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A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

What A Day

Advanced warning, this could be long.

Let's see, I started out really early this morning going to a senior breakfast with a friend who showed up real late. That was fun though, the food was good, they did a SoCal Spellout, which is the school's one lame tradition, and otherwise it was relaxing.

From there I got a little rest and did some cleaning up before heading out to Santa Monica to meet with the same friend and a few others, kind of a last hangout thing before graduation. Said friend again showed up late. That's a pattern with her now. But the three hungry men ditched said girl to go eat at this expensive deli called Broadway Deli. Said friend eventually shows up after the boys have already finished eating. We stay to socialize a bit.

While simply relaxing there on a beautiful California afternoon in May, I notice two minor celebrities. For what it's worth celebrity sightings are pretty exciting, no matter how big or small, and I'm not one to brag because mine are very rare, especially for this town.

In a span of a few minutes I saw NFL linebacker, face-spitter, pill-popping hothead Bill Romanowski and an actor from the pilot episode of FX's Nip/Tuck. Needless to say I didn't ask for Romo's autograph and didn't bother the other guy. For those that follow the show (I haven't gotten past the pilot) he's the guy who injects the botox into the slimy doctor when trying to interrogate him. He had this big tattoo on his kneck that was a dead giveaway, and he was really skinny. That gave me some excitement for my day, actually more than enough to carry me through it, but I wasn't through by any means.

So then we part ways with the friends, with site co-author Matt and myself heading off back to the USC area and the other two friends going their ways. But before we could split one of Santa Monica's infamous homeless/street persons serenaded us to an awesome "day-o!" that echoed throughout the outdoor walkway and then scolded us for not taking the arm of our "princess". He convinced our friend Troy to grab said friend's arm and they awkwardly walked away, but not before the entertainer requested we treat him to a burger.

That's kind of how it goes in Santa Monica.

I've had other interesting experiences there with the city's more mobile but permanent residents. Today one of them walked right to me, said "gimme a hundred dollars" and then walked right away. That's tame.

I've been there with friends as we've been followed by a guy on rollerblades, dressed in what I think was tinfoil, playing a mini electric piano. Again, pretty tame. I do try and avoid being there as it's not the most fun destination. The most interesting and most repeated story told from there is how a certain friend of mine who is a magnet for that kind of attention was approached and asked, "sir, what is the greatest nation in the world?"

To which he stuttered around in thought for a moment, still walking away, "uh, I don't know... the USA?".

To which one of Santa Monica's finest residents replied, "no, it's a do-nation!".

You got me there. I've got other stories from San Diego and New Orleans, too. Not that these were the most informative or entertaining, but moving along...

So we leave, and return to the USC area, I go home for a second, and then pick Matt up so we can head to the aforementioned Dodger game. Along the way we need to pick up our friend Carlos from his work in Downtown, and then head to the Glendale Galleria to pick up Matt's ladyfriend before making our way back to Dodger Stadium.

Anyone who has ever lived in Los Angeles knows what kind of nightmare that kind of venture is at 5:30. It's hard enough just to get to Dodger Stadium. But we're young and brave, so we push forward without complaint. Well, Matt was mad because I picked him up 10 minutes late.

Downtown traffic gets difficult because it's nearly doubled with a mess of people in and around the Convention Center because of the E3 Electronics convention. This is THE event for the nerds of America, it's where all the big videogames and computer games are revealed and discussed. It's the perfect location for Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog, basically. And people pay upwards of $50 to get in. Amazing. Laker game parking in the nearby lots isn't as expensive as today's parking was. I saw lots going for $30. That's insane.

Anyway, we fight through that traffic to grab Carlos, and then I almost get stuck getting onto the Freeway at Third Street instead of near an area farther North. Ship righted, we deal with the mess that is getting onto the 5 from the 110 somehow, get into Glendale with the directional skill of Matt and Carlos (they sarcastically call me Magellan), and pick up the ladyfriend.

Foursome reunited, it's off to Dodger Stadium and we arrive just in time (and after just under two hours of driving) to see Sammy Sosa single in the Cubs' first hit.

I'm going to try and tell the game in pictures now, so if you've kept awake through my L.A. traffic madness this should be a bit more interesting.

Wilson Alvarez, not Kaz Ishii, started the game for the Dodgers, and did really well. I think he had 8Ks and brought out the handcuffs.

The Dodgers got their first two runs off a very bizarre defensive inning for the Cubs.

Here's how it went...

-Alex Cora flies out, out #1.
-Wilson Alvarez muscles a single to left, runner on first. What the heck?
-Cesar Izturis then flies out for out #2. Inning's over if Clement had gotten the stinkin' pitcher out.

