Category Archives: Beyond The Ballpark

Sights and Sounds From Westwood to DTLA

Happy Friday everyone !  As we all get ready for the one event that divide’s all of us Dodgers fans, the SC-UCLA game, Drei here brings you some sight’s, rants, and sounds from Westwood to DTLA, all in one night, Thursday, 11/20/2014.  But first, some big Dodgers/UCLA related news..

The Legacy of 42 Continues…

As many of you know, Jackie Robinson was not only one of the greatest ballplayers who donned the Dodger Blue, but was also an outstanding humanitarian. Perhaps many of you are aware that Jackie Robinson was a 4 sport athlete at UCLA .  Today, it was announced the UCLA will be naming 22 of it’s athletic facilities after the Dodger/UCLA legend.  The number 42 will also be painted into the Rose Bowl field at the 25 yard line for tomorrow night’s clash.  

jackie

JACKIE_STATUE

From Westwood to DTLA

Here L.A., we can never have enough entertainment options.  Sporting events are no different.  So on this Thursday evening, I made the attempt to pull double dip, finding myself at what should have been the BEAT SC Bonfire ( more on that later ) and the Kings game at Staples Center.  Here it is, starting from Westwood…

ROYCE HALL

Greetings from the Hills of Westwood…

VICTORY BELL 1120

Oh the sight of The Victory Bell in it’s rightful blue color never get’s old…

VICTORY BELL_HUGO

My buddy Hugo also getting in on the action.  He was one happy camper last night with his Raiders FINALLY winning a game…

PREBONFIRE

Waiting for the rally to get started.  Drei couldn’t stay for the whole rally as Drei had a hockey game to go to thanks to some free tickets.  Drei would find out later that the rally would be without the bonfire.  Why ?  Because 50 student protesters decided to put a halt to the bonfire in protest to the recent UC tuition fee hikes.  While I do wholeheartedly agree with the cause, I also do feel there is a time and place for civil protests, having participated in one myself recently.  Putting a halt to an event that is meant to celebrate an annual rivalry as well as unify students even as an escape from reality for  2 hours , well, may have just left a bad taste among the other . I understand the concerns of rising tuition costs and support the students in their concern, but to put a halt to a long standing tradition that has nothing to do with the current tuition hikes ?  I hope this does not cloud the thoughts of the other student’s who we’re most certainly looking forward to the bonfire.  I actually don’t think it will in the long run because once the dust settles from this weekends game, the majority of the students, all throughout the UC system as well, will still all be unified as one against these tuition hikes.  OK, that’s my rant for this week.  As for the bonfire being put to a halt, Jim Mora…

Before we head toward the Staples Center…

BRUIN STATUE

Gotta make sure our Bruin Bear is well protected from such the evil sources of Troy…

Mid-City Beats

As we make our way toward Staples Center, here’s some beats from Mid City’s resident DJ, once again… Reno Sparks.  Yo Reno, What It Be ? What It Do ?

Staples Center, Kings vs Hurricane

KINGSGAME

My view from up in 305.  Arrived just in time to see Tanner Pearson end his scoring drought with the game winning goal in the 2nd period as the Kings would come out victorious 3-2 over Carolina.  Hopefully, I’ll have more to bring you from Staples Center as the hockey season goes along.  For a venue now entering it’s 16th season, Staples Center sure doesn’t feel like it’s age .  

And that, folks, is your typical Thursday evening in L.A, from Westwood to DTLA.  Hey, enjoy the game this weekend.  Regardless of your allegiance, it should be a great game.  Drei here is sticking with his pick earlier this week, UCLA 34 USC 24.  Your prediction ?

Ah, the sweet sound of VICTORY to ring in the weekend !!!  If all goes well, the Victory Bell will remain in it’s rightful color, BLUE !!!

