The Dodgers had a funny feeling it was going to be one of those games, and by the end of the night, they still were trying to figure out which was more absurd during their 2-0 loss Tuesday to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Was it Dodger catcher Carlos Hernandez throwing his hands high into the air as if he were impersonating Carlton Fisk, or the crowd's wild reaction during Raul Mondesi's strikeout?
Nothing made much sense this night, but while the Dodgers were lamenting their defeat, the paid crowd of 26,928 at Dodger Stadium--the lowest since Sept. 26, 1992--was going absolutely bonkers at news of the Lakers' NBA playoff victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Mondesi wasn't about to use it as an excuse, but batting in the eighth inning with no outs and Jose Offerman on first base, he became startled by the sudden, boisterous ovation by the crowd.
It was apparent there were more folks listening to Chick Hearn than Vin Scully.
While the crowd celebrated Nick Van Exel's three-point shot with 0.5 seconds remaining, Mondesi got caught looking at a third strike.
"I knew something was happening, but I didn't know what," Mondesi said. "What was it, the Laker game?"
"Oh, no wonder," he said. "Hey, who won?"
When the inning ended with Henry Rodriguez's fly ball dying on the warning track, the fans couldn't have cared less. They were more intrigued with sitting back and seeing the replay of the Laker victory on the scoreboard.
Yes, and once again, the crowd erupted, preserving their two loudest ovations for the Lakers.
"Hey, we can't blame them," Dodger third baseman Dave Hansen said, "we were cheering too."
Dodger first baseman Eric Karros said: "I think we all knew what was going on."
Said pitcher Greg Hansell, sitting next to him: "What? They were cheering for the Lakers? Who won?"
Karros: "Well, I guess almost everyone."
Really, the only moment in the Dodger game that provided as much joy was Hernandez's heroics in the fifth inning.
Hernandez, whose frustrations this season had made him a fan favorite, stepped to the plate batting .031. He not only was hitless in his last 17 at-bats, but he had failed to even hit the ball out of the infield in his last 15.
Yet, there he was, slapping a single past shortstop Jay Bell into left field. Hernandez, watching the ball roll into the outfield, and halfway down the first-base line, yelled and threw his hands high into the air. The crowd gave him a rousing ovation.
Hernandez's average jumped to .061. When he singled in the seventh inning, it skyrocketed to .088.
So much for the highlights.
Denny Neagle (2-1) who has been almost single-handedly responsible for the Pirates' limited success this season, shut out the Dodgers for seven innings, and former Dodger reliever Jim Gott and Dan Miceli completed the task. The Pirates are 4-1 in his five starts, and 1-12 the rest of the time.
"It's tough with the game the way it is," Gott said, "because every team can't have the best 25 players out there anymore.
"We have a bunch of young guys who aren't proven, who have doubts within themselves, and that prevents them from doing the job consistently every day."
The Dodgers were elated with starter Ismael Valdes' performance--yielding only four hits and two runs in six innings--but on this night, it made little difference.
The Dodgers (10-9) are hoping their fate will change when third baseman Tim Wallach rejoins them. Wallach went three for four with a double for San Bernardino in a rehabilitative assignment, and if there are no complications with his lower back, should return this week.
"It's ridiculous to think that [Mondesi] is going to hit .370 all year," Karros said, "I'm going to hit .450 and Mike [Piazza] is going to hit .450 when he comes back. We don't have the kind of team where one guy can carry us.
"But, hey, we could use the help."