Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Karen’s brother was otherwise engaged last Wednesday, so we bought his Dodgers season tickets (and good parking pass) for the evening. It was our first baseball game of the year. Unfortunately, it was also the night that 70-mile-per-hour winds whipped through many parts of the county—but more about that later.
I packed a heavy sweatshirt and blanket. Before I even turned the key in the ignition, we discussed our strategy for getting to the stadium. The Lakers were playing at Staples Center, while the final episode of “American Idol” was being filmed at the Nokia Theater next door. Obviously we wouldn’t be traveling through downtown. Instead, we decided to take surface streets: Third Street to Temple to Alvarado to Sunset Blvd. It took us one-and-a-half hours to drive nine miles.
We parked in the highly coveted section B and entered the stadium. The place was practically deserted. Either everyone was home watching “American Idol” and/or the Lakers’ play-off game, or people were sensibly staying inside.
With fifteen minutes to go till the first pitch, we scoped-out our dinner options. Although Tim had insisted he wasn’t going to eat a Dodger dog, he succumbed at the first whiff. I, on the other hand, had a more difficult decision since I’m not prone to eating regular stadium food. We checked out Panda Express (too expensive!) and Carl’s Jr. (too goopy) before I settled on California Pizza Kitchen. Nine dollars (!!) for an individual pizza, but at least I didn’t starve.
The seats were great—the Reserved Level, right behind homeplate. But the wind was atrocious! I swear I could barely see the ball, at times, for all the hot dog wrappers and napkins blowing around.
Tim and I grew-up following the Dodgers, but have moved on since then: we were Padres season-ticket-holders when we lived in San Diego and then switched to the Angels in 2002 when they won the World Series. No surprise that I didn’t recognize one player on the Dodgers team. I scrutinized each photo they showed on the Jumbo-tron every time a new man came up. One of them had more homeruns than any other second-baseman in 2006. Another hit a triple six weeks ago.
“Yikes!” I said to Tim. “They’re really digging deep to say something flattering about each player.”
“Well, better than putting up a slide that says, ‘Overpaid has-been who sits on the bench for most of the game,’” he sniped.
Just at that moment, a huge gust of wind nearly knocked us out of our seats. Tim didn’t know whether to grab his hat or his garlic fries, but managed to hold onto both. A little girl two rows in front of us quickly put her cotton candy back into its bag. I watched as the palm trees in left field danced a jig. It was going to be a long night!
We ended up having a fun time, of course, despite the weather. Don’t ask me who did what, but both teams played well enough to keep us interested. By the sixth inning, I was ready to leave. The wind had calmed down enough to not blow us and our tiny Honda to Kansas, so we quickly slipped away before we got sucked into any further action. Three days later, I remembered to ask Tim who had won the game!