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Notes on the First Game of the Freeway Series

Here are a few notes and thoughts from Game One of the Freeway Series between your Los Angeles Dodgers and the Southern California, Orange County, Off the 57 Freeway, Angels of Anaheim.

What a joy it was to hear Vin Scully broadcasting the game. I spent quite some time trying to find the proper phrasing for what it felt like to once again hear that golden voice from our favorite red-head.

For example: Listening to Vin Scully after the long winter is like breathing again after being underwater, or it’s like taking a big bite of your favorite comfort food, or it’s like a big, warm hug from your favorite person. I just couldn’t settle on anything that caught the essence correctly. Suffice it to say, hearing Vinny again is PRICELESS.

Note: The empty suits at Time Warner Cable tried, once again, to put a price on one of the greatest experiences a baseball fan can have with a last-minute flurry of concessions to the cable and satellite providers who were refusing to carry their overpriced Dodger broadcasts – but they failed miserably. Apparently, having Vinny really is priceless.

Although the Dodgers only scored one run tonight, I liked the top of the  batting order the skipper sent out to face the Angels. This was the lineup…

  1. Kike Hernandez CF
  2. Yasiel Puig RF
  3. Justin Turner 3B
  4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
  5. Scott Van Slyke LF
  6. Chase Utley 2B
  7. A.J. Ellis C
  8. Corey Seager SS
  9. Scott Kazmir P

Un-communication still seems to rule in the outfield, as Puig almost bulldozed Kike while chasing down a fly ball in right-center field during the second inning. In replays it looked like Hernandez was calling for the ball. He also appeared frustrated in a follow-up shot afterward.

On a positive note, Scott Kazmir looked ready for the season. He pitched 4 and 2/3 innings, striking out four, and giving up one unearned run. That run came in because of a sloppy error by Corey Seager, who dropped an easy third out pop up. Seager and his bubble gum scored later in the game to make up that run.

More Vinny: He asked if anybody remembered the Dodger Stadium crowd loudly chanting “HEE…SOP…CHOI” back when he played for the Dodgers. I do!

I may have drunk my last beer ever at Dodger Stadium (that is, unless you’re buying). Here are the new beer prices for 2016:

  • Craft beer on tap $14.50  Want a pint? That’ll set you back $17
  • 22.5 oz bottled beer $17
  • Premium draft beer (pretty much anything not Bud) $13.50
  • Bud draft $11.50

The crowd was a bit light, but fun was in the air. There was no shortage of Waves and beach balls. Is anybody else amazed the Wave has survived as a stadium crowd activity as long as it has?

Final Vinny: I loved hearing him tell stories about Red Barber, Roy Campanella and standing next to Jackie Robinson during batting practice. I wondered to myself, who will tell us these stories when Vinny is retired?

By the way, the Dodgers lost, 2-1.  They’ll all be back to do it all over again Friday night.

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

46 thoughts on “Notes on the First Game of the Freeway Series

  1. Even when I was drinking, I refused to pay ballpark prices… Back in the day we could tailgate and have a few brewskies without getting hassled and head into the park…
    Kudos to the masses… The comments on the Roster Decision were excellent… No arguing, name calling or political crapola… Refreshing…

  2. Yes it’s only ST but it’s hard to win games with NO hitting,

    Crawford- .171
    Kike .160
    Thompson .208
    Barnes- ,212(2 for last 28)

    Crawford we can’t do anything about but I’d rather have Segedin and Culberson on the 25 man roster OD.

  3. I had a Point the Way IPA and a bag of peanuts last night – $20.50. That will probably be the last time I ever buy beer at the stadium.

    Listened to Vin a little while driving into the parking lot. His voice sounded a little frail when he first began to speak. It was the voice of a man in his late 80s. As he began to speak more, as he warmed up a little bit, the tenor and projection seemed to increase just a little, and he became Vin for another evening.

    In the past I saw beach balls as an annoyance, as a needless distraction for those fans short of attention spans who don’t understand the game. Last night, there were several in my vicinity, and I thought they were strangely fun. They challenged my multi-tasking acumen as I tried to watch Puig’s third at-bat while simultaneously waiting or my chance to spike one of those beach balls that was frittering about my section.

