Well, we have a winner. Best baseball stadium I’ve seen so far. Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s beautiful. Truly the most wonderful-looking sports venue I’ve ever seen. I mean, Wrigley Field is older and very lovely; Yankee Stadium is great (I’m a bit biased, though); but Dodger Stadium is sublime. Even the words you can say when describing its location are fantastic. For one thing, Dodger Stadium is a great name. It sits in Chávez Ravine, and the address is 1000 Elysian Park Avenue. How wonderful is that? You don’t often get to use the word “ravine” in life, so that always a joy. And “Elysian,” the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous.
I got there a couple of hours early, and I’m glad I did. It gave me time to take photos, and to see the massive expanse of car park virtually empty (Link to Google Maps view of the stadium and car park). And once the gates opened, I got to take photos in a fairly empty stadium. I can only really imagine a baseball stadium being more beautiful if Oscar Niemeyer designed one. (Craig drifts off into a fantasy world where baseball is popular in Brazil and Niemeyer designs a stadium in Rio, giving me just one more excuse to want to move there.)
I had a good chat with the guy who was checking no-one was sneaking in through the gate that was open for us smokers, so we could go outside, do our tobacco thing, and return to the game. He was happy to hear that I thought Dodger Stadium was the nicest. He told me how he loved it, how he would love to visit England (“The Hispanics love you Brits!”), but not as much as he’d like to visit Amsterdam. Insert his wink and laughter here.
After the anthem, the Dodgers came out to the sound of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” I like that song a lot. But hearing it when I’m not expecting to gets to me. I’m fine if I’ve selected it on my iPod or put the record on, but when it’s on the radio or something, it comes rushing up through me. It reminds me of my Dad. I’d been to see U2 just a couple of weeks before he died, and, well, it just reminds me of him a lot.
The game got off to a fairly frustrating start for the home fans. I felt sorry for Andruw Jones, the Dodgers’ centre fielder. Not only for having his name spelt wrong, but also for getting such a bad reception from his team’s own fans because of his poor form. Still, he earns a shitload of money, so I didn’t feel that sorry for him. But even after he came this close to a home run, they still booed him.
I got to see something I’ve not seen at a game before, too: someone in the crowd being hit by a bat flying out of the hitter’s hands. Nothing too serious, but it flew through the air at a decent clip, so the guy was pretty lucky. He got to keep the bat. Not sure about his teeth, though.
Eventually, the Dodgers scored a few runs, winning the game 3-2. I left the stadium to the strains of another song I love, Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” I took the free sample of Axe deodorant from a pretty lady in very short shorts, walked to the bus stop, knowing that I’ve only got one more baseball game left on this trip. On Monday in San Diego, which is where I’ll be heading on a train early tomorrow morning. Anyway, there’s more photos of the stadium on my Flickr, should you be interested.