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Rivalry Week… USC vs. UCLA, Drei’s Favorite UCLA Moments

When talking about rivalries here we talk about the Dodgers and Giants. Ah, but this week, we focus on the one thing that divides Dodgers fans ( And Angels fans too ) .  The annual SC-UCLA football game, taking place this Saturday afternoon at The Rose Bowl. With Oregon State’s recent upset win over Arizona State, the Bruins now find themselves in the drivers seat to win the Pac 12 South.  Win their final 2 games of the season against USC and Stanford, and they will be playing Oregon in Levi Stadium on December 5th for the Pac 12 Championship.  Of course, there are these other tie breaking scenarios that could also happen in the wild and crazy Pac 12 South.  OK, before we move on, how about some Dodger trivial facts tied into this weeks rivalry…

Dodgers who played at USC

Ron Fairly

Len Gabrielson

Mark McGwire ( Coach )

J.P. Howell

Dodgers who played at UCLA

Tim Leary

Ron Roenicke

Todd Zeile

Eric Karros

Dave Roberts

and of course…

JACKIE_STATUE

Jackie Robinson…

JACKIE_MURAL

This statue and mural of Jackie Robinson are located along the first base concourse over at Jackie Robinson Stadium where the UCLA baseball team plays it’s home games.

USC-UCLA Fun Facts…

USC leads the rivalry 44-30-7

USC has won 12 of the last 14 meetings since 1999

UCLA has won the last two meetings

UCLA owns the longest winning streak in this series with 8 consecutive wins from 1991-98

UCLA is 9-7 against USC at The Rose Bowl since moving their home games to Pasadena in 1982

Puig_VictoryBell

The Victory Bell It’s what both these schools play for each year.  The winning school not only is the recipient of this prized possession, but also get’s to paint the bell in it’s main school color.  Here, our Mini Puig seems to enjoy his place next to The Victory Bell, which has been in the hands of UCLA the last two seasons.  ( Mini Puig look’s like he want’s to start an 8 Clap…)

VICTORYBELL

Oh the joy of ringing that Victory Bell, um, that Bruin Blue Victory Bell !!! ( I’m sure by now you have figured out where my allegiance in this rivalry stands…)

DREI_BELL

Posing with The Victory Bell and displaying one of the greatest to wear both the Bruin and Dodger Blue, Jackie Robinson…

In the spirit of Rivalry Week, Drei here now brings you his Fave 5 USC-UCLA games attended over the years….

5. 11/17/2012 UCLA 38 USC 28

One year removed from the 50-0 debacle at The Coliseum, with 1st year coach Jim Mora taking over the head coaching reigns and redshirt QB phenom Brett Hundly under center, the Bruins would storm out to a quick 24-0 lead in the 1st half.  SC would later close the gap to 3 points in the 4th quarter, however, the Bruins would counter on a Jonathan Franklin touchdown run late in the 4th and a huge sack of Matt Barkley from Anthony Barr would seal the deal for The Sons of Westwood.  Prior to this game, SC had won 11 of 12 in this series.  UCLA has now won the last two, with Hundley sporting a perfect 2-0 record against the Spirit of Troy.

HUNDLEY_EVANS

Brett Hundley and Bruin Wide Receiver Shaq Evans celebrating a 3rd quarter TD in the 2012 game.  ( Yup, I was that close folks…)

SHAQ_DREI

Shaq Evans and I proudly displaying my pic of him and Hundly celebrating.  Shaq is currently in the IR with the New York Jets.

4. 12/2/2006 UCLA 13 USC 9

A USC win would not only put USC back in the National Title game for the 3rd straight season, but also tie the rivalry record for most consecutive wins by either school at 8.  With USC driving for a possible game winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter, Eric McNeal picks off a John David Booty pass deep in UCLA territory.  The interception would be huge as UCLA would prevent USC from playing in the National Championship game as well as preserve the longest winning streak in the series at 8.

POSTGAME 2006 Postgame celebration. I’m the one holding the dreaded horse hanging on it’s noose…

3. 11/20/1993 UCLA 27  USC 21

With a Pac-10 title and a Rose Bowl berth on the line for both schools, UCLA would race out to a 17-0 lead, a lead they would carry into halftime.  However, USC would mount a comeback and late in the 4th quarter USC QB Rob Johnson would drive his team all the way to the UCLA 2 inside a minute to play, trailing UCLA 27-21.  But on 3rd and Goal, Marvin Goodwin stepped in front of SC tight end Tyler Cashman to intercept what may have been the game winning TD for USC.  The win not only sent UCLA to it’s first Rose Bowl in 8 years, but also ended a streak of 10 games which USC had won with a Rose Bowl berth on the line.

