Friday’s home opener for the Dodgers was cathartic and wonderful in many ways, but also a reminder of how much the last year took away.
As great as it was to hear the actual roar of the crowd at Dodger Stadium — even though artificial crowd noise was still piped in, at least in the early going — 15,036 fans isn’t the same as 56,000. Not that it’s necessarily safe for a full house yet, but it made for some oddities yesterday.
I’m not talking about the long concession lines and logistical nightmare that was buying food and drink on Friday. That will likely get sorted out in due time. But consider:
Friday was the first time Mookie Betts played as a Dodger with a crowd at Dodger Stadium, so the fans that were there had to combine their welcome to town, the thanks for signing for a dozen years, and gratitude for delivering a championship in your first year in Los Angeles all into one deafening roar. Just wait until Betts actually plays (which could be as early as Saturday).
“I know he’s a quick healer,” Dave Roberts said.
Yesterday was Gavin Lux’s first home opener. Zach McKinstry, too. It was Luke Raley’s first major league game.
But it was also the second home opener for Will Smith, Dustin May, Edwin Ríos, Victor Gonzalez, and Matt Beaty, but the first in front of fans for all of them.
Friday was something to savor, for a lot of reasons.
- Friday was the Dodgers’ first 1-0 win at Dodger Stadium since July 5, 2017.
- Pedro Moura at The Athletic talked to Bronson Arroyo about, well, you know.
- Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs did a wonderful deep dive into the 40th anniversary of Fernandomania.
- Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times: “Dodger Stadium turns 60 next year, but never has it been more vital than during the year in which games were played without fans.”
- Spin rate is higher than ever this year, writes Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus.
- From Greg Beacham’s game recap at the Associated Press, Justin Turner: “That’s why I kept my glasses on ... I didn’t want to let anyone see me getting emotional under there.”
- From J.P. Hoornstra at the Orange County Register, Clayton Kershaw: “I don’t want to see it until the actual day ... There were some pictures (of the rings) circulating around. I did my best not to take a close look at it. I did see it from a distance. To see that thing in person, it was so special.”