We headed off to Dodger Stadium. Jay is quite a baseball fan. He loves his Dodgers, but in truth, he loves the game. He shares this passion with both our son and son-in-law, so I’m accustomed to baseball talk.
Last season the three guys made a late spring trip to Chicago to see the Dodgers play at Wrigley Field. The year before our son grabbed his dad and off they went to Boston’s Fenway Park. They love historic ball parks and they love the game.
I’ll go along. Put me in an outdoor setting with a nice view of the mountains, and I’m set.
Dodger Stadium overlooks downtown Los Angeles, with the city to the south, hilly Elysian Park to the north and east, and a lovely view of the San Gabriel Mountains beyond the outfield pavilions.
Los Angeles weekend traffic is only for the brave on a good day, but this weekend Dodger fans were treated to an almost unprecedented freeway snarl when a tanker truck caught fire, spewing flaming fuel along a major artery. This was a humdinger of an accident, closing freeways and main thoroughfares for hours, and delaying ticket holders well into the fifth inning. Crowds were sparse for a while.
It wouldn’t be useful to ask me too many details about the game. I’m just happy everyone is having a good time.
But I can tell you what I found interesting.
I enjoyed seeing ex-Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda signing autographs. By all visible accounts the team is doing its best to rehabilitate a not-so-wholesome reputation. New franchise–much better shall we say people skills.
Children were encouraged to line up waiting for their cue to run on-field and grab an autograph.
There was a nice family feel that hasn’t been present for many years.
I was particularly impressed with a new regular feature, The Veteran of the Game, honoring a member from one of the five branches of Armed Services at each game, introducing them to an enthusiastic crowd and standing ovation.
Once these festivities were over and the game was well underway, my attention wandered.
“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…” OR, garlic fries and nachos?
Pizza? Cotton Candy? Jalapeño Kettle Corn?
After all that a person would be quite thirsty. Good thing they encouraged everyone to stay hydrated.
However, I didn’t notice a lot of water.
A slow game, but the Dodgers racked up a win against the Colorado Rockies.
But that’s not all.
Coinciding with the DVD release of the major motion picture “42”–the biographical film written and directed by Brian Helgeland about the life of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, we were treated to an evening surprise.
The outfield pavilions were emptied for seating on the grass, and those of us in the stands spread out in comfort for an evening showing of the movie.
This is so much more than a baseball movie. It’s history. Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel, was involved in the production and has praised the end result as “authentic” and “powerful” as it tells the story of Robinson as the first African-American player to break the baseball color barrier.
I also think Harrison Ford’s role as team executive Branch Rickey, the man responsible for signing Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers, is an excellent and moving portrayal.
There is plenty of history connected to Dodger Stadium that I’ll simply have to share with you another time.
Sixty years hasn’t dulled the controversy connected to the purchase of the land in the early 1950’s with the use of eminent domain funding.
The city had two competing options. Elysian Park Heights public housing project with townhouses, playgrounds, schools and a college.
We’ll get back to that.
One sentence in the Wikipedia entry caught my full attention.
“Proposed public housing projects like Elysian Park Heights lost most of their support as they became associated with socialist ideals.”
What were those socialist ideals?
Now I REALLY want to know. 1950’s McCarthyism? I have some reading to do.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my day at the ball park. Did you get hungry?
Maybe I’ll watch the game next time. I’ll have to leave the camera at home.