2. 11/21/1992 UCLA 38 USC 37 

Due to a string of injuries to UCLA QB’s, John Barnes, who did not even have a spot on the spring roster, John Barnes, a walk-on only because his previous school UC Santa Barbara, dropped their football program, would be called upon to guide the Bruins in the biggest game of the season.  A tall task to ask of a 6th string QB huh ?  It seemed that way heading into the 4th quarter with UCLA trailing 31-17.  Ah, but this is where the legend of John Barnes was born.  UCLA would score 3 TD’s in the 4th quarter, two of them to J.J. Stokes, who would have a huge 4th quarter himself and etch his name into the hearts of every Bruin fan as well.  The 3rd of the 3 4th quarter TD’s would be a 90 hookup, Barnes to Stokes ( Still a popular phrase among the Bruin faithful who witnessed that magical evening in ’92… Barnes to Stokes ) to give UCLA a 38-31 lead.  SC would not go away as Rob Johnson would hookup with Johnny Morton on a huge 4th down conversion inside the UCLA 10 with less than a minute to play.  2 years prior, Johnny Morton would break the hearts of UCLA fans and nearly pulled off the same feat.  However, after a Rob Johnson TD, SC would decide to go for 2 rather than tie ( No OT in college football at the time ), and Rob Johnson’s pass would be knocked down by Nkosi Littleton, and UCLA would go on to upset SC 38-37.  John Barnes would finish with 385 passing yards, and  J.J. Stokes would finish with 6 catches, 263 yards receiving and 3 TD’s, including the game winning 90 yarder which many a Bruin looks back upon with these words… Barnes to Stokes .

And finally,  Drei’s all-time favorite SC-UCLA game ?  This will be no quick recap, I’ll warn you right now.  So enjoy folks… 

1. 11/23/1996 UCLA 48 USC 41, Double OT

It was the first season of the post Terry Donahue era.  UCLA came into this matchup with a mediocre at best 4-6 mark.   SC, who had high expectations heading into the season, was no better at 5-5.  UCLA had carried a 5 year winning streak heading into this contest, the longest streak in the rivalry at that time.  USC would storm to a 24-7 halftime lead, thanks in large part to 2 TD passes from Brad Otton to USC freshman phenom R.J. Soward.  Soward would finish the game with 6 recptions, 3 TD’s and 260 yards receiving, virtually the same stats J.J. Stokes had 3 years prior. 

The second half would be the most thrilling half I would ever have as a UCLA fan.  It would also be an emotional roller coaster ride as well.  The second half would start out strong for UCLA as UCLA QB sensation Cade McNown would connect with Danny Farmer on a long TD pass to close the gap to 24-14.  However, SC would answer back on a long drive of it’s own, brining the lead back up to 17. 

Before the kickoff, from my seat in the NE corner of the endzone, I take a quick glance at the Victory Bell and I see members of the UCLA Spirit Squad huddling around it, with two of the cheerleaders wraping their arms around it.  I knew what they we’re feeling.  The bell had been in UCLA’s possesion 5 years in a row and now the Bruins we’re in danger of surrendering the rivalry’s grand prize.  I was ready to step in front of the bell myself to be honest…

So on UCLA’s next possesion, after converting 3 huge 3rd down conversions, one of them a 3rd and 21, Cade McNown rushes for a TD to close the gap back to 10 heading into the 4th quarter. 

After both teams exchanged punts, with Matt Koffler now replacing an injured Brad Otton at QB for USC, Koffler would connect with R.J. Soward on a quick TD strike, giving SC what seemed to be an insurmountable 17 point lead .  That would be RJ Soward’s third TD reception of the game, 2 of them in which he would score in the NE corner of the endzone, yup, right in front of me.  In addition, SC safety Sammy Knight would also have a pick 6 finish, that’s right, in the NE corner of the enzone, uh-huh, right in front of me.  I was really having a great day to that point, wasn’t I ? 

