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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Future to the Back
2008-03-29 22:40
by Jon Weisman

If the Dodgers had still been playing in the Coliseum when William Errol Morris attempted to burn an American flag on April 25, 1976, Cubs shortstop Dave Rosello could have been the hero instead of Rick Monday. That's how little room there was in left field at tonight's "baseball Woodstock," as Charley Steiner called it.

That was one of many thoughts that crossed my mind during a kick of an evening at the Coliseum tonight, which proved to be just about everything we had hoped for as far as a journey to nostalgia and weirdness. (It also seems to have proved everything we might have feared as far as the effectiveness of the Dodger Stadium shuttle, because the line for the shuttle at about 9:45 p.m. - yes, I left the game early to get to the car - looked literally to be almost a mile long.) The tickets-sold number was 115,300, and yes, I'll be telling my kids someday that I was a part of it.

Upon arrival, the atmosphere was completely cheerful as I walked around the edifice where I spent many a Rams Sunday, and the view of the field was - what can I tell you - charming. I mean, we wouldn't want to make a habit of this, but it was just fun trying to anticipate what it would be like to play on a field so lopsided, much less to be among the people roaming on the grass behind right-center. Adding to the mystery was the fact that the 60-foot left-field screen was invisible to me from my vantage point high behind first base.

The big surprise was that the Dodgers completely abandoned the idea of playing left field: For much of the game, Andre Ethier moved to left-center, and Andruw Jones played rover. Jones even was on the receiving end of a 2-8 caught stealing.

Ballplayers were lining singles directly off the left-field wall; home runs were alternatively blasted and popped. Strikeouts were plentiful, perhaps because of the inconsistent lighting and lack of a batter's eye in center field. I feared for the health in the Dodger dugout jammed near the first-base line, as well as James Loney's inevitable pursuit of a foul ball.

We even almost got to see a triple play - should have seen one, in fact, as Jeff Kent sharply grounded to third base with two runners on, and the Red Sox went around the horn but failed to get the middle out.

And in between innings, there were numerous appearances by past Dodgers, though the highlight was the skyhook that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to Russell Martin. The best part of the pregame was, of course, the long ovation given to Vin Scully, who broadcast the Dodgers' first four years in Los Angeles.

An unfortunate throwing error by Blake DeWitt set up a three-unearned-run homer off Esteban Loaiza that gave Boston a second-inning lead that it would maintain the rest of the game, marring what was otherwise a fine performance by the third base under-under-understudy. But no, we weren't really wrapped up in who won and who lost.

Though we have one exhibition game left Sunday, along with some lingering roster decisions, I kind of feel like this was Opening Day, at least in the sense of revving my engine for baseball. If you have pictures from tonight's event, post them at the Dodger Thoughts group page at Flickr. Otherwise, hope you made it home in a timely fashion.

You bet, Vin - it's time for Dodger baseball.

Update: A sampling of pics from the Dodger Thoughts group page at Flickr:




















Comments (61)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-03-29 23:12:17
1.   Bob Hendley
That was great. Good to see you made it home safely. Good night.
2008-03-29 23:12:39
2.   silverwidow
The Dodgers explored trades for infielders such as the Astros' Mark Loretta and Royals' Esteban German, but Loretta was unavailable and the Royals wanted shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, according to a major-league source.

2008-03-29 23:12:59
3.   Linkmeister
Rover?? I wonder who thought that up. It makes sense, too.
2008-03-29 23:14:55
4.   berkowit28
proved to be just about everything we had hoped for as far as a journey to nostalgia and weirdness

Being at the game, you missed one of those available only to those watching on TV: an entire half-inning shown in crisp black-and-white. Whenever we see clips of old games in b&w, they're always so blurry due to the old age of the videotape they've been taken from - you'd think it really looked like that back then. Now today's cameras, with the color removed, are probably sharper than in 1959 - true enough. But it was still more like what I only vaguely recall from those days (in 1958 I was 10).

