Game 1: Padres 4 – Dodgers 0

The matchup: Dodgers vs Padres (4.4.17)
Special Guest: My lovely wife.
Snacks: Dodger Dog w/ spicy brown mustard and onions (x2), Bud Heavy
Giveaway: Phone charger
Memorable Moment: It only took 14 minutes to drive home from this game.

RECAP: The long, brutal off-season has finally ended and it’s time for Dodger baseball that counts. For us, The Day After Opening Day has become our official start to the season and spirits were running high when we left for the stadium.

Along the way, we took a pit stop to do our civic duty.

Voting is an important right to exercise. (And that is as political as this site will ever get.)

One of the best off-the-radar aspects of the Dodger Stadium experience is the consistency among the game day staff. If you go to enough games, you’ll eventually notice the same employees posted up in the same spots. Game after game, season after season.

Our aisle has had the same usher the four seasons that we’ve been in Section 2. She was all smiles as she welcomed everyone back. My favorite beer vendor was at my favorite, super secret beer stand, and I got my nightly scouting report from my favorite cashier at the self-serve concession stand. I always start our transaction by asking how the Dodgers are looking tonight and she replies with a detailed scouting report that’s usually sprinkled with some Yoda-level wisdom.

The stadium was still buzzing in the wake of the Dodgers’ 14-3 Opening Day romp. The new pre-game pump up video is incredibly well done. Instead of relying on Kendrick Lamar (like last year) or some other random grab bag of celebrities, the new video features a wide assortment of Dodger fans all around LA that gives a real sense of pride in being a fan. The best part about the video is that it starts out with a slow burning “Let’s Go Dodgers” chant that gets the crowd rocking as if it were a playoff game.

As the randos that made up the Padres’ starting line up were introduced, I wondered why they were even out there. They’d save themselves a lot of time and trouble and make it easy on everyone if they just forfeited the game. They’d probably have more fun catching an early dinner than catching a second consecutive beat down from the Dodgers.

Then the game started and the Boys in Blue forgot how to play baseball.

Our friend Marc is already in mid-season meltdown form.

Following the Padres’ 2 run offensive explosion to start the game, my lovely wife asked me to pass her our binoculars.

“Why?” I asked.

“So I can get a better look at Dave Roberts punching Kenta in the face,” she replied.

(It should be noted that my lovely wife was only kidding but if she ever managed a team, she’d take a lot of pride in having the shortest leash in baseball.)

The Dodgers’ half of the 1st started out promising until Corey Seager stepped to the plate and promptly grounded into the first of four spirit crushing double plays of the night. Most everyone hit the ball hard, the only problem is that everything was hit right at the defense.

By the 7th inning, all we could do was accept the Dodgers’ fate and have a few laughs about such a bummer way to start the season. I guess you need games like this one to make October that much sweeter.

Even still, I would have been perfectly happy if the Padres would have forfeited.

As these fans passed us walking into the stadium, the fella in the Corey Seager jersey told us that he hates walking but he hates giving Frank McCourt money even more which is why they park outside the gates.

The free woodpile is going off right now!

The last photo I took during the game. The irony was cranked up to 11 when my phone’s battery died on phone charger night. Good times.

Game(s) 33 – 40: The homestretch of the regular season

What can I say? The last month of the regular season was a blur. Thanks to actual obligations and the start of college football, things kind of fell by the wayside around these parts. I made sure there was time to go to Dodger games, I just didn’t have time write about going.

Then there was that subconscious denial that if maybe I didn’t acknowledge the regular season was drawing to a close it would keep going and Vin would have no choice but to stay with us a little longer.

That clearly didn’t happen as Vin signed off for the last time in San Francisco with a poignant, heartfelt goodbye that perfectly wrapped up his storied career.

Let’s get on with the recaps.

GAME 33: Dodgers 1 – Cubs 0

The matchup: Dodgers vs Cubs (8.28.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Ivan. Check out his web series about card collecting called The Breaks.
Snacks: Dodger Dog (x2) Frozen Kirin (x2)
Giveaway: Nope.
Memorable Moment: Corey Seager being safe at second by a cleat length. His hustle and the Cubs’ brain fart in the shift allowed the only run of the game to stand after replay confirmation.

