Thursday, June 08, 2006

2 of 3 Is Okay With Me...

...News, Notes & Views from a 3-game series in La-La Land...The photo above is Dodger Stadium, in all it's glory, taken by my cousin, Michael - thanks, cuz...sadly, because of the size of the panaroma picture, I can't show you the detail via this blog, but if you'd like a copy of the picture, you can email me at and I'll be happy to send a pic to you... A lot has changed at the stadium under the McCourt's ownership...The prices of Dodger dogs and Super Dodger dogs has gone up over the past 3 years quite a bit, but what in this country hasn't - the problem, however, is the quality just isn't there anymore. I used to love Dodger dogs better then any ballpark food I've had (and I've been in a fair amount of ballparks, both major and minor league, in my time). Now, the food at Orlando Cepeda's at SBC Park in San Francisco and the BBQ @ Randy Jones BBQ at Petco in San Diego far surpass any Dodgers' food offerings, and that's just in the state of California. Dodger Stadium used to be a great park to see a ballgame in, and it's still real good, but our neighbors to the north and south have ballparks that far surpass their Los Angeles enemies. The prices for seats have become outrageous - the seats we sat in, 25 rows behind home plate, were cover-priced at $75 for seats that would sell for $45 at Shea Stadium (both instances using the higher-tier pricing for better teams as a benchmark). Here's an interesting comparison: a night at the ballpark for 2 cost us $160 for tickets (2), $10 for parking, $20 for gas, $35 for food (4 dogs, 2 large sodas, 2 pretzels) and $32 for souvenirs (a Brooklyn Dodgers hat)- for a total of $257. As a kid, the same set of expenses would have cost about $14 for 2 tix, $2 for parking, $5 for gas, $12 for food and $12 for souvenirs (yearbook, scorecard, pennant, buttons, etc) for a total of about $45 - and that was an expensive day at the ballpark back then!...It's a wonder that there are as many kids at the games as there are, because it's certainly far more expensive in comparison then other things kids might be interested in (movies, video games, etc). In addition to worrying about inner cities receiving new ballparks, baseball also has to find a way to offer cheap packages to get kids from financially-challenged areas coming to the ballpark live, which is the only way to truly build a love affair with the was always the game that crossed boundries, as both rich and poor could sit in the same stadium and root for the same team...while it's true that there are still lots of more affordable seats available, the problem is that once you have seen the game up-close, it's so much harder to be far away from the action...and if you've never seen a game up-close, watching the sweat drip from the brow of a pitcher in 80 degree heat, you haven't really been to a ballgame...the best time I ever had at the ballpark came when one of my cousins (thanks, Paul) gave my dad, brother and I the IBM box seats right behind the Payson's box, behind the Mets dugout. I had the pleasure of watching Steve Carlton & the Phillies face off against Tom Seaver and the Metsies, in 1973, and saw the sweat dripping from Carlton's face as the Mets squeeked out a victory in a great pitcher's duel...and to this day, I can close my eyes and see Carlton's face, and that is one of the greatest things about this game- you can play a video game, but when it's over, it's just another game completed...or you can watch a ballgame, see an amazing performance, and remember it vividly some 33 years later...Switching gears, I really think that a lot of Los Angeles fans get a bum-rap - they have to work until 6pm (usually) or thereabouts, and then get onto one of the horribly congested roads in order to make it to Dodger Stadium by gametime, which is usually 7pm during the week...they might have to drive a mere 10 miles to get to the stadium, and that drive can take up to an hour and a half (and way more depending upon where you are coming from)...I have gone from hating people that come in the third inning to taking pity on them, appreciating the fact that they are at least making the effort to get to the game...I am NOT excusing the looky-loos that simply want to go to the game to "be seen" - they should be herded into a corner and be forced to watch reruns of season 2 of Americal Idol- I am instead applauding the efforts of the many people that really would like to be at the game for the first pitch, and that old rotten thing called work intrudes and traffic has them catching the third inning and forces them to leave by the 7th or 8th, lest they face so much traffic getting out that they can't get to sleep in time to wake up early enough the next day to face the traffic all over again to get to is their release, just like it is for you and I, and that's the most important thing...there, I am off my soap-box now, and will work on getting some news-related posts up...let's take at least 3 of 4 from the D-Backs- why not, the Phils swept them (I know, it would have been better if the Phils lost all 3 as the odds of the D-Backs losing 7 in a row is very slim...)

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