29 July 2010

3rd Base Dodger Stadium

There are very few people who bleed Dodger Blue the way I bleed Dodger Blue.  I don't care where you live or which team you root for, my love for the Dodgers borders on an obsession in Baseball season.  It started a long time ago in the 1950s when I rooted for the Brooklyn team.  When I heard "My Dodgies" were moving to my hometown it was heaven sent news as I was too young then to be aware of the controversy.  It is the type of controversy that now plagues every area of the country when the choices about the benefit of building a sports stadium arise.  Voters and their representatives might want to consider if the price in people and places as well as money are worth the sacrifice for the construction. 

Los Angeles paid a very big price in order to have the Dodgers.  All it required was the destruction of three communities and ripping out the heart of a whole way of life.  Before being cleared for public housing, Chavez Ravine was made up of the three mostly Latino communities of La Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop.  The Hispanic residents in this area of Los Angeles were uprooted in order to build Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine. As written, sung and played by Ry Cooder the above album tells the story of this history and I've linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the building of the stadium at Chavez Ravine.  Even after a half century, the pain of some of the decisions made still linger in the memories of what used to be and is no longer there.

The next to the last song on the album packs an emotional wallop of the longing for home by the man from 3rd Base Dodger Stadium.

Mister, you're a baseball man, as anyone can plainly see.
The straightest game in this great land. Take a little tip from me.
I work here nights, parking cars, underneath the moon and stars.
The same ones that we all knew back in 1952.
And if you want to know where a local boy like me is coming from:
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.
2nd base, right over there. I see grandma in her rocking chair.
Watching linens flapping in the breeze, and all the fellows choosing up their teams.
Hand over hand on that Louisville. Crowning the top, king of the hill.
Mound to home, sixty feet. Baseball been very good to me.
And if you want to know where a local boy like me is coming from:
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.

Back around the 76 ball, Johnny Greeneyes had his shoeshine stall.
In the middle of the 1st base line, got my first kiss, Florencia was kind.
Now, if the dozer hadn't taken my yard, you'd see the tree with our initials carved.
So many moments in my memory. Sure was fun, cause the game was free.
It was free.

Hey mister, you seem anxious to go. You could find that seat, in the 7th row
Behind home plate, where we used to meet. When we were young, we had dreams.
Just a place you don't know, up a road you can't go.
Just a thought, laid to rest in my mind, just a time.
If you care to know where I'm gonna go when I hit my last homerun:
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.
3rd base, Dodger Stadium.

Hey, Mister, you are a baseball man.
Yes, I'm a baseball man myself.
Yes, I'm a baseball man, too.
Baseball been very good to me.
Yes, baseball been very good to me.

"Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine is shaping up. Construction is now about 85 per cent complete, despite a mishap yesterday, when a crane fell into some seats. Access roads are going in. And the spot (X) is already chosen for that loveable (?) left field screen from the Coliseum. It'll be covered to provide dark background for batters." 
Photo by Harold Morby, September 27, 1961 - Herald-Examiner Collection; Los Angeles Public Library


Travis Cody said...

Thanks for that bit of history and the music. I suppose I put the human cost of having the Dodgers in LA completely out of my mind. I grew up as an A's fan from the Bay Area...never could root for those dang Giants. But when Charlie O started to sell off my team, I switched over to the Dodgers in 1974 and never looked back.

It was an easy transition from Bando and Campy and Geno and Reggie and Catfish, to Garvey and Lopes and Russell and Cey. And it didn't take me long to learn the field history of my new team. But I can only imagine first the anguish of Brooklyn losing dem Bums, and then the anguish of those who lost their homes and neighborhoods to make way for Dodger Stadium.

Jamie said...

For me, the be all and end all after the move was Drysdale and Kofax... gad I loved those great pitchers.