RECAP:

Frozen Beer Foam Kirin

Sundays were made for frozen beer foam.

Todd and Ivan

Take a diehard Cubs fan out to the ball game.

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During the game, Ivan broke down the ins and outs of modern card collecting. It’s way different than the days of riding your bike to 7-Eleven and hoping you hit the jackpot with a Ken Griffey Jr rookie card. Here’s a look at his “wallet cards.” Still miss you, A.J.

GAME 34: Dodgers 7 – Padres 4

The matchup: Dodgers vs Padres (9.4.16)
Special Guest: Myself. (Long story.)
Snacks: Dodger Dog (x2) Souvenir Sized Coke
Giveaway: Sandy Koufax Pin
Memorable Moment: Catch on the field day for season ticket holders.

RECAP:  Thanks to some creative seat shuffling, I gave our tickets to my friend Marc and went as the guest of my other friend Marc and experienced Section 2 from Row J. Marc #1 and his wife have two little kids, one is still young enough to not require a ticket, so all that was needed was a cheap single on SeatGeek and boom, a family of four is taking in a Dodger game on a Sunday afternoon for under $5.

Todd and Marc

Marc and his family. The little guy was definitely NOT playing games on his phone. He was looking up stats on FanGraphs.

Marc

When you realize the old guy sitting next to you doesn’t fully understand Field Independent Pitching.

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Marc #2 and I through the lens of Marc #1.

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And here’s a fish eye.

catch-on-field

Following the game, Marc #2 and I got to go down on the field to play catch. Video of our epic round of long toss does exist but for the time being I’m going to hold off from posting it out of respect to not upstaging Puig’s noodle cannon.

GAME 35: Dodgers 10 – Diamondbacks 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks (9.5.16)
Special Guest: My lovely wife.
Snacks: BBQ Plate, Dodger Blonde Ale.
Giveaway: Souvenir Cap.
Memorable Moment: Seeing Zack Greinke’s return to Dodger Stadium, until it stopped being fun five Dodger home runs later.

RECAP: It took nearly the entire season but Zack Greinke finally returned to square off against his former team. My wife and I snagged the last seats above the visitor’s bullpen and joined the other Dodger fans (plus a lone DBacks fan) to welcome Zack back to Chavez Ravine.

It was a sincere welcome too. Halfway through his warm up a “Come back Zack” chant broke out which was nice to see. Hopefully Zack remembers that more than the “Hit the road, Zack” chant that broke out when he mercifully got the hook in the 5th inning.

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Still doesn’t look right to see Zack in a such an ugly uniform.

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Not a bad spot to enjoy a little Labor Day BBQ.

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The Dodgers’ home run assault on Zack had Cora giving her bubble gun a workout.

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My hunt for a Dole Whip brought me up to the Top Deck just in time to catch a perfect sunset to close out the summer.

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USA USA USA

GAME 36: Dodgers 2 – Giants 1

The matchup: Dodgers vs Giants (9.19.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Mike.
Snacks: Dodger Dog with YELLOW mustard (spicy mustard is in short supply this time of year), regular fries, Bud Heavy Tall Boy.
Giveaway: A Giant beat down was the only gift we needed.
Memorable Moment: A tie between the return of Clayton Kershaw and a walk-off Dodger win.

RECAP: With Clayton Kershaw on the mound at Dodger Stadium for the first time since June 20, I went full geek-out mode and staked out seats over the Dodger bullpen two hours before game time. It was standing room only an hour before first pitch.

Here’s Clayton’s full warm up from that night. It was so good to see him back.

With the division title on the line and a main event of Kershaw vs Bumgarner, this game did not disappoint. Yasiel Puig got the fireworks started by having the audacity to look Bumgarner’s way has he ran out a dribbler up the first base line. Bumgarner’s theatrics sent the Dodgers and Giants racing from their benches and bullpens and launched a thousand “Don’t look at me” memes.

Two innings later, Adrian Gonzalez delivered the game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.

