Monday, July 14, 2014

Dodger Game in Review: Autographs, a Bobble Head, and a Win!

I'm finally back from my trip, and I can honestly say I had a great time. Dikran and I took the 4 hour trip to Los Angeles, leaving around 9am on Saturday morning. After a quick pit stop at Denny's, we finished our drive and arrived at our hotel. We got checked in, checked out the local Target to see if we could unearth some cheap cards to bust, but nothing was to be found.

We then took off to Dodger Stadium and met up with Matthew (Dodger Penguin) and his wife around 4pm, then drove in to the stadium together. This was the first time Matthew and I have met in person, and I have nothing but nice things to say about him. We then walked into the stadium and headed straight for the baseline. Most fans were unable to enter the stadium until five, but thanks to Matthew we were able to get in early for batting practice and autographs.

Matthew got a couple of Drew Butera autos earlier in the day, and added to his loot with a J.P Howell auto. Unfortunately, getting autos is hit and miss, and me and Dikran came up empty. However, even without autos, it was a surreal experience getting that close to the field and the players.

You can see where we were posted up. Dan Haren and Hyun-Jin Ryu decided to come and toss directly in front of us. Thankfully Haren was able to catch everything thrown at him, or I may have taken one to the face. I was hoping he would turn around and sign after tossing, but he took off in the opposite direction.

Here is a bearded Chris Perez. Kenley Jansen is to the left of him and one of them is tossing with J.P Howell. I cannot remember which one.

 Dikran was able to snap this pic of Matt Kemp warming up. I really wish he came over to sign.

Fortunately, two former Dodgers were signing behind the left and right field pavilions, so I was able to head over there and get some guaranteed autos.

I visited Lee Lacy first. Lacy was a fantastic guy, and very chatty. I approached him with his 1973 Topps rookie card, which I was lucky to have, and he was more than happy to sign it. I think I may have caught him off guard with it, as he surprisingly exclaimed, "You got my rookie card!"

He also signed, and personalized, a postcard of himself. 

After a brief conversation about the first-place Dodgers, I started off only to find Dikran was following without stopping to get an autograph. Fortunately, Lacy also noticed this and called out for Dikran to come back. We both headed back to the booth and Lacy signed a postcard for Dikran and joked with him for a minute. Dikran later told me he didn't realize that we were both able to get autographs, but I suspect he was a little intimidated by the former Dodger.

We then took the trek around the stadium to the left field pavilion in search of Derrel Thomas, the other signer. After finding it, we noticed the line was about the same length as Lacy's was. Lacy's line took about 30 mins to get through, but we were out of Thomas' line in 10 mins. Thomas spoke very little and did not look to really be enjoying himself. I approached him with a copy of his 1984 Topps card and he signed it, but didn't even respond when I asked how he was doing. I was hoping he would also sign one of the several hundred postcards he had stacked up, but he didn't. Dikran was standing right next to me, but Thomas never even acknowledged him and signaled for the next person in line to come up after signing my card. Long story short, Dikran did not get an autograph of Mr. Thomas. 

It had been a long day up to that point, so we grabbed a couple of Dodger Dogs and headed back to our seats without any further exploration.

Here is the beautiful view from our seats. Dikran snapped both of these pics, one prior to the game, and the other in the middle innings. The stadium filled up quite nicely.

Shorty after the game started, Greg of Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle and I met up for our first in person meeting. Like Matthew, Greg is an awesome guy and we ended up talking about the Dodgers, Archer, and life for about 2 innings. We didn't miss much, as the bats were quiet for both teams throughout most of the game.

Both Matthew and Greg brought cards for trades we made, but I mistakenly forgot the bag with their cards in it at home. I didn't realize it until we were headed to the game, so I was disappointed with myself. In the same bag was an 8X10 of Matt Kemp that I was hoping to get signed, so that obviously did not come to the game with me either. I packed that bag a few days in advance so I would not forget to do so before we left, yet I forgot it anyways. Arghhh.

It was bobble head night at the stadium, featuring this magnificent bobble head of Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella. Campanella was famously paralyzed from the shoulders down after an auto accident in 1958. On May 7th, 1959, the Dodgers hosted Roy Campanella night in which Campy was pushed onto the field by former teammate, Pee Wee Reese. The bobble head perfectly encapsulates that fantastic moment in Dodger history. 

The Dodgers ended up winning the game on a walk-off sacrifice fly by A.J Ellis, after a double from Adrian Gonzalez and a pair of walks in the inning. It was the first time I've ever attended a night game at Dodger Stadium, and the first time I've ever attended a walk-off win. The walk-off perfectly capped off the wonderful night. 

Because we parked outside of the stadium, Dikran and I had a nice stroll around the stadium before we took off. We visited the retired numbers at the Top of the Stadium. 

I am posted up next to Jackie's infamous number, but I don't look too happy. This was taken about 30 mins after the game, but there was still a decent sized crown roaming around. We asked the same group of people to move three times so we could get a picture, but they made it seem like a big inconvenience. We took five other photos that didn't come out, so I was a bit annoyed. Rather than try and capture another one with a happier expression, we moved on to other numbers, but those pictures did not come out either. So I was left with one photo off me at the stadium to show off. 

I'll finish off this post with some other various pictures from our day. Enjoy!

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