Monday, June 23, 2008

I Left My Water Weight In Los Angeles

As the DiaBride, myself, my brother, and his fiancé headed out to La La Land, it just so happened that the Tribe made their trip out to Dodger Stadium in an attempt to stop the bloodletting that they experienced in Coors Field and take advantage of the White Sox squaring off against the Cubbies in the Windy One. The trip began innocently enough, ambling around Long Beach, catching the Tribe-Dodgers game on TV (with Himself, Vin Scully, broadcasting as only he can) on Friday night, followed by a trip south to Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach on Saturday.

Despite the fact that all of the national news stations were covering the blistering heat in SoCal, the weather we experienced was marvelous as we stayed close to the Pacific Breeze and soaked in the rays while benefiting from the proximity of our locales to the ocean. With the weather so perfect, we obviously bellied up to a bar in Laguna Beach (which was open air and had sand in the front portion…so we weren’t TOTALLY indoors while the Pacific was 50 yards away on a sunny Saturday afternoon) and reveled in the majesty of C.C.’s power stroke and power pitching.

After spending the afternoon watching the 7-2 win at the bar, we ventured out into the ocean, then returned home where the “festivities” that had commenced at Hennessey’s in Laguna Beach continued well into the night, including a trip to a liquor store in North Long Beach (walking distance from the hotel) where my brother and I were greeted by a (how shall I say this) “lady of the night” at the front door, kept our heads down, and bought some drinks to accompany our card game at the hotel.

When the alarms went off on Sunday, we were worse for the wear, but all excitedly donned our Tribe gear and headed up towards Dodger Stadium as we would no longer be simply watching our Erie Warriors on Fox Sports, we would be representing in Chavez Ravine to see if the Tribe could sweep their way out of town and continue to gain ground on the scuffling White Sox.

Arriving to Elysian Park, we were blown away that this stadium was just sitting in a big ravine in the middle of LA. I mean, I know that everyone refers to it as “Chavez Ravine”, but this was ridiculous as all sides of the stadium were essentially surrounded by hills…something we would later learn is not ideal in the conditions we were about to enter, given the way that hills block wind. We made our way to the stadium, walking about a mile (the park is in the middle of an ocean of parking lots) and went to find our way in.

Now, nobody clued us into a unique feature of Dodger Stadium, which is that you have to enter the level at which you have tickets. Our thought was that we would go into the closest entrance and, having arrived early, we could explore the park and make our way to our seats when game time approached. Such is not an option at Dodger Stadium as we were turned away from our first option, then told the wrong direction to head by the ticket-taker who turned us away. After being turned away a second time, we finally headed to our proper gate going up and down stairs about 5 time because…the ballpark is built into a hill and there’s no easy way to get anywhere.

Nevertheless, we finally found our entrance and moved over to our seats, which happened to be on the 1st base side…under the glare of the sun that may have been the same one that melted Icarus’ wings. To read that the temperature at first pitch was 94 degrees does not do justice as to what we experienced sitting in the still, hot air with the sun baking our skin and turning the ice cubes that we were dropping down our shirts into hot water by the time they made their way to our waistline.

It was hot…damn hot….and the fact that the first four Dodgers who faced Paul Byrd scored did not make the beginning of the day any more enjoyable. We suffered through the first few innings trying to cool ourselves and focus on the game while admiring the sightlines in the stadium (which were magnificent as long as you could wipe the sweat off of your brow quick enough to keep your eyes open), but the sun continued to bear down on us and we made our way over to a shady section of the stadium, which is about 2,000 of the 56,000 seats there.

We found some refuge in the shaded sections, but now we had to deal with the Dodger fans that were…um…not happy to see people in opposing teams’ gear. Before I go further, let me say that I’ve been to a number of ballparks to watch the Indians as the visiting team and usually run into a knucklehead or two who rides you a little bit, but eventually loses interest or is easily put in his place by a witty remark or an innocent, “hey, thanks for the warm welcome”.

Most fans in the cities I've visited are more than cordial and show an interest in the fact that you came to visit and ask various pleasant questions. Not so with Dodger fans, who went after us to “go back to Cleveland” (and worse) or just followed us around the concourse to a chorus of boos. After using my better judgment NOT to come back with a quick rejoinder as I don’t think the Latin Kings were going to get my reference to Dante’s Seven Layers of Hell, we finally settled into the only place that had a semblance of a breeze and put up with the guy standing behind us who booed (quietly and loudly…but constantly) until we parted.