A couple important things to note about the following video: 1) I sound like Kermit the Frog when I yell. 2) Yes, I did call Corey Seager and idiot for some unexplainable reason.

GAME 37: Giants 2 – Dodgers 0

The matchup: Dodgers vs Giants (9.20.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Joe. Go see his movie.
Snacks: Dodger Dog (x2), Garlic Fries, multiple Shock Tops.
Giveaway: Vin Scully Bobblehead(!)
Memorable Moment: Getting to catch up with Joe.

RECAP: Following the previous night’s walk off heroics and bench clearing drama, this game was a total dud and not just because the Giants won. It was probably for the best though. An exciting game would have only gotten in the way of our epic gab session. Joe and I both grew up in Nebraska and went through the same program at Husker U. so we had plenty to talk about with baseball and college football seasons in full swing. Joe’s a huge Mets fan and went to all their home games during the World Series. Hopefully, the next time we catch a game together I’ll be able to regale him with tales of seeing the Dodgers in the series.

Ladies and gentlemen, your award winner for BEST JERSEY OF THE YEAR

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Best. Jersey. Ever.

GAME 38: Dodgers 5 – Rockies 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rockies (9.23.16)
Special Guest: My lovely wife.
Snacks: Dodger Dog (x2), Garlic Fries,
Giveaway: Vin Scully Letter.
Memorable Moment: Um… how about every second of Vin Scully Appreciation Day?

RECAP: When Vin Scully Appreciation Day was announced back in April you knew the game was going to be special. It wasn’t until the festivities started that you realized just how special the night was was going to be. It couldn’t have been more perfect. There wasn’t a dry eye in the park as Vin and his remarkable career received the send-off it deserved.

The standing ovation Vin received when he stepped out onto the field was unlike any I’ve ever experienced. You could truly feel genuine love from the crowd.

Vin made sure the mood stayed festive by starting his speech with the magic words that always bring a smile to any Dodger fan’s face.

Vin and Sandy Scully

Sandy and Vin leave the field in style.

Somewhere along the way a was game played between the Dodgers and the Rockies but I don’t remember a single thing that happened.

GAME 39: Dodgers 14 – Rockies 1

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rockies (9.24.16)
Special Guest: My lovely wife.
Snacks: Dodger Dog (x2), souvenir-size Coke, victory Dole Whip.
Giveaway: Vin Scully Commemorative Coin.
Memorable Moment: The Dodgers hanging a pair of touchdowns on the Rockies while my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers wiped the field with Northwestern.

RECAP: For the third time in as many years, my two favorite teams had to go and schedule games at the exact same time. Thanks to modern technology and free wifi throughout Dodger Stadium, being able to watch both has never been easier.

It’s a far cry from October 4th 2008 (sad side story alert) when the high of watching the Dodgers sweep the Cubs in the NLDS was ruined when I listened to a dear college friend’s voicemail after the game. I had shut my phone off so I could have complete radio silence about what was happening with the Huskers’ game against Missouri. When I saw it was Katie who called, I didn’t think twice about listening to her message. As a lifelong Cubs fan who moved to Chicago after graduation, I assumed she was calling to talk baseball but nope. She had to rant about the Huskers getting pounded 52-17. Well, at least she spared me a couple hours of anguish.

This time around, Nebraska was able to handle Northwestern and all was right with my two team sports world. Oh, and Clayton Kershaw pitched seven shutout innings.

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When your two favorite teams play at the same time.

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Vin Scully commemorative coin.

After the Dodgers recorded the final out, the Padres game against the Giants was shown on DodgerVision. The Padres rallied but came up short, allowing the Giants to live for one more day.

GAME 40: Dodgers 4 – Rockies 3

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rockies (9.25.16)
Special Guest: Solo mission.
Snacks: Tuna Sandwich (don’t know what I was thinking), Garlic Fries, Souvenir-sized Coke.
Giveaway: Nope.
Memorable Moment: Vin Scully saying goodbye to Dodger Stadium.

RECAP: As much as I wanted to stay in to watch Vin’s final home game, I knew I had to do my part and show up to help make sure there’d be a crowd to cheer him on.

