31 August 2012

i attended the last dodger game

yep - friday august 24th.  the last game before the dodgers officially became the yankees west.  i was at the ravine (my first game there in 6 years) to see the dodgers take on the marlins.  before leaving for the game, we caught a snippet on sportscenter about the dodgers having claimed adrian gonzalez on waivers.  no big deal - it's a well known fact that pretty much all big-contract players get put on waivers in august (although you wouldn't know that by the way the media reacted around here with joe mauer being on revocable trade waivers).  anyway, the talking heads from bristol made note of the news item, and assured the public that there was no way adrian gonzalez was leaving boston.

fast forward 10 hours or so, and i started to get some texts from friends asking for my opinion about the 'blockbuster' deal.  i had not heard anything about it, as i had been enjoying a long overdue day back in southern california.  a quick check of mlb.com brought me up to speed.

i'll save it for another post, but after the game, heading back to oc, i realized that the times have changed and that these aren't 'my' dodgers anymore.  i felt that way a little bit when the team was sold for over $2 billion, mostly because i knew then that this day was coming.  now that it's here, i'm kind of sad.  i'm still a fan of course, but i would have liked to see a team comprised of mostly homegrown talent win out.  i'm sure i will get over it - as long as the team wins.  isn't that the point of all this absorption of ridiculous contracts?  still, some of the joy of winning is gone, because they are expected to win.  no more 1988 improbability.

i was a james loney fan.  i readily admit that his offense was not up to par, but i had been waiting for him since he was drafted in 2002.  i sat through fred mcgriff and the shawn green first base experiment, along with hee seop choi and then nomar before loney finally got his chance. ok, i was happy about nomar, but i thought loney would be the dodgers' first baseman for a long time.  as it turned out, those doubles never turned into home runs, and we all knew that the dodgers needed a bigger bat at first.  they got one, but now they have some baggage that came along with it and it frightens me that the dodgers may eventually, like the yankees, shrug and dump a contract worth tens of millions of dollars.

thankfully, i enjoyed some ignorant bliss before the game out in autograph alley.  it was la kings night at the stadium, and someone from the kings' organization was signing autographs - jim fox maybe (he threw out the first pitch).  anyway, that line was ridiculously long, and i was worried that it was also the line for 1978 topps dodger member lee lacy.  i was pretty happy when i walked up and saw that there was no line for the dodger's utility player of my youth.

i was able to talk to him for several minutes, and he happily signed my 1978 topps card for me.
by the way, i have to thank the dodgers and roberto for posting the autograph alley players well in advance, giving me time to pull some cards before i flew out to socal.

i talked to lacy about the trade that sent him to atlanta, and the trade that brought him back a short time later.  he said that he was happy to return to la.  he also commented a few times that i had his rookie card, and he happily signed it, despite the lady working the booth telling me i could only have one item signed.
he ignored the lady working the booth again and signed my ratty old 1976 card, too.
lacy then spent a couple of minutes talking to my son about baseball and dodger stadium, and signed a promotional 5x7 for him as well.  by that time, there were a couple of people waiting, so we said goodbye and thanked him for signing.  i was pretty happy to have talked with a homegrown member of the team of my youth, even if he wasn't able to win a championship in la.

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