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Dodgers Story Time: DN Staff Edition

Nostalgia: “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”



At Dodgers Nation, we are first and foremost fans of this team and the game of baseball. Like all of you, we have our own personal stories, memories and moments etched into our brains about the time we’ve spent at Dodger Stadium, and in this unprecedented period in all of our lives, we are feeling just as nostalgic for the good old days just as much as you. 

Here, we share some of our memories from Blue Heaven on Earth, but feel free to share your own in the comments, or at the link below where you may be featured on the site in the future!

Tell Us Your Story!

Tell us a story about the first game you attended at Dodger Stadium – when was it, who were you with, any details of the game that you recall? 

AJ Gonzalez (@AJontheguitar): I don’t know the ‘first’ game I attended at DS. I know I was a very young boy. I know it had to be at least my mother and father with me.

Brian Robitaille (@BriRobitaille):  I was just a toddler when I attended my first game, so I can’t recall that time specifically. But one of my first great memories of going to a game at Dodgers Stadium was on Opening Day one year.

I was a young kid, probably around 7 or 8 years old. I was at school and got called up to the office, not knowing what for. When I got there, one of the office administrators told me that my dad was there to take me out of school early for a dentist appointment. Ugh… a dentist appointment. I was pretty disappointed. As I sat in the car, dreading those dental instruments that would be fiddling around in my mouth, I recognized the route we were on. These were the same streets we used when we went to Dodger games. For some reason we went a long way for this dentist, I thought. Of course, unbeknown to me, there was no dentist appointment. My dad took me out of school early to catch Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium. As we drove up to the familiar parking lot, my feeling of dread turned to absolute joy, and that day was engraved in my memory as one of my favorite Dodgers Stadium moments.

Gail Johnson (@GJOH29) :Oh Brian I love that story! How special! After starting out as a baseball fan too with my Dad back in 1981, it took me a very long time to get to Dodger Stadium, but I’ve honestly been so lucky with everything I’ve experienced there – on my first visit and in the times since – that it was absolutely worth the wait and all the work it took to get there. 

After 35 years of being a baseball fan, my first game at Dodger Stadium, as fate would have it, was September 23, 2016, aka Vin Scully Appreciation Night. I was in a different financial situation at the time than I am now, so I literally had to take up a temporary 2nd job that summer to make enough money to make the trip, which even at that point was only affordable because a (then) complete stranger @reheatmycoffee and fellow Dodgers fan offered (then almost stranger, now friend) @AndyLChapmanLA and I a place to stay for free while we were there. This was just the beginning of the many connections I’d continue to make through Dodgers Twitter and a kind gesture I’ll never forget. 

Oh right – the game! I can still easily recall everything about that night…the sound of the organ, the way the warm breeze felt, getting a Thank You letter from Vin in a nice blue frame, and all of the excitement when I passed through Dodger Stadium security for the first time. I couldn’t believe I was finally there, while I also felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. As I sat out in the left field pavilion listening to the tributes for Vin, already feeling at home, I remember looking around and taking it all in, amazed at how right it all felt, being there in that moment. And memories from the game itself? Hmmm…they played the Rockies, Scott Kazmir came off the DL and lasted one inning, our old friend Tolesy started in left, and the Dodgers won…leaving their magic number at 2 to clinch the NL West. And needless to say, the action at Dodger Stadium that weekend would prove to unfold beyond my wildest dreams. 

Brook Smith (@brookme3): I don’t really remember the first game I ever went to. I know I was very young, but I do remember that after that I didn’t get to go to a game again until I was 12. I remember that game very clearly. It was so hot outside, it was a Saturday afternoon and I was sitting in the top deck with my little league team. One of the best times of my life. 

Kellan Grant (@kellangrant): Like AJ, I don’t really recall my very first game at Dodger Stadium. I was too young to remember much. However, my first true memory I have from the stadium is going to a game with my Dad. While I don’t remember any of the game details, I know that game holds a special place in my heart and played a large part in developing my love for the Dodgers and for baseball at a young age. 

