Globe Life Field sounds like Dodger Stadium during Dodgers NLDS home games
The surroundings might be unfamiliar. The sights and sounds, however, are reminiscent of home.
The Dodgers won’t play again at Dodger Stadium this October with the remainder of their playoff games set to be held at a neutral-site bubble in Arlington, Texas. But the club is using in-game stadium production at Globe Life Field to re-create a small slice of their typical home-game experience.
“We’re working with the crew in Arlington to make Globe Life Field feel a little bit like Dodger Stadium,” said Greg Taylor, the executive producer of Dodgers production. “We’re trying as much as we can to have content run in their ballpark.”
When the Dodgers took the field before their 5-1 win in the National League Division Series opener against the San Diego Padres, their usual batting practice music coursed through the stadium. Their pregame hype video played on the scoreboard. Their walk-up songs synched up for each at-bat.
Even the national anthem had a recognizable ring: It was a prerecorded track performed by Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle.
Normally, the postseason is when Taylor and his in-game entertainment team get to pull out all the stops at Chavez Ravine. This year, however, they’re simply trying to cover the basics from almost 1,500 miles away.
Home runs were something of a rarity this season at Globe Life Field, potentially giving the NLDS between the power-hitting Dodgers and Padres a different dynamic.
Taylor’s team is in Los Angeles, running operations for the American League Division Series being held at Dodger Stadium. But as they coordinate those teams’ preferences — the Oakland A’s, for example, sent over a Matt Chapman-curated Spotify playlist for their batting practice — Taylor is also working with the Globe Life Field crew to integrate some of the trademark features of a Dodgers home game.
“The document I sent out to Texas, an index of all the content, it was four pages long,” Taylor said. “Everything from having two versions of animated headshots. What highlight videos we use per player. All the different music.”
Ruehle’s in-game riffs will be a central feature. After every Walker Buehler strikeout, the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” theme music will play in the stadium. When other Dodgers pitchers record a strikeout, a prerecorded rendition of Ruehle playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will ring from above.
“Hopefully we hear it a lot,” said Taylor, whose production team will be on a live video call during the game with producers at Globe Life Field.
The Dodgers are the designated home team in NLDS Games 1, 2 and 5 (if necessary); the Padres are the home team in Games 3 and 4 (if necessary). The Dodgers hold the home-field advantage all the way through the World Series.
Joc Pederson gets a shot
Joc Pederson made his first start of the 2020 postseason Tuesday, serving as the Dodgers’ designated hitter. He made one pinch-hit appearance in Game 2 of the wild-card series against the Milwaukee Brewers and grounded into a double play. Pederson has come up big in the postseason during his career, but had his worst season as a major leaguer in 2020. He batted .190 with a .681 OPS in 43 games.
Globe Life Field will seat 11,500 fans at each World Series and National League Championship Series game, but temperatures won’t be taken to gain admission.
The Dodgers used Edwin Ríos and Will Smith at DH in their two wild-card series games, but there’s a chance neither will appear there this series.
Ríos definitely will not be playing — he isn’t on the roster after suffering an injury during Sunday’s workout, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Smith could start as the DH in Game 2 on Wednesday when Austin Barnes catches for Clayton Kershaw, but the Dodgers decided not to carry a third catcher this round. Without one, they open themselves up to losing the DH spot should Smith need to replace Barnes as catcher.
Ryan Weathers, who had not pitched above Class-A before Tuesday, was a surprise addition to the Padres’ NLDS roster, and it didn’t take long for the 20-year-old left-hander to be thrust into the spotlight.
Weathers, the son of former big league pitcher David Weathers, replaced reliever Pierce Johnson with one out in the third inning and threw 1-1/3 hitless innings in which he walked two and struck out one, becoming the fifth player—and third this year—to make his big league debut in the postseason.
The seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Loretto High School in Tennessee, Weathers seemed totally unfazed by the assignment, getting Corey Seager to fly to center, walking Justin Turner and getting Max Muncy to fly to left in the third.
After a leadoff walk to Will Smith in the fourth, Weathers struck out Cody Bellinger, the reigning NL most valuable player, with an up-and-in 96-mph fastball. He got A.J. Pollock to pop to shortstop before yielding to Austin Adams.
Weathers went 3-7 with a 3.84 ERA in 22 starts for Class-A Fort Wayne (Ind.) in 2019, striking out 90 and walking 18 in 96 innings. He spent his summer at the team’s alternate training site at the University of San Diego.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Weathers would be used in long relief, and with starter Mike Clevinger exiting after one inning because of injury, Weathers was needed in Game 1.
“We potentially have five games in five days, and we understand we’re gonna need some length in this series,” Tingler said. “We’re going in with an all-hands on deck [approach] and we’ll see what happens.”
The other four players to make their MLB debuts in the playoffs: infielders Mark Kiger (Oakland, 2006) and Adalberto Mondesi (Kansas City, 2015), outfielder Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota, 2020) and pitcher Shane McClanahan (Tampa Bay, 2020).
An elbow injury prevented ace Dinelson Lamet, who went 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 12 starts this season, from being activated for the NLDS, but the Padres are hopeful the right-hander can return for the next round if they advance.
Tingler delayed naming a Game 2 starter until after Game 1. Zach Davies, Chris Paddock and Adrian Morejon are among the candidates, but Garrett Richards, the former Angels right-hander who moved from the rotation to the bullpen in mid-September, is not.
“We think he has a chance to be a weapon [in the bullpen],” Tingler said of Richards, who pitched in two of the three wild-card games against St. Louis.
Staff writers Jorge Castillo and Mike Digiovanna contributed to this notebook.
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