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 11: Dodgers 3 – Reds 1

The matchup: Dodgers vs Reds (5.25.16)
Special Guest: My cycling buddy Fred. He’s 155lbs of caged fury on the bike.
Snacks: Nothing for me, thanks. I had the meat and cheese sweats. (Long story.)
Giveaway: Adrian Gonzales bobblehead. Boom.
Memorable Moment: Chase Utley averting total disaster by gunning down Jay Bruce at home after Joc Pederson ran into the center field wall while chasing down a fly ball.

Fred and Todd

Fred is about to eat his body weight in Garlic Fries after crushing a Dodger Dog. He spent part of his day riding his bike 70 miles up the coast.

RECAP: Earlier in the day, I was faced with an utterly grim situation. Our house was severely lacking in the food department and I didn’t feel like putting on pants and venturing out into the world in search of an Egg McMuffin and/or a Trader Joe’s. My best case scenario was hoping that I didn’t starve to death while I waited an hour for UberEATS to start delivery.

Then I remembered the Dodgers activated the Papa John’s #Dodgers5 deal by scoring 8 runs against the Reds the night before and my problems were suddenly solved.

Or, you could my problems were just starting because I ordered Papa’s new Mushroom Swiss Burger Pizza at 10am.

Hey, don’t judge. It was delicious AND 50% off. Thanks for coming through, Dodger offense.

Somehow, over the course of the day, I managed to plow through most of that pizza and left for Dodger Stadium deep in the throes of the meat and cheese sweats.

So what’s one of the first things I see on DodgerVision?

Papa John's Dodgers5

There is no escaping Papa John.

And if that wasn’t torturous enough…

Papa Johns Dodger Stadium

Papa John will even deliver to your seat if you’re a lucky winner.

And we can’t forget the pizza vendors roaming the aisles.

Pizza Vendor

Not to worry. The box was empty. I asked.

While I was feeling like Jabba the Hutt after a trip to Golden Corral, Fred tore through his food like a guy who had just been on a 70 mile bike ride. Between bites he dropped a pretty cool nugget of personal trivia.

“Don’t know if I ever told you, but a really good friend growing up is a pitcher.”

“Oh yeah? Who?”

Ben Rowen.”

“You mean the guy who was on the Dodgers for a minute last year.”

“Yeah. That’s him.”

Los Angeles Dodgers workout Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Phoenix,Arizona. Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2015

Ben Rowen as a Dodger during spring training last year. Or, this could be Fred. They look a lot alike. Photo by Jon SooHoo.

Fred then texted Ben’s wife to find out what team he’s currently playing on. (In his defense, Ben has bounced around so much in the last year even his family might not be sure which jersey he’s wearing these days.) She wrote back to say he’s on Toronto’s AAA team in Buffalo and will hopefully be called up soon.

We then spent the rest of the game comparing pro baseball to pro cycling and talking bikes, because that’s what happens when you put two bike geeks together.

Even at a baseball game it’s all about the bike.



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.