Eric Eulau (@EEulau): My parents began taking me to Dodger games when I was 6 or 7 years old. My Dad, always looking out for a good deal, utilized the since retired “Blue Crew Club” ticket program to score cheap tickets. Essentially, kids, I believe it was under 12, although my Dad continued to use the program for several years past the cutoff, qualified for two ticket vouchers for Reserve Level. This was back in the good ‘ol days when there was just one Reserve Level as opposed to three, but I digress.

The oldest Dodger ticket I have is August 26, 2002. Dodgers-Diamondbacks with Curt Schilling and Omaar Dahl starting and, honestly, I don’t remember a lick of that game. Which is a shame because none other than Dave Roberts led off with ultimate NL West journeyman in the two spot, Marquis Grissom. The cherry on the cake is the who’s who of early 2000s Dodgers relievers that appeared in the game: Orosco, Quantrill, Gagne, and Mota.

Tim Rogers (@SDDodger): My first game was the Dodgers vs Reds on September 22, 1973. The division was all settled by then and I was just a new fan. Other than seeing the Dodgers for the first time I wanted to see Johnny Bench, the greatest catcher in baseball.

The day of the game my dad told me that Bench would not be playing because he got suspended for arguing with an umpire. Bummer. My favorite Dodgers at the time were Andy Messersmith and Claude Osteen but Don Sutton was the pitcher. I know our tickets were somewhere between home and first and I think they were Loge Level. I went with my dad and a few other father/son combos. The game started and Don Sutton got lit up. It seemed the game was over before it even started.

The game was pretty messy as the Dodgers started to get to the Reds starter, Don Gullett. Steve Garvey and Joe Ferguson each hit two home runs but the Dodgers still lost 11-9. The game details are here with a lot of notable names.

Clint Pasillas (@realFRG): I’ve mentioned it once or thrice on our podcast, but I got into the game a little later in life. Still, I remember watching games on KTLA 5 here and there, but never much beyond that. Finally, one day my brother and I decided it was time to hit a ballgame. I don’t remember much of the logistics of the game — i.e. if we even had tickets before driving to the park — but I’ll never forget the scene rolling up to the field after getting into the parking lot.

We enter through Stadium Way and didn’t have much of an idea of where to go. As we approached a turn near the parking lot back of left field pavilion (in true LA fashion, we were late to the game and it was already in the first few innings of play) a huge roar hits us in the face as some Dodger (still never found out who it was) had cracked a home run. The music bumps, the crowd roars, the lights flash… the stadium got me hook, line, and sinker.

Eddie Espinosa (@edslifejourney): I don’t remember the exact date or game, but I do remember being able to play a parking lot game near the old will call ticket booths. Those were the days. Half the time we wouldn’t even make it into the game because the kids in the lot would want to stay and play. Luckily we had a radio to listen to Vin.

What is the highest number of Dodger Dogs and/or adult beverages that you’ve consumed at a game? 

AJ: Just two. I am not made of money!

Brian:  Dodger Dogs? Two. Adult beverages? A lot more than two.

Brook: I’ve definitely had six Dodger Dogs in one game at least. I want to say I got to 8 but I cannot confirm. Adult beverages? We won’t talk about that.

Gail: Oh but Brook we WANT to talk about that! That’s the fun stuff. Anyway, a hot dog is a hot dog (sorry Dodger Stadium Gods…I’m underwhelmed), but I’m pretty sure I’m not exaggerating when I say that the beer at Dodger Stadium tastes sweeter than anywhere else I’ve been, most especially a cold Dodger Blonde. Also, the Crown Royal and 7-Up cocktails poured by the friendly bartenders at the Club Bar will forever be my favourite Stadium drink, as they proved to be the perfect accompaniment to 13 innings spent behind the plate chatting with friendly DBacks fans, most of them in town for the nearby NCAA basketball action. Ah, memories…to the best of my recollection, 9 or 10 “Crown and 7’s” some (probably most) of them doubles – helped make a 13-inning Friday night loss to Arizona on Opening Weekend 2019 sting a lot less. 

