Road Trip: Los Angeles
Thanks to MLB Network, I’ve been able to see more of Dodger Stadium and hear much more of Vin Scully than ever before. And my Midwestern life has been the better for it. Just ask my wife. I won’t shut up about the greatness that is Vin. Except when his voice comes on the air. That’s when I shut up.
I’m not a Dodgers fan, necessarily. But I am a fan of that scene. The flawless Chavez Ravine evenings. The covered bleachers. The hexagonal scoreboards. Those home uniforms. It’s a site. So when we organized a long weekend to attend a concert in LA this past May, touring Dodger Stadium (since the Dodgers would be on their own road trip) was at the top of my to-do list.
The overcast skies/smog cleared up as we arrived just in time for the 10 a.m. tour, joining a modest group of eight others. We started at the press box, where I sat at the official scorer’s spot, shouting “E3!” to stick it to Adrian Gonzalez, whose departure from Boston I’m still bitter about. This was right next to Vin Scully’s booth. But the wall separating the two was as close as we’d get to the man or his work.
We then moved down to the lower level, navigating the concourse with myriad memorabilia – vintage team luggage, the original home plate transported from Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, even the retired bullpen cart complete with Dodger hat roof.
From there we entered the newly installed and impressive hall of trophies. One entire wall was lined with rows and rows of Golden Gloves. The other wall contained MVPs – Koufax, Gibson, Kershaw, et al – and two World Series trophies. The innumerable Dodger Rookies of the Year were also represented. Todd Hollandsworth, anyone?
After passing wall-mounted heavy cotton jerseys of the greats, including Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax, we shuffled through another door and were suddenly at that magical moment of stepping up and onto the field. The dirt, grass, hexagonal scoreboards, blue skies – they were all there, just like I’d seen on the TV.
While we could walk along the dirt perimeter, we weren’t allowed on the grass. Understandable, with the grounds crew working on the field. But we could touch the grass with our hands, of which I took full advantage. The tour guides let us dawdle for at least 10 minutes, moving from the dugout and back up to the field again. It was quite wonderful.
Lastly, we entered a giant suite, complete with buffets, just off of the field. The pièce de résistance of which was the sprawling array of four or five dozen jumbo-sized, wall-mounted baseball card reprints, spanning generations of Dodgers.
I hope the next time we’re in LA, the Dodgers will be too. But if not, another stadium tour would be a nice consolation prize.