Nov 20, 2012

Posted in Features

Star Trek Night at Dodger Stadium

Star Trek Night at Dodger Stadium

By RADM Jon Lane, USS Angeles

Captain on the mound! Prepare to fire fastball!

Who says there’s no baseball in the future?  On August 3rd at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, our national pastime and “Star Trek” collided in an awesome themed evening with special T-shirts, a “Star Trek” fireworks show and none other than William Shatner throwing out the first pitch. Watching it all were USS Angeles members, their friends and a lot of other fans.

A pre-paid $39 ticket got us into the game versus the Chicago Cubs with a seat in the special Coca-Cola-All-You-Can-Eat-Pavilion behind right field. It also gave us a voucher for an exclusive “Federation Baseball” T-shirt with the name “Spock” on the back along with the number “12.” (I’m not sure if that’s Spock’s lucky number or not, but the current Earth year is 2012 … so who knows?)

The special promotion was the brainchild of Paramount Home Video, which is releasing the remastered “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Blu-ray discs for the series 25th anniversary celebration. So of course, we got a couple of previews on the huge Diamond Vision screen.

But perhaps the most exciting moment for “Trek” fans was seeing Captain Kirk himself, the inimitable Mr. William Shatner, wearing a Dodgers jersey with his name on the back, step onto the pitcher’s mound and throw the first pitch of the game.

William Shatner throws the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium on August 3, 2012. (Photo: RADM Jon Lane / USS Angeles)

And at the age of 81, the guy’s still got enough in him to get the ball over the plate!  A few minutes later, with the poise and confidence of a veteran sports announcer, Shatner introduced the nine members of the Dodgers starting line-up.

This memorable USS Angeles away mission was organized by longtime member Cliff Gardner, who purchased all the tickets together in advance and then waited outside the gate for everyone to arrive. (Give Cliff extra promotion points for that!) Also in attendance were myself, Kat Campbell, former USS Angeles member and “Star Trek: Hidden Frontier” creator and executive producer Rob Caves, and Rob’s husband Simon Fraser. One of Rob’s friends got sick at the last minute and couldn’t join us.

The game itself was exciting to watch and quite a lot of fun, assuming you were a Dodgers fan. Trailing first-place arch rivals the San Francisco Giants by only a half game, and with only fifty-five games left in the season, the Dodgers needed to keep winning, especially at home, to stay within striking distance and to possibly even take over first place in the division.

The Dodgers scored first in the third inning with the first of two solo home runs for catcher A.J. Ellis that night. He also recorded an RBI single, making him one of the stars of the game.

 The Cubbies tied the score in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI double, but the Dodgers responded in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run inning of their own and never looked back.

The next inning, new Dodger, Hanley Ramirez , who in nine games since joining the Dodgers in a trade from Miami, is 9-for-35 with 10 RBIs, tacked on a two-run RBI single.

William Shatner is congratulated by Dodger catcher Matt Treanor (#18) at Dodger Stadium on August 3, 2012. (Photo: RADM Jon Lane / USS Angeles)

The Dodgers put the game away in the seventh inning when the second of Ellis’ two homers of the evening landed 10 rows directly in front of us, and the final score was 6-to-1 Dodgers.  (Meanwhile, out in Denver, the San Francisco Giants were demolishing the Colorado Rockies 16-to-4, so the Dodgers remain a half game out of first place as I type this up after the game.)

With the game now over, the highlight of the evening for us “Star Trek” fans was still to come.  Friday night is fireworks night at Chavez Ravine where the Dodgers play, and this evening featured a special treat.

A seven-minute fireworks extravaganza was synchronized to the theme songs from each of the five “Star Trek” TV series. They played the music in order from “Enterprise” to the original series and then skipped to “Deep Space Nine,” followed by “Voyager.”

The crew of USS Angeles at Star Trek Night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: RADM Jon Lane / USS Angeles)

The fireworks finished up with “Next Generation” in honor of the series’ 25th anniversary.  Jerry Goldsmith’s bombastic musical score from “TNG” made for a breath-taking spectacle (Spocktacle?) at the finale as the music reached its majestic crescendo and the remaining fireworks were launched in a dazzling, non-stop kaleidoscope of light and booming sound.

A perfect night with friends, unlimited Dodger dogs (I might have eaten too many!), a winning home team and “Star Trek.” What more could we ask for?