Kellan: On the second day of the season last year I sat in the all-you-can-eat section with one of my buddies and probably had five or six Dodger Dogs. I don’t turn 21 for another week and a half, so haven’t had any adult beverages at the stadium quite yet. I’m looking forward to the time when I can enjoy one at a game while watching our Boys in Blue. 

Eric: I’m much more of a contact hitter when it comes to Dodger Dogs. It’s all about consistency and not power. My career high is two, but I ALWAYS eat two, every time, without fail. Some could say I’m the Cal Ripken of eating Dodger Dogs. I never fail to answer the bell.

As far as adult beverages, all I can tell you is don’t ever, ever, ever drink four Straw-Ber-Rita tall cans in 90 degree weather without shade. The first hour was incredible, the next three, not so much.

Clint: I’ve sat in the AYCE pavilion a time or two in my day. In my younger days, not long after the section was rebranded as the aforementioned AYCE, a friend and I challenged each other to a dog-off. He slammed 7 or 8 Dodger Dogs that night and left feeling like a new man — like, as in a different person… like, as in it was a baaaad idea. I capped at about 5 or 6 and had all of the “ragrets.”

Yolo.

As for tasty adult beverages, well, like AJ said, “I’m not made out of money.” Still, 3 or 4 tall cans is a general high for me at the ballpark. (Sorry, Gary.)

Have you had any player or celebrity run-ins while at Dodger Stadium? 

AJ: Unless you count this magic moment, not really.

I had a few with the boys of DN!

Brian:  When I was a kid, me and my dad were at a game, and some guy was walking up from the lower level. He looked over at us and said, “hey kid, want a ball.” He threw it over and I caught it. Then my dad said, “hey that was Ray Liotta.” I proceeded to ask who Ray Liotta was, and my dad explained that he was that guy from Field of Dreams. I said, “cool” or something like that. Being pretty young at the time, I really can’t confirm if it was truly Ray Liotta that I got a ball from that day, but according to my father, and the story he still tells, it definitely was.

Eric: Last season, I had the fortune of sitting in Dugout Club seats for Madison Bumgarner’s first start at Dodger Stadium following the infamous Muncy splash hit into McCovey Cove. Upon my third (or was it the fourth?) trip back to the Club to grab free snacks and beers for our group during the middle innings, I noticed a tall, bearded man, with his hat hung low, absolutely crushing a big plate of food by himself, but seated at a table for eight. That man was Andre Ethier. One of the employees asked him if he needed anything – completely oblivious to who he was. Beer in hand, I couldn’t help but ask, “She didn’t even recognize you?”. He shook his head no. As I began the journey back to my seat, and the free snacks, I thanked him for all of the great seasons. Ethier responded with half-peace-sign-half-wave. He didn’t say a word to me and it was still so cool!

Gail: Eric, I love the Ethier story! Dodger Stadium is a magical place indeed. Last year during the course of Opening Weekend, I met (listed one order of celebrity status): FRG, Brook, Mr. Gary Lee, SD Dodger, Joe Davis, Ellen Harrigan, and Ned Colletti, and also, while walking to the stadium on the day before Opening Day, I walked by Clayton Kershaw while he was on his way out of the stadium. Our eyes met, by the way, which means we’re pretty much best friends now. 

I was also in a little group hanging out at field level before the Monday night game vs the Giants after Opening Weekend 2019, when we yelled out a Hello to the legend Dino Ebel, and he came right over, shook our hands and talked about why he calls runs “points”. He really is as cool and friendly as you’d expect. 

Brook: I ran into Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka a few years back at the game. He was coming down the escalators and my friend who is a huge Lakers fan almost lost his mind, it was pretty great. 

