Fresh off their stint in San Diego, the Cubs headed up to Los Angeles and venerable Dodger Stadium, in search of four victories and the ancient bones of Vin Scully. Well, the wins were not in abundance, but they did manage to split the four games. Vin Scully still having a pulse? Inconclusive. On to the games.
Game 1: Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-4. Howry picking up the win, Saito, not surprisingly, takes the loss in the ninth, and Wood tallies the save.
Brant Brown: After two successive excursions to San Diego, I'm skipping this game and catching it on TV. Actually, I ended up listening to the last two innings on the radio in the car. Fukudome stepped up with a solo homerun, showing that he can indeed hit the ball away from home. DeRosa launches another shot, proving every day that he's better with the stick than Brian Roberts. As we realized in Wrigley, there is no fear when Saito is near. Thing were looking sexy after this victory.
Game 2: Dodgers beat the Cubs 3-0. Kuroda gets the win, going the distance, Gallagher is tagged for the loss.
Brant Brown: I had two tickets in the reserved level for this game. I ended up eating them. Getting off work at 5:30 and having to battle the L.A. traffic proved too daunting of a task, so the wife and I went to a barbecue instead. Am I a bad fan? No. I was still able to sneak away about five times throughout the night to catch the score in the car. I clearly didn't miss much, as the Cubs were held to four hits and pretty much had their collective asses handed to them. I think I ended up making the wise choice.
Game 3: Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-3. Derek Lowe gets the victory, Zambrano takes the loss, and subsequently destroys two Gatorade coolers. Clearly they were at fault.
Brant Brown: This game was a mini-TMS meetup. Attending the game were me, Daft Funk, and the Governor. Before we even got in the car to make the drive, I was treated to a Pale-Off between Funk and the Governor. The Governor won. Both applied copious amounts of sunscreen as I watched. Breathlessly.
I've chosen to wear the Start the Riot shirt from the TMS store. This will prove to be a questionable decision at two points throughout the day. The first was when we arrived at Dodger Stadium. You know how they have attendants that check purses and bags before you get to the guy that takes your ticket? Well, apparently not having a bag does not automatically allow you to pass through this checkpoint. The woman badgered me for the contents of my left pocket. There she found my wallet. Believing the encounter was over, I walked forward but was met with an "Excuse Me Sir!" from behind. I then had to empty my pockets. At this point I realized that my civil rights were likely being assaulted due to the questionable T-shirt. After assuring her that I did not truly intend on starting a riot, I was allowed to pass through.
As Funk can detail below, the game sucked. After the game we hit a Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle. Note to self: Do not wear a shirt that says "Start the Riot" to a predominantly African American restaurant.
Daft Funk: Meeting The Gov and Brant was a pleasure as always. We met up at Casa de Brown and hit the road, Stone Temple Pilots blaring. Traffic up to the stadium was almost non-existent. I should have taken this as a bad sign, as there is always traffic in Los Angeles. We wanted to get to the ballpark early to catch batting practice. Well, we got to the ballpark early, but being a day game after a night game, no BP was taken. So we did what any random fan 2 hours early to a game would do: we hit up the concession stands for some brats and beers.
At a previous Dodger game in 2006, I had the pleasure of being terribly underwhelmed by the famous Dodger Dogs. However, the brats they sell at the Stadium are 10 kinds of fantastic. add to that an $11 dollar beer, and you've got yourself a ballgame treat fit for the Gods.
The one thing that confused me so much that my head began to hurt was the fact that there were a lot of people at Dodger Stadium that had wrong stuff on. There were countless hats/shirts being worn that had no reason to be there, including the Reds, Red Sox (a mass offender), Pirates, Twins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Argonauts. It's like the people of LA woke up and said "Well, any sports team is a good fit for any sporting event!"
The game itself was unremarkable and boring. Aside from Fat Z's meltdown (which we were in prime position to see), there wasn't much going on. Brant and I tried to get a "Let's Go Celtics" chant going to infuriate the home crowd, but it's kind of hard to do so when the LA team is winning.