2008-03-29 23:15:26
5.   Bob Timmermann
Much of postgame Dodgertalk seems to focus on the fights in the stands. But Levine and Souchon say they didn't see any. Souchon thinks the trouble may have come from "1 to 2 percent" of the fans. That still works out to 1000-2000 people
2008-03-29 23:19:46
6.   Linkmeister
5 Yikes. Methinks .0001 percent might be more likely.
2008-03-29 23:21:43
7.   Bob Timmermann
I would estimate about 10 fights in the stands that required intervention.
2008-03-29 23:22:53
8.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
Fun game to watch on TV... if only they'd have made arrangements for the second base umpire to sit this one out. How annoying for the viewers at home like me. Many batters were blocked out of view. Obviously the producer forgot the umpire would be in the way...

Fun game... now it's time to start winning.

2008-03-29 23:23:14
9.   dzzrtRatt
On TV, left field looked like it had been hit by a mudslide.

How about a few more freakish landmarks to put a baseball field in future years' exhibition seasons. Like, say, LAX? Or Venice Beach? La Brea Tar Pits? How about a game inside the Staples arena? Or MOCA?

2008-03-29 23:24:38
10.   Dodger Dog in Idaho
For those not in the know... the center field camera angle was shot from the right field side of the pitchers mound... which put the second base umpire right in the middle of the action.
2008-03-29 23:28:28
11.   Reddog
Apparently Torre will announce the outfield starters for Opening Day before tomorrow's game.

Assuming Ethier is named the starter in left field, what does this portend for the season? Does Torre tend to stick with the starters? Has he been known to platoon?

2008-03-29 23:31:41
12.   CanuckDodger
About 20 years ago certain regular season games at Yankee Stadium were shot with the camera in the right field side of the outfield, but the camera was elevated enough (looking down) that the 2nd base umpire didnt get in the way. I always thought it was cool getting to watch left-handed pitchers with that angle.
2008-03-29 23:33:03
13.   Eric Enders
Thanks for the great write-up, Jon.

By the way, I hadn't seen this mentioned in any of the threads yet, but Wesley Wright made the Astros.

2008-03-29 23:44:27
14.   bhsportsguy
13 But we made $50,000.

I saw the line for the shuttle as I left the game it circled the front of the Natural History Museum, went up the side street and then out onto Exposition.

I saw on the LA Times site, that the Dodgers expected 5000 people to show up, instead they got an estimated 35,000 people and had to get 60 more buses, some fans arrived as late 8:30 to the game.

Once I got to my car, I was out and home just as Jason Repko struck out to end the game.

2008-03-29 23:53:27
15.   Eric Enders
They expected 5,000 people to show up? They said that with a straight face?
2008-03-30 00:01:07
16.   bhsportsguy
From LAT:

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said his organization originally had 40 buses and shuttles ready to transport 5,000 people. Instead, the team found itself with 35,000 passengers, forcing the team to add another 60 buses.

I don't know how many people take the shuttle to the Rose Bowl but the City of Pasadena does not have 40 buses to take care of those customers.

2008-03-30 00:03:33
17.   Dodgers49
Pierre might be odd man out

>> "It's a tough situation they created and put me in," said Pierre. "It's one thing to move to left field, but now I don't even know if I'm going to play. And I'm at a point in my career, my game isn't diminishing. I'm not 38 or 39 (he's 30). I'm not an old man." <<

2008-03-30 00:04:58
18.   Jim57
Anxious to get the decision on the outfield. Really it is a non decision. Do you think Pierre will ask to be traded when he is benched? I think he will.
2008-03-30 00:07:38
19.   ibleedbloo
I also left the game early (something I have done maybe 3 times in over 400+ games attended). I was very glad I did. People were already starting to pour out in the 6th inning. I gave a ride to friends to had parked at the stadium and they waited almost 2 hours to come to the Coliseum. It worked out well for us, but I can imagine a lot of cranky people waiting in line until 2am.

I took tons of pictures and will add to the Flickr group tomorrow.

Overall, great experience, but I'm glad I don't have to do it everyday. For what its worth, I was sitting in pretty good seats behind home plate and didn't see any fights.

