During a long homestand like the 10-gamer that ended Saturday, a Dodger chaser like myself has little to do.
Yes, technically, I could find a way to get to Dodger Stadium if I felt compelled to physically attend, but as I keep having to tell people and the government, I am not made of money. More trips to Dodger Stadium means fewer trips to new stadiums. While some of you may not be clamoring for a guide entry to Toronto or Detroit, the sooner I visit all 30 stadiums, the sooner I can relax.
But then it occurred to me, just about everyone who physically attends Dodger games knows about the MLB Ballpark app, where most game and tour ticketing is handled. Yes, the MLB Ballpark can be treated as a free, digital version of the MLB Ballpark Passport. Unlike that third-party, official product, the MLB app comes directly from baseball.
A surprising amount of people do not know that you can check yourself in at the stadium on the ballpark ala Facebook and unlock special offers on occasion.
Sometimes these offers are moderately useful when on the road (discounts to area Great Clips and the like) and sometimes they are not (discounts for future games, which are moot if you went just for the Dodgers series and you already have all your tickets). I appreciate the local color.
More relevantly, when you check yourself in, the app logs in your visit in its history. Moreover, did you know that you can log your game attendance for games long past, including before the app was developed? Not only is the outcome recorded, but team records are recorded.
On a lark, I went through my old receipts over the years and for your enjoyment, I now share, my baseball life — 89 ballgames later. So far, I have been to 20 ballparks, and seen 23 of the 30 teams play, including Boston, Philadelphia (twice), and Houston.
84 Dodger games
Since August 1988, I have been to 85 Dodger games, including one postseason game. Lifetime, the Dodgers are 49-35 when I come to see them during the regular season.
Historically, the Dodgers are 9-3 lifetime when I see them at home as three losses are the first two games of #SaveEli and August 24, 2013 (the Dodgers dropped a game to the Red Sox after I was late in getting to Dodger Stadium and the Red Sox did all their scoring before I got to my seat).
On the road, that would make the Dodgers 40-32 lifetime when I travel to see them on the road. Since I started sharing my adventures with everyone here in 2021, the results can be shown as follows to a 32-24 record:
- 2021: 15-15 (1-0 postseason)
- 2022: 14-4
- 2023: 4-5 (so far)
The Ballpark app provides all the raw info, which is easy enough for me to sort out as the check-ins are sorted by year. Overall, I have seen the Dodgers play in 67 percent of major league ballparks. The app helped me recall that the first place I saw the Dodgers outside of Los Angeles was not Oracle Park, but Nationals Park and then Citi Field in the summer of 2015.
The first time I went to Oracle Park was for Vin Scully’s final game of his career in 2016. Speaking of the Giants...
I am a bane to our northern cousins
The Giants are 7-13 in the regular season lifetime when I come to visit. And I only go to visit ATT Park/Oracle Park when the Dodgers come to San Francisco.
Yes, I have seen the Giants beat the Dodgers in San Francisco. Thankfully, that occurrence has been fairly rare in my career. I recall when Pedro Baez fell off the mound. I recall when Andrew McCutchen basically homered Wilmer Font out of the organization.
But I also I had a practical front-row seat when Baumgarner was told to go get it out of the Bay, which at the time, I could not figure out what Baumgarner was upset about. It was only later that I heard the whole story.
As an addition to the travel schedule, I will be at the penultimate game of the season in San Francisco with my sister and her fiancé. She has never been to a ballgame and I finally got her to come out to the park with me, so apart from the “I’m sitting on the Green Monster” game in Boston, September 30 is happily circled on my calendar.
The five non-Dodger games, mostly involving the A’s
You will notice that I have been to five non-Dodgers games mostly involving the Athletics. While the Oakland fanbase has been put through a figurative and literal hell by their ownership, there is no special relationship there. I firmly believe that one can only have one favorite team. As such, my attendance at the Coliseum has usually just been a coincidence.
My first non-Dodger game was actually a 2015 Nationals-Mets game in Washington, D.C. I attended this game for free because the lights went out in Game 1 of the Dodgers/Nationals series, then erroneously blamed it on a Taylor Swift concert the night before. I had some bad blood towards Ms. Swift for a bit there.
That game actually was a date, but I did not realize it was a date. I fell asleep, which basically tells the tale of how both the date and the game went. Accordingly, I had no clue what the final score was until I looked it up years later for this essay and an usher woke me up thinking I was drunk. I was bored and a bit sleepy, but quite sober.
I realized that if I do not have an emotional stake in the outcome, my attention tends to wander. Moreover, the sounds of the crowd serve as a perfect white noise for me.
For the years I lived in the Bay Area, prior to the pandemic, I had an agreement to go to a yearly Athletics game when the Twins were in town. For two games, I would “cheer” for the Twins but boo both designated hitters on principle. I have since learned to tolerate the designated hitter.
The Astros game was an A’s game. It was the annual outing for the firm I was working at prior to the pandemic. The outing coincided with the first week I was with the firm. About 20 of us tailgated in the Coliseum parking lot and I was peer pressured into going to the actual game by my new co-workers. But I gave in, I had fun.
As always, I wore my Dodger cap out of principle and lustily booed the Astros until I left early.
The last game happened this past Father’s Day. I wrote about that game in depth. I honestly just wanted some better photographs from inside the stadium for the Guide entry and it was an excuse to hang out with a friend before I moved out of the Bay Area. The Phillies as Kyle Schwarber can really hit dingers. I fervently booed Trea Turner, mostly mocking the Jon Hamm-sizzle reel that went out last offseason.
Concluding with statistical oddities
To close this essay out, I shall some oddities of team records from my travels. For instance, I have never seen the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers (in five tries) or the Pirates beat the Dodgers (in three tries, which were mostly wet). Consequently, I have never seen the Dodgers beat the Cubs or the Braves (in three tries for both).
The last time I saw the Giants beat the Dodgers was on July 29, 2021 — where once again I was late to the ballpark and all the damage was done before I got there. Again, that situation is similar to the only time I have seen the Rockies prevail against the Dodgers, against Kershaw no less — I was late getting to the stadium and everything happened before I got to my seat.
If this essay has a moral, it would be to use the Ballpark app to document one’s travels, while getting to the stadium on time.