Kellan: Last season while taking the elevator up to the top deck, Kourtney Turner, Justin Turner’s wife, hopped on the elevator. There were a ton of people in the elevator, and I’m not sure everyone else noticed so I didn’t want to call her out and bother her!

Clint: With some of the backstage access stuff I’ve been blessed enough to do with Dodgers Nation, there have been plenty…

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bm3rAqBHohd/

(Weird flex, but ok)

Eddie: I was lucky enough to work there in 2007 and had plenty of run-ins with numerous people both Dodger wise and celebrities. Funniest and oddest one was in the men’s restroom on the field level where I was using the urinal and Nick Stahl (Terminator 3, Sin City) decided to use the one next to me even though there was an entire room of empty ones. Creepy for John Connor to just pop up next to me. He was nice enough to wait until we both washed hands before fist bumping. Player wise.. shesh… where do I begin. Probably the greatest moment was when I met Tommy Lasorda for the first time. He was coming off the elevator on the Reserve section and was headed to the concession stands (Carl’s Jr when it was there) because he wanted fries and a Dodger Dog. He came into the stand and said hi to everyone and made sure they were okay. I was standing outside handling an issue before gates opened when he approached me and gave me some advice that I will never forget. He told me that If I take care of my people and make them happy, they’ll be the best employees I ever had. I’ll never forget that.

Tim: I’ve had quite a few as I am a huge people watcher. My favorite though was in 2016. My son, David and I were at a Dodgers/Giants game and ran into one of his high school teammates and his dad, both Giants fans. It was a Sunday game on April 17. We were just talking behind the field level seats and my son and I noticed a familiar face walking towards us. It was Mark Hoppus from blink-182 and we freaked out. We asked him for a picture and he was so gracious. Another one who was super cool was Eric Dickerson. Just no arrogance of celebrity or superstar at all. He was truly one of my favorite running backs to watch back in the day.

What’s your best Dodger Stadium memory?

AJ: Between a Yasiel Puig ball bruising my hand, playing catch on a crowded road behind DS with Clint, Brook, and Gary, meeting a lot of Dodger twitter people, or having my daughter on TV while Vin “GOAT” Scully recited Dr. Suess, I’d have to quote The Beatles and say I loved them all.

Brook: I made a last-minute decision in 2019 to go to the stadium on Jackie Robinson Day. It also happened to be Puig’s return to Los Angeles that day. After braving two hours of traffic, I watched the game from the standing area behind home plate with a couple of friends. Kenley pitched poorly but Joc walked it off, easily one of my favorite memories. 

Kellan: I made a last second decision my freshman year in high school to go to game 5 of the 2013 NLCS against St. Louis. I went with my mom and grandma. It was a midday game so my mom told me I needed to figure out a way to get excused from school to go. I went to the nurse’s office and faked a headache until they offered for me to call my mom to pick me up from school. I must’ve done a good enough acting job because it ended up working. With Greinke on the mound the Dodgers won the game. It was my first ever playoff game experience at Dodger Stadium, so it holds a really special place in my heart. 

Gail: I’ve made so many incredible memories at Dodger Stadium in my 3 trips out to LA since September 2016, and I cherish them all, but the best memory of the stadium and pretty much my life to this point has to be watching Clayton Kershaw throw the first pitch of Game 1 of the 2017 World Series. If it hadn’t been for life throwing me some nasty curves in the months leading up to the World Series, I wouldn’t have been there to begin with…and after almost passing out from heat exhaustion on my way to the stadium during a record-breaking heat wave, surviving that scary moment and seeing my all-time favourite human and ball player finally get to pitch in the World Series was life at its very finest. Dodgers baseball has provided so many magical, amazing moments and feelings since then, but the only thing that will ever top that moment in time, for me, will be getting to witness the final out in the final game result in a dogpile of our Dodgers jumping on each other while we all scream in the stands. 

