The Dodgers don’t like any special attention. They just keep making it hard for people to look away.
This is what happened Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, when the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner fielded Chris Taylor’s infield hit off the mound, caught it, and then made a one-hop throw to the plate from behind the mound that caught the Mets’ pitcher, Robert Gsellman, by surprise and led to an infield pop out. The sight was repeated in the fourth inning when, in one of the first three innings, the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. singled and stole second before running down Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley at the plate on a throw from second baseman Howie Kendrick.
The old phrase about a three-run homer in the first inning being a lucky shot certainly applies to Will Smith. He and his brother, Tony, who coaches the Dodgers’ outfielders, homered in the first inning to lift the Dodgers to a 3-0 lead against Mike Foltynewicz, who is in the last year of his contract with the Braves.
Tony Smith went first, and it looked like the throws of his brother toward the plate would not get there in time. But with a little help from his friend “Big Papi,” a nearby fan who made a remarkable attempt to catch a ball that was sailing out of play, Will Smith — with his brother looking on — hit a shot to left-center field that landed near the photographers and passed them all, giving the Dodgers a little extra time to review the play.
When the Dodgers came out to take their position for the next batter, the crowd was absolutely roaring. The crowd isn’t just cheering, it’s screaming as loud as it can. I felt the extra energy as I was watching the pitchers warm up in the bullpen at the opposite end of the outfield — not far from the Dodgers dugout — before the fourth inning.
The reason the home runs are so sweet to the Dodger fans is because the Dodgers are in the final year of a $280 million, five-year contract they signed with the Giants’ third baseman, Matt Duffy, in 2014. The Dodgers got the Dodgers and Duffy in part because Duffy required months of rehabilitation after major back surgery and an additional month following the operation.
The crowd is going crazy, and the players aren’t all that interested in the home run. Not yet.