Pittsburgh – April 11th

Life begins on opening day.  Except I sold my opening day tickets on stubhub and missed out on Kershaw and Co. defeating the hapless Pirates 2-1.  So for me, life begins on the day after opening day.

I met up with my friend Andy who is a much bigger Dodgers fan than I am and we drove down Sunset from my apartment, through Silverlake and Echo Park before parking on the street and walking up to Dodger stadium.  This is not chronologically correct, though.  First, we stopped off at Good, a microbrew/burger place near Sunset Junction.  While I write beer/burger place, neither of us actually had a burger, though the guy to my left with ill fitting clothes and the baseball cap angled just to the side, not enough to be egregiously off center, but enough that if it wasn’t intentional he would certainly have made an adjustment, and seriously, this is not a good look for a man in his thirties, but regardless, he ordered the macaroni and cheese bacon burger, and while my heart said yes, my actual heart screamed for gods sake do not put that in your body, and so instead I had the spinach stuffed meatloaf, which was insanely good and had spinach in it so that ought to be my a few more days above ground.

So we finish the eating and drinking and make our way to the ballpark, arriving in the top of the 2nd inning.  This is very abnormal for me, I like to see a ballgame from first pitch to final out, but in another way this makes me a very typical Angelino and it’s nice to be one of the crowd now and again.  It’s cold and rainy, so I bring an umbrella with me, which seems very practical, but I am informed at the gate I’m not allowed to bring an umbrella into the stadium.  This is very irritating, and I complain about it to Andy for far longer than the subject deserved, and he’s a good egg about it and listens, but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it.  So I found a bush outside the left field bleachers and hid my umbrella there.  My reasoning was twofold – first, it was unlikely that anyone would spot the umbrella in the dark hidden in a bush, so it seemed a good hiding place.  Second, if it were to be taken, this could hardly be considered a tragedy considering I had stolen the umbrella from an airport van on my way to Istanbul.

So we settle back to watch the game, right field side, eleven rows up from the field, on first base side, a couple sections away from the bleachers, sans umbrella, in as cold and inhospitable conditions as Los Angeles is likely to subject anyone, so not really that bad.  Billingsley was on the mound for the Dodgers and he was sharp, though he only went six innings, walking none and punching out four, lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning in a tie game, with the bases-loaded and two outs.  He had only thrown 77 pitches, so this was a bit questionable, though in Manager Mattingly’s defense it was a good opportunity to break a tie game open.  Loney came up and promptly popped out to third, leaving it to the bullpen to win it.

Which they did.  An RBI single from Rivera was enough run support and the pen allowed just one base hit, a single, in three innings of work.  Earlier in the game, Barmas hit a rocket that just cleared the fence for a home run, and Garret Jones scorched one in the alley for a double, and other than that, there was a noticeable lack of punch from the Pirates offense.  This is not all that shocking, really, but it’s a bad sign for the team moving forward when there are only two or three hard hit balls the entire game.

Overall, a solid W for the home team, moving them to an early season mark of 5-1, and the strong performance from #2 starter Billingsley, his second straight of the season, bodes very well for the rest of the year.

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