Friday, April 30, 2010

Pittsburgh Pirates 2 at Los Angeles Dodgers 0 - April 29, 2010


When I do these roadtrips, I usually pick a few games that I am interested in and then fill up the empty days with nearby events. Sometimes I am lucky and get some classic matchups such as the NBA games in January, but other times I end up at a game that I wouldn't be too interested in otherwise. Such was the case yesterday when the 9-12 Pittsburgh Pirates were in town to take on the 8-13 LA Dodgers. I was so excited about this game that I forgot to recharge my camera battery, so there's no pics.

Dodger Stadium

Located at the confluence of the 101, 110, and I-5 freeways, the stadium is the 3rd oldest in MLB, having been opened in 1962.

Parking is $15 but there is free parking along Academy Road just north of the stadium. The LA Police Academy is here, so it is safe and about a 15-minute walk to the gates.

There are 4 distinct seating sections in the main bowl; field level, loge, reserve, and top deck. Each level has its own colour of seats, although they are fading after so many years in the sun. There are many seating options so I won't go into them. I would suggest that you avoid getting tickets at the box office on game day as they go up in price; I was able to find a ticket online for half-price. Which leads me to the pricing here. I had a great seat, 4th row in field level section 12. But there is another section known as Dugout Box which has 10 rows in front of the field level section. My seat had a face value of $120 which goes to $130 on game day. That's ridiculous, even at half-price it is too expensive for 14 rows from the field, even just off the plate.

There's also two outfield pavilions, one of which is all-you-can-eat. Avoid that unless you want to be disgusted. I didn't eat here myself although Dodger Dogs are the most famous food in MLB.

I really like Dodger Stadium. Yeah, they've raised their prices way too high, especially if they continue to play like this, but it's unique, seems the same as it did 20 years ago when I first visited, and doesn't blast loud music during the inning breaks. Fans come late and leave early, but that means more room for me. I enjoyed just sitting back and watching the game without distractions. Definitely worth a visit if you've yet to be here.

The Game

I thought I was in Candlestick Park as the game got underway; it was very windy and cold. According to the radio broadcast after the game, this sort of weather is quite rare in Dodger Stadium, yet another reason to have stayed home.

Clayton Kershaw, who led the league in average against in 2009 (.200), started for LA while Brian Burres was recalled from AAA Indianapolis to make a spot start for the Pirates.

Kershaw was wild to start, walking the first two batters before striking out the next two. Ryan Doumit then stroked one to center that skipped by Matt Kemp all the way to the wall. Both runners scored and Doumit ended up on third with a triple. I thought an error was due to Kemp, but both runs were earned.

As it turned out, that was all the scoring. Burres lasted 5 1/3 giving up 4 hits and 4 walks and Jack Taschner and Evan Meek were perfect, retiring the last 11 batters in a row to preserve the 2-0 victory. It was Meek's 1st major league save, so perhaps he's making a claim for the Pirates' closer role.

This game was dull but not in the way I expected. I figured the Dodgers would break out of their slump against the pathetic Pirates pitching and win in a blowout, but the opposite happened. LA never threatened though, getting only 3 runners to third base, and there was no excitement after the top of the first. It lasted 2:51, far too long for a 2-0 game.

Notes

Blake DeWitt was creamed by a foul ball off the bat of Russell Martin in the 3rd. DeWitt was on third base when Martin crushed the ball right at him. There was no time to move and the ball hit him squarely on the thigh. But he walked it off and stayed in the game. It was a reminder as to why you stand in foul territory when you are on third; DeWitt would have been out if he had been in fair territory.

Attendance was 40,185 according to MLB.com but there were maybe half that in the stadium. Would be nice if they counted gate attendance rather than tickets sold (or even better, both numbers were announced - would be nice to know how many weather wimps there are in LA).

With two out in the bottom of the 9th and two strikes on Ronnie Belliard, a fan jumped on the field and raced to center field where he was finally tackled. Idiot. He wasted 2 minutes of my time as well as everyone else there. I think he punishment should be equal to the number of total minutes wasted. That would be 80,370 minutes, or nearly 56 days. I think if they publicized that he got nearly 2 months in jail, we might see less of this annoying behavior.

Next Up

Tonight I'm planning to go to UCLA to check out a baseball game with Arizona State visiting.
Tomorrow I fly to London for a relaxing two weeks. I won't be watching much sports there, but am hoping to catch an EPL game on Sunday and some cricket action at Lord's mid-week. Updates will be spotty but check back occasionally.

Best,

Sean

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