Over the course of the last 21 years, I have probably seen nearly 200 baseball games at Dodger Stadium.
It has always been one of the loveliest ballparks in the country, both for its classical look and for the setting it occupies, with the mountains in the background and the landscape all around it, just two or three miles from downtown Los Angeles.
I have watched games from pretty much everywhere in the park, from the upper deck nosebleed seats to the front row of box seats on the third base side to the press box.
Tonight I think the odds are pretty good that I might have seen my last game in Blue Heaven.
I hadn’t been there for a couple of years, and I saw tonight’s game between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres courtesy of my good friend Wayne Shinsato, who has partial season tickets. I don’t know if I’ll get back before the end of the season, and we are planning to move to Georgia before the 2011 season starts.
I remember my first visit. It was Fourth of July weekend in 1978, and my first wife and I were visiting my friend Mick, who was out here for graduate school. We got tickets in the very last row of seats at the end of the grandstand in left field and saw the game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. I was a fairly rabid Cincinnati fan at that time, so I didn’t like the Dodgers much at all.
Twenty-one years living here changed that, of course.
I’m a Dodger fan and probably will be for the rest of my life.
It was wonderful to see the game, which the Dodgers won, 9-0, behind a two-hit shutout by Vincente Padilla. If it was my last game here, it was a good one to end on.
It’s probably what I’ll miss most when we leave L.A.