These are the words uttered by the GREAT Vin Scully before each Dodger game that he announces.
Today was Opening Day for Baseball in Los Angeles. And due to great scheduling by MLB, the Dodgers were playing their Northern California rivals, the HATED SF Giants. I'm not even going to respect them enough to spell out the full name of the City.
My actual first Baseball game was with my Little League team, the Angels, to see the California Angels play. Now that I look back, my Coach was very good to take all of us 8 year olds to a Baseball game. Today it would have cost him his Mortgage payment, but back then, probably less than $50.
But, I grew up in Echo Park, which is within a long walking distance to Dodger Stadium. How could I NOT root for the Dodgers. Oh, yeah, I know about that other Blog Post I wrote, but that was highlighting Dodger Stadium Security, not the Baseball team.
Through those early years, the Dodgers seemed to always be in the playoffs, but never went the distance, always losing before getting a chance to play in the World Series. What a letdown every year. After the infamous "Ticket finding fiasco" I was no longer a Dodger Fanatic, but I was still a Dodger Fan.
I remember how the fan base changed with different players becoming Stars. With Fernando Valenzuela, more people of Mexican decent became Dodger fans. I was working at a Union 76 gas station during that time. Union 76 was a sponsor of the Dodgers, so we always had Dodger schedules and gave away some souvenirs. More and more Spanish speaking persons came in and asked for "Dyers" or Doughyers" schedules.
Then with Hideo Nomo, more Japanese fans. Chan Ho Park, more Korean fans.
Opening games are hard to go to. They are scheduled as a Day game, during the week. So unless you take the day off from work, you can't go. Lucky for me, I don't have a regular 9-5, M-F job. Lucky for my other non-conformist friends, I had 3 more tickets.
One was a long time friend and neighbor, David. David and I go way back to 7th Grade. We've gone to many Baseball games together, and one time, we took his Father. I wish he was alive today, I would have wanted him to go. David brought a friend. I took my other friend that I won't mention by name, because I will embarrass her. So, to identify her in this story, I will call her "La Cucaracha-elle."
Now, though it's a little un-PC, I hope I don't offend any of my Messican friends. Since I grew up in Echo Park, which was mostly Hispanic, I think I can say these things without being called any names.
La Cucaracha-elle picked me up in her new car. As we drove to the Stadium using my short cut, I knew right away that going there an hour early, even though the Stadium is 5 minutes away, was a good idea. The short cut was jammed with traffic. And just outside the Stadium, there were a lot of people tailgating in Elysian Park.
The Game was Sold Out, the roads were packed, the parking lots were full, and the lines getting into the Stadium and to the Consession stands were long. We got there just in time for the Dodgers to announce the players, and sat in our seats when her favorite player, Russell Martin was called.
Just like in High School, she likes him because "he's soooooo cuuuuuute." Oh brother!
Since it was a Day game, it was HOT! The people outside already had a head start and running the bases to drunkenness, and now inside, they were heading to home plate! Needless to say, it was a little rowdy, especially if you were wearing any other team's "Colors."
There were a few fights, but nothing really bad. The one I will talk about happened just after Russell Martin first time up to bat. Russell Martin flied out. The woman behind me and La Cucaracha-elle said, "That's okay Russell, I still LOVE YOU, you're still MY MAN!" Oh-oh, trouble!
La Cucaracha-elle - "He's NOT your man, he's MINE!"
Other Messican Woman - "Who ju tocking to, Huera?"
La Cucaracha-elle - "Ju, Sancha!"
Other Messican Woman - "Who ju callin' Sancha, ju pinche Huera!"
Now, I'm a smart man. I don't ever try to stop a Messican girl fight over a man. But I AM a smart man, and I know what to do. You need to know two things to keep an advantage. First, getting between two Messican girls about to fight means you can get some "Accidental" Boobie Grabbage. Second, you have to know what to say or do to distract them. I shouted, "Look! Andre Ethier is up!"
They turned their attention, and leering eyes back to the game and the fight was over before it even started. Whew! Remind me not to take La Cucaracha-elle to another Day game....
Highlights of the Game:
To start the game, the Dodgers asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence for Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and his two friends, who were killed in a car crash, and for Philadelphia Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who died Monday at the age of 73.
Vin Scully was honored for 60 years of announcing, and he threw out the First Pitch.
Charise, a 16 year old Filipina girl made famous by Oprah, sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Various Armed Forces Personnel unrolled a GIGANTIC Flag of the United States that covered most of the outfield.
A B-2 Stealth Bomber flew overhead before the game.
N'Kenge sang God Bless America before the 7th Inning Stretch.
The game had 3 home runs, two by Andre Ethier, and one by Orlando Hudson, who also hit for the cycle for the first time since Wes Parker did it on May 7, 1970. It was the first time anyone has done it inside Dodger Stadium.
All in all, a great game and a good time was had by all. Who won the game? The Dodgers! The score? How would I know? Let me look it up.......
11-1 Dodgers beat the Giants!
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