Alright, so perhaps that is just my summer thus far in a nutshell.
With football season being a little over a month away, I’m constantly reminded that the lovely days of summer are drawing to a close.
The highlight of this summer had to be my trip out to Los Angeles to visit one of my best friends, that I hadn’t seen in roughly two years.
I could go on and on about the wonderful weather, the beautiful beaches, the diverse food choices, the L.A. traffic and how dirty “Hollywood” really is, but I would rather take the time to talk about one of the best aspects of the trip: Getting to take my friend to her first ever baseball game (she’s Greek, they don’t do the whole “American pastime” over there), which happened to be at historic Dodger Stadium.
Now I have to admit that my knowledge of the Dodgers is extremely limited.
I know that they are in the National League and that the Chattanooga Lookouts are their AA affiliate. I know that Yasiel Puig played in Chatt town for a stint. I also know that Clayton Kershaw, who is an epic pitcher, played a rehab game in Chattanooga as well.
Left fielder Matt Kemp reportedly dated singer Rihanna, the team colors are white and Dodger Blue...you can see that I’m not just being modest when I say that I have limited knowledge of this ball club.
Here is something else I knew before going out to “La La” land: The Dodgers have one of my absolute favorite characters in baseball chilling in their bullpen, occasionally waiting to go and close out the game, Mr. Brian Wilson.
Note: the Brian Wilson I am referring to has nothing to do with the The Beach Boys.
Before flying out to L.A., I happened to discover that on the very same day I arrived in California, the Dodgers were having a “Brian Wilson bobblehead game.”
I contacted my friend, found $25 outfield tickets, and began counting down the days until I had the “best ever” souvenir in my clutches.
I had no clue what to expect when going to Dodger Stadium, but I had visions of glitzy Hollywood grandeur dancing around in my head. Maybe they had a red carpet that you got to walk in on.
The trip to the stadium was a surprisingly easy one, and as we pulled into the parking lot I found myself, well, under-whelmed with what I saw.
No flashing lights, no sky-pointed spotlights, just a big parking lot with a rather retro looking stadium looming off in the distance.
The walk to the stadium wasn’t too bad, and entry to the ballpark was even easier, although since we were there rather early, I imagine that played a big role.
Having frequented a few ballparks, Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park, Turner Field, I expected that finding my way around Dodger Stadium would just come naturally. I was wrong.
Our seats were in on the loge level, practically right above where we had entered, yet there were no visible stairs to get up there.
A guest relations worker noticed that we looked rightfully lost, and informed us that we had to go down the concourse a ways to get to the escalators or stairs that took people to the upper levels.
While strolling around the stadium, I couldn’t help but notice how retro the whole place felt. It was the total opposite of what I had expected, yet seemed perfectly “California.”
I found myself questioning if the stadium was really that old or if they had designed it to resemble a 1960’s stadium. A Google search quickly answered, as I discovered that Dodger Stadium had opened in 1962.
That fact amazed me even more, because despite it’s age, the stadium still looked like it could’ve been new. Dodger Stadium was crisp, clean and had a rather cool set up when I took a moment to admire it.
Two smaller screens were perched behind the bleachers in the outfield, and tall palm trees could be seen.
I didn’t realize this at first, because the stadium seemed to be smaller than Turner Field, but Dodger Stadium is actually the largest in the MLB, with room for some 56 thousand people.
Turner Field with it’s 50,096 capacity, by the way, is the third largest baseball stadium in case you didn’t already know that. Coors Field beat us out by about 350 seats.
Here’s another interesting thing about the L.A. ballpark. Concession prices are actually better than what you find in Atlanta.
While there wasn’t near the variety of food selections that are presented at Turner Field, I didn’t find myself cringing at the prices like I do when I’m in Atlanta. If you are not a Braves season ticket holder, their concession prices truly bite the big one.
Much to the disappointment of my colleague Joe Cannon, I did not have a famous “Dodger Dog.” In hindsight, maybe I should’ve tried the team’s signature food, but on that warm June evening I only had eyes for garlic fries.
I did buy a bottle of “Dodger Water” though, and was highly amused when I read that the water actually came from Michigan. You’re never really as far away from home as you might think!
While I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the June 26 game against the Cardinals, I still found myself missing the familiarity of Comerica Park and Turner Field.
Seeing a number of celebrities on the (small) big screens was fantastic, but I found the in-house entertainment aspect lacking. Perhaps it was just because I had no emotional/personal investment in the team.
Besides, they will never have anything as invigorating as “The Chop!”
Dodger Stadium was an overall great experience, but by no means was I converted to a Dodgers fan.
I will say however, that I think my friend had a fantastic time watching her first ever baseball game and I may have brought her around to ‘our’ sport, even if she still doesn’t understand the point of the seventh inning stretch!
My Brian Wilson bobblehead survived the trip back in my checked bag, and has now been added to the ever expanding sports memorabilia on my desk, although I think he may feel slightly out of place next to my Braves souvenir cup and Tigers rally towel.