My first experience at Dodger Stadium is Tuesday night when the Dodgers play the Phillies at 7pm. Mike and I are meeting Sonny and Jen at the game. Apparently, there’s no tailgating in the stadium. Elysian Park is an 18 minute walk away and I read on Yelp that most people opt to BBQ and drink there before games. We think we’ll do that, but we leave at 4:30 and have to stop for ice, money, and sandwiches. Then there’s insane traffic – of course – so Mike drives straight to the stadium and we pull into the parking lot a little after 6.
I’ve never seen anything like it. As soon as people park, they get out and walk into the stadium. It’s a nice parking lot, too. Great for tailgating, but since 2010, L.A. police have cracked down. You’re not even allowed to pull out a chair and sit and eat – they make you go in. We have a cooler in the back seat with every intention of drinking the beers inside. We eat our sandwiches and sneakily drink our beers as guys in yellow jackets ride around on golf carts staring into our car. And I’m back in high school.
Actually, no, not even. We used to tailgate Phillies games before I was 21 and the cops never said anything. Now I’m 27 and nervous about getting caught drinking? Something’s not right with this picture. Philly fans just do it right, I guess. When I worked as a camp counselor at the summer recreation program we’d get a school bus to the game and put a keg on the back of it. We’d get there hours early. Then there’d be beer pong, washers, and a good chance you wouldn’t even make it into the game. Now that’s a tailgate.
Sonny and Jen are still in traffic anyway, so we jam out in the car and pound our beers. Somehow, it’s still fun. Sonny texts Mike when he and Jen arrive and we walk out to meet them. We trek our way up this massive hill – Mike struggles. We finally reach the front gate and have our bags checked before walking in. The guy who checks my bag tells me to have a good time. Thanks, you too! (I always do that.)
Might as well get some beers before we walk to our seats. I only see Miller Lite and Coors Light taps. Why don’t we wait until we’re closer to our seats? Jen tells me she thinks we our close. Fine, I’ll drink a stupid Miller Lite. $10.25 a beer. I know beer is expensive in a baseball stadium, but I’m always like, what???? I grudgingly fork over the money for my cheap, watery excuse for a beer.
Turns out our seats are not as close as we thought. We’re told we have to take an elevator down a level. Finally find the elevator, and there’s a line. A security man directs us to stand and wait behind a white line. We wait. And wait. Load into the elevator and make our way down. Then we have to take an escalator down another level. Now we’re close to our seats. There’s Blue Moon taps in sight. Dammit.
At least we have nice seats: first level, first baseline and only $36 a ticket. I suddenly remember my first date with Mike on June 2, 2005. We went to a Phillies game (courtesy of Mr. Montague), and had very similar seats. We had been seeing each other since February, but never actually had a date, so this was kind of a big deal. The people behind us started talking to us and asked us if we were brother and sister. It wouldn’t be the last time someone thought that. Once when we were down in Rehoboth and at a bar, we pretended to be brother and sister. This guy started talking to me and saw Mike staring. “Is that guy…?” He’s my brother. We played our roles for a little while and the guy finally walked away. Later, we were kissing – I hope he didn’t see us. Yea, we’re weird. So after the game, back at Mike’s parents house, we watched some comedian on TV and Mike asked me to be his girlfriend. He used a line from Donnie Darko. It was really cute, and of course I didn’t put together that he was doing a quote. It didn’t matter. I still said yes.
Tonight, we again have Phillies’ fans behind us – a whole group of them. It’s nice, because there aren’t many of us around. It’s a gorgeous night. I bring a sweatshirt but don’t really need it. The game isn’t that exciting until the last three innings. We tie it up and then win. Go Phils!
I’ve agreed to drive home, so cut myself off after the one beer. Mike has just finished his second, which was somehow bigger than our first one, and is done. I’ve haven’t seen him this drunk in a long time. With good reason.
We hang out for a while near our seats since there’s no point in sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic just yet. A Dodger employee walks up and asks us if we want to get our picture down by the field. Sure! He’s not-so secretly a Phillies’ fan. He sports his Dodger apparel but points out the two pens in his pockets – red and blue. He points to them. “See?” That’s cute. He’s trying to show his spirit. Another Dodger employee sees him and boos.
We slowly make our way out of the stadium – we couldn’t get out fast if we wanted to. The elevator wait is even longer this time, about 20 minutes. Sonny can’t help but compare to Philly. “I’d be on 295 right now. I’d be stopping at Wawa. Anyone wanna go? Turkey hoagie and Lemonade Tea.” Stoppp. I love Lemonade Tea! We talk for a couple minutes in the empty parking lot and spot a lone red cup and bottle of beer on the ground. Some tailgate. I’m thirsty and now getting a little chilly so we say goodbye and make our way to the car.
Traffic blows. Without traffic, it’s about 20 minutes away, if that. It takes that plus and hour to get home. Not fun. Definitely a con on my list of pros and cons between Jersey and LA. I already added tailgates to my con list today. But my windows are rolled down, and palm trees are all around, and I like it here. Gotta take the good with the bad.