Opening Day at Dodger Stadium was an over-the-top affair, even by Opening Day standards.
Magic Johnson, part of Dodgers ownership Guggenheim Baseball Management, made his appearance in style, walking through the dugout in a No. 13 Dodgers jersey, high-fiving players while his every movement was chronicled on the stadium's new HD video screens.
He went from the dugout to the mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch, but in a cool, scripted routine, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went to the mound and pulled him in favor of Sandy Koufax to throw out the first pitch of the season Monday.
And the fans loved it.
The Dodgers also debuted their renovations to the stadium -- with a price tag exceeding $100 million -- and unveiled the team with that hefty $214.8 million payroll that Dodgers owners Johnson, Stan Kasten and Mark Walter of Guggenheim Baseball Management assembled.
But for Dodgers fans, the best part of Opening Day was the unscripted Clayton Kershaw performance. The ace threw a complete-game shutout against the San Francisco Giants and hit the winning solo home run in the eighth inning to power the Dodgers to a 4-0 victory.
He got a curtain call, and teammate Matt Kemp doused him with a bucket of water afterward.
"Opening Day was everything I could've dreamed of," Kershaw said. "Hopefully, we have another 161 of those coming up."
It was the first time since 1953 a starting Dodger pitcher tossed a complete game and hit a home run on Opening Day.
Last year, Johnson made headlines for sitting with then-maligned owner Frank McCourt right next to the Dodgers dugout in Petco Park. This year, there was no sign of the ugly past that had the Dodgers in bankruptcy court.
Before Monday's game, The Blue Man Group performed in center field, and the rival San Francisco Giants hung over the railing in their dugout, waiting for all the pomp and circumstance to be over and for baseball to start. The Giants are the defending World Series champions, so sitting through the Hollywood-like opener must have been trying.
About the only thing missing was a fighter jet flyover, which was probably canned because of governmental budget cuts.
There was a moment of silence for the victims of Sandy Hook, and military personnel waved an American flag that covered much of the field. Before the game, Don Newcombe threw baseballs to Marine Corps members in the stands, many of whom had never been to a Dodgers game.
Aloe Blacc, a rhythm-and-blues artist, sang the national anthem.
The Dodgers showed a highlight reel of Los Angeles sports stars and actors cheering them on to win a championship this season, from Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and Kings captain Dustin Brown to comedian George Lopez and actress Jessica Alba.
Brown, who led the Kings to the organization's first Stanley Cup in June, and Landon Donovan, whose Galaxy team just won the MLS championship in December, said: "It's your turn to win a championship."
Former Dodgers star Fernando Valenzuela was on the field before the game, continuing his run as a Spanish-language radio analyst.
Broadcasting legend Vin Scully was introduced before the game, garnering perhaps the most cheers of anyone. Scully is starting his 64th season as the Dodgers' play-by-play announcer. Last year, he was sick and unable to make Opening Day, but Scully was back Monday.
And then he uttered those famous words, "It's time for Dodger baseball."
A few fans, while impressed with many of the upgrades at the stadium, were definitely grumbling about some changes made to the stadium.
Joe DeMartino of Northridge, who has been a fan since 1940, was particularly upset about his handicap-accessible seats. The 80-year-old said when sitting down, he couldn't even see the pitcher's mound.
"I'm an ardent Dodgers fan and want to love everything they do, but I'm not sure what they accomplished here," DeMartino said. "I knew this place like the back of my hand and I'm just not convinced they did the fans a favor here."
On one set of back-row seats in the reserved section, blocked by the railing, there was a note that read: "This seat will be moved later this week so the rail does not block views. We apologize for this inconvenience."
Peter "Fuzzy" Hubbell, 59, of Redondo Beach was sporting his Dodgers cape, marking his 40th year at his favorite team's opening game.
Hubbell travels each year with up to 50 other fans on a bus from Redondo Beach, adding the only opening game he ever missed was for the birth of his granddaughter in 2008. On Monday, Hubbell said he is thankful for the upgrades at Dodger Stadium.
"It's an easier, friendlier environment," he said. "You can bring the kids, let them run around a little bit and keep an eye on the ballgame ... it's wonderful."
Monday's game was 8-year-old Ryder Aceves' second opening-day game to watch his favorite team and favorite player, Matt Kemp. The Wilmington boy said his best memory at the stadium so far was when his dad caught a ball and got it signed by Andre Ethier.
Ryder, who came to the game with his aunt, Aida Hernandez, said he hopes this season he'll get Kemp to sign a ball for him.
"Our whole family loves the Dodgers and love all the fun of Opening Day," Hernandez said. "Today especially, because of all the new things they added at the park."
Hernandez said she's optimistic her nephew will get his wish this year and that the family's team will secure a World Series win too.
"We've got new players, a new stadium and everything, so I think we'll take it all the way this year," she said.
There were still long concession lines, especially on the reserve level, but the Dodgers are trying to work out those Opening Day kinks that comes with renovations.
But the dramatic victory, something you can't buy, was surely the highlight of Opening Day.
Staff writer Mariecar Mendoza contributed to this report.
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