clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Fourth Adventure and the First Homestand of 2022: High Times in Denver and Mourning in San Francisco

Or "Michael and Kershaw's mojo cannot overcome Coors Field" or "The dazzling debut of Master James Outman" or “Michael returns to Oracle Park to say goodbye to Vin.”

Adric selfie at Coors Field. July 30, 2022.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

The following is not a Guide entry, because I am still sifting through my notes on how one should best fully experience Coors Field in Denver and you already have a lovely Guide entry for San Francisco. That said, Eric previously suggested that we could always use more content regarding my experiences on the road.

The Fourth Adventure of the year: Rocky Mountain High with friends in Colorado.

It is difficult to overstate how badly I needed this outing in Denver. As I had been previously stymied in my travels to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, and Chicago, with bouts of COVID on either side of my trip to Anaheim, I was hopeful for an uneventful weekend visit with friends from the Bay Area that had moved while fully exploring Coors Field. The weekend did not disappoint.

Michael and the gang. Coors Field. July 30, 2022.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

July 30, 2022 - Michael and Kershaw’s mojo are vanquished by Coors Field.

Coors Field. July 30, 2022.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

It is easy to forget or take for granted how good Clayton Kershaw has been in 2022, health permitting. In fact, his statline when I was around so far in two starts in 2022 was disgusting in the best possible way: 15 innings pitched, 2-0, 1 H, 19K, 0 BB, 46 batters faced (the minimum would be 45 - curse you, Luis Rengifo, curse you!), I would not be arrogant enough to admit I was expecting the same in Denver, which would be superstitious.

Kershaw pitching. July 30, 2022
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

As such, I am regular-stitious and I hate getting to the ballpark late, by which I mean the game has already started. Personally, in my mind, if I am not in my seat by the time of the anthem, I consider myself late and the Dodgers tend to be lousy when I am late historically. Therefore, my friends and I drove down about two hours before the game started at my request, however, traffic going into Denver was so abysmal that we did not make it into our seats until the 2nd inning. When I heard the roar of the crowd while making my way to the Club Seating, I figured it was going to be one of those nights.

The game was a seesaw affair, with the Dodgers having the lead in the middle innings. At this point, it is almost not worth sharing what happened, because ultimately, Kershaw’s streak of perfection was broken before I could sit down. Max Muncy nearly extended the Dodgers’ lead to three but to no avail. The Rockies were able to turn the tables.

Kershaw was fine until the sixth when he got BABIPed to the showers with an L next to his name in the boxscore. The Dodgers went relatively quietly for the rest of the game, which was unusual for this season. My friends, who are long-suffering, avid Rockies fans, were expecting a Dodgers’ comeback. They were quite happy about the win. I had a nice time, regardless of the outcome.

July 31, 2022 - Michael (apparently) does not understand time zones

Coors Field. July 31, 2022.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

As I went to this game solo, I figured I would leave 2.5 hours early for the noon start time in Denver. The interesting note about parking at Coors Field is that there are two general parking lots in a narrow and long configuration away from the ballpark. The “A” lot is closer to the ballpark but is quite a bit smaller than the “B” lot, which is a bit cheaper, especially if you repurchase parking. The “B” lot is somewhat of a haul from the ballpark, even though it’s on ballpark property. The trick of higher elevations is to drink more water than you might think because you are sweating more than you think.

Anyway, noon rolled around, and I realized that the game started at one o’clock. So I figured I should take the opportunity to explore various parts of Coors Field as shown in the gallery below. As will be discussed in the appropriate Guide entry, Coors Field is a lovely park.

Honestly, the true story of this game was the coming-out party for James Outman. The Hitman was knocking it in play and generally having himself a grand time on this hot and muggy afternoon.

Admittedly, I had a dream the night before that I caught his first major league home run and used it to trade for a video promo of Clayton Kershaw promoting my essays on the channel. Granted only part of this premonition came true, but maybe one day...

Thankfully, the rain clouds brought some relief even if the Dodgers were getting robbed in the outfield. And while Kimbrel made the game interesting, which will be a topic for later this week, the Dodgers prevailed in short order.

And had things proceeded as scheduled, this game would have been the last game I went to, but unfortunately, Vin Scully passed away a couple of days later, prompting (hopefully) my only Game Recap.

When I heard that Miguel Vargas was going to start the night after Vin passed, I knew I had to make it a point to leave work early and take the Caltrain up north to San Francisco for my first Dodgers-Giants game of the year.

The First Homestand of the Year: I try to say goodbye to Vin and hello to Miguel Vargas.

My thoughts about Oracle Park are well known. Honestly, I had no intention of going to a game at Oracle by myself this year. But it felt personally important to get me to the ballpark at the earliest possible opportunity, which was the next day after Vin’s passing.

My seat at Oracle Park. August 3, 2022.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

Unfortunately, I missed the pregame ceremony celebrating Vin’s life due to problems with CalTrain. I was able to leave work early due to the fact I mostly control my own schedule, but what is the point of getting to the light rail line more than two hours early if the train is going to be that late? I would have just driven, and I absolutely hate driving to San Francisco. By the time I was fed up enough to drive and be figuratively gouged for parking, the train arrived.

Julio Urías was dealing. Oracle Park. August 3, 2022.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

I was able to get my seat for a figurative song, around $80, including fees, which is an absolute bargain for a Dodgers-Giants game at Oracle. Thankfully, my mood brightened, it was a lovely night and an entertaining game. There were some obnoxious Giants fans sitting directly behind me who were loud for most of the game. I do not mind patter or banter at all. I will likely tease back if you start messing with me, but you cross a line if you start flinging profanity my way or if you persist even if there is a lull in the action. Moreover, my presence and Adric seemed to annoy them thoroughly, so I refused to move, because I was going to persevere with kindness and ignore them.

I was happy to see that Miguel Vargas and James Outman were hitting back to back in the order and Vargas was helping provide 67% of the offense that night. For his first official at-bat, I thought he might have hit it out, which would have been an odd feather in my cap. Instead, it was a ground-rule double. Vargas’ chopper to score Muncy in the fourth was also a treat.

This game was an entertaining one with the Giants loading up the bases in both the eighth and the ninth to leave them loaded thanks to the heroics of Evan Phillips and no thanks to the high-wire act of Craig Kimbrel. The shaky closer came on in the ninth and went flyball to deep center, walk, single (Joey Bart apparently remembered how to hit) with the runner advancing to 2B, HBP to load the bases. pop fly to 2B and a K looking to end the game.

And with that, this impromptu stretch of three games in a week drew to a close. As a result, the Dodgers improved to 8-1 when I am in attendance this year. This record after nine games is the complete opposite of the record after nine games in 2021, which is far more enjoyable even though I am largely retreading old ground. Baseball is funny like that.

Anyway, this summary concludes this field report. Later this week, there will be another defense article and I will check in with you from the road on Twitter as I live-tweet my adventures in both Kansas City and Milwaukee. See you then!