Dodger Stadium, aka Heaven.
Rather than update my previous post about the Dodgers’ Filipino Heritage Night, I’m recapping that great day here.
My family and I left early so we could beat traffic and enjoy a pork BBQ plate at Bernie’s Teriyaki. We succeeded on both counts: we experienced no traffic and beat the dinner crowd at Bernie’s. We’re onto the third generation of our family who have eaten here (they opened in 1977) and the taste and quality have remained the same over the years. It also seems like they haven’t upgraded the facilities in nearly four decades of business, but if ain’t broke, why fix it, right?
Our bellies full of delicious Filipino-style BBQ and rice, we made the quick 10-minute ride to Dodger Stadium and, having paid half-price for parking online, we zoomed right to the shortest Pre-Paid Parking line and made it to Lot 1. Although it’s a trek to the Right Field Pavilion, it’s normally not a problem, especially if it means saving money (the closer Preferred parking lots cost $35 online and $50 at the gate). Unfortunately, my knee was sore from a Monday full of driving and moving, so I had to take it at a slower trek.
Once we got closer to the stadium, we noticed people at a truck handing out freebies. Normally, this thing would be swarmed by fans, but once I saw the name on the side of the truck, I knew why most fans were ignoring it: [INSERT NAME OF CABLE COMPANY THAT WON’T SHOW DODGERS GAMES TO MOST OF LOS ANGELES HERE]. The young interns were all smiles and giving away free Dodger cups to the masses. From what I saw, fans were just walking by, but I’m sure the workers got some verbal abuse as more fans walked in. For the record, I decided to take a cup, but vowed to scratch out the cable company’s name.
So, my ambivalence about taking said cup aside, I was fired up for the game. It was the first game I’d been to in a few years, after the previous non-Magic-Johnson owners nearly ruined everything great about the Dodger Stadium experience. Mainly, however, the thrill of celebrating Filipino Heritage Night with my family and my brothers’ families outweighed everything else.
We met up, collected our cool Filipino Heritage Night Dodgers shirts, caught part of the Filharmonic performing a few songs, and found our seats. The weather was sunny and mild and once the game started, we were treated to a back-and-forth affair, with the Dodgers prevailing on a walk-off single by Howie Kendrick. The highlights of the game: Yasiel Puig nearly hitting for the cycle and crushing a 3-run home run and Joc Pederson climbing the center field wall to rob the D-Backs of a homer.
Although I would’ve preferred sitting in the reserve section like we did during our last trip to Filipino Heritage Night, there’s something to be said for sitting in the Right Field Pavilion; mainly, it’s the spot where Gibson hit The Home Run. I’ll never forget sitting in my buddy’s truck in 1988, listening to Vin Scully’s perfect call on AM radio: “High fly ball to right field … she is out of here! [long pause as Gibson rounds the bases, then hugs his teammates] In a season that has been so improbable, the impossible has just happened!”
That home run is one of my favorite Dodger memories. My other favorites? All of the games I attend with loved ones.