I was remembering the first Opening Day I attended. It was 1981 and I had become a season ticket holder for the first time. Before that I would go to quite a few weekend games.
The final games of 1980 where the Dodgers tied with Houston to force an extra game that they lost left me desolated but with hunger for more baseball. That November of 1980 I made the decision to be a season ticket holder so I showed up at Dodger Stadium where a young guy showed this then shy young woman a seat in the Loge level. Aisle 103 row N seat 3 became my seat. I would get to my seat early, watch the game enthusiastically and go home right after the game ended.
Because I was going by myself I thought myself how to keep score by following the program examples, something that I still do to this day. Another thing that I did back then and continue to do is carry a radio.
Opening Day Thursday April 9, 1981, Jerry Reuss was supposed to be the starter but he had a strained calf muscle. Burt Hooton was sidelined with an ingrown toe nail. Bobby Welch was out with bone spurs in his elbow and Dave Goltz had a pulled groin. Tommy Lasorda turned to Fernando who at age 20 was simply sensational in his Opening Day start!
Fernando tossed a complete game, five-hit shutout as Los Angeles beat the Houston Astros, 2-0, before a crowd of 50,510 plus this fan who was there for this electrifying Opening Day and the start of Fernandomania.
Here is a photo of my ticket from Opening Day 1981 Thursday april 9. Game time 1.05 PM. I placed the ticket with a giveway picture that Union 76 used to give out. I would only go to Union 76 gas stations so that I could get the pictures.
Here is Pepe Yniguez, me & Fernando at Camelback Ranch Sunday 3/29/09. Pepe is a great person! Thank you Pepe! Thank you Fernando! Pepe along with HOF Jaime Jarrin and Fernando are the Spanish broadcasters for the Dodgers. They do a great job! Thank you guys!
P.S. Alyson: My prayers are with you today during your surgery. I hope to see you soon back at Dodger Stadium!