The Tribe had lost 4-3, but all we could think about was getting to the LAX Hilton pool in an attempt to return our core body temperatures to what we thought would be “safer” levels. After a little more harassment in the parking lot, we finally made our way out of what felt like Death Valley and headed to our hotel with the pool, some AC, and a tall, cool drink on our minds.

All told, it was very cool to see Dodger Stadium, to admire the architecture of the ball park itself, and to see the Indians play there (with the obvious head nod to other Tribe fans in attendance from time to time) against the Boys in Blue. The heat, however, was the overriding factor in the day being more of something that you had to ENDURE rather than something to ENJOY. The fact that the Indians weren’t able to complete the sweep was ancillary at a certain point as heat exhaustion was more of a concern than whether Peralta should have tried to score on Ethier in the 5th.

For now, I’ll continue to rehydrate myself in anticipation of the Indians hopefully beating up on Little O and the Giants, then the Reds while the White Sox head out to Chavez Ravine before facing the Cubbies again. It could turn out to be a VERY interesting week that tells us a good deal about where 2008 is headed as the Indians face off against the White Sox one week from today.

Big thanks go out to T-Bone for captaining the ship in my absence yesterday (or this morning) as I attempted to cool off and…it’s nice to be home.


Cy Slapnicka said...

"Too hot in the hot tub! Ma!
Burn myself!
Make it cooler!
Good God!
Gonna make me..."

Rockdawg said...

"Well, well, well..."

Rockdawg said...

PTC, you hear anything about Arrested Development hitting the big screen?

(gotta love the comments during off days)

t-bone said...

rockdawg... google "arrested development movie" and you'll like what you see. can't wait!!!

csusi said...

that loss might have been the most painful of the year. something about it. it might have had to do with the feeling of a 1990's ninth innings comeback being in the air. or it might have been the thought of what this loss along with a white sox win is gonna look like in the central standings. or it could come from poor laffey pitching the game he did and not being able to get the win.

i will continue to remain hopeful and positive. i feel its better for my being. call me crazy, but i still dont think we're done. i wont allow that thought to pass through my brain.

i just sat here for about 2 1/2 minutes and asked myself "why do you remain hopeful?" and "what is there to back this hope?".

i couldnt think of anything.

but hopeful i will stay.

hey, sowers is pitching tomorrow. thats good right?

[insert gigantic sigh]

csusi said...

oh, and asdrubal is officially ripping the ball in the buff.

still too early?

Rockdawg said...

The Tribe is now 9-12 in June, and this is the month that we should be surging. We are also now 6-8 in one run games, which is an indication that our bullpen is not nearly as effective as last year (I know...master of the obvious), as well as the fact that this team doesn't seem like it EXPECTS to win close games. Living in Charlotte, I know I don't see as many games as most, but I do watch a lot, and the approaches at the plate in innings 7, 8, and 9 when we are losing are, for the most part, DREADFUL.

But, there is still over HALF the season left, and every year, come September, the media has that one team where they keep saying "Boy, it looked like they were buried back in June, but this team is on fire and has a chance to make a playoff run." Last year, it was the Rockies, who were 39-43 on July 1st, and the Cubs, who were 33-39 on June 22. (both made the playoffs). Two years ago, the Twinkies were 28-34 on June 11th, before ripping off 20 wins in their next 21 games!

I'm not saying the Indains have a legitimate shot by any means at doing that, but, like Loyd Christmas said, "So you're sayin' there's a chance."

csusi said...

we just lost. to barry zito and the giants.

i feel as though my devotion to this team is as great as just about anything. ive been fighting this back in hopes that it wouldnt come from my fingertips and onto the keyboard, showing itself on this blog. but, its official. im hurting. im in pain. my heart that beats for the tribe is struggling.

it was rockdogs comment above mine that got me thinking. this was the span of games that we had looked forward to for weeks prior. with hopes that the struggling national league teams that we were gonna be seeing in interleague play, would be ones that we would look to to "gain ground" and move past the other 4 teams in the central. but, thats obviously been far from the case.

anyway, im bringing up things that i think we all understand and have thought about, so ill quit yapping.

to end this, i have to say that the pain could possibly reach its peak by nights end. when after all the predictions by the likes of gammons/myself/kruk believing the indians to be the team to beat in the central, the shame it will be if the royals win..... it will be our beloved indians who take hold of last place in the central division.


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