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Dodgers win, and it's time to order postseason tickets

Opening day yields a victory over the Giants, just as the home team had begun to get that Clippers feel about it.

April 01, 2011|T.J. SIMERS

Golly gee whiz, this is so exciting, the Dodgers already having more wins this season than I thought possible.

The All-Star game now becomes so important, the World Series beginning Oct. 19 and the National League needing to win so our heroes get home-field advantage.

Don Mattingly has the best winning percentage of any manager in Dodgers history. "You mean Tommy Lasorda lost a game?" Mattingly asked, and apparently Mattingly has been listening to Tommy tell stories.

Matt Kemp walked three times in a game, so many good things happening when he doesn't swing a bat.

The Dodgers win and Jonathan Broxton is pitching when it ends. Don't Stop Believing -- indeed, the journey just beginning.

Everyone is on their feet for the last out except Frank McCourt, who is seated in his field-level box. He's always been a step slow to catch on.

Game over, but unfortunately he has no one to kiss, although faithful companion Howard Sunkin is sitting almost attached to McCourt.

And you would too, if McCourt tipped you $400,000 out of the Dodgers Dream Foundation to be his friend.

By this time Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is long gone. Probably had free tickets to the Lakers-Mavericks game.

But somewhere, I presume, Jamie McCourt is jumping up and down. So are her lawyers. So are Frank's. So many happy people.

James Loney, who looks like an attorney, jumps in front of a spinning ground ball in the ninth to save Broxton from drowning in boos. "That was nasty," Loney says, and it would have been had Loney not made the play -- the next hitter homering off Broxton.

But no matter now. An undefeated season is still within our heroes' reach especially if the defending World Series champions continue to play like the Lakers do early in the season.

The champs commit three errors, do not appear focused and Ron Artest is not playing for them. A Dodgers official is overheard to say there was only one arrest all night, so even the Giants fans aren't into it as they usually are being before hauled off.

But what a great start for the Dodgers, and just as they had begun to have that Clippers feel about them. They promoted the Dodgers Magazine on the scoreboard here, the one with pictures of both Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw on the cover.

The Clippers do that, running pictures of the opposition to remind fans that as bad as it might get, the other team usually has some really good players.

The Dodgers are promoting "the hated ones" in their own magazine? Easy to understand when you drive up to Dodger Stadium now, the huge pictures of players gone and the walls painted instead a flat blue.

Inside the building, no longer are pillars covered with present-day Dodgers, but rather those of long-ago heroes. It makes you wonder if the Dodgers don't think they have anyone to market these days. I guess they aren't the only ones who don't think much of Juan Uribe.

Everything about the Dodgers suggests they figure the team will be getting off to a slow start. They are already planning on giving away purple and gold baseball caps two weeks from now.

Those colors might sound familiar to you. From a distance, the caps will allow Dodgers fans to pass themselves off as Lakers fans if things don't go well for Uribe & Co.

Should the Dodgers win, and it appears they might never lose, up close there is a gold "LA" on the cap, so fans will be able to pass themselves off as both Lakers and Dodgers fans.

Obviously, the organization no longer thinks it's a big deal to just think blue.

It's quite the turnaround from last year when the Dodgers were lying and telling everyone, "This is my town." Now they've turned to Vin Scully, using his "It's time for Dodger baseball" to ask the question: "What's next?"

Well, how do you top Mattingly looking as if he knows what he's doing, Broxton recording a save and the Dodgers already in the position of running their extraordinary winning streak to two games?

I RAN into the Movie Guy before the game, Bob Daly, the managing owner of the Dodgers at the tail end of the Fox regime.

"You thought you had it bad with me," he joked, while saying most of the good players on the field came through the Dodgers' system while he was in control.

I wish we could have spent more time together so he could have pointed out the good players on the field.

MATTINGLY HAD to make a decision before the game, whom to start in left field. Marcus Thames had three at-bats against Lincecum with two home runs, while Tony Gwynn Jr. had gone two for eight against the Giants' starter. Mattingly went with Gwynn Jr., he said, because his defense gave the Dodgers the best chance to win.

Good thing Mattingly wasn't the manager when Manny Ramirez was playing left field here.

SHE'S PLAYED the national anthem almost 2,000 times in her 24 years at the organ in Dodger Stadium. Nancy Bea Hefley's all-time favorite anthem singer is Placido Domingo.

I always get him mixed up with the Phillies' Placido Polanco.

Domingo was going to sing the anthem a cappella during the 1988 playoffs, Hefley said, but as soon as he heard how Hefley might support his performance they teamed up to do it together.

Domingo was back at Dodger Stadium for the opener, accompanied by Hefley, and the twosome rocked the joint. The Dodgers had a plane fly over, appropriately it was a stealth bomber, thereby not drowning out the anthem.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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