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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

LA Part 2: Dodger's Stadium

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round

 

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After that "job nonsense" that I had to deal with I was dropped off at my hotel for my weekend of baseball goodness.  I suppose a lot of other people would prefer to walk around Hollywood or head over to Disneyland but anywhere you go in LA takes forever to get to and it's always crowded.  Not to mention that two of my main goals of my trip were to: 1) eat a dodger dog and 2) see a dodger's game in no particular order.

I headed on the 110 and 70 minutes later through rush hour traffic I managed to make it to the main entrance of Chavez Ravine (aka: dodgers stadium+parking lot).  Chavez Ravine is interesting because the gates to park open two hours before gametime, so you can't park your car, do something else, and then come back when the doors to the park open.  There's a long landing strip of pavement where you wait until they let you into the parking area.  You have to sit by your car and wait until they start taking your parking money.  It's a lot like waiting for the drive-in movie theatre to start allowing cars in.  As sit there and listen to the radio there are vendors walking around selling merchandise, kids are out and about playing catch, and fans are chit-chatting around until you hear the chains of the main gates unlock and everyone hurriedly runs to their cars. 

Parking costs $15 and there's really no alternative other than car pooling.  I don't even know if it's possible to have a cab drop you off since there's such a huge flow of people entering the park.  Parking is also very simple because you simply follow the car in front of you and a series of helpful workers tell you where to park your car.

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The ballpark is surrounded by vast spaces for parking.  It's funny because the last spots are right behind center field so you can always get a good idea on how crowded the game is going to be.  I don't think you can tailgate since there were no bins anywhere but I think people find a way to get around that. 

I entered Dodger stadium after I bought a medium priced ticket behind home plate and saw this,

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As you can tell, the day was really crappy.  I don't know how many updates the place had had since the 60's when it opened but I don't know if it really needed any.  It was a pretty nice place to watch a baseball game. 

I was stuck on the level that I was at since the Dodger Stadium ushers are nazis but the concourse was open and a bit small but not bad for a park built in the 60's.  I also noticed that the Japanese media was going crazy over a couple Sumo wrestlers down on the field.

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That is the Japanese media right there.  Each wreastler would pose and play catch or pretend to swing a bat and you could tell that every cameraman was struggling to find some space to take a picture. 

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Apparently about nine of the world's top 20 sumo wrestlers were there including the number one ranked dude.  They treated him like royalty practically.

Of course after seeing this nonsense I made a B-line for the hot dog stand.

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This is the dodger dog that was I drooling over.  This is widely considered the best hot dog in the major leagues and was probably more excited about this than the ballpark (if you can imagine that).  At first I was a little hesistant seeing as a dodger dog was $5 but they were a bit bigger than a normal weenie hot dog.  When I took a bite I really analyzed every pig scrap that my taste buds could recognize.  At first it didn't seem like much but--oh wait, there's a subtle hint of spice which really makes the entire dog somewhat pleasant to eat.  After devouring the dodger dog I found myself longing for another one during the middle of the game.  After all, they had a beefier dodger dog which was really peaking my curiosity.

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The Dodgers were playing the Cubs for which there were a lot of Cubs fan around.  I was curious to see what LA fans were like.  There's always been the notion that LA fans arrive fashionably late and leave fashionably early.  It's like they only stick around to see innings 4-6 and then beat the traffic.  Beating the traffic isn't such a bad idea and I'm a firm believer in staying for the duration of the game.  The arrive late/leave early rumor wasn't true for the night I went.  Everyone seemed to stick aroudn until the end but that could've been the complete game shutout gem by Hiroki Kuroda.  Also their games start at 7:30pst which means that the 8th inning is generally starting at the ten o'clock hour so I'm sure people need to make sure they get to work.

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And then a nuclear bomb went off!!! 
This is just me playing with my camera after the game.  Dodgers won 3-0 and it was a pretty good game.  I stayed as long as I could in the ballpark and once I ventured outside it became crystal clear why people leave early.  Since there's only two ways to enter Chavez Ravine there's only two ways to leave and 50,000 people leaving at the same time leads to long delays. 

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I think it was about 90 minutes for me to wait until the coast was clear to leave Chavez Ravine.  There is this wonderful view of Los Angeles from the parking lot which looks amazing on a perfect night.

All in all Dodger's stadium was a pretty nice venue.  For being a ballpark built in the 60's it was fairly impressive.  I would definitely attend another game if I should ever be offered a job in LA again.

Tomorrow I will review the wonderful Petco Park in San Diego

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