So if UCLA had any thought’s of prolonging their winning streak to 6, they would need to mount a furious comeback.  After a Bjorn Merten field goal with just over 6 minutes left to play cut the deficit to 14, UCLA would get the ball back after keeping SC out of the enzone.  UCLA would score another TD to close the gap to 38-31 with under 3 minutes remaining.  SC would recover the onside kick and after a first down, all SC needed was one more first down and they would be able to run out the clock, and UCLA’s 5 year streak would be over.  Only a miracle would save UCLA…

Did I say a miracle would save UCLA ?  On a 2nd down run, SC running back LaValle Woods would have the ball stripped from him and Kusanti Abdul-Salam would recover for UCLA.  Here was UCLA’s chance.  One play after a huge 3rd down conversion from Cade McNown to little used Rodney Lee, UCLA running back Skip Hicks would bust up the middel 11 yards for the game tying score.  SC would have one last shot to win the game in regulation after a huge 3rd down reception by Chris Miller at the UCLA 23.  However, Adam Abram’s attempt at a 41 yard game winner would be blocked, and for the first and only time in the history of USC-UCLA, it was on to overtime.

In the first OT, both schools would exchange field goals.  On the first play of the second OT, Skip Hicks, running up the middle and seemingly stopped, would sneak out of nowhere and rush for  a go-ahead scoring TD to give UCLA it’s first lead of the game 48-41.  Where would Hicks’ TD run finish ?   You got it, the NE corner of the endzone, and beyond…

HICKS TD Here I am, in the blue hat with the gold rim, congratulating Skip Hicks on his 25 yard TD run that would be the eventual game winner.  Behind Hicks is Danny Farmer

Yup, there I was, the first to greet Hicks after one of the biggest and most memorable TD’s in the rivalry’s history…

SC was not finished.  On their next possesion, on 3rd and 3, Brad Otton would spot RJ Soward wide open after picking up UCLA’s blitz.  Soward had nothing but grass ahead of him.  Where would his potential game tying TD finish ?  Yup, right there in the NE corner of the endzone, right in front of me.  But it was not meant to be, as he would drop a sure TD and on 4th down, Koffler’s desperation pass would be intercepted in the endzone, and UCLA would win it’s 6th in a row over USC.  The streak would eventually reach 8, still the longest in the series. 

Though neither school would play in a bowl game that season, the ’96 game will always have a special place in my heart, of course for obvious reasons.  I mean, c’mon.  When you go to these games, you expect to talk about your favorite moments, but really, even though it’s 18 years later, does anyone really expect to also talk about their involvment with the players during one of the greatest moments that happended DURING the game ?  As one of my best friends Josh always says, ” You can’t make up stuff like this…”

DREI N SKIP 05 Chillin’ with Skip, 2005

Drei’s Prediction

Both schools come into the game with momentum on their sides.  UCLA come’s in with still a shot at the PAC-12 South title.  The key for UCLA to win once again will be Brett Hundley, as also acknowledged by USC.  SC’s defense has been known to wittle down in the 2nd half, and in the previous 2 meetings between these schools, Hundley’s mobility has proved to be SC’s achilles heel.  If UCLA can maintain that and keep SC’s defense chasing their running game, particularly in the 1st half, that can play huge later in the game.

UCLA 34  USC  24

HUNDLEY COOK Brett Hundley and Wayne Cook, past and present, a combined 4-0 against USC.  Hundley looks to make it 5-0 come Saturday…

DREI N BRETT Let’s make it 3 in a row over SC Brett !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond The Ballpark…Tailgaiting With Drei, 11/1/2014 Arizona vs. UCLA

Before we go beyond the ballpark…

KERSHAW_CYYOUNG KERSHAW_MVP

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Clayton Kershaw for becoming the 1st pitcher since 1968 to win both the NL Cy Young and MVP in the same season.   Also, not forgotten here in the southland…

TROUT_MVP

Congratulations to Angels outfield Mike Trout on his MVP season as well.  It was a huge season all-around for both teams here in the southland.  Though it ended prematurely for both teams, it does not take away from what these two accomplished during the regular season.  

