Young fan enjoys his birthday on Kershaw day
Sitting atop her father’s shoulders, Larin Bennett proudly held the silver sign with black lettering.
“It’s my 10th birthday all I want is to meet Kershaw,” the sign read, with Kershaw in blue.
The sign easily stood out among hundreds of fans gathered around the Oklahoma City Dodgers bullpen during pregame Saturday.
“We’re both lefthanded, and he’s amazing,” Larin said.
Fans stood in the grass behind the center field fence. They lined up around the bullpen, three people deep in places.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was warming up for his rehab start in front of a sold-out crowd at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Bennett’s father, Matt, grew up in Los Angeles but followed family to Yukon in 2004. His favorite player is Kershaw, but he had never seen him pitch.
Watching his bullpen was as close as he could get Saturday night. Wearing a Kershaw jersey with a sliver autograph on it, Bennett was amazed at the left-hander’s funky motion and pitches.
“It’s way important.” Matt said. “It’s a supergood day for us to see him pitch. It’s definitely going to be a good night. Even in L.A., you wouldn’t be able to get this close to him. I’m pretty starstruck.”
Kershaw in a different number
Kershaw’s traditional No. 22 jersey wasn’t what he wore. Still, donning No. 38 he stood out. OKC second baseman Drew Maggi wore No. 22 like he has the entire season.
But Kershaw’s customary Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 22 was seen throughout the ballpark, with many fans wearing jerseys or shirts for Kershaw.
Full crowd enjoys the night
At least five cars atop the parking garage behind Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark were lined with tailgaters. Fans lined the three levels below.
It was all to see Kershaw, even if it was from a distance.
OKC had a capacity crowd in the current configuration of the stadium with advertisement tarps covering the second level on the firstbase side. Lines wrapping around the stadium from all sides were visible before the gates opened.
Fans certainly enjoyed the moments inside, too.
Kershaw nearly got a standing ovation when he took the field and when he threw his first warmup pitch from the mound.
As Omaha’s Ramon Torres stepped to the plate to open the game, one fan yelled, “Hey, good luck, 2.” Kershaw ultimately struck out Torres, who had struck out three times in four at-bats in the big leagues against Kershaw.
Tweet of the night
Former Edmond Santa Fe star Clayton Blackburn couldn’t make the game to see Kershaw. But the Round Rock pitcher wanted his friends to find their way to The Brick.
“If you’re in OKC tonight and don’t go see this something is wrong with you,” Blackburn tweeted in response to the Dodgers’ tweet of Kershaw’s No. 38 OKC jersey.
Fans watch Los Angeles pitcher Clayton Kershaw warm up in the bullpen before pitching a rehab assignment in a Triple-A baseball game between the Oklahoma City Dodgers and the Omaha Storm Chasers at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.