How To Stay Alive, In Dodger Stadium and the NL Central

I’m a fan of the Houston Astros, but I’ve never been to an Astros home game.  That means that every time I get to see my team, they’re the road team.  And I go, sporting my gear.  I’ve never had a real problem, outside of Wrigley Field (which doesn’t count because the obnoxiousness of Cubs fans is well-documented), but different parks definitely have different feels.

When I was a season ticket holder in San Diego, everyone in my section knew me, so everything as cool.  They knew I rooted for their team in all but the few games they had against Houston.  So when the Astros rolled into town and I switched over to the brick red jersey, they were cool.

Up the road in Los Angeles, things are a bit different.  Dodger Stadium is one of those stadiums where, when you wear the opposing team’s colors, you become acutely aware of what the people around you are drinking, and how much of it.

2009_0717Dodgers-Astros0024.JPG

A very unpopular color.

Still, I subscribe to one very simple rule, and I’ve never had a real problem:

  1. Don’t be a jerk.  Everything else is really a variation on this rule.  But what I mean is this: Don’t be loud and obnoxious.  Root as much as you want for your team, but don’t put down the home team.  You’re a visitor in their stadium, act like it.  Be respectful.  Take ribbing good-naturedly.  If your team gets way ahead, tone down your cheering.

Most of the time, if you exhibit any amount of interest in their team or intelligence in the game, they will latch onto you.  Last night, the woman next to me turned towards me and asked, re: Carlos Lee, “Why do you call him a horse?”

Realizing that she was referring to my shouting out, “Let’s go El Caballo,” I said simply: “Look at him.  He’s huge.”  From then on, she grilled me on Thunder Pants (thanks, Susan), Wizard, Pudge, and (yes) Anal Fissure.

2009_0717Dodgers-Astros0036.JPG

The view in Dodger Stadium, when the ball is in play,
frequently looks something like this.

Of course, it still really helps when your team jumps to a 7-0 lead early in the game.  I could feel eyes on me as the Astros began to pile on runs.  Watching to see if I’d be a jerk.  I changed my shouts to claps, and generally toned things down.  In my opinion, this is only proper. Billingsley was having a bad night; he owned us a few short months ago.  Baseball is a funny game, no need to be a jerk about it.

Roy Oswalt looked great last night.  He was a Hunter Pence deer-in-headlights play from a shutout, which still could have been maintained had Geoff Blum gone to home and not first with a sharply-hit grounder.  But with a seven-run cushion, it could hardly be questioned.

Ivan Rodriguez seemed like he was on a personal mission to prove me wrong about not wanting to sign him, going 4-for-5 with a home run and 2 RBI.  After the game, I was approached by several Dodgers fans, who were all very nice and respectful in asking me about our team and their chances this year.

2009_0717Dodgers-Astros0041.JPG
When one guy asked me what place we were in after the game, I surprised even myself when I replied, “Tied for second.”

Now that’s fun to say.

What Happened Was…

Round Rock Express (AAA) – Geoff Geary only pitched two innings, but they were memorable ones.  He entered with a 7-3 lead in the ninth innings, and promptly gave up 4 runs to tie the game.  Then, in the top of the tenth, he earned two more to earn the loss, 9-7, against the Oklahoma City Redhawks (TEX).  Plenty of offense from the Express, led by OF Brian Bogusevic, who was 2-for-5 with an RBI.  Jason Smith hit his fourth PCL home run of the season – a three-run shot in the 4th inning.

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) – The Hooks held on in a wild one, despite giving up a run in the top of the ninth, to defeat the Frisco Roughriders (TEX) 6-5.  The pitching was, as usual, terrible for the Hooks – and errors from Drew Meyer and Golden Boy Jason Castro (who had two) didn’t exactly help matters much.  Tack on two wild pitches – one by Chia-Jen Lo and another by starter Brad James – and it’s a miracle the boys were able to pull this one off.  Lo actually pitched well overall, striking out three in his single inning of work, despite walking one and allowing a hit.  He continues to be a bright spot on the horizon.  SS Wladimir Sutil was 3-for-5 with two doubles and 3 RBI from the leadoff spot.

Lancaster Jethawks (A+) – This game belonged to Steven Hensley of the High Desert Mavericks (SEA).  He went 8.0 innings, striking out 10 and allowing 3 ER on 3 hits and a walk as High Desert won, 10-3.  Least inept at the plate for Lancaster was OF Brandon Barnes, who went 1-for-3 with a home run.  C Koby Clemens, lest anyone think he was better than Castro, had an error and a passed ball.  OF Jonathan Gaston was 1-for-4 with a 2-run home run, and added an outfield assist to liven up the box score.  This was his twenty-second home run, which puts him solely atop the leaderboard in the California League this season.

JonathanGaston.jpg

Gaston is showing some power in the desert.

