Chavezed and Ravined
My mom loves baseball. She loves the game strategically and in the proper way you're supposed to. She reads books about baseball -- anyone from George Will to Stephen King -- and watches almost every A's and Giants game from April to October (November, now!) on TV. But there is another side of her that still watches the game like she did when she was 10 and kept a scrapbook of her favorite players: she likes the foxy dudes. Another thing she loves about the game is the swag. She loves the free promotional shit. Particularly the newish fad: bobbleheads. She loves her some bobbleheads. She once gave me a Jason Giambi bobblehead which fell off my back porch in the Santa Ana winds and Humpty-Dumptied itself all over the walkway below. To this day she still gives me shit about putting the bobblehead outside in the first place. (I could have explained that when you live with someone -- particularly a female someone -- you're not 100% free to display whatever you want wherever you want, but it wouldn't have mattered.) Hey, maybe if the bobblehead Giambi hadn't been juicing so much, his head wouldn't have shattered so easily…
So when I learned that it was Nomar Garciaparra bobblehead day against the Giants, I immediately bought tickets and invited my good friend and sports nut friend Chet. Even though there is part of my DNA that makes it distasteful for me to send my mom any Dodgers gear, as long as I didn't have to see it whenever I went home, as long as she kept it out in her art studio or something, it was a sacrifice I could make. As game day was to be the day after my birthday, and also the day after I finished the first draft of my pilot script, we planned to go early and hang out -- watch batting practice, drink beer, sit in the sun, take good-natured shit from Dodgers fan, etc. But then Chet found out he had to work that day. So we decided to just go on time. Surely with the first 50,000 fans getting the bobblehead, we would be safe.
Chet got out early, at 5:30, from his job on the West side. An hour and a half to get to Dodgers stadium? No problem. He worked his way up to Sunset and hit the normal heavy rush hour traffic. But we were still okay. He called me from 3rd and Western and I jumped into my car and drove down to Sunset in Silverlake, parked, and then waited for him to pick me up so we wouldn't have to pay two 15 dollar parking fees. He called me at 6:30 having just made it up to Sunset. I had a beer at the Silverlake Lounge. He called me at 7:00 to say he hadn't moved more than a few blocks. Okay, so at this point I'm starting to get nervous. Sunset is jammed the way I've never seen it. Just not moving at all. He finally picks me up at 7:15, having taken 45 minutes to get from the do-anything-to-avoid Sunset/Vermont/Hollywood intersection to the Silverlake lounge, not more than a mile down the road.
A proper clusterfuck is a collection of separate bad occurrences, all of which coverage at the same space and time; the veritable Perfect Shitstorm. Well, last night was that. It was not only the Dodgers / Giants rivalry, which is always a huge draw. But it was Free Shit Night, and people, as you know, love free shit. It was a gorgeous, clear 68-degree night. It was rush hour. AND the Lakers were in town just down the road seeing if they could salvage a modicum of dignity and at least win a game at home from the Suns. All that lead to Sunset In Lockdown. To clusterfuck us even more, Chet was nearly out of gas.
To save you from having to, like, make the trip with us, once he picked me up -- no shit, about a mile from the stadium -- it took us an hour to get into the parking lot. An hour! I'm not going to Coachella for a fucking reason, people. Oh, and also, by that time the Giants were down 3-0 in the 4th inning. Our moods were black as coal by the time we inched through the lot. Chet told me to get out and he'd park and meet me -- if he could make it to whatever lot they were leading him towards, on fumes. (He'd first gotten into his car THREE HOURS AGO by this time.) We could have driven nearly all the way to Vegas! And maybe we should have.
So I ran up the stairs and escalators and walkways and... Well, of course, they were out of fucking Nomar fucking bobbleheads.
So just to punish myself more, I immediately waited in a half-hour food/beer line. Chet finally parked and found me and we took our seats, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIFTH INNING.
Beer and fake cheese goo and the Giants eventually tying the game, going ahead, and then hanging on for the win (and the 3-game sweep) brightened our moods some, but not entirely. The crowd was especially vicious in the face of the impending sweep and Barry's record run and threw beer and peanuts and shouted down anyone wearing Giants gear. (I got yelled at by a 12 year-old girl for standing up and cheering when the Giants scored. I turned around and said, "What?" and she immediately looked down and said quietly, "Nothing." Yeah, I got yelled at by a 12 year-old girl and then had to feel guitly on top of it.) I also had to then watch people leaving with bags FULL of those goddamn bobbleheads -- leaving as the Dodgers pussy-ass fans usually do IN THE SEVENTH INNING. The kicker: at that point it was a tie game! 3-3! I understand wanting to leave a blowout early (even though as a rule I won't do it) but fuck, man. A tie game?
Anyway, the game ended and we just sat. Eventually we walked through the parking lot, enduring some actually pretty funny taunts about how Chet and I should be "holding hands" since we're Giants fans. Chet darkly giggled as he showed me where he had to park, which was about a 20 minute walk up a long hill to some auxiliary lot behind the big stupid "THINK BLUE" sign. Since Chet drives a Prius (I know, we should be holding hands…) he was paranoid about running out of gas, which is particularly bad for the Hybrid engine, I guess. He called AAA onsite but eventually had to slide down a dirt hill to find the little gas station they have in section 37. I waited for 45 minutes at the car drinking a beer I'd brilliantly bought before the game for just that post-game parking lot nightmare reason, until he came back, laughing.
"Let's just go," he said.
"Did you get gas?"
"No. They wanted to charge me 14 dollars for the container."
"What about AAA?"
"They said the lot we're in – the one they made us park in -- isn't technically on Dodgers Stadium property so they can't come up here."
So we eventually made it down the hill to the gas station, shooting daggers at the price-gouging attendant, got gas, and made it home. At midnight.
I would say Never Again, but I know it won't hold. Dodgers Stadium at Chavez Ravine, for all its mean, heckling, scary fans, its ugly 60's architecture, and its nonsensical parking lot, is still a good place to watch the Dodgers get their asses kicked.