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Tip of the (Dodger) Hat

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Pretty amazing game at Chavez Ravine last night. 48,995 (announced) fans watched the Dodgers come from behind and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on a dramatic 10th-inning grand slam by Russell Martin. Better Known Friends of the Column, Joe Beimel (pitched a scoreless 8th against the heart of the Pirate order) and Wilson "El Gato" Valdez (scored the tying run in the bottom of the 9th on some aggressive baserunning, pictured), also contributed heartily to the victory. Dodger Season Ticket Holder #1220252 was at the game last night & would like to help you take stock of what went right, and what went wrong. That said, welcome to the latest Colbert Report rip-off, "Tip of the (Dodger) Hat, (Giant) Wag of the Finger!"

A big Tip of the (Dodger) Hat to, well, the Dodgers. 18 games into the 2007 season, your Boys in Blue are, at 13-5, the best team in the major leagues. A grain of salt, though, as the Dodgers have been beating up against the NL West and the traditionally sub-par Pirates. The Dodgers have played exactly one opponent (Milwaukee) outside their division with a winning record, and struggled. In other words, let's not make those World Series plans just yet - it's still early.

A (Giant) Wag of the Finger to Pirate Fan. Just days after Malingering's terrific photographic advice column on how to best root your team on at your opponent's stadium, the three Pirate fans sitting to my left had perhaps the worst EVER stadium experience on record. Not just due to the shocking way their team lost, but also from the open container ticket each of them received while tailgating prior to the game, as well as the ball Andre Ethier soft-tossed one of them that was unceremoniously dropped onto the warning track in the 6th. Just a brutal night to be wearing a Troy Polamalu Steeler jersey.

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A mild Tip of the (Dodger) Hat to Frank McCourt's new parking system. At least some of the kinks have been worked out since Opening Day's gridlock debacle, and last night traffic flowed as smoothly as it did last season, despite nearly 50,000 fans in attendance.

Another Tip of the (Dodger) Hat to the fans in the all-you-can-eat Right Field Pigvillion. Although the free Dodger Dog and nacho service was shuttered by the early 7th inning, the bleachers were packed until the end of the game. Either the Pigvillion fans were too sick to move, or they were actually enjoying what was a terrific finish. Added bonus, in the 8th inning three rowdy fans in the RF Field Level seats were trying to start the wave and send it counter-clockwise, through the Pigvillion. After a few unsuccessful attempts, a Pigvillionista shouted back across the bullpen, "Sorry, but we're too full to move!"

Finally, a (Giant) Wag of the Finger to slightly overboard corporate sponsorship at the ballpark. To be fair, Season Ticket Holder #1220252 is as capitalist as anyone, but taking money from Nestle to sponsor a community singalong (I'm not kidding - it's now the "Baby Ruth 7th Inning Stretch") just seems silly.

Game 3 of the weekend series against the Pirates is at Dodger Stadium today. Pirate rookie sensation Tom Gorzelanny (2-0, 1.33 ERA) will be squaring off against resurgent Dodger hurler Brett Tomko (0-0, 1.64). First pitch is at 1:10pm . . . GO BLUE!

AP Photo by Mark J Terrill