Wednesday, April 2

I don't care if Mondays Blue...

Last weekend was one heck of a sports weekend. I was at the Laker Game with some friends on Friday night, albeit bad seats. Saturday afternoon was a nice cool day spent at the Santa Anita Race Track coupled with the community's celebration of Japanese Culture around the paddock area. It was not only an awesome day at the tracks for horse racing but the event had also yielded some really cool people that share my new passion for Photography. I met some really nice people who showed me a thing or two about shooting (And believe it or not i showed them a thing or two as well...). Sunday of course is always dedicated to my two basketball leagues (both losing efforts by the way... sigh) and the traditional Sunday Night Poker now at the Donkey House. A heck of a weekend right?

To cap off the already sports-filled weekend i had tickets to the Dodgers Opening Day on Monday (Courtesy of my friend Jaime). Yes Opening Day! The closest thing i had ever gotten to an Opening Day was buying tickets to a Yankees one, a trip that unfortunately did not pan out (Had to return the tickets to Stub-Hub for a hefty penalty arghh...). This year's Opening Day was pretty special too because it marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers in Los Angeles (they moved from Brooklyn NY for those who do not know...).

It's a different kind of atmosphere this Opening Day thing. "Stadium Way" off the 5 freeway was already pretty packed when i drove pass it three hours before game time (on my way to pick up Jaime...). It was Jaime's first Opening Day experience too so it was a pretty special time for true blue Dodger fans like him and I. Naturally i had some cold Mexican brew in the car for a bit of tailgaiting in the parking lot. Although i did not have a cooler, just a plastic bag with some ice (This was a bad idea it turns out because water sipped out. And Jaime did not have a Cooler for some reason. What kind of beer-drinking Mexican does not own a Cooler?). I didn't really feel like dragging a cooler chockful of beer for two people. That would seem silly and perhaps too tempting. It took a little while to weave through traffic but once we found a spot it was Dodger Heaven. And even though tailgating has been banned for several years now there's no shortage of fans doing it anyway. The only difference between now and the pre-tailgating-ban days of yore is that they have security people patroling the grounds in those goofy golf carts telling people tailgating isn't allowed, which only invokes funny reactions by the way as if the warning was rhetorical or something. Some people say "What?! Since when?". Yeah i love that one. But it doesn't really matter because they don't actually try to confiscate the brew, they just ask to empty-out the contents before moving along. And this is why people bring an exorbitant amount of beer by the way, for this vicious refilling cycle. Since Jaime and I couldn't afford to lose any from our relatively small makeshift cooler, we consumed ours inside the safely of my truck (lol).

Despite opening at 1 PM on a Monday, the big stadium was sold-out (Over 56 thousand...). And the excitement not only while tailgating but especially in the stadium was palpable. Everywhere i turned i saw some things peculiar only to Opening Day. There was this gray-haired and bearded fellow decked out in soiled Dodger Gear that barked "Baseball is Back man!!" to his compadre. Perhaps Opening Day made him feel youthful again and I guess he couldn't conceal his excitement anymore, he had to let it out! That's right, he said "Baseball"not "Dodgers", he said Baseball. That's a true baseball fan right there. My kind of guy. The atmosphere in and around the ballpark felt simply magical like a new birth in the family or something...

I do have a few qualms about the stadium. Well maybe not so much the stadium because i do like somehow what the McCourt's (The Dodger owners...) have renovated thus far and quite honestly i really don't know why. Maybe because it modernizes the stadium without compromising its real charm, which is being one of the oldest active stadiums in Major League Baseball. I think the new seats are great and the addition of cup holders in every seat has been a long time coming (Call me oldschool but i've always felt that the lack of cupholders was part of the ballparks charm hehe. Yes i am willing to sacrifice convenience for Charm...). The new seats on the infield though are just brutally ugly if you ask me. Everything and i do mean everything went up in price. Parking is now $15, peanuts are $5.75, sodas are $5, and the beer- Forget about it! Can we chalk that up to the astronomical gas prices too?


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