Monday, April 11, 2011

Padres vs. Dodgers, The Game that No One Won That Night

The front row seats I snuck down to
Friday night, I attended my first Padre game of the very young season, and as always I was extremely excited.  I took my best friend, who has never attended a game at Petco Park, and we were ready for a fun time at the ballpark.  The game featured a great pitching matchup, pitting Clayton Richard, one of my favorite Padres, against Ted Lilly, the veteran lefty.  All signs pointed to a pitching duel, and a quick game.  Or so we thought.

As Clayton Richard went to work in the second inning, a hard rain started to hit Petco Park.  I was protected from it, since our section was right underneath a structural fixture.  While everyone below us decided to head for higher ground, my buddy and I were able to relax, and watch the Pirates vs. Rockies game that was being played on the Jumbotron.

As the evening progressed, it rained harder and harder.  It figures that I attend a ballgame that could be potentially rained out in San Diego.  I just hung out around my seat, talked to some people, and my friend and I took turns snapping each other with rally towels, the giveaway for the night.  Anything to kill the time, right?

The game resumed play in the first inning, at about 9:30 pm, with the Dodgers threatening to score.  The Padres decided not to bring back their starting pitcher, Clayton Richard after the delay, and turned to rookie Cory Luebke.  He did a masterful job, striking out the side.  The rain had backed off, and it looked like this game would continue without a hitch.

With a 2-2 score in the bottom of the sixth, the rain started again, delaying the game for a least another hour.  The fans that braved the elements in the first delay decided to take off after this one.  The section I was sitting in was now completely empty, except for my friend and I.  I paid to see 9 innings, and I wasn't going to leave until I absolutely had to.

Racist fun at the ballpark
My patience was rewarded, as play resumed in the top of the 7th, at around 12:15am.  Since all the pansy fans left, we were rewarded with front row seats just behind third base.  I even got a chance to exchange a few words with Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp.  We also tried to get Juan Uribe to say "Giants suck," he laughed, but did not obliged.  I hoped this was my opportunity to finally get a foul ball

As play resumed, they could not have been more that 1,000 fans in the entire field.  The entire upper deck section of the stadium was completely empty, and we remaining fans got a nice "beat LA" chant going on.  In between innings, my friend and I appeared on the Jumbotron, where he punched me in the nuts in high definition.  It hurt like hell, but how can you not laugh?

The damp, cold air led to a whole lot of pop-ups, and by the ninth inning, the score was still tied at 2.  Then the rain came again.  The rain that came at this time was the hardest of the night, and play was suspended once again.  Most of the people that were left headed for the exit.  I wasn't going anywhere, so I took shelter in the concourse, and waited for the rain to stop.  By now, I would put the attendance at around 300 or so.  I wanted play to resume, so I could snag some front row seats right behind home plate. We waited until 140am when they finally suspended the game.

I felt a little cheated, I didn't even get to see a full game, and the folks that had tickets to tomorrows game, got to see parts of two games, which hardly seemed fair.  It was also Mexican fiesta night, and even though we got to see plenty of funny, racist stereotypes, including the mascot wearing a sombrero and a mustache, I did not get to see the fireworks promised with my game ticket.  I didn't care about seeing fireworks, but some of the other people were throwing fits about it.

I kept my friends on Facebook updated about my crazy misadventures, and they suggested I call into the "Ben Maller show" and tell the story of the game.  My crappy smartphone battery was dying, so calling in was not an option.  However, I texted in my number, and they called me.  As I waited to get on the air, my phone died.  Luckily, I used my friends' phone, and got on the show in the last few minutes.  It was pretty great.

Even though I didn't get to finish the game, it was still a memorable experience.  How often does rain affect a game in San Diego?  I also got to see a few innings from the front row, something I have never experienced before.  Overall, I had the time of my life at the ballpark.  The Padres were even classy about the situation, allowing fans at that game to exchange the tickets for any weekday game.  A gesture they did not have to make, but one that shows that they care about the fans.  Overall, a night at the ballpark I will never forget!

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