlie. For reasons that still boggle the mind, that pitch was called a ball and Marc’s internal rage meter went from 0 – 100 before the ball was tossed back to Kershaw.

Ever since we moved over to Section 2 three seasons ago, Marc has served as an in-game barometer for the current state of the Dodgers. Those of us who sit near him still speak in hushed reverence about his Brandon League and Brian Wilson induced meltdowns that would send him pacing up and down the aisle cursing the baseball gods.

It’s all in good fun though. Marc and his dad Russ are at nearly every game and are the kind of loyal fans any team would be lucky to have.

The last time the Dodgers had a welcome mat giveaway, my buddy Ned joined me for the game so I thought this game would be the perfect chance for him to add to his collection.

IMG_3686

For the record, I forgot a Dodger shirt at home.

After getting hosed on that curve ball to Trout, Clayton recovered and proceeded to go full Clayton on the Angels. He’s so good it’s almost not fair to the opposing teams. While he was mowing down Angels as fast as they were coming to the plate, Ned and I took a quick lap around the stadium to see him dominate from a few different vantage points and make some new friends.

IMG_3667

I wasn’t kidding when I said we made some new friends.

We got back to our seats just in time for me to have to go claim a major award. The moment we sat down, I received a text that I had won the evening’s Dodger Pride
Rewards drawing for the evening.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 11.20.56 PMStarting this season, season ticket holders have been encouraged to scan their cards to be automatically entered to win a nightly assortment of Dodger goodies. Being the nerd that I am, I’ve remembered to scan my card at most games and after a whole six or seven tries, all that hard work finally paid off.

I hustled down to the Club Level and I was greeted by this sign.

IMG_3679Along with a couple Dodger employees guarding an assortment of goodies.

IMG_3680

Lucky for me, they never worked at the same carnival as Navin Johnson and I was given a pretty big choice of prizes. It was all really great stuff and I went for a ball that was signed by Kenley Jansen.

IMG_3685

Score! A Kenley signed ball is a way better prize than a pack of carnival Chiclets.

Between Clayton’s performance and Corey and Joc combining for three home runs, going home with this ball was just the icing on the cake.

It was a night at the ballpark that was way too much fun for a random Tuesday.

Clayton and Kenley

The Kenley ball found a home on our Dodger shelf next to Clayton.

 

Game 8: Dodgers 5 – Cardinals 3

The matchup: Dodgers vs Cardinals (5.14.16)
Special Guest: My lovely wife.
Snacks: Dodger Dog (1), Garlic Fries, a Coke.
Giveaway: Replica Dodger Stadium.
Memorable Moment: A tie between Scott Kazmir pitching a gem and finding my spirit animal.

Dodger Stadium

It was a gorgeous night at Chavez Ravine.

RECAP: My lovely wife’s streak of not seeing the Dodgers lose in person since last September continued thanks to Scott Kazmir pitching his best game this decade. He even helped his own cause with an absolutely savage drag bunt that went for a hit in a clear sacrifice situation that led to the Dodgers racking up three runs in their half of the fourth.

As exciting as the action was on the field, I was beside myself in the stands when I spotted the greatest fan I’ve ever seen.

GUY WEARING NACHO HELMETNotice the table flat plateau running across the top of his helmet? Yep. It’s a Nacho Helmet. No doubt about it. I wanted to go slap him a high five and become his friend so bad. You just know that anyone who strolls into Dodger Stadium wearing a Nacho Helmet is going to be an all-round good time. Guaranteed.

The Dodgers delivered a perfect game for a Saturday night crowd. It was close enough for some suspense, Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez both went yard and Kazimr’s tank hit ‘E’ with one batter to go so fans got to hear California Love and see Kenley Jansen work a three pitch save.

At the woodpile

Forgot to snap a pic at the same so here’s one at the perpetual pile of free firewood that can be found along Scott Road.

 

 

Game 7: Mets 4 – Dodgers 3

The matchup: Dodgers vs Mets (5.11.16)
Special Guest: A solo mission (due to overly complicated reasons) in which I played bobblehead Sherpa.
Snacks: Brooklyn sauerkraut sausage, a slice of banana cream pie the size of my head and two Dodger Lagers.
Giveaway: Dave Roberts bobblehead.
Memorable Moment: Eating a slice of banana cream pie that was the size of my head.

BANANA CREAM PIE

The biggest highlight of an otherwise lousy game was discovering that the Stadium Club serves the best Banana Cream Pie in Los Angeles.

RECAP: This was the only game of the Mets series I was able to attend. Thanks to pulling consecutive all-nighters leading up to it, this game was the perfect surreal experience for my first visit to the Stadium Club.

