Dodgers Couldn't Win For Vin
September 3, 2012

It looked like a great way to get an early start on the Labor Day weekend. It was Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Ace Clayton Kershaw was getting the start on the mound against Arizona. All the recent acquisitions were in the lineup. And thanks to a late afternoon cloudburst, there was even a rainbow ending right at the scoreboard. What could be better for Vin Scully Bobblehead Night?

It was the biggest date on the promotion schedule. The Dodgers didn't even sell single-game tickets. They made you buy season seats or at least a mini-plan (although there were plenty of tickets available on StubHub and other ticket sites). Scully threw out the first pitch, his dozen or so grandchildren, clad in Scully jerseys with the number 64 on the back (for Scully's 64 years in the Dodgers organization), announced Scully's patented phrase “It's time for Dodger baseball!”, and one of his granddaughters sang the national anthem. It was set up to be a magical night.

I got to be there with my mom and my uncle. We sat in the exact same section and row where we had partial season tickets when I was a kid. Loge level, right behind home plate. Bobbleheads safely stored under the seat, and Dodger Dogs consumed, we were ready to make some noise. After all, not only was this a sellout crowd for a promotion, this was a big game in the National League West race.

Now Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino have been Dodgers for about a month. Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto (who batted in the leadoff spot) had only been in LA for a few days. Maybe they were in complete awe of Scully, I don't know. The Dodgers did not get their first hit until the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, Arizona's Miguel Montero doubled. Chris Young then homered just inside the left field foul pole to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead. That would turn out to be the final score.

The Dodgers did get a rally going in the ninth, but other than that, there wasn't much for the crowd to cheer about, except for the occasional beach ball or a futile attempt to get a wave going. The loss put the Dodgers 4˝ games behind the Giants in the NL West, and also prompted a team meeting in the clubhouse. Manager Don Mattingly declares a sense of urgency. You think?

I never heard an interview with Scully after the game about his feelings about his bobblehead night and a Dodgers loss, but I'm sure he would have said it was just one of those things. After the move from Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 1958 season in San Francisco and lost 8-0. Dodger Stadium opened 50 years ago. Cincinnati won 6-3. It's reported that Scully broadcast his first Dodger game on April 18, 1950. I looked it up. Guess what? The Brooklyn Dodgers lost 9-1 at Philadelphia.

Scully may not care, and in the end I guess it's not the final score that counts. I think Mom and Uncle Marty had fun, and I sure did. What better way to spend time with them than at a Dodger game?! It would have been nice, though, if the Dodgers could have managed to score at least one measly run.

Not a complaint, just a comparison: The Oakland A's honored their late hall-of-fame announcer Bill King a few years ago with a bobblehead night, but the Bill King bobble actually talks. You can press a button and hear King's catch phrase “Holy Toledo!”. Someone else has already written a column about what the Scully bobble might have said, and there were certainly plenty of good lines to choose from.

Fernandomania lives: Mom and I also attended Fernando Valenzuela Bobblehead Night against the Giants August 21, and the Dodgers also lost—this time 4-1. So that makes me 0-2 at Dodger games this season. Believe it or not, Fernando's bobblehead night had a bigger attendance than Scully's (56,000 to 54,621). I'm sure the first place Giants, along with Los Angeles' large hispanic population had a lot to do with it. Single game tickets for Fernando's night were also easier to get.

Bobbles: Not that I am a total expert on bobbleheads, but it does seem that the figurines at least resemble the actual person, but that's about it. However, for Scully's bobblehead, I'm not completely sure. In the photos below, the picture on the left is taken from the box the Scully bobble came in. The photo on the right is the actual bobble. A little different, don't you think?

The side of the box containing the Vin Scully bobblehead

Photo of actual bobblehead

Mom posing with Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead at August 21 game.

Dodger Stadium--the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

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