Monday, May 05, 2008

4 - 2 + it's been TWO years since Russell Martin came on the scene

As many of you know ... voting for the All Star team has started! I had to pick up tickets for my friends which I purchased yesterday at the box office. I got there around 3:30. Juan Pierre was in the batting cage, practicing his bunts. I also picked up one of those All Star ballots. Turned out I picked up two. While I was eating my Burger King at Nina's (and waiting for her family to get ready) Nina went through and punched out her votes. She didn't have any trouble till she got to the outfielders. Andre Ethier and Matt Holliday were her two easy choices. Her third choice took a while. She would read a name out loud and I'd tell her how they were doing. The funnies thing was when she read "A. Jones ... Andruw ... OH NO! NOT HIM!". Or something like that. I forgot what she said, but she read his name or just his first name and immediately discarded him. Jack came up and decided they were going to leave early with us so that we could take one car.

After going to six games ... I finally talked to Steve today! It was a short conversation. He was talking with Sweet Lou (I think) and when they finished talking, I yelled out "Hey Steve". He looked confused for a sec as he tried to figure out who had just called his name. He said hi. I asked him what's up with his podcast? He said he hasn't done anything. I said yeah I noticed. He said he hasn't had any inspiration. That's all.

On our way up to our seats from the field level, we stopped in the loge level to find Jack and them. Jack decided on Sunday to get tickets for today's game for himself, Sol, Harold, and their visitors, Art and Gertie. Art and Gertie have so many great stories. Art has sat in the same PRESS BOX as Vin Scully back when the Dodgers were playing in the Coliseum. Nina knows more about their stories than I do. We found Jack, Sol, Gertie, and Harold in the Dodger store on the right field side of the Loge level. I have never sat in the Loge Level, so I don't know what the level has to offer. Apparently they were having a 10% off sale. Too bad it didn't start earlier because I was just there on Saturday and bought something for Natalie's birthday gift. Since it was 10% off ... I got a souvenir baseball that has the autographs of the whole team (I think) printed on it ... and a gold baseball that celebrates Russell Martin's gold glove. I wanted the gold baseball before ... but the Top of the Deck store didn't have it the last couple times I went. So, it was better to get it since they had it and since it was also 10% off. Once we were done there, we stopped on the Reserve Level to get our garlic fries, a Dodger dog, and my soda before going to our seats on the Top Deck. I paused to listen to the mariachi band before stopping to visit the John before going to our seats. Before the game began, Scully had a little speech about Bavasi, who recently passed away. Then Don Newcombe got to say a few things. It was cute. He said he felt like Bavasi was like a father to him. He could reach into his wallet and take whatever he wanted and go have fun. Then we had a moment of silence before the National Anthem.

Now ... onto the game.

The kids took the field. There was one kid who caught my eye. He was a tiny little thing. His t-shirt must've been hanging halfway between his knees and his ground. Nina (and I think some of the people in our section) were laughing because DeWitt didn't have a kid to sign for. The cute kid I was watching was standing by another kid and Furcal. Furcal pointed to DeWitt, and the cute little kid ran over to him. I'm serious. If his shirt was any longer, he probably would've tripped on it. He was SOOO adorable!

Billingsley started off great. One, two, three down in the top of the night with TWO strike outs. Then comes Raffy to lead off the bottom of the first ... with a LEAD OFF HOME RUN! To left field. It was funny because when you saw the replay, you saw one guy try to get the ball, goes over the railing, and is hanging onto the railing. Pierre singles, and then steals second. The ball got past the second baseman, but not far enough for Pierre to take third. He takes third when Kent lines out. He hit a line drive right at the pitcher. The pitcher threw out Kent (while Pierre advanced to third), then doubled over for a moment. The whole Mets infield came in to see if he was okay. He took a few moments, threw a few pitches, and then the game continued. Martin singles home Pierre for the second run of the game. In the top of the third inning, Billingsley struck out David Wright ... again. A very frustrated Wright threw away his helmet and bat. Nina commented that the helmet was still spinning on the ground. Not only was that his second strike out, but he struck out with two outs and Reyes on third.