Earlier in the day, my lovely wife enlisted me to pick up an extra Dave Roberts bobblehead for a co-worker who wasn’t going to be able to make the game. Dude just wanted one so he sent me just a single ticket, which happened to include admission to the Stadium Club. With a brain that was functioning as poorly as any pitch in Chris Hatcher’s current arsenal, I decided the best thing to do would be to go to the game solo, snag the bobbleheads, and see finally what the Stadium Club was all about.

I left my flip flops and favorite offensive sleeveless t-shirt at home and rolled to the game all business casual.

IMG_3438

Obligatory bad Stadium Club selfie.

My immediate reaction to walking into the Stadium Club was “Where have you been all my life?” I’ve been to the Baseline Clubs a few times but the Stadium Club is on an entirely different level. I didn’t have a reservation so I wandered around before pulling up a seat at the bar.

IMG_3430

The buffet is the main event at the Stadium Club

DODGERS PIZZA OVEN

You guys… Dodger Stadium has a pizza oven.

STADIUM CLUB VIEW

The view of the field from the rail. To snag one of these seats, you’d want to make a reservation. The Stadium Club does two seatings, one before the game and one during.

BROOKLYN SAUERKRAUT DOG

Hello my friends.

The only drawback to the Stadium Club (if you even want to call it that) is that it’s so much its own world that you can forget there’s a game happening. The TV directly in front of me was playing Kansas City’s game against the Yankees. When it ended, it cut to an infomercial for the world’s greatest wheelbarrow and I was immediately entranced.

Wheelbarrel Infomercial

The WORX Aerocart transforms from wheelbarrow to upright dolly and can even pull a trailer thanks to its built-in ball hitch.

Luckily, a third inning bomb from Corey Seager broke the Aerocart’s spell right before I was ready to start making a few easy payments.

STADIUM CLUB TV

My first apartment in LA was smaller than this TV.

STADIUM CLUB VIEW

The view from the Stadium Club during the game.

I departed the Stadium Club for our seats in the top of the fourth but didn’t make it until the bottom of the sixth. I got distracted by all the great artwork on the walls of the Club Level. And then there was the issue of a food coma that was quickly setting in.

DODGER ART 1

Such a fantastic color combo.

VIN SCULLY WAY

Just taking a guess but I think these are signs from Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL.

DODGERS JAPANESE PROGRAM

A poster-size program from when Brooklyn Dodgers toured Japan at the end of the 1956 season.

IMG_3487

Every Dodger legend who was on the field with Vin on Opening Day signed this jersey. I didn’t check but I assume it’s bolted to the wall.

IMG_3476

Had a sweet little food coma induced nap going until someone kicked me awake to ask if Syndergaard really hit a second home run.

Game 5: Padres 5 – Dodgers 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Padres (4.30.16)
Special Guest: This was a solo mission. Couldn’t stay for much of the game and had promised a Justin Turner Chia Pet to a buddy.
Snacks: Greek Salad from the healthy cart and a water. (Made the mistake of stepping on the scale before heading to the game.)
Giveaway: See above.
Memorable Moment: Clayton Kershaw threw me a ball during batting practice. (And I didn’t drop it!)

Justin Turner Chia Pet Ticket

Made some sweet custom modifications to our tickets in honor of Justin Turner Chia Pet Night.

RECAP: Thanks to a prior obligation, I was spared the anguish of having to watch the Dodgers extend their losing streak to six and drop their second in a row to the lowly Padres of San Diego. When I left, neither team had scored and the Dodgers still had hope. We won’t rehash what happened in the following innings.

Howie Kendrick Batting Practice

Howie Kendrick settles in to the batter’s box.

To help off-set the fact that I was a horrible Dodger fan who bounced at the top of the third, I did attend early batting practice to catch the festivities. I get out for it a few times a season and prefer to stick to the sidelines. Better to let the established ballhawks do their thing and not take any chances away from kids. The only time I ever make a play on a ball is if it’s coming right at me. My glove is purely for self-defense and you should definitely bring one if you go to BP. Balls can come in hot.

Even with this “strategy,” I’ve managed to snag several over the years and have had to invoke my self-imposed one ball limit more than a few times. Yesterday’s came from Clayton Kershaw(!) while he was shagging balls out in centerfield.

CLAYTON KERSHAW SHAGGING FLY BALLS

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw battles a bat boy (I believe it’s Sergio) for a ball during batting practice.

While Clayton was deciding where to throw it, I gave him a nonchalant wave that was borderline ironic amid all the screaming and waving that happens every time he touches a ball. Next thing I knew, it was coming right at me.

