Today was the Dodger’s 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium’s opening day. Fifty years ago today, the Dodgers played their first game at Dodger Stadium on April 10th 1962. The Dodgers marked this sacred anniversary by beating the Pirates 2-1. When we got to the Stadium, we learned that for the first time ever, Vin Scully would not be there. Apparently he had the flu, and Stacie and I were very worried. We tried to put that out of our heads and focus on the game. I know I said we would be live tweeting during the game, but unfortunately, neither of us could get signals on our phones at our seats. So my apologies for that. What we did see was a tight pitching duel that ended with a blast. Once again birthday boy Andre Ethier would silence the haters by delivering with a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth that broke a 1-1 tie, giving the Dodgers a victory on this historic day.
The entire experience was wonderful and a lot of fun. Stacie and I got to the stadium around ten in the morning. As we walked through the turnstiles, we saw some kind of old style music group playing take me out to the ballgame, and when the saints go marching in on their horns. The Ravine was packed. There was a buzz in the air. It was that kind of atmosphere. Most of the entire 1962 team was on hand for the opening ceremonies. Peter O’Malley, and his sister Terry Seidler, threw out the first pitch. As one great brother and sister team, saw another throw out the first pitch. (wink wink). Don Drysdale’s daughter Drew, also sang God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.
After chatting with Nick and Josh for a little while, we went up to the top of the park gift store to look around for some Dodger Stadium golden anniversary merchandise. Good thing we got there when we did, because the line was so long it reached all the way out the front entrance of the gift shop. We bought, a couple of programs and a fiftieth anniversary t-shirt. Afterwards we grabbed our Dodger dogs, and we went back to our seats. In case you are curious, I only put relish on my Dodger dog, while Stacie douses hers with ketchup, to each their own. First Dodger Dogs of the season!
The pitching match-up saw Clayton Kershaw do battle with the Pirate’s Kevin Correia. The Dodgers got on the board first, off of Correia. Dee Gordon singles and steals second. Mark Ellis grounds out to the right side moving Dee over to third base. Gordon scores on an RBI ground-out by Matt Kemp. 1-0 Dodgers.
Kershaw breezed through the early innings, looking fully recovered from the flu bug that limited him to just three innings on Opening Day last week in San Diego. Juan Uribe made a nice backhanded stab of a McCutchen grounder to end the top of the first.
The Pirates would threaten in the top of the second, but Kershaw and the Dodgers would escape the inning unscathed. Casey McGehee, the third baseman Pittsburgh picked up from the Brewers, would lead off with a triple over Matt Kemp’s head in deep center field. The ball sent Kemp to the warning track, as he reached his glove up to make an over the shoulder catch, it bounced off of his glove and McGehee has a triple. This inning looked bleak, but Kershaw would fight his way out of it. Matt Hague whiffs swinging. Neil Walker whiffs swinging, and former Dodger catcher Big Rod, ho now wears a black and yellow uniform, flies out to Rivera. Sorry Buccos, no soup for you!
Bottom of the second, Loney would walk and Uribe singles, but A.J. Ellis flies out, and Kershaw grounds out ending the frame. Juan Uribe had the best game of his life, collecting three hits and going 3 for 3. Meanwhile, James Loney is still 0 for infinity.
The Dodgers had two men on in the bottom of the fifth, when Uribe singles, moves to second on a sacrifice, Gordon walks, but Mark Ellis grounds out ending the fifth.
With the Dodgers still leading in the top of the seventh, the Bucs would tie it up, during Kershaw’s last inning. Alex Presley beats out an infield single to second base, that Mark Ellis is unable to come up with. Andrew McCutchen singles to left, moving Presley over to second. McGehee flies out to left, but Presley tags up from second to third. Rivera’s throw is a hare too late, and by doing so, allows McCutchen to also tag up from first to second. Matt Hague grounds out to Gordon, which plates Presley. Tie game 1-1. Neil Walker’s ground out ends the inning.
That would be all for Kershaw, who would come out for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh. Kershaw goes seven innings, allowing one measly run on four hits. He issues no walks and whiffs seven Pirates. Correia also pitched very well. He put up six innings of one run ball, allowing four hits, two walks, and three whiffs. Kershaw made 88 pitches, and Correia made 81.
Kenley Jansen comes into pitch the top of the eighth. He whiffs Big Rod and Barmes, and gets Garrett Jones to ground out for a quick inning. Bottom of the eighth now. Jason Grilli on the mound for the Bucs. Ellis and Kemp both whiff to start the inning, and Stacie and I prepare ourselves for extra innings, and the inevitable bullpen collapse that is surely to follow. Fortunately that doesn’t happen. Andre Ethier, who was celebrating his 30th birthday today, slams a solo home run into right field for his second home run of the year to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
After that, it was all gravy. The top of the ninth was Javy time. Javy Guerra, the Dodger’s closer, whiffs Jose Tabata on a called third strike. Alex Presley singles, then McCutchen grounds into a game ending 6-4-3 double play. The Dodgers win!
While we were both happy that the Dodgers won, we are very worried about Vin Scully. Please everyone say a prayer for Vin to make a full recovery. I know I won’t feel ok, until I see him behind the microphone for tomorrow night’s game. Stacie will have a special post for tomorrow on the experience at Dodger Stadium during the opening day festivities, and we will also be doing a contest giveaway as well, which Stacie will have more details on. One lucky Lasorda’s Lairian will win a commemorative fiftieth anniversary Dodger Stadium program from the game. Tomorrow the Dodgers take on the Bucs at 7:10 PM. Chad Billinglsey will go to the mound for the Dodgers, and the Bucs will counter with Erick Bedard.
I am beat, so I will be logging off for the night. Before I do though, remember, the fiftieth anniversary of Dodger Stadium is about reflection. Reflection on fifty years of wonderful Dodger memories past. I hope that wherever you may be, that you can take a little time to say a prayer for Vin Scully’s well being, and take a few moments to look back on fifty years of Dodger Glory at Chavez Ravine. Go Blue.