The End of An Era

Gee, it seems like it was just 2008 when I wrote about one of my childhood haunts being shut down for good.

And just today I found out that the second portion of that childhood, Lakewood Batting Cages, was closing their doors forever – today. Like almost everything noteworthy, I saw the news on their Facebook page and that they would be open until 9pm today, allowing customers to use their facility free of charge.

Of course I had to be there for the last night.

As I wrote in the aforementioned post, the guys at the batting cages were always so good to me and everyone else who wandered in there. About the only thing that has changed from the last time I saw them was that one of the sons, Roy, had passed away. But like his dad and brother, he was super nice, always had a smile on his face, and always made time for everyone. He’ll be missed.

What apparently happened was that the owners of the property, Local Laborer’s Union 507, would not let them renew the lease (details here). But as I was there, negotiations were in progress with an interested party in China. And if a deal is struck the place could be saved, but it just won’t be the same without the Tyler family running it. They are what made the iconic place special, a place where players like Chase Utley used to hone their skills before making it to The Bigs.

Then there’s me, a 44-yard-old dufus who never remotely had the chance or skills to become a big leaguer – but who always found great enjoyment taking some hacks in the 80 MPH cage over the years. Here’s one of my last sessions (direct link since embedding was being funky).

Before I left for the last time, I had to get my picture with Kevin (middle) and his dad, Daryl. (They still own and operate another location.) I love these guys for being who they were and giving back to the community through sponsorship of local teams, donations, and for simply operating a place where kids of all ages could come and learn how to hit a round ball squarely, one of the most difficult feats in all of sports.


The sun has set on Lakewood Batting Cages, and the local baseball community is eternally grateful for having them be a part of their lives for the last 27 years.

Thanks for the memories and best of luck to The Tylers.



More from the Dodger Game

I’m going to make this one rather short and let the pictures to most of the talking. But Tuesday night, despite the Dodgers losing (and eventually getting swept by the D-Backs) was memorable. I met a bunch of new people who were all great to be around and with stories of motivation, perseverance, and dedication to weight loss and nutrition.

We got to speak with Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone who was a great gal and a lot of fun (and also now follows me on Twitter). Photographer Jon SooHoo took a picture of the gang and jokingly told us to “Get the hell off of the grass!” after we were told to not go near it. Hey, he said we could, right? More of his pictures from that night are up on the Dodgers Photog Blog.


I also got autographs from former Dodger players Don Newcombe and Sweet Lou Johnson as you will see later in this post. Both of them were very gracious.

In short, it was a fantastic night and I would like to thank Josh Tucker, Dodgers Social Media Guru and host. He kept us all in line and ensured everything was taken care of. And a tip of the cap to the entire Dodger organization who once again were pure class.

And without any further delay, the pictures.

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No pass, no field entry

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Beautiful Dodger Stadium

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Panoramic of the field with Josh Tucker on the right. Click to enlarge.

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Maury Wills and Andre Ethier

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Trainer Sue Falsone

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Don Newcombe tossing a ball to a fan

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Maury Wills signs autographs

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The winners in their corral

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Coach Tim Wallach

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“The Penguin” Ron Cey

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Golf cart on the Club Level

Me on the field. This is also my Facebook cover photo.

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2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw

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Tommy Lasorda

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Jon SooHoo with GM Ned Colletti

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Owner Magic Johnson

The Vin Scully Press Box

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And in the dead center of this picture in the Prime Ticket booth, Vin Scully

I didn’t get this far to not eat a Dodger Dog

Jersey autographed by Sweet Lou Johnson and Don Newcombe

Entry to the Main Offices

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Me and organist Nancy Bea. I only wish this image was a bit clearer.

Kirk Gibson bobblehead

Batting practice

Game time

A great day indeed.

At the Ballgame


Enjoying the view from the suite at Dodger Stadium.

The Suite Life

200x200_LAD_DDS_logoAs my readers know, I started my weight loss blog when I was about 250 lbs. to chronicle my progress on my way to my goal of 200 lbs. By then, I had already lost 50 lbs. but wasn’t blogging yet. I did this not only for my own motivation but also as a way to inspire others to do the same thing.

And I have to admit that making such a commitment put a bit of pressure on me. I set my goal and so as not to look the fool, had to ensure myself that I would make it. Of course you know the results of my hard work and hopefully my readers have achieved their own success.

Most of you also know I’m also a Dodger fan and up until the All-Star break, was so happy to see them doing so well. As of today, well, things are sort of not going their way but that’s fine. There’s lots of baseball left.

While watching a game a few weeks ago, I saw a promo for their Dodger Digital Series which is touted as a “one-of-a-kind social media experience built to create a Dodger experience tailored to fans’ hobbies, interests, and / or passions.” I decided to give it a better look by visiting the website and that’s when I saw there was a category for Fitness Influencers.

So I thought I’d take a shot in the dark and see what it got me. I filled out the form, submitted it, and pretty much forgot about it.

That is until I got an email today from the Dodgers.

In the email, it stated that I was chosen to be part of a select group of 20 other fitness influencers to attend the Dodgers’ July 31st game which is also Kirk Gibson Bobblehead Night. As if that wasn’t enough, we get to watch the game from the Dodger Digital Suite, get free VIP parking, and watch the Dodgers take batting practice – a rarity indeed since they do it well before game time.

So not only has my weight loss scored me some free samples and an iPod nano (which I have since sold), I now get to see my Dodgers from a suite at baseball’s most beautiful stadium and watch them take batting practice on the field.

The suite life indeed!

Naturally, I will take lots of photos and post them when I get home or, as is the case these days, post them as they happen. Should you wish to see the events unfold as they happen, follow me on Twitter @aeromat since that is the one connected to my Instagram account (my username there is also aeromat). I’d like to keep the images on one account rather than spread them all over the place.

It’s going to be a good time!

The Old Ballgame


Me and Anthony had a great time at the Dodger game today. At 50, the place is beautiful for being the 3rd oldest stadium in baseball (behind Wrigley and Fenway). It was also great bonding for us and we had foul balls hit behind and in front of us in a matter of 5 pitches. And they beat the Cardinals, 6-5. Just a nice way to spend a Sunday 🙂