Bottom of the fourth, Russell steals second base, his third base of the year. We need to get on track honey with the base stealing cause I think we're a bit behind. Anyway, he advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Nina saw on the Dodger Vision that it was Russ' third stolen base. She looks at me and asks, "didn't he steal two bases?" I told her, no. He only stole second and reached third on the error by the catcher. We rehashed it again in the car. She said that the throw looked like a good throw. And she was trying to discuss why the error was on the catcher, not the guy who didn't make the catch. It's all fuzzy to me now, so I'm not sure who missed the catch or whether or not it was a good or bad throw. Top of the fifth, Furcal made a great throw to beat David Wright to the bag. It was quite a distance to throw and I was holding my breath to see what the umpire was going to call it.

Bottom of the fifth inning. Blake DeWitt comes up and leads off the inning with a home run. His first major league home run. I think this is the second time I've been to a game where a player hit his first major league home run. The first one? It was back in September of 2006. Who was the player? James Loney. It was odd because when he first went into the dug out, there was no one there to greet him. Then they surrounded him. They must've been waiting for him to put his helmet away. I noticed fans were standing on their feet and we were still applauding and cheering. And then DeWitt came out to the top step and waved. YAY! I thought it was funny because there was such hoopla over the Mets' Carlos Delgado when he refused to take a curtain call at Shea Stadium last week. And here, Blake DeWitt hits his first major league home run and he gets a curtain call. Two batters later, Pierre draws a walk, and is brought home by a home run by Matt Kemp.

Okay, I was just watching the recap of when DeWitt hit his home run. As he was circling the bases, you could see everyone standing around in the dug out. But as he's approaching the dug out, everyone scatters to sit down. He's putting his helmet away, and everyone's still sitting down. Then you hear this big "YEAH!!!" and one of the players (Nomar I think) bear hugs him.

However, in the top of the sixth inning ... Carlos Beltran hit a ball down the right field line. It headed toward the box seats and somehow gets past Matt Kemp and heads towards the bull pen. Man, it looked like Beltran was going to have an inside-the-park home run. Now, I've seen a few triples now ... but never an inside-the-park home run. Scary moment. Well, Beltran ended up scoring on the next play, which was a single by Alou. So much for a shut out. The guy sitting to our right yelled for Ethier when Kemp messed up tracking down the ball. Kemp redeemed himself a little bit later on when he caught a foul ball that almost went into the field box seats. I think a security guy might've jumped into the seats to get out of the way. Because once Kemp caught it, the guard jumped back onto the field back to his position.

Not sure which inning it was ... but one of the Mets' batters shattered his bat. But instead of flying into the infield like they usually do ... this one went flying into the crowd. In landed in the walkway between the "privileged" box seats and the field box seats. A security lady picked it up and handed it over to another security person in the dug out. At the end of the eighth inning, the guys to our right left. We were ahead 5 - 1. One of them said they didn't want to stick around in case Saito blew the save. Which, by the way, he DIDN'T. He set them down in order, with a strike out sandwiched in between.

Overall ... on the bright side ... Jones didn't strike out once tonight. Okay, so he didn't get any hits either. But at least he HIT the ball... right? David Wright, as much as I love him, didn't get any hits either. And he struck out twice. Sorry Davy. As much as I love you, I rather see my Dodgers win. Not too bad, we only left two men on base. And other than the two strike outs by Billingsley, Loney was the only other Dodger to strike out tonight. Anyone else noticed the emergence of thunder sticks? Maybe it was because of the 10% off promotion. But there was a crowd in the level below us who several of them had thundersticks. And then there was some guy in the back of our section or the section over who had hand clappers. The hand clappers got annoying VERY quickly. There was someone over to my left that even though he wore a Dodgers jacket, every time Jose Reyes got up, he started that "Jose" chant that the Mets fans like so much.

Funniest thing. Right before Furcal hit his home run, this thought ran through my mind. If he hits a lead off home run, will I be able to jump up and celebrate? My garlic fries are on my lap. Is it going to go flying over the railing? Well, as soon as I finished that thought, WHAM! Home run. Food tray gets placed on the ground, I jump up on my feet, and yell to my heart's desire. Four innings later ... I looked at the scoreboard and saw that Blake DeWitt hadn't hit his first home run yet. That was the thought that went through my mind : hmm DeWitt hasn't hit his first major league home run ... NEVER MIND. BAM. Home run. A few batters later, Kemp got up and I thought about when he hit his grand slam two Saturdays ago. Well, the bases weren't loaded, but Pierre was on base for Kemp's home run. Sweet. All throughout the game, I kept telling Nina, she should've set her computer to record the game. Trust me. If I had some kinda set up like hers, I would record virtually every Dodger game. Especially the ones I go to ... and the great ones like tonight!

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