There are a lot of human beings in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Just under 10 million to be exact. For a couple of kids who go to college in St. Louis and rural Ohio, Los Angeles presented an entirely different beast. The sheer scale of it all is shocking. The fact that there are 69 In-N-Outs in the Los Angeles area alone kind of says it all. It’s the land of big traffic, big dreams, and even bigger stadiums.
Seating 56,000 people, Dodger Stadium is far and away the largest stadium in baseball. If you took the tarp off all the upper deck seats in the O.co Coliseum, Dodger Stadium would still have more seats. The sellout crowd last night was amazing and it was an honor knowing that they all showed up for us. Unfortunately, we were only the second- and third-most famous celebrities in the audience, as soon-to-be-fired Lakers coach Byron Scott decided to take in a game. From the music in between innings, to the pre-game Terminator movie previews played on the big screens, the entire situation at the stadium is very unique and very LA.
The whole thing reminded me a whole lot of Kendrick Lamar; I got the allure of it, I enjoyed a fair amount, and it’s certainly amazing in its own special way, but it’s not really my thing. Don’t get me wrong, the club does an awesome job getting fans to come out to the ballpark and keeping them engaged and entertained while they’re here; we’d just prefer to be behind home plate at some minor-league park watching a green mascot jumping on top of a dugout. That being said, we still had an awesome time at the family-oriented game, which pitted the Los Angeles Daughters against the San Diego Fathers. —Jake Mintz
Dennis Lin is a Padres beat writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He had clubhouse access after the game. We did not. We interviewed him about interviewing players.
On his approach to interviewing Padres starter Ian Kennedy after the loss:
Well, he wasn't at fault for the offense scoring zero runs. So we led off with how unlucky he was to give up that first home run to Joc Pederson, which was like a neck-high fastball outta the zone with two strikes and somehow the guy gets around and hits it outta the park. He chalked that up to bad luck. He got shellacked in his last outing, so six-innings and two earned runs when you have Matt Kemp and Justin Upton in the lineup, you probably win that game. Just not tonight.
On his attitude going into asking players about why they had trouble hitting:
I wanted to find a guy who's been in there every game, but Justin Upton was showering so that didn't work out. So Jedd Gyorko, he was 0-3 with two strikeouts. You ask a guy if he's ever seen the pitcher before, if they're pressing too hard…you know, very technical terms; baseball speak.
On the smell of a major league locker room:
It usually smells like the postgame spread, because everyone is eating. Especially after they lose, because they'd rather eat than talk. It smelled like, uh, cabbage tonight? I think I saw some salad out there. It smells like a mixture of sweat, cabbage…one time there was meat loaf, that was memorable… and uh, sadness, and silence. If you could smell silence.
One of the unique parts of Dodger Stadium is the sound system. Unlike most modern parks, which have speakers dispersed throughout the stadium, the 53-year old stadium has one enormous autobot-looking contraption behind the center-field wall. The whole thing is maybe 80 feet tall and blasts music so loud it felt like we were sitting next to it all the way in the press box behind home plate. Good thing there aren’t any people that live next to the stadium because they’d be filing one hell of a noise complaint.
Will Middlebrooks made his first career start at shortstop, which probably didn’t make Clint Barmes feel too good about his long- or short-term job security. Middlebrooks got two-thirds of an inning at short earlier this month but no one was expecting him to get a start this soon. We were sitting in the press box when this move was announced and a couple of the Padres beat writers reacted as if they had just heard that the team they cover was starting Will Middlebrooks at shortstop; pure shock and awe. For a team with 17 infielders and 136 outfielders, it’s hard to imagine why putting Middlebrooks at shortstop would ever be necessary, let alone strategically optimal. There are countless examples of tremendous defensive infielders being moved off shortstop to less demanding positions long before they even reach the big leagues, so it was the rather incredible to see a team put a career-long third baseman at short, especially when all it seemed to accomplish was getting Cory Spangenberg into the lineup.
Joc Pederson took an Ian Kennedy fastball above his face and roped it out over the seats in right-center. If you aren’t on the Joc wagon, now is a good time to hop on. The dude rakes, has a goofy attitude, went to high school with Jeremy Lin, and is committed to ripping dingers.
Suddenly Awesome Mike Bolsinger got the start for the Dodgers and turned in another impressive eight innings of work, lowering his ERA to a cool 0.71. Bolsinger had a not-so-nice ERA+ of 69 in 52.1 innings pitched with Arizona last year before being DFA’d and ultimately traded to the Dodgers for outfield prospect Cash Considerations in November. He’s been shockingly good so far this year excluding that one thing. Assuming Considerations doesn’t break out this year at Double-A Mobile, it looks like the Dodgers got a steal in Bolsinger.
While we were extremely sad that we didn’t get to witness a Mike Bolsinger complete game shutout, we did get to see Kenley Jansen, which was pretty damn awesome. You could feel the ground rattle and shake as he ran out to the mound in the top of the ninth, his tree-trunk legs threatening to crumble the structural foundation of the stadium. The Padres couldn’t touch his electrifying stuff as Kenley set them down 1-2-3. It’s almost like Mike Bolsinger was out there or something.
-Meals at In-N-Out: 1
-Mexican Food Meals: 2
-Dr. Peppers consumed: Jake – 12/Jordan – 11
-Times we listened to “My Immortal” by Evanescence: 1
The week ahead begins with a trip up to Lancaster for our second look at some California League action as the Jethawks take on the Inland Empire 66ers. We’re hoping to see at least one obscenely high-scoring California League game on this trip, and we’ve been told Lancaster has a great chance of providing us with such a game. After hopefully seeing one or both of those teams score 20+ runs on 30+ hits, we’ll return to Los Angeles to do some bat flipping around some of the city’s finest landmarks.