Typically, the last home game of the season is a casual affair but between Vin and the Dodgers having a chance to clinch, the stadium was packed and a playoff vibe hung in the air.

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I hiked out to the far reaches of left field to catch a glimpse of Vin at work for the last time.

Vin Scully

The GOAT in his office.

My favorite part of Vin Scully Weekend by far was Vin leading the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” This happened all three games and each time was a serene and magical experience.

When David Dahl homered off Kenley in the top of the ninth to give the Rockies the lead, I began question the humanity of the baseball gods. Surely they wouldn’t let Vin’s final game at Dodger Stadium end on a whimper could they?

Of course not.

Corey Seager tied it up with a monster blast into the Rockies’ bullpen on a full count in the bottom of the ninth.

Then in the tenth, Charlie Culberson stepped to the plate and Vin wrapped up his career at home with one last call for the ages.

(Listen close and you can here Charlie be told to hit a home run.)

Following the Dodgers’ celebration and Vin serenading the crowd Wind Beneath My Wings, I was in such a happy mood I had to go introduce myself to the fella who became known as Newspaper Guy this season. Getting to put a name to the legend was one of this season’s biggest highlights.

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Chuck has had the same seats in Section 2 since 1975.

 

Game(s) 22 – 30: The All Killer, No Filler Megapost

Hey there, remember me? I’m the guy who was going to do a game recap after every trip to Dodger Stadium this season. Well, what can I say? As the Dodgers started rocketing up the standings, I started falling way behind with these recaps. Such is life when you go away for a month and then make up for a chunk of lost season by going to nine games in a two week span.

Like the headline said, this post is all killer and no filler so let’s get to it.

GAME 22: Dodgers 3 – Rays 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rays (7.26.16) ps: It’s so hard not to call them the Devil Rays
Special Guest: Taylor, aka Dodgers Reddit
Snacks: Special Japanese dog, regular fries, Blue Moon (x2)
Giveaway: Kenta Maeda bobblehead.
Memorable Moment: Meeting a stranger from the internet and having an awesome time with a new friend.

RECAP: After a few seasons of exchanging tweets and saying we gotta go to a game sometime, it finally happened. Taylor was in town for work and it was a total Step Brothers moment from the start when he surprised me by doing an atomic drop into his seat from from behind. We hit the ground running and after few innings in our seats, we took a lap of the stadium and ended the game in the bullpen overlook which turned out to be quite a wild spot thanks to the drunkest guy I’ve ever seen on a Tuesday night calling Joe Blanton FIVES as he warmed up. For a minute he ran with my suggestion of changing things up with a Dos Cinco but when right back to calling him Fives. That’s how a nickname is born, people.

Andre Ethier Clayton Kershaw AJ Ellis

Before the game Andre, Clayton, and A.J. shagged some flies in left center. Even if 2 out of 3 of them are still hurt, it was great to see the gang back on the field.

Tokyo Dog

Maybe my palate was too sensitive from a month of eating bratwursts up in Wisconsin but the Tokyo dog was the first themed dog that was a solid thumbs down.

Kenley Jansen in the bullpen

Hey Kenley. Good to see you again.

Game 23: Rays 3 – Dodgers 1

The matchup: Dodgers vs Rays (7.27.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Matt
Snacks: Donuts and a Bud Heavy tall boy.
Giveaway: I gave away some donuts. Does that count?
Memorable Moment: Witnessing history as A.J. Ellis recorded his first stolen base.

RECAP:  The game started at noon. I brought a box of donuts. We ate them and the Dodgers lost. The end.

Dodger Stadium Donuts

I made it 20 feet into the parking lot before giving away the first donut of the day. A guy in a parking booth jokingly asked if I had any extras. He quickly learned I don’t joke around when it comes to donuts and hooked him up.

BULLPEN BEER AND DONUTS

Breakfast of champions.

WATCHING THROUGH A DONUT

A donut’s eye view of the game.