Eric: It has to be Dodgers-Cubs Game 3 in the 2008 NLDS with my Dad. Up to that point, the Dodgers had won one, just one, playoff game in my lifetime (RIP Jose Lima), but Mannywood was in full swing. Anything was possible that October. My father is normally buttoned and quiet so I’ll never forget him exuberantly high-fiving strangers as Broxton mowed down the Cubs in the ninth. Sharing that moment, the moment when the Dodgers finally arrived as a World Series contender for the first time in my life is something I won’t forget anytime soon.

Tim: It had to have been the 18 inning World Series game in 2018. I didn’t leave my seat from before the first inning until around the 15th inning. That nature thing. The day started with going to the Dodgers Nation get together but the only one there was Greg Bergman, who was working his ESPN gig. I didn’t have a ticket so I left before the actual DN crew got there so I could get in line to park. I found a field level ticket in section 47 or 49. It was a solo effort. As we all saw, Walker Buehler was amazing. Every pitch was so intense and the crowd around me was great. The disappointment when Kenley Jansen came in with the horrid 6 out strategy, rewarded us with giving up the tying home run. Little did we know that was the window to history. Eventually we all know what happened and the angle I had on that home run was glorious. A little post script – I hadn’t eaten since about 4:45 when we got out around 12:30 AM. As I was heading down the ramp to my parking spot near the Sunset Gate I saw a hot dog cart. GLORY! As soon as I got to the cart the last bacon dog was sold. Truly an unforgettable 8 hours.

Clint: A few stand out to me but some are mostly less than exciting. Examples: I remember the dumb excitement I had watching the first time Russell Martin played the infield (third base) as a big leaguer — I remember yelling in the AYCE RFP (yes, same game) that it was about to happen before it happened and then it happened. 

However, the very first thought I had when I read this question was the 2009 NLDS game where James Loney lined a 9th inning hit to left field off of St Louis outfielder Matt Holliday’s twig and berries. Electric moment at Chavez Ravine.

Eddie: Wow, another hard one to answer. I’ve had many. But, I would say the famous 4 consecutive homers comeback win game. I remember my buddies wanted to leave soooo bad, but I wanted to stick around because, well, why not. Call it superstitious, but I did not want to leave because I knew something was going to happen. My friends decided to leave their seats and head to the stadium store on the top deck since we were sitting in reserve level because they figured the game was pretty much over. Guess you can say they were wrong. I lost my voice the next day and watched highlights over and over again.

What’s the first thing you’ll do as soon as you can get back to the stadium?

AJ: An adult beverage comes to mind. I’d also just like to walk around before game time. Just walk the grounds of Blue Heaven. 

Brook: I just want to walk up the steps in the LFP with a tall can in my hand on a beautiful afternoon at Dodger Stadium. It’s the little things in life ya know?

Kellan: Get a Dodger Dog and just simply enjoy the game with my family and friends with cotton candy clouds in the sky.

Gail: Hug everyone I see – especially my DN boys, take in the view from the new stadium vantage points, close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the stadium organ…and smile. 

Eric: Promise myself to never complain about beer prices, traffic, or the heat at Chavez Ravine ever again. $18 beers, three hours of traffic, and scalding hot plastic seats at Dodger games are far superior to no Dodger games at all. 

Tim: Wander around and say hello to everybody. 

Clint: If I’m being real, I’d walk around and find as much shoddy craftsmanship from the $100M renovation that I could. I’m judgey like that.

Eddie: Definitely scope the new areas out as well as get a Dodger Dog and souvenir cup (somewhat of a tradition with the cups). Snap as many pix as I can and would love to meet new fans and introduce friends to the game.

Written by Gail Johnson

Biggest Dodgers fan north of the border, living about 3,500 miles from my beloved Boys In Blue, in Moncton, NB, Canada. I think Dodger Stadium is the happiest place on Earth. I'll catch up on my sleep in the off-season.

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