2008-03-30 00:13:13
20.   Dodgers49
Players Reactions to Dodgers' Coliseum game

2008-03-30 00:14:18
21.   dzzrtRatt
If Pierre is willing to renegotiate his contract so he becomes tradeable, I'm sure there's somewhere he could start in CF and bat leadoff. If he hurries up, he might be able to keep his streak alive. Obviously, playing regularly is much more important to him than money at this point in his career. Like most people, ballplayers recognize that sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Oh, wait...

2008-03-30 00:16:39
22.   Neal Pollack
"They" didn't create the situation, Juan. You did, with your abysmal spring, with your popped-up bunts with men on second and third, with your fusilli throwing arm. But enough bashing Pierre already. I am tired.
2008-03-30 00:17:13
23.   Jim57
I don't think the players union would let Pierre renegotiate the contract. They don't ever give anything back. We would have to pay at least half of it to move him.
2008-03-30 00:19:59
24.   Jim57
Hope DeWitt can hold the fort until LaRoche and/or Nomar get back. He could make it difficult for LaRoche. Not a bad looking prospect.
2008-03-30 00:34:07
25.   sporky
from the Daily News:

"There were a lot of bets going with over/unders on home runs," the Dodgers' Andre Ethier said. "I said there would be one or two. I lost the bet."

2008-03-30 00:35:05
26.   Gilgamesh
The shuttle situation was terrible. I arrived at Dodger Stadium at 5:00 and spent 2.5 hours standing in line in the parking lot. When I finally got to my seats, it was the fifth inning. The shuttle situation was so bad, that when I saw large crowds leaving after the bottom of the sixth, I didn't have the courage to stay any longer, for fear of getting stuck in another monsterous shuttle line. I got back to my car just after 10:00. So for five hours investment, I received two innings and missed so much. Very, very disappointing.
2008-03-30 00:35:28
27.   Reddog
Sometimes things happen for a reason. I have a funny feeling that DeWitt will be the Dodgers 3rd baseman, and end up being a good one. He looks like a veteran to me, both his face and his manner.

I think he's going to be there for many seasons.

2008-03-30 00:36:50
28.   Dodgers49
Red Sox beat Dodgers before 115,300 fans

>> In the last baseball game played at the Coliseum, on Sept. 20, 1961, Sandy Koufax pitched all 13 innings in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs before a crowd of 12,068. <<

2008-03-30 00:37:46
29.   Jim57
Reddog, I agree, I think he could be a good one for a long time. I think Laroche is also capable if he can stay healthy.
2008-03-30 00:41:40
30.   Jim57
I thought my mind was playing tricks on me when Jones took the throw on the stolen base attempt. Wonder if there has ever been a 2-8 put out at 2nd before?
2008-03-30 00:44:37
31.   dzzrtRatt
If JP is traded, can't he void his contract after a year with his new team? What if he announced in advance that, if traded, he would opt-out of the contract at the end of the season?

I do feel bad for JP. As Colletti says, the Dodgers got what they expected, no more and no less.

Thinking it over: I suppose the ethical thing to do would be for the Dodgers to trade him, even if it means eating half the contract and getting next to nothing in return.

2008-03-30 00:47:25
32.   dzzrtRatt
29 Dewitt's a nice story, but LaRoche was one of the top power-hitting prospects in baseball, and unlike Dewitt, he's ready to step up to the big leagues now, or as soon as he's healed up.

Sure, Dewitt might turn out to be a better player, but we won't know one way or the other for at least a couple of years.

2008-03-30 00:56:18
33.   godvls
The shuttle situation was about what I expected.....pretty quick leaving Dodger Stadium and a nightmare after the game. We arrived at Dodger Stadium around 2:45 and got right onto a shuttle. I heard horror stories after the game about people arriving at 4:00 and waiting nearly three hours in line. We never leave early, but had decided ahead of time that it would be the only way to avoid the shuttle disaster. Well, it didn't work. We left at the end of the 6th, apparently with the rest of the shuttle crowd. We waited in line just under two hours. It wasn't so bad for my wife and I, but it was difficult for our two sons (9 and 6). It was all worth it though. We thoroughly enjoyed the three hours in the ballpark prior to the game. We even enjoyed our perch in Row 93. It was a rather remarkable day.
2008-03-30 00:57:25
34.   Jim57
Pierre will never opt out of this contract, even if he could. I believe a player traded that has that much major league time and a multi-year contract can ask to be traded. I don't think they can opt out ala Princess Drew unless, it is written in their contract. Pierre could never hope to get a contract this good on the open market.
2008-03-30 00:58:33
35.   Bluebleeder87
I just posted some pictures on Jon's Flickr, I also posted Rick Monday wearing what from viewing all my pics is a commemorative jacket that has both the Padres & L.A. written on it.
2008-03-30 01:02:32
36.   Bluebleeder87
I have to say it was truly a fun experience from fan fest (although TC didn't agree) to the game, I really enjoyed it.