Game 24: Diamondbacks 4 – Dodgers 2 

The matchup: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks (7.30.16)
Special Guest(s): My lovely wife plus our friends Jaime and Susan joined us. (This reminds me, he still owes me for the tickets.)
Snacks: A souvenir sized Coke and borrowed some garlic fries from my wife.
Giveaway: Dodger tote bag.
Memorable Moment: Yelling at a child who was gleefully (and with his dad’s encouragement) chucking paper airplanes off the Reserve Level and into the great beyond.

RECAP:  See, I wasn’t joking…

THE KID I YELLED AT

Here’s a photo of the offending youngster as I had a few words with him while his dad was busy being a lousy parent. Kudos to Dodger security though. They gave him and his dumb parents the what for an inning later.

Game 25: Dodgers 14 – Diamondbacks 3 

The matchup: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks (7.31.16)
Special Guest: Solo mission but I ran into some friends.
Snacks: Dodger Dogs (x2) and a Coke.
Giveaway: Jim Gilliam retired number pin.
Memorable Moment: Watching Joc Pederson hit a home run on-demand.

RECAP: With my wife dealing with what turned out to be bronchitis, I thought about taking the day off but changed my mind when I realized I’d been to three games without having a single Dodger Dog. And if you’re keeping score at home, you’d know that translates to a month since my last one and hey, it was lunchtime. Plus, my friends and Dodger super fans BJ and Scott were going to be there so I had to go.

The first thing they did when we met up on the Top Deck was hand me this ball.

OREL BALL

A heck of a grab bag score courtesy of my friends BJ and Scott.

With the Dodgers busy scoring touchdowns against the Dbacks, we roamed the stadium in search of the perfect gear for BJ and Scott’s upcoming East Coast Dodger road trip and had a bunch of of laughs along the way.

In the bottom of the 8th with the score 12-3, Joc came in to pinch hit and a young girl behind us started screaming for him to hit a home run like it was the bottom of the 9th in game seven. Picture Linda Blair in The Excorcist shouting Tony Robbins slogans instead of growling “your mother sucks cocks in hell” and you’ll have the perfect visual.

Imagine her surprise when Joc took her encouragement to heart and sent a ball deep into the Right Field Pavillon for a two run homer. (Little did we know that would be Puig’s last time rounding the bases before getting demoted.)

HAPPY JOC FAN

The kid next to the Ghostbuster was going absolutely bananas for Joc and it was awesome.

Game 26: Red Sox 9 Dodgers 0

The matchup: Dodgers vs Red Sox (8.5.16)
Special Guest: My friend Meg. She’s a Red Sox fan.
Snacks: Dodger Dogs (x2) and beers (multiple).
Giveaway: Nope.
Memorable Moment: Gotta say that getting a Vin Scully signed ball was pretty darn memorable.

RECAP: Welp. Anyone who was a Red Sox fan (approximately 60% of the crowd) had a wicked awesome good time that, in their pantheon of Boston pride milestones, I’d rank somewhere between the joy of seeing Good Will Hunting for the first time and the Sox winning the 2013 World Series.

Dodgers Playing Craps

Before the game, the Dodgers played a spirited game of craps on the field. Or they may have been stretching.

 

The Obscure Jersey of the Game has returned… 

David Ortiz and Darryl Strawberry

Not very often you see the Straw repped at Dodger Stadium.

Jerry Sands Jersey

But a Red Sox fan wearing a Jerry Sands jersey just might be the winner for Obscure Jersey of the Season.

As much as I’d normally be annoyed by 30,000 Dropkick Murphys listening, Dunkin Donuts coffee drinking mouth breathers, I couldn’t be bothered to pay any attention to them because a very special ball had suddenly come into my life thanks to some VERY generous friends whose names rhyme with BJ and Scott.

VIN SCULLY SIGNED BALL

Holy GOAT ball. A ball like this deserves its own post and there is a cool story behind it. Stay tuned.

The biggest highlight from game itself came from a fan who was so drunk she had to have started drinking at noon the day before. She was swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane when she arrived and didn’t even make it to the third inning.

When her friends finally decided it was time to get her out of there, she took the drama to a whole new level by very nearly barfing on my friend Marc along with everyone else in her immediate vicinity. It was more suspenseful than watching the Hoover Dam teeter on the edge of bursting.