Game Highlight: There was a woman sitting in front of us with her husband that actually snuck a banana into the game in an attempt to get it to Zambrano so he wouldn't cramp up during the game. So the whole game, whenever Zambrano did anything good or bad, she would hold the banana up in the air and wiggle it around. When she wasn't doing that, she would just sit with it in her lap, idly petting it. Billions of dirty jokes were popping up (no pun intended) every minute we were there.
A little later into the game, the usher near us popped a beach ball that was making the rounds around our section. Most people booed, but Gov Gray and I tried to cheer her on for doing away with the disgrace to baseball. She gave us a really bitchy look and kept walking past our section. There's no need for that, miss. So after the game, the Gov was able to sweet talk the lady in front of us into giving him the banana she had. On our way out, Gov went down to the usher that had given us the cold shoulder and presented her with the banana as a peace offering. The look on her face was equal parts bewilderment, fury, confusion and unbridled horniness. Mission accomplished, Governor.
The other highlight of the day was a trip to Roscoe's House Of Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach. I didn't get to check, but I'm sure Kid Rock was there. I'm sure he wanted to punch someone in the face as usual. The highlight of the trip? Roscoe's in Long Beach is definitely a place where Caucasians like us were clearly outnumbered by an easy 5-1 count. Now I have no problem with this, but the fact that Brant was wearing a shirt that said "Start The Riot" made me a little uneasy.
Governor Gray Davis: Vin Scully: still alive and calling games in the vastly underrated one man booth, Harry Carey's alcohol pickled corpse in the ground somewhere - PWNED.
Its good to finally meet Funk and compare notes on paleness. For the game, I decide the only way I can out-shout the Cubs fans in attendance is too get drunk, so I start drinking $12 Dos Equis immediately upon arrival. It works wonders. The Dodgers haven't won a game I've attended in years, but the streak is at an end as Fat Z melts down and starts giving up runs to LA's dreadful offense left and right. I become emboldened and start singing "I Love LA" much to the chagrin of Funk and Brant.
The usher who popped the beach ball is utterly humorless. She clearly hates her life. Think about it - 99 times out of 100 if you randomly give someone a banana, you'd at least get a grin from the sheer absurdity of it all. Nothing from this girl.
As Saito strikes out some Cubs in the 9th, the Randy Newman starts playing and I'm happier than a pig in shit. We make our way out to the parking lot and after heckling some Cubs fans, I get ice thrown at me. Its OK though because we're in Brant's car. The Roscoe's is a great way to cap off this glorious day of baseball.
Game 4: Cubs defeat the Dodgers 3-1. Marquis (amazingly!) gets the victory, Penny is handed the defeat, Wood notches another save.
Brant Brown: In attendance for this game are myself, the wife, and the Governor. Again, we get to the park way too early, but at least this time we can take in batting practice. It was fun to see Zambrano hack at the ball, but one has to wonder how long it will be until he pulls a muscle swinging too hard. I hope Lou doesn't seriously use him as a DH in the American League parks.
This was the ESPN game of the week, so plenty of dignitaries were on hand. We had a good view on the field of the beached whale known as Jon Miller, and I stalked Peter Gammons throughout the game on my camera. Vince Vaughn was also taking in the game in the first row behind the Cubs dugout. I saw Gammons chatting him up on one occasion, and between innings, Soto tossed Vaughn a ball on his way back to the dugout.
The early homer by DeRosa was great, and Lee had that great stop in the 8th inning with the toss to Marmol. Wood closing down the Dodgers was a great way to end the road trip and wrap up our yearly excursions.
Governor Gray Davis: Horse and feeling the sting of overpriced beer from the day before, I decide not to drink too much today. Big mistake. After showing flashes of offense the day before, the Dodgers barely show up and get shut down by Jason Marquis. How the hell does that happen?
I have no love for this game at all. Basically, everything bad about the 2008 Dodgers is on display tonight. The only highlights for me are seeing Peter Gammons and the wonderful Camacho Nachos I pick up around the 5th inning. Even the team store is a disappointment. Its the Dodgers 50th anniversary in Los Angeles and they have virtually nothing for sale denoting that fact. At least Brant's "I heart Soto" shirt has the wrong number on it.