ps TC has a GREAT PICTURE of Rachel Robinson at the Coliseum, he was proudly showing it of to me & BHSsportsguy.

2008-03-30 01:07:22
37.   Bluebleeder87
Reading some of the posts I'm glad I opted for the Taxi.
2008-03-30 01:09:58
38.   Xeifrank
Fun game. We got there around 1145AM and was able to park in the Coliseum lot right next to both the Sports Arena and Coliseum. Visited the Fan Fest for 20 minutes or so. Got a picture taken with the 1981/1988 trophies and Jerry Ruess. Hit 66 mph on the radar gun. Thought I'd do better, the ball seemed light. Then wondered over to the Rose Garden and ate our packed lunch. Then wandered around the USC campus, they were having some kind of golf tournament on the campus that looked interesting. Then headed over to Deadeux Field and watched USC and Loyola Maramount play. It must've been their JV teams playing, but it was a great way to waste 2 hours of time. Made it back to the Coliseum to watch batting practice. The ushers would only let you enter the stadium in the section you were sitting in. Which was kind of lame, because once you were in you could walk around the inner ring behind the left field screen. We stayed there for both teams batting practices. The Dodgers hit a lot more home runs over the screen during BP. The Red Sox had what seemed like a ton of lefties. David Ortiz was the most impressive but he didn't hit too many over the screen. Andruw Jones had quite a few shots. I didn't get any home run balls, but a couple landed a few rows away. Actually came closest to getting a ball on one that Matt Kemp tossed into the stands near the foul pole after between inning warmups. No problem with traffic leaving the Coliseum after the game. Just hopped in the car and got on the 110 north, which was jam packed. Once we transitioned to the 10 West, it was smooth sailing to the 405 north and 101 north. Got home 5 minutes before midnight. Fans were good in my area, there were a few perky Red Sox fans, one set kind of reminded me of Jimmy Fallon and the girl that play the part of Red Sox fans. Red Sox fans seemed to go crazy during the playing of Neil Diamonds "Sweet Caroline" during the eighth inning stretch. It was a great experience. Glad I went. I saw one person wearing a Dodger Thoughts t-shirt and we exchanged pleasantries.

vr, Xei

2008-03-30 01:19:11
39.   nofatmike

I got two tickets from a friend and took my dad. We stood in for the trophies, and we were both excited because Ron Cey was up their taking pictures. Unfortunately, as soon as we walked up to take the picture, Ron Cey switched out, and thus we had a our picture taken with Bobby Castillo instead. Big letdown.

The game itself wasn't that interesting, but watching 115,000 people do the wave is one thing I'll never forget.

2008-03-30 01:35:19
40.   Peanut
I was sitting in the third row from the top of the stadium, down the left field line. I only saw two fights, but it did seem more like a Raider crowd than a Dodger crowd. Kareem and Vin were great.
There were about 100 Dodger flags flying on the flagpoles surrounding the Coliseum. Once fans figured out how easy it was to take them, almost all of them disappeared. A few people in my section who stole or tried to steal flags were escorted out by LAPD, who didn't seem happy.
2008-03-30 02:00:19
41.   dodgerstang
Great time at the Coliseum tonight. Parked at the Stadium and had no problems getting on a shuttle (although our shuttle driver didn't seem to know exactly what he was doing). Had fun walking around and drinking beer out on the streets! Very liberating. Went into the game in time to see the end of Red Sox BP and get settled into our seats way up behind left field. Pretty great experience overall. I usually hate the wave (especially while Dodgers are pitching) but thought it was something special at the Coliseum (do they do that at USC games, I've never been to one.)

