I don't remember another season where I was sooooo looking forward to the first game. You see last season was the first one where my kids really started enjoying going to games with me. Tommy really developed a love for baseball that started last year, and both Alina and Tommy enjoyed trying to get baseballs during batting practice. We managed to get 22 baseballs over the course of the season. So wen the season ended and we didn't have that time together anymore, I really missed it. Of course its more than just a bonding moment for me and the kids. If you want to see all of the reasons I love batting practice you can check out my post from Oct. 22, 2008.
Also the facts that the Dodgers have such a great lineup and have been doing so well to start the season boosted my anticipation of this game.
So after school Friday April 17th I got Alina and Tommy in the van and we heading down the Cajon Pass to pick up my brother Scott and head to the game. We had plenty of time and were sure to get there early enough to find a parking spot on the street and not have to pay for parking. We were making good time until ...
there was a car fire in the middle of the pass. All lanes were blocked and the little bit of information we could find out about it led us to believe it could be an hour or more. It was going to be so great to finally get back to Dodger Stadium and try to get some BP balls, but now I was wondering if we would make it in time. Fortunately after about 40 minutes they cleared the road and let us get going again.
We made it do Dodger Stadium about 15 minutes before the gates opened. Scott was not sure how soon we would make it out so he drove all the way to the game. We met up with him there and walked in together.
In just a few minutes we were in position to get some baseballs tossed to us from the players or snag some home runs. That familiar view was great.But I got this nervous feeling in my belly. What if no one threw a ball to Alina and Tommy? What if I couldn't get to any home run balls? It was the same kind of nervous feeling I had before my interview at Oak Hills High School last week. But that is a story for another blog.
Before too long the Dodgers were finished, and the kids and I put on our Rockies hats. Alina actually wore one of my hats so I suggested she wear it over her hat so it would fit better. The kids and I were a little more vocal than normal trying to draw attention to ourselves - that we at least looked like Rockies fans. Ryan Spilborghs ran by the wall close to us and asked what was under Alina's hat. I quickly explained that it was to make her hat fit, and he gave me a little smirk as he ran back into position. I was so worried that someone had figured our our "strategy" that it took me a while to realize that a major league player actually talked to me. I don't think that has ever happened before. Well except for the time that Raul Mondeci told me he was too busy to give me an autograph.
The next time that a ball came to Spilborghs he turned an threw it to me. He was at least 100 feet away. I thought that was pretty cool. So I gave it to Alina. Now we just had to make sure that we got one for Tommy before BP ended.
A little while later a ball came right to me I was the only adult around with a glove so I felt pretty confident, but the ball hit off the heal of my glove and bounced on the stairs, I reached for it but some guy grabbed it right before I could. I had another near miss on a ball a little later - it was getting frustrating.
But finally I caught a home run ball and I that I had to battle one of the regular Dodger Stadium ballhawks for. He had caught one earlier but I think that was all he got that day.
The last ball we got was tossed up by a Rockies player right towards Tommy. I was no where near the ball, so I was thinking this might be Tommy's first catch from a player. But a teenager next to Tommy tried to catch the ball for Tommy. Also another teenager tried to get the ball, but he had to lunge for it. He knocked into the first teenager, who in turn fell onto Tommy, and then the three of them also knocked Alina down. Now, I don't get upset about a lot of things during BP, but this really got to me. So I said "Oh come on..." The two teenagers got up and apologized, they also gave the ball to Tommy. So I quickly forgave them, I probably should have checked to see if my kids were okay, but we had the ball now so I figured everything else would be fine. After all that is what really made me upset - that they were trying to take the ball that was obviously being tossed to one of my kids. I didn't know they were trying to catch it for Tommy. But both Alina and Tommy were fine. And later when I asked Alina what here favorite part of the game was she said it was being knocked down and still getting that last baseball.
In the game the Dodgers came back with four runs in the 7th inning to win 4-3. Johnathan Broxton stuck out two players with the bases loaded and one out in the 8th inning.
Overall it was everything that I could have asked for in a baseball game. I caught a home run ball during batting practice, and both Alina and Tommy had balls thrown to them. And the Dodgers won! I hope every game this season is as good.