    I laughed at the random cam shots, particularly the kiss cam. The crowd laughed with me when they replayed the hapless guy knocking his beer into his girlfriend’s lap in his zeal to kiss her while they had the brief spotlight. Up in the video booth, they played that clip, and re-wound, played and re-wound. It was good.

    More than any other sport, baseball games get large groups of people to interact with each other. It is a collective and shared experience. Baseball is special.

  4. Kazmir looked ready? 4.2 IP on 73 pitches isn’t starting pitcher ready. Starting pitchers had better be able to throw 90 pitches and be prepared to go AT LEAST 6 innings or this bullpen will be worn out by summer.

    Crawford’s batting average in Spring Training means nothing. What matters is how he feels physically. If he feels good, he starts. The young guys average matters, but what is more important are each individual at bat. Thompson looked like crap last night. Who the hell is Mieses and why does he get an at bat in this game? Team WRISP – 1 for 9. Hatcher couldn’t find his own ass with both hands, 23 pitches, only 12 for strikes, and Howell got an L hung on him having thrown 2 pitches. Glory days.

    We have 2 games to get our collective sh*t together. I expect more today. We have 13 straight Division games starting in 3 days. It’s time to clean it up and get done what you are getting paid to do n

    1. Roberts is just being conservative with Kazmir. He just wants him to be healthy going into the season.

      Kershaw only went 3 in his last start.

    2. Howell often gets the benefit of the doubt on his ERA, it seems to me. Anyway, the L doesn’t count. Hatcher as the setup man has worried me from the start. Mieses had a good year in A-ball last year, but it is strange that he’s still on the roster.

    3. I’ll stand by my statement. Kazmir had 4 K’s and 9 ground ball outs in 4 innings. Sure, the pitch count was a little high, but pitchers are still working on pitches b/c it’s ST, and he had one inning extended to four outs by Seager’s error.

  5. I see Howell came in and threw a total of 3 pitches — and lost the game.

    Yeh, he’s ready as ready as he can be.

    1. I read it will go to $10 this year.

      I wonder what the FCI at Dodger Stadium will settle at in the coming months and years. Dodgers were up 5.4% last year and above league average at $218.94. Obviously that is going up.

        1. Fan Cost Index. You can google it for a complete explanation. Basically it’s the cost of taking your family to a ballgame.

  6. For me Vinny is peace and tranquility.

    And yeah Oscar that Seager error was just sloppy. Very lackadaisical. He was also way too slow in trying to turn a double play. Yeah it’s a meaningless game. Hopefully that gets out of his system quickly.

    I’ll never pay that much for a beer!

  7. High beer prices makes the stadium more family friendly. High Dodger Dog prices says that the previous sentence is not the goal.

  8. Seager can do a lot of things but chewing gum and catching a popup at the same time is not one of them.

    1. He was chawin purdy hard and that gum wasn’t he.

      Bobby, bring a juicer for the carrots. Maybe you can make enough money to pay the FCI.

      So far the young bullpen arms look much like they did last year. Coleman and Blanton add some age to the mix. Getting older seems to be one of the goals this year.

  9. Kazmir looked good last night. Some of you are going to complain regardless because you want them to look bad. He never gave up an earned run. What do you want? Kershaw pitched three innings in his last outing. Does this mean Kershaw is not ready for the season. Some of you make statements that makes me wonder if we are watching the same game.

    The picture of Hernandez told it all. He was not happy with Puig. Puig is still a bonehead. Even Scully said the center fielder had the call.

  10. “because you want them to look bad”

    Please. Stop it with that nonsense.

    “What do you want”

    I thought I was clear about that. I want our #2 starter to be able to get to AT LEAST the 6th inning. You don’t get past the 5th by throwing only 73 pitches. On a good day a starter will average not more than 15 pitches per inning. 73 isn’t even gonna get a guy 5 innings, let alone 6. Why can’t Kazmir throw 90 pitches by now?

  11. Everyone should boycott the beer and concessions – it will come down.

    That is felony stupid! If they don’t have metal detectors, I’d bring in my contoured butt flask full of my favorite libation and buy a Coke to add it to. No food. Screw that!