KERSHAW_TROUT

Perhaps a deep run into October in 2015 ?  Never to early to look ahead…

Tailgating With Drei ( Trying to, Anyways…)

I’m sure by now many of you have turned your attention to the other major sports.  I’m also sure many of you are also huge fans of the pigskin, be it the NFL, college, or both.  I don’t even doubt that many of you enjoy a good tailgate prior to watching your favorite team do battle among the gridiron.  Many of you probably tailgate every game, while a good many of you may do it on occasion.  Many of you probably have traditional recipes  and gameday rituals as well, from dressing up your area with your favorite teams paraphernalia to preparing that day’s main dish based on that day’s opponent, for example, for an NFL game if the opponent we’re the Philadelphia Eagles, your spread could include anything with a bird or Philly Cheese Steaks, among many countless ideas . 

For my most recent tailgate this past Saturday at The Rose Bowl prior to the UCLA-Arizona game, with the U of  A Wildcats in town, I have decided to throw in a Southwest theme ( for Arizona ) along with an Asian influenced theme as well ( A nod to my Asian roots and the heavy Asian-American student population at UCLA….) .  For my Southwest theme, I have prepared a Sonoran Style Chorizo Burger.  Here are the preparation notes, which by the way, was prepped for two people, so the prep may vary.  It’s pretty simple really…

Drei’s Sonoran Style Chorizo Burger

Mix 1 pound of ground beef or pork with some chorizo meat

Add a half to 3/4 packet of chili powder.  I used the New Mexico Style chili powder

Store in your fridge and marinade overnight

Now my notes for my Asian themed bite

Drei’s Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs

For my chicken thighs…

1 can of coconut milk

Approximately 2 tbsps. of coconut vinegar

Curry powder

Coconut flakes

A touch or two of brown sugar

Store in fridge to marinade overnight.

Again, depending on how many are taking part of your tailgate, the amounts and preparations will vary. 

20141101_170513

Gettin’ our tailgate on.  Yeah, preferably we’d like a bigger grill, but hey, our miniature Weber would do just fine.  Hey, our Pet Minion Dave has joined us once again.  Minion Dave has sure got around with us this past year.  He wasn’t quite so mischievous this time around.  Perhaps it was because he wasn’t around his favorite mischievous Uncle Marly Marlz this time…

Marlz_Dave2 Dave and Marlz.  Two of the most mischievous characters you’ll ever encounter at a sporting event…

Lesson’s learned by Drei.  OK, who doesn’t love bacon with their burgers ?  If you must throw some bacon on the grill if cooking with charcoal,  you may want to put some aluminum foil on top of your grill .  When grilling your bacon, always monitor the progress .  You don’t want to cause a grease fire thus possibly burning anything else that may be on your grill.  Also, when grilling the burgers, before placing on the grill, I also discovered it be best to flatten the burgers out as much as possible if anything it not only  reduces cooking time but is also much easier to grill than grilling one big thick burger, per se. 

As for my Coconut Curried Chicken Thighs, they could not have come out any juicer than I could have imagined.  So, how’d the burger turn out ?

SONORA BURGER

Here it is.  My Sonoran Style Chorizo burger, topped with jack cheese, bacon, black fiesta beans, roasted Anaheim Chile, and guacamole.  After a couple of tries, this burger actually turned out allright.  Also , as a side, I added a raspberry blue-cheese spinach salad as well . 

DANIEL_TAILGATE

Getting one last chug in before the main course…

TAILGATE_MINION

Minion Dave sure loves all the scenery, highlighted by the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance… 

TAILGATE_POSTGAMEBROS

Kickin’ it with the lil’ bro Daniel after another UCLA win…

TAILGATE_MINIONPOSTGAME

Minion Dave all happy after UCLA’s 17-7 win over Arizona

POSTGAME_HUNDLEY

Next home game.  The one time of year Dodger fans throughout L.A. are divided…

TAILGATE_MINIONROSEBOWLSIGN

Our pet Minion Dave sure has gotten around this year…

So these are the highlights from Drei’s tailgate and the UCLA/UofA game.  To be honest, it wasn’t one of my best efforts and Drei could have done a few things different, but hey, I still enjoy a good tailgate . Ideally, you should have more than 2 people with you at a tailgate.  Even though you may not try to, with only 2 at a tailgate, you always end up having more than you really need.  Got any tailgate tips you’d like to share ?  Need any tailgate tips and recipes ?  You may want to check out this Pro Football Cookbook .  Planning on hitting the road to see your favorite team ?  Check us out at Stadium Journey for your travel needs, including those for UCLA and USC football.