Highlight of the night: my drunken pal decides he wants a piece of the "Screen Monster" and went down at the end of the game and, a la NCAA, cut down a few squares of netting from left field, one of which I have proudly safety pinned to my cap.

Leaving the game, we saw the mile long line and decided that we weren't messing with that. Tried to call some pals for a ride which failed. All the Taxi #s were busy, so we head N of Figueroa and hop on a bus that takes us about 5 blocks from Dodger Stadium. Serendipity!

Here's to a great Dodger season!

2008-03-30 02:08:04
42.   trainwreck
It is sad, but being an A's and Raiders fan as well, I am quite used to seeing all the football lines on the field.

Thanks for the stories everyone. Gave me a good impression of the game.

2008-03-30 02:22:07
43.   Chiron Brown
I was pretty lucky, I guess. Me and a friend got to Dodger Stadium about 5 o'clock. We immediately ran into four friends we didn't know were going to the game. We waited in line for an hour and a half and were in our seats by the bottom of the first inning. I must say, I was proud of the fans at Dodger Stadium. I didn't see anyone trying to cut into line and everyone seemed friendly and patient. Of course, by the time we got on the shuttle the line was twice as long.
I wonder about the ground rules for the game. There was an awful lot of foul territory on the third base side. A catcher could have gone behind the backstop to catch a foul ball and still been on the field.
The strangest moment of the night for me was hearing this, "Now batting for the Dodgers, designated hitter, Juan Pierre."
2008-03-30 07:21:03
44.   Bluebleeder87
Funny, were we were sitting there was no fights everybody seem to be in a pleasant mood (some were drinking) but BHSportsguy can vouch for me it was a really nice experience were we were sitting.
2008-03-30 07:28:23
45.   ToyCannon
No time waiting for shuttle at Dodger Stadium (arrived at 03:00).
Left the game at the bottom of the sixth. Arrived to Dodger Stadium at 11:15.

As Bluebleeder said the highlight of the game for me was finding Rachel Robinson sitting in the cheap seats. They handled it well, in that she only had about 10 people deep in line at one time. She had a nice support group and was signing everything you asked. I'm not one for autographs or hero envy but I got tears when my wife shook her hand.

It made a long day worth it all.

2008-03-30 07:29:20
46.   Bluebleeder87
I just noticed you have to be logged in as a Flickr member to enjoy viewing ALL the pictures.
2008-03-30 07:33:48
47.   ToyCannon
I'll be gone to my full day roto auction that takes place in Saint Josephs hospital starting in a few minutes.

By the time I come back I expect to hear that Juan Pierre is one unhappy bench player and that Davidson is headed to the final four.

I'd be more comfortable with Hu starting at 3rd base then Blake DeWitt and I don't understand the optimism about him. He might end up being a solid 3rd baseman but I saw nothing this spring to base that opinion on.

2008-03-30 07:50:46
48.   Izzy
45. Toycannon-The best book I've read on Jackie is called something like "How To Be Like Jackie Robinson," which is a kind of lame name, but a great book nonetheless. The author interviewed something like 2000 people before he wrote it, which gives the book an amazing depth and originallity. He really did his homework. Rachel is a big part of the book, becaue she was such a big part of Jackie's life.
2008-03-30 08:10:40
49.   Bob Timmermann
Nice night weatherwise at the Coliseum. The thermometer never budged from 70!

I believe it has been several years since the thermometer in the peristyle actually worked.

2008-03-30 08:19:20
50.   Jon Weisman
"Dodgers' Bert Is Crown Jewel of the European Academy"

