Dodgers Opening Night (at last!)

Baseball’s back.

Well…kinda.

The Dodgers played the opening game of their 60-game 2020 season last night, and beat some serious Giants butt 8-1. Kiké Hernández was on fuckin fire, and went 4 for 5 including a homer and 5 RBIs. Seager doubled and scored twice. Dustin May did a good job on the mound, jumping in at close to the last minute to replace an injured Kershaw. (Yeah, Kershaw is injured again. Already. Let’s hope that this is only a minor tweak and he’ll be able to make his next start. He may not be the player he once was, but the team still needs him to win.)

So there was good stuff going on on the field. It was great to see the team again and watch them play. It’s baseball, the game I love more than any other. And it’s the Dodgers, and, while I know I’m still new to the LA area, I started bleeding Dodger Blue not too long after I got here. I’ve never lived in an MLB market before this, so it was super exciting to be so close to big league teams, big league games and big league ballparks. If you grew up going to games at Smokies Stadium, you can imagine the feeling I got walking into Dodger Stadium for the first time.

I’ve written a lot about the Dodgers since I started my blog, so y’all know how much I care about the team…and how much I want them to win. Like everyone else in LA, I got robbed of the chance to see them win a World Series back in 2017, but winning a championship can sill happen. It could happen this year. Losing as badly as they did in the playoffs last year may have taught the team a lesson about hubris, so maybe the baseball gods will smile on the Los Doyers again. You get to say this after the first game of every new season….but this could be the year.

I think they said that it’s been 233 days (or something like that) since the Dodgers played a real season game, and that’s a dang long time to have to wait to see your team in action. It’s also a dang long time to have to wait if you’re a player and want to do what you love doing most – playing ball.

So it’s awesome that baseball is back.

On the other hand…

First thing: the cardboard cutouts in the stands are some of the most lameass shit I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve told y’all that I’ve played in near-empty stadiums and that it sucks big time. Playing in a place the size of Dodger Stadium empty must suck and be totally weirdass. But a bunch of cardboard people ain’t gonna make it any less weirdass, and it looks ridiculous on TV. It only draws you attention more to the fact that the stands are empty.

The fake crowd noises are pretty lameass too. They may get better at them as the season goes on, but they really didn’t sound responsive to what was happening on the field on Thursday night. They’re especially lameass when the players get called up to bat…and I’d be pretty pissed off if they turned up the volume on the applause for some other player instead of for me.

On the other hand there’s gotta be some kind of noise if you want to keep the other team from hearing what you’re saying in the dugout. And not feel like the game is just more batting practice. So I guess the crowd noises are necessary. I’m not so sure about the organ, though. It just seems silly to me when Dieter Ruehle keeps trying to get the ‘crowd’ worked up. He’s not fooling anyone.

There’s a whole bunch of COVID rules that I could already see weren’t being observed. It’s hard braking old habits, and it’s gotta be fuckin weird to have to be 6’ from your teammates in the dugout, but that’s how it’s gotta be, and it always pisses me off when I see people who aren’t socially distancing properly. Even when it’s MLB players. They can get just as sick as anyone else. And make other people sick just as easily too. Then there’s the rule about high-fives. Ok, I gotta admit that I can’t imagine hitting a home run without getting high-fived by my teammates, but that’s the rule, and you jut gotta do that lameass elbow bullshit instead. Still, I saw some high-fives during last night’s game. They’re doing all this shit to keep players safe…and then the players forget half of it the first chance they get.

Don’t get me started on the rules they’ve changed in the game supposedly because of COVID. I can deal with putting a runner on 2nd at the start of the 10th. The game was getting along fine with extra innings and the challenges extra innings involved, but, ok…they tried it in the minors and the impatient people liked it. (If you ask me, the impatient people should just go watch basketball and leave baseball alone. The game takes as long as it takes to play for a reason. It’s the thing that sets baseball apart.)

The runner on 2nd in extra innings is gonna mean new strategizing for the managers, and none of them have any practice with it as yet. There’s gonna be some figuring out to do to see how to make the free runner a useful thing. I don’t like it because it totally changes the strategy required in extra innings, but at lest it requires strategy.

Maybe y’all can see where I’m going with this…

Yeah. The DH.

A DH in the NL? The fuck??

It’s an old debate, and I stand with the old-timers on this one big time. Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that most pitchers can’t hit…but that creates the need for strategy on the part of the managers. Big time strategy. Having 1 player out of 9 who’s a very likely out but who you need in the game is part of what makes baseball so fascinating. When someone complains to me that baseball is boring, the first thing I try to explain is that it’s a game of strategy. (Ok, I didn’t exactly make that up lol.) One of the things that goes into making it a game of strategy is pitchers who can’t hit.

Take that away, and one of the most interesting aspects of the game goes away as well. What do you have left?

American League ball.

Because of the DH, I’ve always felt that there’s something gayass about AL pitchers. NL pitchers are at least willing to get up there and show what crappy hitters they are. It takes more of a man to show his weaknesses on national TV than it does to hide behind a DH…

Not that the DH thing is gonna be a problem for the Dodgers this year. There’s a shitload of talent on the 30-man roster (there’s another rule change they made for COVID and I’m not sure why…). Having a DH will make it possible to get Kiké Hernández, Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson into the same game.

It’s too early to know what’s gonna happen, but I hope that the DH thing is only gonna be for this year. (I also gotta add that I don’t see how having a DH really is gonna stop the spread of COVID. That’s pretty lameass in and of itself.) I’m already worried that there’s gonna be no going back, that there’s gonna be a DH in the NL from here on in…and that they’re only using COVID as an excuse to change the rules to suit the people who bitch and moan that baseball is too slow. You’re not gonna get people not interested in baseball interested in the game because there’s suddenly a DH in the National League. Look at it this way: how many people got converted to baseball after they instituted the DH in the American League?

But I’m grateful that baseball is back in any form. It’s a new season.

And anything can happen.

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