Truly Blue

blue.jpgLike fellow B.la contributor Cindy, I too attended last night’s game at Dodger Stadium. And from the looks of her awesome fireworks photos and shots of the post-game field, my wife and I may have been only a couple rows apart from her and her dad up there in the Top Deck ó once my favorite spot to see my favorite team in one of my favorite places to be in the whole world. But not anymore. Not after last night.

There’s something rotten over there in the Ravine, and not only is my love affair with the Top Deck over, but I fear my lifelong devotion to the team might be on its way out as well. No, not just because of their lackluster play and their 10-3 loss to Arizona, or the finale-less fireworks (abruptly shut down, I believe, by fire officials after a second blaze broke out behind the stadium’s 76 station). I can’t even blame my sinking feelings on the family directly to our left who released five fucking beach balls simultaneously. And as much as I’d like to I won’t pin responsibility on the jackass behind us whose game-long, overly loud comedic stylings began when he took his seats with “Whoa! I’m getting a nosebleed! Har Har!” and proceeded downhill practically nonstop thoughout the almost three-hour game.

No. I can deal with disrespectful idiots ó I’ve made it this far in my life in a city full of them. Instead, my melancholy stems from something much deeper and dynamic. A tectonic shift. It’s there in the encroachment of those new seats and the way they’ve cinched in the once-graceful geometry of the field. It’s in the addition of anonymity by the subtraction of the names off our player’s backs. It’s in the erasing of the history of Robinson and Koufax and Gibson and other greats who adorned the outfield wall, replaced with tributes to Bud Light, Adelphia, and Albertsons. And it’s there in a home team that’s neither at home here nor a team.

It wasn’t all depression and frustration. I applauded when Shawn Green hit a homerun at his first at-bat, but he plays for the Diamondbacks now. And when L.A. native Brett Butler took his position in the first base coach’s box, I was very happy to see him still in the game and pointed him out to my wife Susan. Told her that Brett’s one of my favorite Dodgers ever ó one of the best leadoff hitters of his time. He’s with the Diamondbacks, too.

7 Replies to “Truly Blue”

  1. I have been to a lot of baseball stadiums (20+) and I have to say- Dodger Stadium is really not a good one (from a non-Dodger fan point of view). I know Dodger fans don’t want to hear it, and will dismiss my comments as “whatever”, but it is a very confusing stadium to navigate (horrible signage) and the vertical circultion is almost criminal. The “circles of hell” in the parking lot seem to have no correlation with the section numbers of the stadium. Once you park your car on the outter rings it’s a 20 minute hike (uphill) to a gate that could well be another 20 minute hike to your seat. And try as I might, every time I go there I find myself being directed to internal stairwells that go on FOREVER down into the depths of a claustrophobic, humid, dark mass of earth and concrete. Once settled in your seat $7 beers (that you have to go get yourself – no vendors) and the Dodger Dogs (the “signature dish”) really do suck. A few positive thoughts: I enjoy the retro design of the scoreboard, but I wish they would leave up the ball/strike/outs count instead of telling me where the player went to high school. The views are kind of nice (from the edge of the parking lot), and thank goodness the gendarmes leave you alone in the parking lot to drink beer after the game so you can wait out the traffic…

  2. Maybe it was the 11 point fan code of conduct? Or the fact that we even have to have one. It all started when the O’Malleys sold out to Murdoch. And yes, I think you’re right. It’s not so awesome seeing former Dodgers doing really really well on other teams. And it’s not awesome that we went to the post season for the first time in SIXTEEN years last year, only to get kicked out on our butts after a couple of games.

  3. Bwana, I have to take issue with your assessment. You’re talking like you know something about building design. I took a college course that included a unit on architecture, so I think I might be a little more qualified to comment.

    The main problem with Dodgers Stadium is that there are too many Mexicans. End of story.

  4. The removal of the players’ names off the jerseys chaps my ass, too. Really. I hate that.

    I also don’t like the additional seats, and it’s a pain in the ass to see a game at Dodger Stadium, for most of the reasons bwana86 cited.

    But dammit, I’ll still root for them, if only because I can see the stadium from my living room window. And because my Dad likes them (Brooklyn represent!)

  5. Player haters, please!

    These changes may not all be pretty — I’m particularly amused by the Contractor’s Warehouse ads on the back of the mesh things they drag the infield with between innings. But if that’s the price to have a team NOT owned by Rupert Murdoch, I’ll gladly pay it twice.

    Wouldn’t you rather buy an $8 beer that goes to an independently owned team than a $6 one that goes to help support Fox News?

    As for the stadium, it’s hard to complain about a ballpark I can walk to, that’s woven into the community of my neighborhood and local urban park, that has backroads in and out and free parking right outside the gates.

    OK, public trans would be nice. . . but then again, this is LA!

    And really, to sit in the upper deck and complain about the jackasses and beachballs (and in the case of a commenter, Mexicans). Show me a stadium where the cheap seats are polite and homogeneously white, and I’ll show you a city you wouldn’t catch me living in.

    Play ball!

  6. Hey Greg, I’ve been sitting in the Top Deck all my life. Sworn by it. To me it’s the best place in the whole damn stadium to watch a ball game. I love the altitude and the atmosphere — even with their bad humor and beachballs.

    You may dismiss me for bitching about some of the particular decorum-deficient proletariats in my immediate vicinity at Sunday’s game, but as I said in my post my quarrel isn’t with the idiots I must live with whenever I visit.

    What does disturb me is that though the Dodgers are once again independently owned — while certainly better than corporate ownership — decisions have been made that have infected the atmosphere of Dodger Stadium. It may very well be the only way for McCourt to survive and turn a profit, but it’s taken a cathedral I’ve worshipped in — flush or lean — and turned it into an ad plastered halfway house for a bunch of players either unwilling or unable to become a team.

  7. Hey Chortling Donkey! (I know who you REALLY are you…) Yeah you right- I just have a Masters of Architecture.. what do I know.. and as for “walking to a stadium”. I dont think thats in the Dodger Stadium arsenal. Sunset is not very stadium friendly down there.. Try Wrigley or Camden Yards for an example.

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