Next up, the one thing that divides all Dodger fans this time of year. The annual football game between USC vs UCLA…

VICTORYBELL

The Victory Bell.  The prize the two schools play for each year.  The bell has been that nice shade of blue the last couple of years…

 

 

 

 

No Off-Season For Kid N Drei

Hey all !!!  I hope all of you are enjoying your off-season so far.  As for me, well, I’m long past my post-season withdrawals.  Like many of you fellow Dodger fans, I have very little interest in this year’s Fall Classic.  As much as it hurts to admit it, the Giants found a way to get there, and it was a well deserved championship for the hated ones.  What else can you say about Madison Bumgarner ?  The guy’s just clutch in October.   Another painful fact ?  Since the Dodgers last appearance in 1988, the Giants have now reached the Fall Classic 5 times, coming away champs now 3 times in the last 5 years…  OUCH !

OK, enough of the bad news.  As Drei here has said earlier, there is no such thing as on off-season when it comes to entertaining you be it from the old ballgame our beyond the yard, Drei tries his best to stay busy in the off-season…..

 

Well, no one can ever accuse me of not trying to show my moves off as I try to do a little tango with my soon to be 90 year old grandmother, or I should say, lola.  Yeah, at 90 my lola can still move !!!  This was at a recent Swing the Night Away dance organized by The Filipino-Amereican Symphony Orchestra  ,  the first Filipino symphony orchestra outside the Philippines.  Appropriately enough, they are established here in Los Angeles, home to the largest Filipino population outside the Philippines.  One of the goals of FASO is to promote and develop up and coming Filipino-American orchestra musicians while combining the sounds of not only Filipino music but also classic American big band and swing. 

October is also Philippine Heritage month.  One of the largest events celebrating Philippine Heritage Month to take place this past month was the FPAC, the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture at Grand Park. 

FPAC_10 Bamboo dancers entertaining the large throng on Sunday, 10/5

FPAC_14 A timeline of historical events put together by the Filipino Street Art Project   .  FPAC_13  My contribution to the timeline ( Please excuse my penmanship…)

FPAC_9_KEMP_CITYHALL Of course, I had to put The Bison on display…

WHAT UP KID ?

Hey kid !  It’s been close to a month now since we last entertained our readers with Ballparks, Bytes and Bites.   Now Drei knows that you too don’t have a thing called an off-season…

MDARIO_BUBBLES1 Kid Marly Marlz, keeping the Foam Party alive the night The Blue clinched the NL West.  Unfortunately, that was the high point of the season for The Blue.  Regardless, it was still a fun and memorable season.  Just because we won’t be entertaining our readers from the ballpark anytime soon, doesn’t mean our season stops here.  So kid, Drei hear’s that you have a musical talent ?  Perhaps we should all take a listen to a track Kid Marly Marlz has recorded for us… Octoberfest .  Check out his cool sounds….

Like Drei says, we know nothing of an off-season.  What do you got for us next kid ?  Well,  here’s one last clip, this one from The Ravine again featuring Kid Marly Marlz during the 7th inning stretch, with The Kid turning into ” Wolf Mode ” at the conclusion.  Very fitting with Halloween just around the corner…

Has it already been a month Kid ?  How many days ’til Opening Day ?

wpid-20140831_165029.jpg The Kid making some kids happy in San Diego with bubbles.  Dodger fans weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the bubbles this season….

KIDNDRE_PARKATPARK I can’t believe our season’s over kid !!!

KIDnDRE No off-season for Kid n Drei… ” ‘Til The Next Episode…”

MDARIO_BUBBLES2 As always… Once a Kid, Always a Kid, Forever a Kid… Kid at Heart ….

I GOT A ROCK HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!  West Hollywood, 2009, and to this day I still get rocks…