Blustery ballpark conditions have been the backdrop to many significant games in the colorful Giants-Dodgers West Coast rivalry. It’s just that those games typically were played by the San Francisco bay.
Pregame wind gusts of up to 40 miles an hour gave Dodger Stadium a big-time Candlestick Park vibe in the early innings as their National League Division Series shifted to Chavez Ravine for Game 3 on Monday night.
— Dodger Fan Weekly (@DodgerFanWeekly) October 12, 2021
How Candlestick-esque was the first Giants-Dodgers playoff game ever played in Southern California? Well, the pregame fireworks display and Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer both were knocked off course before all the fans had settled into their seats.
Scherzer was set to make a 2-1 pitch to Giants leadoff hitter Tommy La Stella when the wind or swirling debris — probably both — caused him to stop mid-delivery and stumble off the mound.
The wind at Dodger Stadium is so strong that it took down Max Scherzer pic.twitter.com/PJt2szCPj0
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) October 12, 2021
It wasn’t exactly the Giants’ Stu Miller getting “blown off” the mound by the wind during the 1961 All-Star Game at Candlestick Park — something Miller, who died in 2015, said was overblown — but it was another memorable moment in a rivalry filled with them.
The gusts had been reduced to a steady breeze by the middle innings. But players and fans showed up to the ballpark on Monday evening with the LA area under a wind advisory. TV coverage showed dirt and wrappers swirling and players’ jerseys flapping in the wind.
My weather app says it’s 66 degrees here at Dodger Stadium, but it feels more like 46 with the wind chill.
Everything blowing to right field.
— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) October 12, 2021
Even the foul poles swayed as the gusts ripped through the ballpark as it got closer to first pitch.
So uhhh the foul pole is moving. Never seen that before pic.twitter.com/Mz9R6uE6ij
— Dolphin Pilot (@TheAmitie) October 12, 2021
The unusual conditions caught even long-time Dodgers observers — and players — by surprise.
“I’ve never seen anything like it here, it’s unbelievable, ” Clayton Kershaw, a Dodger for 14 seasons who is unavailable for the playoffs because of an arm injury, told MLB.TV during a mid-game interview. “I mean, it’s been perfect weather for however long I’ve been here and the one day it’s a little windy.”
— Jon Baird (@KNXBaird) October 12, 2021
Giants pitcher Logan Webb chuckled about the conditions to MLB.TV as well during an in-game interiew, saying, “It feels like we’re in San Francisco right now. It kinda feels like home. Maybe that’s a little advantage for us.”
Early in the game the conditions created some dry eyes and difficult visibility, but there were no wind-aided home runs or any balls sent in crazy directions because of the swirling winds. There also weren’t a lot of chances for hijinx — Scherzer struck out nine in the first six innings and Giants starter Alex Wood allowed just two hits over his 4 2/3 innings.
The Giants’ Evan Longoria finally broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning, but the wind was most definitely not a factor. Longoria blasted a fastball 407 feet over the left field wall at an exit velocity calculated at 110 miles per hour.
Please check back for more on this developing story.