August 10, 2016
One of the goals that Alyssa and I have had for a long time is to visit every Major league baseball stadium. While she was a flight attendant, we had an opportunity to see quite a few, but there are still some we need to check off the list. Now that we are on the road and taking to small towns and the wilderness more and more, we would like to add a few minor league stadiums as well.
During my brief and unsuccessful career as a baseball player, I loved traveling to small cities and checking out the opposing teams fields. My setup these days beats the hell out of fighting for aisle space on a blow up raft for a 16 hour bus ride full dirty ball players. Every stadium has its own soul, aesthetic and even smell. Checking out a new field is like meeting somebody for the first time, except they don’t mind if you stare. Thanks to an old teammate of mine, Todd Sandell, his girlfriend, Lauren, and a hairy-back wax client of hers who couldn’t use the tickets, we got to check out Dodger stadium in LA (front row seats at that).
I had been once, a couple years back, October 2013, just before my dad passed away. That game was that first playoff game I attended with my father since the 1998 Padres played the Braves in the NLCS.
There is little in this world that my father loved more than a good bargain, and saving money was always at the forefront of his mind. Using this knowledge to my advantage, I convinced my 65 year old dad to stuff a bunch of mini bottles of vodka in his socks and shirt. Alyssa was too nervous to join us, so my old man and I waddled up to the gates with about 1.75 liters in tow. Let me tell you, security at Dodger stadium is significantly greater than that of Petco Park in San Diego. I got shaken down first and cracked right away, fessing up to the crime that I was committing. My dad immediately jumped on the grenade and explained to the security officer that the plot was all his as he handed over 4oz of Kettle One. When we finally got let loose inside, Alyssa was in the midst of her all too familiar “I told ya so” speech when my dad came up behind us and taped me on the shoulder. “Hey Mitch,’ (my middle name that only my dad ever used) “Check it out!” He offers about six tiny bottles of booze to me and says, “They forgot to check under my hat! Score one for the old man” (Miss ya Pops)
Sorry for the trip down memory lane, back to Dodger Stadium. This time around was quite a bit different as we had an opportunity to sit right behind the Phillies dugout. The views looking out to centerfield scream Southern California. The blues of the walls and facades leading into the yellows of the seats is reminiscent of the sand meeting the ocean. The palm trees lining the outfield also help to that affect. A distinct Hollywood flare is noticeable as the crowd contains many celebrities and musicians. On this particular night we saw Kevin Costner, Jack Nicholson, and the dude who plays Leslie Chow in The Hangover. Even the Jumbo- tron offers production levels that exceed that of other stadiums. The diversity of the community is brought together with pride of Los Angeles. They may not truly be Dodger fans, or baseball fans for that matter, but they love their city, that much is certain. Dodger Stadium is an aging beauty and has an energy that many newer stadiums do not. It truly is one of a kind.