DRUNK FAN

This fan making it out of our section without ralphing all over the place was the biggest miracle to occur at Dodger Stadium since that one in 1988.

Todd and Meg

When take a dramatic fireworks shot right as the show ends.

Game 27: Dodgers 8 Red Sox 5

The matchup: Dodgers vs Red Sox (8.7.16)
Special Guest: My lovely wife. 
Snacks: Dodger Dogs (x2), garlic fries, Bud Heavy.
Giveaway: Some sweet Dodger Blue socks. A most excellent troll job on Red Sox fans.
Memorable Moment: Seeing Rob Segedin make his MLB debut and go straight HAM.

RECAP: Went into the game with more than a little dread about the Dodgers starting a AAA lineup but then Rob had to become a one man Red Sox wrecking crew. Here’s his first big league hit. (Apologies in advance for the shaky cinematography. Thought that ball was going out for sure.)

And here’s Rob adding to his RBI total. Big ups to him for making it a wonderful day at the ballpark.

But wait. There’s more! Here’s the hot new obscure jersey trend. The Corey Seager all-star edition.

SEAGER JERSEY

That’s a whole lotta brown.

COREY SEAGER JERSEY 2

See… it’s a trend. There’s two of ’em.

Game 28: Dodgers 9 Phillies 4

The matchup: Dodgers vs Phillies (8.8.16)
Special Guest: My friend Leslie. We were on a special mission.
Snacks: Bud Heavies (A few of them.)
Giveaway: Jackie Robinson pin.
Memorable Moment: Getting a pretty cool ball from the Phillies’ Cody Asche. 

RECAP: Along with being a semi-sporadic Dodger blogger, I also run a site dedicated to my first true love, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, called Big Red Fury. This game was all about crossing the streams of my two favorite teams. Leslie also happens to be a  BRF contributor and a huge Dodger fan and was more than game to endure some strange looks by wearing Husker gear to a Dodger game to show some Nebraska love for fellow Husker Cody Asche. You can read all about it here but spoiler alert(!) our field trip had a rad ending.

Check out the ball Cody tossed us.

Cody Asche Go Big Red Ball

This ball was the icing on the cake to the best week ever at Dodger Stadium.

With Cody Ball

Go Big Red!

Game 29: Dodgers 9 Phillies 3

The matchup: Dodgers vs Phillies (8.9.16)
Special Guest: My friend Leslie. We had to keep reppin’ Husker Nation.
Snacks: First Dole Whip ever!
Giveaway: Howie Kendrick bobblehead.
Memorable Moment: Howie being the first Dodger to hit a home run on his bobblehead night since Manny Ramirez was pretty clutch.

RECAP: As much fun as it is when a game is close, it’s so much more relaxing when the Dodgers score early and often. I’d comment more about this game but I was still a little tipsy from the night before and just happy to be there in one piece.

Vin Scully in the Booth

Hey there, Vin.

One thing I will mention though, for the duration of this series not once did the umpire crew partake in their longstanding tradition of saluting Vin Scully. These choads just stood at home plate muttering to each other until it was time to play ball.

LOSER UMPS

This umpire crew (Jeff Kellogg, John Tumpane, Alan Porter, and Brian O’Nora) went three games without doing the traditional salute to Vin. What is this world coming too?

Umpires Saluting Vin Scully

This is what umpires who don’t suck typically do before the start of every game.

Game 30: Phillies 6 Dodgers 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Phillies (8.10.16)
Special Guest: My friend Matt.
Snacks: Smuggled in a bag of Kettle Chips
Giveaway: Nope
Memorable Moment: Marc reaching a level of frustration not seen in Section 2 since the days of Brian Wilson.

RECAP: It was another weekday day game and another mind boggling loss for the Dodgers perfectly summed up by this photo I took of Marc.

MARC

The feeling of walking up before noon so you can watch your favorite team forget how to play baseball.

On that uplifting note, the Dodgers are in first place and playing the Giants tonight. It’s gonna be a fun week.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.