The Dodgers on Tuesday will partake in an event they haven’t done in 23 years, hosting a doubleheader at Dodger Stadium.
MLB’s 99-day lockout stretched well into spring training, and among the casualties was the first week of the original regular season schedule. That meant a seven-game homestand for the Dodgers. The four games against the Rockies got distributed to three days added to the end of the regular season as well as a game on July 6 that was previously an off day for both teams.
Three games against the Diamondbacks from April 4-6 got mixed into the rest of the schedule, including doubleheaders on Tuesday and again on September 20, plus an extra game on what was previously an off day on September 19.
Doubleheaders are super rare at Dodger Stadium, which is what happens when there is almost never inclement weather. The last rainout at Dodger Stadium came on April 17, 2000. Monday night against Arizona was the Dodgers’ 1,746th consecutive game at Dodger Stadium without a rainout, a major league record.
The last rainout, against the Astros in 2000, was the Monday opener of a three-game series. Rather than add a doubleheader to that series, or play on the Thursday directly after the series, the two teams met for one quick game on June 8, one day before the Dodgers’ scheduled 10-game homestand against the A’s, D-backs, and Cardinals.
Before today, the last doubleheader at Dodger Stadium was July 22, 1999 against the Rockies, courtesy of a rainout from April 11. The makeup game turned a brief two-game homestand into three games. This was a bizarre stretch right out of the All-Star break in which the Dodgers played in Anaheim and Pittsburgh before coming home for all of two days, then hitting the road to Arizona.
Tuesday’s doubleheader is technically considered a scheduled affair (as opposed to an impromptu one, like two weeks ago after a rainout at Wrigley Field in Chicago). It’s the first scheduled doubleheader at Dodger Stadium since September 17, 1987, as David Vassegh of Dodger Talk reminded us, one day after Pope John Paul II held Mass at the ballpark.
The pontiff saw a crowd of 63,000 that set a record for Dodger Stadium. There was 23,829 the next day that saw the Dodgers split a doubleheader against the Reds. Fernando Valenzuela pitched all 10 innings in the opener but lost, then Bob Welch outdueled Ted Power to win the nightcap.
The Dodgers lost 89 games for a second straight year in 1987, and that vibe was reflected in a letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times a few days after the papal visit.
“It was good of the Pope to celebrate Mass in Dodger Stadium, but it was way too late,” wrote Barbara Lockett.
Since that scheduled papal doubleheader, there have only been eight doubleheaders at Dodger Stadium:
- 1988 (three): Three straight games against the Padres were rained out from April 19-21. Three doubleheaders were mixed into San Diego’s next two visits to Los Angeles — June 17, June 19, and September 21.
- 1992 (four): Riots in Los Angeles after not guilty verdicts in the Rodney King beating put local sports on hold. The Lakers moved a playoff game to Las Vegas, the Clippers played in Anaheim, and the Dodgers had four games postponed. The devil came due in July, with four doubleheaders and 10 total games in a six-day span, including three doubleheaders in a row against the Expos.
- 1999 (one): The aforementioned doubleheader against the Rockies.
In other words, Tuesday is a rarity with two games at Dodger Stadium. Doubleheaders don’t come around Los Angeles very often.
- Teams: Dodgers (22-12) vs. D-backs (18-18)
- Location: Dodger Stadium
- Game 1: 12:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA)
- Game 2: 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, MLB Network)