    Stupid stuff like this from Guggs and Company will wind up killing baseball. My son’s generation has no interest in baseball. It’s just a bunch of old guys like us!

    As we die off, so will baseball. I’ll be the last of this bunch to die.

  12. BTW,

    Zach Lee is no longer in consideration to be the #5 starter. Look for him to head back to football soon. Logan screwed this one up! It’s going to be ….. DRUM ROLL…. Ross Stripling!

    1. Until it’s not. But you’re right, baseball is doing everything it can to lose the younger fans. Out of sight, out of mind. The free wi-fi and pregame concerts are not breeding fans but event attenders.

  13. Stripling is our 5th starter (for now), and will start April 8 at SF

    He’ll make a lot of new bff’s if he can start his career with a win up there!

    And Mark, yes, you’ll bring your flask with the good stuff and buy a coke….. how much do you think a coke will cost at the game???!!!!! More than at a movie theater, probably.

      1. Avilan didn’t pitch that well for the Dodgers last year. And of course he pitched better, for the Braves last year.

  14. Also if you are going with the best 25 Coleman has pitched better. With Hernandez starting in CF last night I think Trayce is headed to AAA and Segedin might make the opening day roster.

  15. Do you guys know Kasmir threw 90 pitches in his previous game between the pitches he threw in the game and in the bull pen. So throwing 90 pitches last night was not a requirement when he had thrown 90 in his previous start. Do you see the similarity. Kershaw goes three innings and he is taken out. Kasmir goes 4.2 innings and he is taken out. It seems to me Roberts has a plan and treating all the starting pitchers the same. We will see how he treats Maeda and Wood in the next games. Stripling is the 5th starter. I am happy with the decision.

  16. No. I didn’t know he threw 90 pitches. I thought he threw 70 pitches and left with an abdomen issue.

    Maybe it means nothing. I’m just going on what he did to end last season. His last 3 starts he pitched 3.2, 3.2 and 4.1.innings. He hasn’t thrown 100 pitches since last August and hasn’t won a game since August 22nd. He’s also 1-6 in his last 7 decisions.

    And I can see why the Kershaw comparisons. Those two are almost identical.

  17. I am happy about how the roster is starting to take shape. I am glad to see Stripling have the chance to be the 5th starter – someone with a chance to be good and not just so-so. I am glad to see Baez and Garcia in the ‘pen and hope that they option Avilan and keep Coleman.

    From what I have read it sounds like Grandal is likely to start out on the DL, meaning Barnes will stay. If Guerrero starts on the DL it will depend on whether they want an IF or OF but I’m guessing that either Culberson or Segedin will start out on the roster.

    As others have pointed out, this is just the opening roster and there will be lots of changes as injured guys come back and other guys get hurt, or as they release non-performers and call up some of the kids. I seriously doubt that the Braintrust will get us a stud pitcher from another team, either a mid-year rental or a Hamels-type who would pitch for the Dodgers for a few years. They don’t want to spend the money, they want to avoid the luxury tax and they don’t want to trade prospects for pros. I am hopeful however that they will call up more of the kids and give them a chance to see if they have the stuff to excel.

  18. I don’t understand how Frias got up to the bigs, so soon. He only has I believe, someone said, three pitches. Why was he brought up with three pitches, when there were other young pitchers, that had more pitches? Was it because he was farther along, to pitch in the bullpen?

  19. “They don’t want to spend the money, they want to avoid the luxury tax”

    That is what I have been trying to tell everyone… even though the Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball.

    However, I think they can do both.

    I think Kendrick, Anderson or McCarthy could be moved freeing up $20 million by the All-Star Break. The bounty from them… plus a couple-three of nice prospects could net a starter.

    1. It is hard to know what is taxed or not. Who would know, that the prospects they signed from Cuba, and other countries, doesn’t apply to the luxary tax.

  20. Just saw an interview with Crawford. He said the team was going to play different this year. He said that they were going to take the extra base, play good defense, and not try to hit a lot of HRs. This tells us all, about the difference in this team, and how it will be managed this year, as compared to last year.

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