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This Opening Day Is Time of His Life

THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

April 09, 1996|Allan Malamud

It happened on opening day at Dodger Stadium:

10 a.m.--"Don't give up on us yet," says Tom Lasorda, manager of the 2-5 Dodgers. . . .

10:05--It is suggested that the Dodgers are getting a break this series against the Atlanta Braves. They won't have to face Greg Maddux. Yeah. They will only have to face Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery. . . .

10:20--Rick Monday, who spent five seasons with the Chicago Cubs, says he never played in weather as cold as last week's at Wrigley Field. . . .

11:11--"Losing bothers you, but it's early," says new Dodger third baseman Mike Blowers. "There's no reason to panic." . . .

11:30--The only Dodgers who change their uniform numbers every year are the batboys. This year they are wearing No. 96. . . .

11:40--"Hopefully, I've put my bad back behind me and we've put our bad games behind us," General Manager Fred Claire says. "I've must have gotten 30 different suggestions on how to cure a bad back from sleeping on sheepskin to hanging from my ankles." . . .

11:50--Braves' media release notes that Hank Aaron hit No. 715 off Dodger pitcher Al Downing on this date 22 years ago in Atlanta. . . .

12:35 p.m.--Don Newcombe, the Dodgers' second National League rookie of the year in 1949, presents the award to their 15th, Hideo Nomo. Well, actually, he presents it to Lasorda because Nomo is getting ready to pitch. . . .

12:35 (cont.)--The Braves aren't applauding during the rookie-of-the-year ceremony. They still think Chipper Jones was robbed. . . .

12:54--Mike Piazza draws the loudest ovation during the pregame introductions. . . .

12:57--The Loyola Marymount Concert Singers' snappy rendition of the national anthem gets an eight on a scale of 10. . . .

1:01--After a showing on the video board of his home run against the Oakland A's in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson throws out the first ball. It is high and outside. . . .

1:07--On the first pitch, Nomo gets Marquis Grissom to pop out to Delino DeShields. . . .

1:11--The sun plays tricks with new Dodger shortstop Greg Gagne, but he stays with Fred McGriff's pop fly and makes the catch while falling down. . . .

1:17--Glavine's no-hit bid is ruined with two out in the first inning when Piazza singles to right. . . .

1:19--It is announced in the press box that the temperature is 78 degrees and the wind is five mph. No wind-chill factor is given. . . .

1:21--Tractors are spotted in the hills beyond the left field pavilion. Could work possibly have begun already on the football stadium? . . .

1:22--David Justice gets the Braves' first hit, a single to right in the second. . . .

1:23--Dodger public relations director Jay Lucas reveals that 310 credentials have been issued for the game, 109 to Japanese media. . . .

1:30--In midseason form, Lasorda gives plate umpire Bill Hohn some lip for not calling interference on batter Javier Lopez after Justice's steal of second. . . .

1:39--On the one day I need it, the Dodger Stadium clock isn't working. . . .

1:44--Nomo shows he is no different from most Dodger batters this season when he leaves two runners on base by striking out in the second. . . .

1:58--That noted slap hitter Piazza collects his 14th hit of the season and his 14th single. . . .

2:00--In a display of what is known as a good piece of hitting, Mondesi singles to the opposite field on a 2-2 count to drive home Butler and give Dodgers 1-0 lead in the third. . . .

2:36--An attempt at the wave fails. Are L.A. fans becoming more sophisticated? . . .

2:38--Mr. Single does it again. . . .

2:43--DeShields makes the fielding gem of the day, going behind second to throw out Jones. . . .

3:10--The tickets-sold count is announced as 53,180, which is 1,999 more than for the opener against the Braves last year. . . .

3:11--Glavine--who struck out nine and gave up five hits but is being outdueled by Nomo--is lifted for pinch-hitter Dwight Smith to start the eighth. . . .

3:31--Dodgers win.

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