Game 20: Dodgers 3 – Nationals 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Nationals (6.21.16)
Special Guest(s): My buddy Matt and his girlfriend Marissa.
Snacks: A pair of Bud Heavies and Dodger Dogs.
Giveaway: Nope.
Memorable Moment: Watching Clayton Kershaw play catch with Julio Urias. Wut?

RECAP: With this being my final game before taking an extended all-star break, I wanted to soak in the entire game day experience, starting with early BP. I even brought a glove in hopes of maybe snagging a couple balls to contribute to the baseball game our family plays on the 4th of July.

But it was not to be. Oh well.

With everyone and their dog still recovering from the heatwave, the Dodgers skipped most of their portion of batting practice. When the gates opened, the only player on the field was Kenta Maeda who was finishing up a running workout.

Kenta Maeda

Kenta Maeda waves to fans after finishing his workout.

Kenta started heading towards the Dodger dugout but something caught his eye and he pulled a u-turn and jogged over to the fans gathered near the foul pole.

Kenta Maeda 2

Kenta reverses course.

This is the crowd that was gathered when Kenta started signing autographs.

Kenta Maeda Signing

This was the crowd five seconds later.

Crowd around Kenta

Out of the scrum emerged a very happy kid with a signed Kenta jersey from his days with the Hiroshima Carp. Safe to say he was probably the reason why Kenta changed his mind on signing.

Kenta Maeda Jersey

Everyone who snagged an autograph from Kenta should have bought this kid an ice cream helmet.

Not long after Kenta left the field, my friends Marc and Leslie arrived and so did a couple pitchers by the names of Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias. Were they really about to play catch?

Clayton Kershaw Stretching

Julio Urias waits for old man Kershaw to finish stretching.

We soon had our answer.

Clayton Kershaw Wind UP

It’s all in the leg kick, kid.

Clayton Kershaw 2

Kershaw throws to Urias.

Clayton Kershaw 1

The Kershaw equivalent to Ice Man flexing during Top Gun’s beach volleyball scene.

But wait… there’s more!

Clayton Kershaw catching Julio Urias

Kershaw pops a squat.

After a few warmup tosses, Kershaw did his best A.J. Ellis impression and caught for Urias as he fired off some jaw dropping pitches.

See for yourself.

The oohs and ahhs from us two dozen or so fans who were lucky enough to see this rivaled any fireworks show. It was amazing.

When they finished, Kershaw strolled off the field and left his young Padawan to hold court with his new fans.

Clayton Kershaw exits the field

Kershaw’s work here is done.

Julio Urias Photo bomb

Trying to photobomb selfies with Julio Urias.

As for the game itself, because it was Firefighter Appreciation Night, I gave our tickets to Matt and Marissa and purchased an extra ticket for myself so I could snag a Dodger firefighter t-shirt for my cousin Teagan who recently dominated as a junior competitor in the Wisconsin State Firefighter Skills Challenge.

My night as a rogue seat hopper couldn’t have been easier. There were plenty of open seats in our section so we were all able to sit together. I dispensed valuable training advice to Matt and Marissa for their upcoming Malibu Triathlon while I stuffed my face with Dodger Dogs. (And no, the irony was not lost on me.)

Hot Dog With Onions

This guy gets a shout-out piling an entire bin’s worth of onions on his Dodger Dogs.

Scott Kazmir was the good Scott this evening, giving up just a pair of runs while the Dodgers’ bats fell silent. That is until Yasmani Grandal raked a three run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Hello, timely hitting. It’s nice to see you again.

Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth and padded his saves record by getting Ben Revere, Jayson Werth, and Bryce Harper to all ground out to Corey Seager on just 12 pitches.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to my first half of the season.

The Obscure Jersey of the Night Award goes to this guy.

Mat Latos Jersey

What kind of bet do you have to lose to be wearing a Mat Latos shirsey out in public?

Game 17: Justin Turner 3 – Brewers 2

The matchup: Dodgers vs Brewers (6.17.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Greg. He grew up in Milwaukee but knows who to root for.
Snacks: Uh, somewhere between the beers and margaritas (I shall decline say how many) there was a Dodger Dog or two.
Giveaway: Nope. It was Fireworks Night.
Memorable Moment: Getting to hang out with Greg. He’s got a crazy job that has him pretty much circumnavigating the globe every week.

Greg and Todd

Greg and I at our first game together since the original Vin Scully’s bobblehead night in 2012.

RECAP: It took a few tries (and seasons) but my buddy Greg and I were finally able to make it to a game together AND his hometown Milwaukee Brewers happened to be the Dodgers’ opponent.

Sunset at Dodger Stadium

This view never gets old.

We met up at The Short Stop to pregame with some tall boys before making the walk over the hill to Dodger Stadium. One of the first people we saw when we staggered onto Vin Scully Ave was this guy.

Aaron Rogers jersey

But where’s the cheese head?

Julio Urias made his second career Dodger Stadium start and was lights out. Justin Turner gave him a 1-0 lead with solo shot in the bottom of the first and the kid made it last for five innings on a mostly efficient 85 pitches. Then, out of fear his arm would fall off if he threw an 86th pitch, Urias was pulled in the top of the sixth for Louis Coleman.

Four batters (and one Adam Liberatore appearance) later, the Brewers took a 2-1 lead and erased any chance of Urias getting his first career win.

As things were looking extra dire for the Dodgers, Greg dropped some absolutely mind blowing trivia on me. The Milwaukee Brewers’ classic logo features a hidden ‘m’ and ‘b’.

Call me slow on the uptake, but I never realized that. Now it’s as plain as day.


See the M and the B in the mitt?

Luckily for the Dodgers, that Justin Turner fellow went up to bat in the bottom of the eighth and launched a 1-2 pitch into the Dodger bullpen to tie the game.

Suddenly faced with the prospect of a game going into extras, Greg and I made the executive decision to call it a night. He’d been up since the wee hours of the morning to fly back to LA and was fading.

Luckily for us, he found a second wind as we walked by El Compadre and ducked in to watch the game and have another drink or three. It was my first time there and was pleasantly surprised to see it was pretty much a Dodger sports bar. In all my years of living in LA, I never knew such a thing existed.

After watching Pedro Baez semi-miraculously hold Milwaukee scoreless in the top of the tenth, the Dodgers got right to work in their half of the inning. Will Venable hit a ground-rule double and was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by A.J. Ellis. Faced with a runner on third and only one out, Brewers manager Craig Counsell did the totally logical thing and intentionally walked the next two batters to bring up Turner with the bases loaded.

Justin Turner steps to the plate

The fans behind home plate are smiling because they know what Turner is about to do.

Turner didn’t let an 0-2 count scare him and lined the game winning hit into center field and sent high fives flying around El Compadre. To the best of my knowledge, this was my first-ever walkout walk-off.

Finally, tonight’s Obscure Jersey of the Night Award goes to Greg.

Who is Mausser

Greg said he found this Dodger jersey in his boss’ storage unit. I have no idea who Mausser is and neither does Greg.


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 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.


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.


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.


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

Julio Urias had arrived.


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


No pressure, kid. No pressure.


No turning back now.


Urias heads to the bullpen mound.


Gotta get those Chatsnaps.


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


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.)


I may have a problem.


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.


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.