That day is Dodgers Opening Day.
The Militant hasn't missed it since '07; in fact he even covered it in This Here Blog in '08 and '09.
But the Militant was definitely there at The Stadium on Tuesday, watching his team initiate their 52nd season of professional beisbol in Los Angeles.
Instead of one characteristically long MA blog post, he's just gonna break it down:
Dodger Stadium Express: Transit makes a triumphant return to The Stadium, the first time since the second half of the '08 season and for the first time covering the entire season, one can take a bus to Dodger Stadium directly from Union Station. The Militant, long known of being a champion of transit, naturally decided to partake in this new service on Opening Day.
The Militant got off of his Red Line train at approximately 12:22 p.m. and headed up the escalator to the Patsaouras Transit Plaza at Union Station's east end. There, he was greeted with a queue approximately the same circumference as a baseball diamond. Nice to see the demand there, but the first pitch was only some 40 minutes away. The previous "Dodger Trolley" of 2008, though not as conveniently close to the Red Line, was extremely painless, getting one from the Station to the Stadium in some 10 minutes time. But that was not on Opening Day.
Metro, who operates the service with their own Metro Local buses, was, however, able to rush a bunch of buses from their nearby yard to fill the demand. The long line quickly shrank and the coordinators even encouraged people to board Orange Line-style. Supposedly passengers without a ticket to the game would have to pay $1.25 to board, but for the virtually sold out home opener, it was safe to assume everyone had a ticket to the game anyway.
Getting to the stadium was another matter altogether.
The bus crawled for some 40 minutes through Cesar Chavez and Sunset in embarrassingly slow surface street traffic, which the bus was not immune to. Just blocks shy of Elysian Park Ave, the bus driver did some lane hustling and was able to make the right turn up the hill, but numerous riders, antsy because they did not want to miss the first pitch, yelled, "LET US OUT!" But after that point the bus maneuvered rather rapidly into the parking lot and outside the pavilions' Lot G.
Approximately one hour after the Militant left the Red Line, he took his seat at the Stadium. Phew.
Now, this isn't a bad service at all; in fact, Metro was rather quick to respond to passenger demand (they even ran all articulated buses after the game on the return trip back), but for Opening Day, he should have just ridden his bike to the game.
The Game. Now normally, the Militant arrives at Dodger games early, and by early, he means before the National Anthem is played. Enough time to grab a Dodger Dog (grilled, of course) or just sit in his seat and get that warm and fuzzy feeling listening to the organ stylings of Her Majesty, Nancy Bea Hefley.
But thanks to horrific street traffic, the Militant missed out on:
1) The team intros
2) The big-ass U.S. flag on the field
3) The National Anthem (sung by
4) The fly-by of an government-owned aviation vehicle of some sort
5) The Ceremonial First Pitch (by the talented Los Angeles native, Will
Yeah, the Militant didn't get to see none of dat.
He also missed the starting lineup. But then he realized that today's starting lineup is really no different from that of last season...
But he did get to see a great start by Clayton Kershaw, a pair of doubles by James Loney and not one, not two, not three but FOUR homers, lobbed in courtesy of Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, respectively, all to the tune of Gary Glitter's plodding, "Rock And Roll, Part 2" stadium anthem (replacing the pulsating techno sports anthem of Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft400" - The Dodgers' homerun song since the 2004 season). The Miltant prefers the latter, and isn't Gary Glitter a convicted freaky pedophile or something? Ew...
Anyways, when all was said and done, some 3 hours, 42 minutes later, the Dodgers win their home opener, 9 to 5 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Can we get a w00t-w00t?!
The Believin' Picks Up Where It Left Off: Come the middle of the 8th, familiar piano chords fill the Stadium's P.A. system and the wailing voice of Steve Perry commences. Is he there? Where is he?
He's baaaack. The lip-sync rocker and Dodger fan extraordinaire Jameson Moss, the biggest thing to wow a baseball crowd since Dancin' Homer, has returned. All is good in Dodgertown.
The Promos: WTF?!
(Wonder if Rihanna likes playing with the green one...)
Best Reference To "The Divorce":
(But pleeeeease, not Mark Cuban...)
(Dodger Stadium Bike Parking is still there...sorta...)
Now That's What I'm Talkin' About:
Enjoy the season, fellow Militant Dodger fans!