It’s amazing how time can freeze while a ball is in flight. As it made its way towards me, I got the chance to relive every horrific botched pop up from the days of Little League as my brain and motor skills rapidly began shutting down. Luckily, the solid thud of the ball landing in the pocket of my glove snapped me out of my two second flashback and the first thing my rebooted brain reminded me to do was to use my manners.

“Thanks, Clayton!” I yelled out.

Meanwhile, Clayton was probably like, “Great, now maybe that that stalker from the other night will leave me alone.”

CLAYTON KERSHAW BALL 2

Thanks for the ball, Clayton.

KERSHAW BALL CLOSE UP

Close up of the ball.

TOP DECK DODGER STADIUM

Bonus shot of an empty Top Deck.

Not long after the Padres took the field for their portion of BP, I exited the stadium and moseyed up to our level so I could score a second Chia Pet and wolf down a shame salad before anyone was there to see it.

From The Seats

None of these fans were any the wiser that I was the only person to eat a salad at a baseball game.

For a brief moment during the second inning, a rainbow could be seen arcing across the stadium behind right field. It was nearly in the exact same spot as the rainbow that appeared during Vin Scully’s first bobblehead night back in 2012.

RIGHT FIELD RAINBOW

Right field rainbow.

Was it a sign from the baseball gods that things will be turning around for the Dodgers?

Let’s hope so.

Game 4: Marlins 6 – Dodgers 3

The matchup: Dodgers vs Marlins (4.26.16)
Special Guest: My friend Leslie. Thanks to her excellent choice in teams (Dodgers, Huskers) she’s like the best sports fan ever. Give her a follow, yo.
Snacks: Dodger Dog x 2, Stella x 1, Bud Heavy x 1.
Giveaway: Tonight’s gift was seeing Clayton Kershaw pitch for the first time this season.
Memorable Moment: Our ol’ buddy Giancarlo Stanton sending a Kershaw fastball to Glendale will be seared into my brain for a long time.

Running From the Stadium

The lack of focus in this photo can be blamed on Dieter, the new organist. When the Dodgers lose, he likes to play Tomorrow (aka that depressing song from Annie) causing us to bolt out of the stadium as fast as we could.

RECAP: With Clayton Kershaw on the mound and Donnie’s Flailing Fish still the opponent, this game couldn’t have been more of a lock for the Dodgers. Unfortunately, as we all know, baseball can be a very cruel game. The Dodgers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a pair of run scoring wild pitches. Clayton helped his own cause throughout the night with a fake-bunt-to-slap-single followed by a run scoring double that put the Dodgers up 3-0 heading into the sixth inning.

Normally, three runs is plenty of cushion for Kershaw but the Marlins refused to get on the hook. They strung together four consecutive hits (netting only two runs) in the top of the sixth to bring Stanton to the plate with two runners on. He promptly deposited a fastball into center field to give the Marlins a 5-3 lead that they would not relinquish.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers gave the fans who stayed until the bitter end a glimmer of hope. Joc Pederson roped a double and Chase Utley drew a walk, giving Corey Seager a chance to give himself an early birthday present but it was not to be.

Despite witnessing the Dodgers lose consecutive games, the evening at Dodger Stadium was far from being a total loss thanks to getting to watch Kershaw warm up from the bullpen overlook. If you ever get a chance, it’s definitely worth it to arrive early enough to claim a seat over the pitcher’s mound. You’re so close to the action that it’s like hanging out the top of the key while Steph Curry practiced his free throws.

Some photos of the Kershaw warm up experience follow below. Click to open in a new tab to see them full-size.

CLAYTON KERSHAW STRETCHING

All eyes are on Kershaw as he begins his pre-game ritual.

KERSHAW STRETCHING

Kershaw goes for a nice, relaxing stroll around the field.

Yasmani Grandal

Meanwhile, Yasmani Grandal goes through his own routine.

Yasmani Grandal Prep

Grandal’s hand-eye coordination game is strong.

YASMANI GRANDAL GLOVE

Grandal gives his glove a quick spritz of who-knows-what.

YASMANI GRANDAL GLOVE 2

Grandal follows the spritz by dusting his glove with a rosin bag. Before you can frame a pitch, you gotta be able to hold onto the ball.

CLAYTON KERSHAW 3

Kershaw arrives in the bullpen and is all business.

Clayton Kershaw 2

Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt follows Kershaw to the mound.

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Kershaw begins to throw some heat.

Clayton Kershaw GoPro

Wait for it…

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Look how far Kershaw strides from the rubber.

Steve Yeager

Catching instructor Steve Yeager, who’s normally a little salty on game day, noticed a tribute to Tommy Lasorda on DodgerVision and immediately became transfixed. It was a nice moment to see and one can only imagine the memories that were going through his head.

Clayton Kershaw Going to Work

Time for Kershaw to go to work.