Dodgers mark stadium 50th year with win
The team’s 2012 home opener came 50 years to the day after the Dodgers’ first Major League Baseball game at the ballpark nestled in Chavez Ravine.
Ethier – celebrating his 30th birthday – belted a two-out homer off Jason Grilli, sending it into the right field seats to break a 1-1 tie.
“Seeing it take off, I knew it was gone,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
The contest was preceded by festivities marking the half-century mark for the stadium.
In warm Southern California sunshine, the Beach Boys – who are marking their own 50th anniversary with a reunion tour this year – sang the national anthem as a giant US flag was unfurled on the field.
A sell-out crowd of 56,000 was treated to a F-18 fighter jet fly-over, and the ceremonial first pitch was tossed by Terry Seidler – whose late mother, Kay O’Malley, threw out the first pitch back in 1962 when her husband Walter owned the club.
This season, the Dodgers expect to move on from the tumultuous ownership of Frank McCourt, under whose tenure the team declared bankruptcy.
Dodgers’ fans were heartened last month when McCourt sold the club for $US2 billion ($A1.95 billion) to a group fronted by NBA legend Magic Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles before retiring in 1991 after announcing he was HIV positive.
While Tuesday’s mood was celebratory, the festivities were conducted amid tight security.
Last year, San Francisco fan Bryan Stow suffered serious brain injuries when he was beaten outside the stadium after the Dodgers’ home opener against the Giants.
Stow, who was wearing a Giants jersey when he was attacked, was only moved from a hospital to a therapy facility last month.
12 Apr 7:59 AM