The last two times I've been in the clubhouse before batting practice, I felt like a moron who didn't belong, so even though I missed my chance for the pre-game clubhouse hijinks, I probably just would have felt out of place again anyway. I don't necessarily have official questions for the players; I prefer to observe and comment when it suits me. I'll consider going back down to the clubhouse after the game, but I might not do that either, as it's fireworks night, and I think I'll probably head down to the field to watch them with Christine. But we'll see. The night is young.
I did go down to the field to watch a bit of the Dodgers' batting practice, but I either missed the big guns or they didn't take any BP today. The only players I saw were Castro, Pierre, Mienkiewicz, and Ausmus. Not exactly a murderers' row. It was nice to see that Mattingly takes his time to watch the "B" squad take BP, though.
On the way to the field, I passed through a security "debriefing" with about ten or twelve guys. I don't know exactly what they were talking about, but I do know that the guy leading the meeting mentioned "forming a line" to block something from happening. I think they were discussing protocol for protecting players from something, as the guy also said something like, "if one of our stars gets into trouble..." Something tells me there might be extra security for the Giants series, and these were the new guys learning the ropes.
The signs on the way into the stadium indicate tonight's game is sold out, but I searched the Dodgers website and could still find at least two tickets available. Hard to say what's bringing people out tonight. The baseball fan in me wants to believe that people are genuinely excited about seeing the Dodgers destroy the Giants' playoff hopes. The skeptic in me knows it's more likely that people like to see fireworks, which means fewer people leaving in the seventh inning. Unfortunate, because those people exiting does help--ever so slightly--to ease the horrible traffic on the way out of the lots. Soon, but maybe not until the season is over, I'm going to have to write a post about the parking situation at this ballpark. One of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog was about the new parking protocols here, and I'm sorry to say that nothing has really changed since that post. But more on that later.
I should say that no part of me believes the capacity crowd tonight has anything to do with Vicente Padilla taking the mound. The guy has done a nice job, and I'm happy to have an autographed ball from him, but he's not exactly a star. Christine is convinced that before the season is over, Padilla is going to do something really special for this team. I note this not because I believe it to be true, but because I feel like I should put it on record for Christine, just in case it happens.
In actual Dodger notes, Ben Maller of FoxSports.com actually went to Torre's pre-game conference, and passes along the information that Kershaw will pitch out of the bullpen next week, and Billingsley is going to start in the series against the Nationals.
One more thing before the game starts. Before the game, they play a lot of different videos on DodgerVision. Often, it's the real video interspersed with Dodger highlights. The ones I've seen the last few days include "Hole Hearted," by Extreme; "That's Not My Name," by The Ting Tings; and something from Chris Daughtry. But nothing--and I do mean nothing--can come close to the video I'm embedding below. I have all sorts of things to say about it, and I say them, loudly, when I'm at the stadium, but I'll refrain from putting those in print, and allow you to come to your own conclusions about one Mr. Zac Efron. Enjoy.