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-03-30 08:31:16
51.   Sam DC
John Kruk just predicted the Cubs to the World Series.
2008-03-30 08:52:52
52.   CanuckDodger
47 -- DeWitt's swing is a thing of beauty. I never saw it before last night's game, but now I know what all the scouts have been raving about for years. Now I know why the Dodgers dafted DeWitt in the first round and made him an 18-year-old millionaire. I see the skepticism about DeWitt as being quite similar to that about Loney. I think DeWitt is going to be a good third baseman, whether it is for us or -- if LaRoche gets healthy and stays healthy -- some other team.
2008-03-30 09:06:51
53.   therickdaddy
That was a great experience! Thanks again to ToyCannon for the opportunity to buy the seat. Shuttle worked perfect for us -- we arrived at the Stadium at 3 o'clock and left the game at the bottom of the 7th. No wait going back. I'm sorry to hear about the folks that had a bad experience because we were shining the whole time about free parking. The game itself was special, what can I say? LOVED the Kareem skyhook! I didn't see anyone mention this, but Frank McCourt was walking around the public around 6 o'clock. I do give him credit for socializing with the fans -- I've seen him up on the Reserve level several times at Dodger Stadium. I know he has an ego, but he does seem to care. And tonight's event raised a TON of money, I'm sure.
2008-03-30 09:17:42
54.   Jon Weisman
53 - How did you have no wait going back?
2008-03-30 09:35:34
55.   JJ42
Great game, great experience last night. Trying to think positive about the shuttle situation as part of the "experience." We got to Dodger Stadium at 2:35 and had no wait for the shuttle although the bus driver had no idea how to get to the coliseum and another passenger had to guide him. We stayed for the whole game and when we walked outside couldn't believe the line. I think it was literally over a mile long. We finally got back to the car at 1 am! The cool thing was that we got to meet some great fans in line and everyone shared a lot of Dodger stories and opinions on the lineup - it was Dodger (shuttle) Thoughts.
2008-03-30 09:45:29
56.   oshea2002
Did anyone else have to watch the game on NESN? If anyone was unaware that the Red Sox won the WS last year, you'd certainly know now since every commercial on that channel is about it and buying their championship DVD.

Their announcers then spent the entire bottom of the ninth arguing about in what game one of their players got hurt before the trip to Japan. I mean literally arguing, calling each other wrong, one guy going "check the tape buddy", etc. I feel so spoiled that I got to grow up in the 80's/90's listening to Vinny, Chick, and Bill King with the Raiders.

2008-03-30 09:48:31
57.   Bob Hendley
Old friend, O. Perez will throw the first pitch in the Western Hemisphere that matters today in DC. Bush's ceremonial first pitch will not be to old friend Lo Duca due to political sensitivities. Boswell has a nice column on the new park in the Post. (sorry, I can't or are am not able to cut and paste) Bob might not appreciate this, but he says that putting the seats closer to the action means a longer haul to the facilities.
2008-03-30 09:52:42
58.   therickdaddy
54 - I'm not sure if there were different locations or what to get on the shuttles, but ours was outside the Rose Garden. There were packs of fans waiting but we waited for about 3 minutes or so. Admittedly we left right after the last out of the 7th so, yeah.

Forgot to mention how GREAT the fanfest was for my family. I'll have to post those photos. My 3-year-old had a BLAST with the activities.

2008-03-30 09:58:03
59.   prisoner416
So we made it from the land of the 51s for this once in a lifetime event and had a great time! I ducked out of a conference by giving a talk and saying that I had to get on plane become of "family matters" (hehheh).

It was our plan to do the shuttle thing, but with our schedule it was really pushing it. We saw the line at Dodger Stadium at 5:30pm and gave up after 30 minutes.

Forunately traffic moved "some" and we were able to secure parking across from the Coliseum. Of course we paid through the nose ($60), but at least we made it in the bottom of the 1st.

The wife and I had decent seats in the right field foul pole area, and learned to become amused with the kid who actually started the wave. He tried unsucessfully twice, then the third try resulted in that non-stop wave action that even the BoSox got in on.

Good times...

2008-03-30 10:23:09
60.   eekrock
59 I musta been next to ya. The kid who started the wave wave was about 7 or 8 rows in front of me.

Shuttle situation was rough for us. We got to the stadium at 2.30 and that was fine for the ride over. Staying until the end of the game, however, meant a 2 hour wait for the shuttle. We did meet some very nice people in line around us (one of whom had to drive back to S.L.O!).

I'm glad we stayed until the end because Loney's Moon Shot & DeWitt's 9th inning dong off Papelbon were great to see! I'm sure that will be a moment James will never forget.

2008-03-30 10:37:27
61.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open.

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