-Now it gets weird. Paul LoDuca dribbles a slow grounder to third base. Aramis Ramirez waits on it to go foul, but it never does. He had a chance for a play at second, but sat on the ball. It stayed fair, Dodgers have runners on first and second. It was a tough call, and just a weirdly hit ball. But that's OK, the Cubs only need to get an out...

-Milton Bradley singles just to the left of pitcher Matt Clement. The play is an easy out, but Clement strangely throws from his knees and space lobs the ball to first. Bradley beats the throw on one of the worst throws by a pitcher ever, and suddenly the bases are loaded. If you're keeping score at home we're up to three unreal plays in one inning.



Here's an image to make a little more sense of that. Look at Milton's second at bat. Single to pitcher. Sigh.

-Shawn Green then softly singles to Aramis Ramirez, who gets to the ball a little slow and cannot make much of a play on it. Another weirdly hit ball, one of those that you might see once in every few games the Dodgers have their second of in an inning. The pitcher scores, bases again juiced, Dodger up 1-0.

-Adrian Beltre then hits another ball to Ramirez, who gets cuffed by it as it bounces off of him and to the hands of the shortstop who manages to make a throw to first but does not get the out. At this point I'm stunned, the crowd is going nuts on all the cheap stuff, and Aramis wants to see his mommy. Dodgers up 2-0.

Somehow the Cubs get out of that one, but the madness is not over.

We shuffle now to the bottom of the 7th. Jason Grabowski walks to set up one of the more interesting things I've ever seen at a live game.

The light-hitting Alex Cora steps to the plate and the following happens:

Ball 1-0
Called Strike 1-1
Ball 1-2
Foul 2-2
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul
Foul

Somewhere around the 10th foul ball I started to take pictures of the scoreboard, deleted them with each ensuing foul, but this image should help



The tension was high at this point, if you ignore the oblivious fans doing the wave and tossing the beach balls. Everyone else is standing up, getting antsy or annoyed. Dammit, Alex, put the ball in play!







Dodgers 4
Cubs O

Game over for all intents and purposes. Amazing.

As an aside, like any Cubs road game, there were tons of Cub fans in attendance, not that the locals were any good with them. One guy was pretty hilarious, making fun of the Cubs and their fans, it was pretty tame and all, one lady was coming back with some good ones or at least just being positive for the Cubs.

But then the Dodger fan slipped. He started talking about how Cubs fans aren't from around L.A. and should not be at the game, or something like that. Talking about the Windy City, what have you.

I don't hear the full exchange, but somehow he admits he's from Whittier, and the lady cracks up.

"That's not even Los Angeles!"

D'oh.

If you've seen Swingers there's a scene where one of the guys brandishes a gun for some silly skirmish outside a bar that didn't need the weapon. All the other guys are transplants from New York and are like, what are you doing?!

The guy, Sue, responds, "you guys don't know what it's like around here"

Another goes "you're from Anaheim!"

Sue meekly shoots back, "whatever".

That exchange was nearly identical to what happened behind me and I was cracking up as it happened.

Anyway, it was a really great game, Dodger Stadium was beautiful as always, the fans were fun, we had some good seats, just an overall great time. But boy was I tired afterwards.

If you've read this far, thank you, not all of this may have been interesting but I like to detail what I'm up to sometimes, and all the side stuff associated with it. Of course, this is a Padres blog, so I will say that I was scoreboard watching and biting my fingernails as the Padres held on for a 2-1 win over the Reds tonight.

Brian Giles hit a 2-run HR and Brian Lawrence got the win, and this Brian didn't see any of it, but the Padres are now 20-14, a full three games back of the Dodgers.

N.L. West Standings as of Wednesday, May 12:

Dodgers 22-10 (.688)
Padres 20-14 (.588)
Giants 15-19 (.441)
Diamondbacks 14-19 (.424)
Rockies 13-18 (.419)

In other Padre news, the Friars placed reliever Antonio Osuna on the disabled list with some kind of groin injury, and recalled bullpen righty Brandon Puffer, a sidearmer.

Sterling Hitchcock is getting closer to coming back, as he will throw a simulated game Saturday.

There's also a note about Rey Ordonez and Jason Szuminski in this link where all the above information can be found.

Tomorrow Jake Peavy (2-2, 1.94 ERA) will match up against the Reds' Jose Acevedo (2-2, 4.54 ERA). Gametime is 7:05 PST and can be seen on Channel 4 Padres.

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