2008: It was a very good year…
Looking back at my camera and all the pictures I have taken, it reminds me of baseball seasons from beginning to end! 2008 was a very good year! Baseball season started a little earlier for us Dodger fans from the volunteering to decorate this
for the Rose Parade. We worked until our fingers were numb filling out little vials of water, then we moved to glue flowers, then to glue peanuts, then we worked with so many flowers to start giving shape to the design of the float.
We got up early to go to the parade and then I did a crazy thing without thinking!. I followed the Dodger float running along side and my friends followed me!. Dodger players and ex-players were seated in the dugout seats made on both sides of the float.
As i was running I waived at the players and yelled “HI GARVEY!” “HI FERNANDO!” “HI NOMAH!” HI PENNY” “HI SAITO-SAN”. they looked at me and waived back. I remember a security guard just smiled at me. At one point we could no longer get thru so we stopped. At that point, one of my friends said “OMG! We could have been arrested! I did not know that you could get arrested for doing that! The three of us laughed about it afterwards.
Fast track to Caravan day where I got up very early to go to the stadium to see the equipment truck leave the stadium. The words in the side of the big wheel were “VERO BEACH OR BUST.” I noticed boxes of this
The days activities continued to the Panda Inn event where my friends and I already had reservations. The Panda Inn event was out of this world having our boys in Blue act as our waiters. We had James Loney and Pepe Yniguez as our waiters. James became one of my favorites that day! When we started a chant “LET’S GO DODGERS! LET’S GO!!” from our table, Tommy Lasorda came over to our table and gave one of his inspirational speeches. It was a good thing we had already finished eating as spit started flying. WE LOVE YOU TOMMY!
Vero Beach was great as usual. I attended the WIN baseball clinic there. I got to talk to my favorite player Jeff Kent who said he remembered me attending the WIn events at Dodger Stadium. i talked to D. Lowe also. I told him “I might draft you again in my baseball fantasy team.” to which he replied “No, don’t do that. I am not good with numbers.” :-).
Vero Beach WIN Baseball clinic. See how close fans were to the media area (where you can see clock)?
The exhibition event/game against the Red Sox at the Coliseum was wonderful. I wish I would have had a chance to meet Carl Erskine (Oisk), but the lines were huge. Too bad Sandy Koufax was not in attendance but he did show up for Opening Day! Who would have thought seeing Manny at the Coliseum that he would end up in L.A? During BP at the Coliseum, I yelled to D.Lowe, “D.LOWE! I GOT YOU IN MY BASEBALL FANTASY”. To which he yelled back “I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT.” Some fans around me were laughing at his response :-).
What an incredible day Opening Day it was! I’ll never forget Duke Snider slowly walking from center field and all the players that kept coming from both bullpens and from the Dodgers dugout. The last person to show up was Sandy Koufax. All thru this event, our venerable Vin Scully was at his booth doing us the honor of introducing each player. Carl Erskine , Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe threw out the first ball. The catchers were Joe Torre, Tommy Lasorda and one of the bat boys. Kent hit a 2 run HR and Penny got the win against Zito for a score of 5 -0. King of Cali: Do you remember :-?
Along with attending games, I attended several events like the WIN Baseball clinic hosted by Jeff Kent. Thank you Jeff for being such a great host these past 4 years! I will miss you :-(. Other events were the “Carne Asada with Nomah”. This year is going to be hosted by Andre Ethier. There were also events for the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s & 90’s with players of each decade attending the event. I missed the 90’s event since the WIN baseball clinic was scheduled for the same day.. I talked to players from Wes Parker of the 60’s to 80’s players like Bobby Welch. Yankee fans might remember Bobby Welch as the rookie that struck out Reggie Jackson in the 1978 World Series.
A roller coaster took us thru some ups and downs. I missed three games during the season but I attended a few road games. I made two trips to San Diego and Arizona, one trip to Anaheim, San Francisco, Colorado and the last one to Pittsburgh that also included a trip to see Yankee Stadium for the first and last time. As I sat at Yankee Stadium, I remembered when I watched the 1981 WS games on TV, in particular when Kenny Landreaux caught the last out and Steve Howe (RIP) jumped up and down.
We won the NL West, we swept the Cubs and then got eliminated by the Phillies. At least we got eliminated by the team that won the World Series.! Yes, like Frank Sinatra says in his song “it was a very good year”.