Lexington Legends (A) – A four-run seventh inning was enough to put the Lexington Legends up, and they would hold on for a 8-4 victory over a team with one of the best team names in Minor League Baseball: The Lakewood Blue Claws (PHI).  As usual, the story of the night for Lexington was the pitching: Ross Seaton improved to 7-8 with a 2.51 ERA, and Henry Villar pitched very well in relief, striking out 8 batters in just 3.1 innings.  Aside from one mistake, which Blue Claw 1B Jeremy Hamilton turned into a solo tater, he didn’t allow a single man on base.  OF Jay Austin was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and 2 RBI. 

Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) – Tri-City was leading the Batavia Muckdogs (STL) 2-0 after two innings when rain postponed the game.  The game will re-c
onvene today.

Greeneville Astros (R) – Juri Perez struck out 9 batters in just 3.1 innings, walked two, and didn’t allow a single run in relief; but the damage had already been done, as Greeneville fell 7-5 to the Johnson City Cardinals (STL).  2B Jose Altuve continued his torrid start, going 4-for-5 from the leadoff spot with three doubles.  He scored two runs and batted another in, but was picked off once, as well.  In his first 24 professional games, he’s hitting .357/.443/.520.  Not too shabby. 

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10 comments

  1. renaudtn

    Hey RR15,

    Good to hear from you. Without your posts to read I didn’t have anything to do at work anymore 😉
    BTW, how’s the job hunt going? Hope things are looking better for you.
    So which bandwagon are you on: McTaggart (Astros are a contender but fail, again, to make it to the postseason)…or… Astrodad1 (Astros win it all)?

  2. astrosfaninexile

    I’ve only been to 1 game in the “new” stadium, after just about growing up in the Dome. So I’m with you on how to cheer for your team in other people’s stadiums. But I’d go farther: I’d say that a good rule of thumb at ANY baseball stadium is “Don’t be a jerk.” The past couple of times I’ve been to games in person, it sort of irked me to realize that I preferred watching them in my kitchen on the computer. Partly the weather – it was about 100 and blistering when the Astros were here last July, and raining and cold this May. But mainly, it’s the jerks in the stands. They are definitely a minority, but it’s just not fun being anywhere near a drink-$8-beer-till-you-puke gang who aren’t even interested in baseball. It’s not just those of us in the wrong jersey who get the brunt of their abuse.

    Meanwhile… Roy O ROCKS! I’m watching the Friday night game on the archive to warm up for today’s game. Last night was … eh… can’t win ’em all.

  3. astrosfaninexile

    I’ve only been to 1 game in the “new” stadium, after just about growing up in the Dome. So I’m with you on how to cheer for your team in other people’s stadiums. But I’d go farther: I’d say that a good rule of thumb at ANY baseball stadium is “Don’t be a jerk.” The past couple of times I’ve been to games in person, it sort of irked me to realize that I preferred watching them in my kitchen on the computer. Partly the weather – it was about 100 and blistering when the Astros were here last July, and raining and cold this May. But mainly, it’s the jerks in the stands. They are definitely a minority, but it’s just not fun being anywhere near a drink-$8-beer-till-you-puke gang who aren’t even interested in baseball. It’s not just those of us in the wrong jersey who get the brunt of their abuse.

    Meanwhile… Roy O ROCKS! I’m watching the Friday night game on the archive to warm up for today’s game. Last night was … eh… can’t win ’em all.

  4. roundrock15

    Excellent point, Susan. Personally, there’s nothing I like – possibly in the world – more than watching a game at a ballpark. Yesterday, I was in the blistering heat and forgot to take sunblock, and since it was a close game the natives were getting restless around me, but I still had a blast.

    It’s true, though, it’s too bad some people have to be belligerent.

    Renaud – This Astros team can’t win it all. They’re playing better than they are right now, which is great, but unsustainable. We were a paid of Alberto Arias errors away from taking 3 of 4 from the Dodgers… with Geoff Blum, Jeff Keppinger, and Chris Coste in the lineup and Russ Ortiz on the mound.

    Ed has gone on record and said that we won’t be buyers this year – one year where it might make a little sense for us to be buyers – which is fine by me. I actually almost resent that we’re in the thick of the race right now. It gives us a little bit of false hope. It’s fun to see them playing well, but they’re not going to make it into the postseason.

  5. crzblue2

    Roundrock,
    Too bad I only noticed your posts today. I would have liked to have met you at Dodger Stadium. I am Emma and I have season tickets in the Top Deck Aisle 3, last row. All around me are season ticket holders that I call them “My Top Deck Family.” Dodger Stadium is my home away from home. Obviously I am glad we were able to split the series and yes, thanks to your pitchers for helping out on that.
    .
    Good luck to your team. i still remember you guys eliminating us in 1980. Everytime I see Jose Cruz, I remember how much I hated him back then.
    Emma
    http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

  6. roundrock15

    Emma – I’ll be going to at least a couple more games this year. I live in Eagle Rock, fairly close to the stadium, and work in Hollywood. I’ll let you know in advance the next time I head to the park.

    RoundRock15

  7. crzblue2

    cool Roundrock! I am always there. I have missed three games this year and that was because I was out on a business trip. Tomorrow I have the company seats so I am in the field level by the visiting dugout.
    Emma
    http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

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