We have reached the point in our watch party series when we watch a game that didn’t even count.
This came on March 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with the Dodgers facing the Red Sox just two days before opening day. This was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of their first season in Los Angeles.
They called the Coliseum home for four years while Dodger Stadium was being built, and even won a World Series there in 1959.
Coliseum exhibition lineups
|DH||Ortiz (L)||LF||Ethier (L)|
|CF||Crisp (S)||1B||Loney (L)|
|LF||Kielty (S)||DH||Pierre (L)|
The Coliseum wasn’t built for baseball so it was always a weird fit, most notable the ridiculously short wall in left field. And it wasn’t even a wall, but rather a high screen that looked invitingly close, especially for right-handed batters.
It was one thing for the Dodgers to play there when this was their home stadium, and had a chance to get used to the odd dimensions. But this was an exhibition, and nobody had an experience playing in such dimensions. Even the Green Monster at Fenway Park is 310 feet from home plate. The left field screen at the Coliseum was just 250 feet away.
This made for interesting defensive alignments, with the Dodgers at times opting simply not to have anyone in left field since it was so shallow. Instead they used a rover of sorts in shallow center field to help cover the deeper parts of the field. This alignment produced one of the oddest plays I’ve ever seen, a caught stealing recorded 2-8 in the scorebook, thanks to Andruw Jones fielding the throw from catcher Russell Martin.
Current Rays manager Kevin Cash started at catcher for Boston.
I remember this game being a madhouse in and around downtown Los Angeles, with a Guinness World Record 115,300 fans in attendance. Shuttles were provided from Dodger Stadium to help with parking, but the delays were so long that my uncle, for instance, decided instead to drive back home rather than wait more than an hour.
I went with my cousin and a friend. We parked at a hotel downtown and took a cab to the Coliseum. It was so packed after the game that getting a taxi proved a challenge, so we started walking in the direction of the hotel, hoping to get a ride at some point along the way. Three miles on foot later, we were back at our car. It was a long night.
We’re going to watch this via YouTube, starting at 4 p.m. PT.