Dodger Stadium May Not Be Ebbets Field, But It's Not Bad, Either
Possibly the only way to finally accept the Dodgers abandoning Brooklyn 50 years ago is to attend a game in Los Angeles. Built in 1962, Dodger Stadium is perhaps the best ballpark in the league. From the view all around to Vince Scully doing the broadcast, it is quite the experience.
Quaint with a nostalgic feel, the stadium built into the mountains of Chavez Ravine can define what watching a baseball game should be like. The view from behind the plate looking to the outfield is simply amazing. The mountains on the horizon are a perfect backdrop for this jewel of a stadium. Tall palm trees appear over the left field bleachers and overlook the sun-drenched outfield. The large 'Think Blue' letters seem to be growing out of the mountains and remind one of the 'Hollywood' sign not too far away.
All throughout the press box area, large framed photographs going back to Dodger teams of the nineteenth century gives indications that the organization has not forgotten its past. One that stood out was from Roy Campanella Night back in 1959 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Pee Wee Reese is pushing 'Campy' in his wheelchair amongst all the flickering illumination from the fans lighting a single match each.
Reminders of the good old days do not end there. Scully, who is a legend and still the greatest broadcaster of all time, brings back memories of another Dodger great, Red Barber. With that soothing voice and matching hair, they are two of a kind. Forget the two or three man booth. Scully, like Barber, performs the duty solo.
Gladys Gooding did not make the move to Los Angeles and has since passed away. But she must be proud looking down on the Dodgers' current organist, Nancy Bea Hefley, who has her own section at the far right end of the press box and plays the type of music that is meant to be played in a ballpark. A subtle reminder of a more innocent time.
The grass could not be any greener. The beautifully manicured field is said to be the favorite amongst the players due to the true hops that it gives on ground balls. The yellow and green colored seats really stand out when looked at from afar. A few years ago, they changed the colors of the seats. Fan protests won out as the team realized its error and went back to the colors of when the place was first opened.
When hunger arises, there are ample stands selling Dodger Dogs, which are a definite rival (and rightfully so) of Yankee Franks. If Nathan's is associated with Brooklyn, then Dodger Dogs and LA are not a bad match.
On this night, the 42,438 went home happy with a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets. Dodger catcher Russell Martin is a fan favorite and the team is making a big push to have him voted to the 2007 National League All-Star Game.
"Baseball is a game of consistency and we've been real consistent lately," said Martin. The game was punctuated by three Dodger home runs on consecutive pitches off Mets' starter John Maine.
"We're not a home run hitting team," Martin continues. "But we have some power once in a while."
Campy would have been proud.