Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Dodger Stadium is a fashionable address again
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- Jay Z was in the building.
In fact, he was seated in the first row behind home plate, about 20 feet from Scott Boras, the fellow agent from whom he recently stole Robinson Cano and then insulted in one of his songs. That had to be a little awkward.
Mark Ellis, center, celebrates his walk-off hit as the Dodger Stadium crowd erupts around him after the Dodgers beat the Yankees.
But it was hardly the only locus of A-list activity at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night, judging by the faces the Dodgers kept putting up on the big videoboards. Half the NBA seemed to be here, including Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and James Harden.
The Screen Actors Guild, as usual, was well-represented, with Jack Nicholson, George Lopez and others. Brooklyn native Mel Brooks, who just turned 87, was here, for crying out loud.
The place went mad, with the fans in the top deck bobbing up and down, shaking the 51-year-old stadium. It was the loudest this place had been since ... well, the last time the Dodgers played here. Sunday, Yasiel Puig ignited things with his home run to snap a scoreless tie in the 11th inning.
In other words, things are again as they probably should be in a place that has hosted its share of big events over the years. Dodgers fans endured the drudgery of the tail end of the Frank McCourt years for these kinds of nights.
"We're playing like we should play and this is what you hear about when you're playing on other teams," Ellis said.
The Dodgers drew more than 200,000 fans for their four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. They followed that up with a crowd of 52,447 on a Tuesday night, and while the term "playoff atmosphere," might be a bit of a stretch, the crowd's mood Tuesday seemed to match the team's: joyful.
"It seemed like there was a lot of energy out there and there were no giveaways or fireworks," pitcher Zack Greinke said.
Earlier in the season, the Dodgers seemed to lose these kinds of taut, low-scoring games. Then again, they lost a lot of other kinds of games as well. They fell to 12 games under .500 and 9½ games out of first place on June 21. Since then, they are 27-6 and they have made up 13 games on the Arizona Diamondbacks and 16½ games on the San Francisco Giants.
"Everyone loves everyone," Greinke said.
It looks as if they're starting to exert control in the National League West, if not the National League in general.
So, the fact that Tuesday's win came against the Yankees -- making their first trip here in three years –--hardly seemed like that big a deal to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who played 14 seasons in pinstripes and started his coaching career in them.
"We feel like we're on a roll. These guys are on the tracks in front of us," Mattingly said. "They're just in the way. I think that's the way we have to look at it."
These days, the last place you want to be is on the tracks in front of the Dodgers. It's much more comfortable pulling up a seat on the bandwagon.