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Chillin' in the Pigvillion

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Dodger Stadium opened for business last night, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim taking advantage of Randy Wolf's eight-million dollar arm and chalking up an easy 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opening game of the annual pre-season Freeway Series. And while the on-field stories (Orlando Cabrera goes 3-for-3! Russell Martin can't throw anyone out!! Brady Clark makes his Dodger Stadium debut in right field and hits into a 4-3 triple play!!!) were certainly riveting, let's face it, this was just an exhibition. And it was the stories off the field that truly captivated the (not even close to) capacity crowd.

So here are the top three off-field stories, in no particular order:

The Parking. Dodgers' owner (and parking-lot tycoon) Frank McCourt raised parking prices 50% this offseason, promising a revamped parking system that would ease the flow of traffic for his harried customers. The flow, alas, was not improved. To quote a fan in section 50 last night, "It took me 25 minutes to get in. It really doesn't seem much different. I mean, there are a lot of guys hanging around in flourescent vests gesturing earnestly, but . . . that was really about it." Well played, Frank.

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The Beer. After tiptoing tantalizingly close to the double-digit edge for years, much like the Dow Jones teasing a new all-time high, a plastic cup of Dodger domestic beer has finally reached the $10 mark. To be fair, this could be a good thing - gives the ol' ballpark an 'exclusive club' kind of feel. All the Dodgers need to add is burly doormen, wristbands, and some pulsating house music to complete the picture.

The Pigvillion. Chavez Ravine was actually pretty empty last night. Under 30,000 in announced attendance. But 29,178 of those attendees were in the Right Field Pavillion . . . the Dodgers' new experiment in ballpark fun . . . the forty dollar all-the-hot-dogs-and-nachos-you-can-eat Dodger take on gluttony . . . the Pigvillion. And it was PACKED. Dodgers and Angels fans squeezed in, double-fisting Dodger Dogs, grazing on strangely yellow melted nacho cheese. A half-hearted wave attempt sprung up in the 5th inning. And the Pigvillion crushed it down like an empty 32-ounce cup of Dr. Pepper. Best of all, after the no-more-free-food bell rang in the 6th inning, the Pigvillion emptied out faster than a Jonathon Broxton heater.

Cynicism aside, the park looks beautiful, Olmedo Saenz can flat-out rake, and despite the loss, the Dodgers are still undefeated (aren't exhibition games great?).