Dodgers Home Opener this Monday Versus the World Champion San Francisco Giants

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Chris Cabrera, CCO of Barry’s Ticket Service in Los Angeles, provides his expert commentary on the Los Angeles Dodgers Home Opener against the San Francisco Giants.

The opening three games versus the Giants will be a tremendous opportunity to set the tone quickly in the division

As one of the most storied franchises in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening day at Chavez Ravine is always a big event, but this year there is an even bigger and broader feel. With the investment in the team from new ownership, the big money power in baseball has clearly shifted west to Southern California. Like when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved west in the late 1950’s, the spotlight will be on this year’s version of the Dodgers.

Beyond all the pomp and circumstance and the shine of the glossy new stadium renovation, the Dodgers will have the weight of great expectations on their shoulders. Through the blockbuster trades and massive free agent acquisitions the Dodgers are now in the role of odds-on favorites.

The Dodgers are armed with the confidence that goes with an international roster of big money superstars. They’re a perfect example of what makes baseball unique from all the other major sports. Baseball is the “national pastime” for reasons that extend beyond its history and longevity. Its start in the spring is rich with symbolism of the dawn of a new season, and the long-awaited summer nights that follow simply add to its charm. There may be nothing better as a fan than listening to your baseball team winning a game over the radio while enjoy a summer BBQ.

For this year’s Dodgers team, the symbolism extends to the lineup with several parallels to players of the past. They have the young ace lefthander in Clayton Kershaw, perhaps the Dodgers’ most promising lefty since Sandy Koufax. Kershaw is joined at the top of the rotation by their big free-agent signing, Zach Grienke, who could team with Kershaw to form a lefty/righty combination not unlike Koufax and Don Drysdale. Then there’s the slick fielding first baseman with a clutch bat in Adrian Gonzalez, the current version of Steve Garvey. In the outfield the Dodgers will soon have a healthy Carl Crawford, giving them that Davy Lopes or Maury Wills type table-setter. And of course, in center field there’s Matt Kemp, who just may be on his way to becoming one of the greatest Dodgers of all.

There are few teams in baseball that have more of a history and connection to their fans than the Dodgers. This connection begins with the incomparable Vin Scully, about to begin his 63rd season calling Dodger games. The roar of the crowd when the Dodgers take the field will be joined by the buzz of radios throughout the stands coming from fans tuning in to hear Scully call the game.

The Dodgers expect 56,000 fans for the opener versus the San Francisco Giants. Opening day against the Giants tends to seem a little more important than any other foe for a very good reason. The two clubs battled for years in New York City prior to both teams moving west in 1959 and their rivalry has become only more heated in recent years. With the Giants finding a winning formula that has earned them World Titles in two of the past three seasons, the pressure is on the Dodgers to prove they are the best in the division and the National League. Veteran Giants manager Bruce Bochy will bring the typical Giants team south next Monday, characterized by elite pitching and a good bullpen paired with the best catcher in baseball.

For many in baseball the Dodgers represent the big-money Yankees reincarnated, all the way down to the skipper Don Mattingly. With big contracts and a huge payroll will also come a load of added pressure. With most of the preseason publications picking the Dodgers to win the west, and many picking them to represent the NL in the World Series, the Dodgers will need to get off to a quick start. The opening three games versus the Giants will be a tremendous opportunity to set the tone in the division.

About Chris Cabrera
I have been an avid baseball fan since I played West Valley Little League as a youth and have been lucky enough to attend the last Dodgers World Series appearance in 1988. Connect with Chris Cabrera on Google+

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