Roots go deep for Dodgers fans
We asked for your Los Angeles Dodgers stories -- the roots of your fandom, what the team means to you and how you've been affected by the recent play on the field and recent events off the field. Here are just a few of your responses. We'll be featuring more throughout the week.
Do you have a Dodgers story you'd like to share? Send it to our mailbag, and we might share it on the site.
As a kid growing up in Glendale in the late 60's, a trip to Dodger Stadium was almost as exciting as a trip to Disneyland. Back then my heroes were The Beatles, The Monkees, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. My parents took us to a few Angels games when the park in Anaheim first opened, and I remember being a fan of Jim Fregosi, but it was such a long and tedious trip on the freeway to Anaheim and back from where we lived. More importantly, though, I could never get used to all that red. The red Angels uniforms reminded me of Cincinnati. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't root for red over blue.
During my first year of college I still lived at home and I used to stagger out of bed in the morning and grab the sports page from my dad and look at the box scores before I even had coffee. I was obsessed, which might have seemed a bit incongruous to my parents, given that I was a 19-year-old girl majoring in English and also fond of the poetry of Sylvia Plath.
I remember being at the park and seeing Davey Lopes stealing third base, running so hard that his helmet flew off in the opposite direction like a shiny blue bird taking off from his head. I remember the heart-breaking losses to the Yankees in the World Series that I literally cried over. I remember Bob Welch versus Reggie Jackson, the tension so thick that my entire family stood in front of the television, unable to sit still. But more than anything else, my memories are of sitting in the stands next to my late father, the smell of Dodger Dogs, the "three sisters" palm trees in the sunset, the retro-cool Tomorrowland roof over the outfield pavilions, and Vin Scully's voice. As tough as things are for my team now, it's Scully's voice that still keeps me connected to those days long ago, and gives me hope that someday we'll get our team back.
Cynthia Tyler, Pasadena, Calif.
It was a summer afternoon in 1989 or 1990 when my father, exasperated and in need of some relief in the babysitting department, sat me down in front of the TV. Sitting there and listening to Vin Scully as a 6- or 7-year-old, I was drawn to the game (of course, I did not understand it. When Scully said "at the end of 4, Dodgers 1, Giants nothing," I interpreted that to mean "Dodgers won," so I left the TV). It wasn't until a few years later that my grandfather taught me to read a box score. I fell in love with baseball in 1994 when Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi and Eric Karros led the team. I was enamored with the team's potential and did not realize their flaws.
Much of my disappointments with baseball over the years have surrounded the business of it. From the strike-shortened season in my first year as a full-time fan, to the Fox ownership and the Piazza trade, it has always been the things that happen outside of the field of play that I have found most disheartening. And yet, my love of the team and the relaxation and enjoyment I get from watching them never wavers. Frank McCourt's unfortunate presence is something I think about every day, but I think about the Dodgers' successes and misfortunes far more often.
Michael, Los Angeles
Grew up listening to Dodgers on radio with my dad in back yard in late 60's and early 70's, that's how I learned baseball, listening to Vin Scully and talking to my dad. As I got older I always followed the Dodgers and continued to discuss them with my dad all the way up to a few years ago, when he passed away. With the recent fiascos with ownership it is hard to continue on. The only thing that keeps me interested is my relationship with my son, who has followed in my footsteps, now watching the games together and discussing baseball. We try to focus on the baseball side but it is getting more difficult as each day goes by.
Joe Holt, California
I became a Dodger fan in 1950. After reading a comic book about Jackie Robinson I started following him and the Dodgers. Many a night I spent with my radio trying to bring in their ball game from distant locations such as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh with the game fading in and out. Being a Dodger fan in Cardinal country has involved me in a lot of friendly and not-so-friendly arguments. I thrilled to Johnny Podres and their first World Series win. Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Steve Garvey and a host of others has provided me a lot of excitement.
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Today I can get all the Dodger games and see players like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw only to realize they will soon leave because the team won't have the financial means to pay them when they become free agents or maybe before. McCourt doesn't care about the Dodgers; he seems to only care about winning for himself. He's taken away my hope of seeing at least one more championship team but he can't take away their great history and thrilling moments. Alas, at least I still have the memories.
Weldon Hilpert, Jackson, Mo.
I was born in 1988, the year of the last Dodger championship. I grew up rooting for the Dodgers, despite some of the rather insulting personnel and business decisions they made. My favorite player was Mike Piazza, probably the greatest catcher and maybe greatest Dodger in history. I was Piazza for Halloween. When he was traded, I was 9, devastated and confused. Yet I remained a Dodger fan, modeling my own Little League playing style on Eric Karros' style, my next favorite player.
I watched the Dodgers fire a moderately successful manager in Bill Russell after just two years, after employing just two managers in the previous 42 years. I remember when the cheapest tickets were $4 or $6. Today, I'd be happy to get a $4 Dodger dog. Parking today costs more than many tickets used to cost. This and the general creepy behavior of the McCourts have combined to make me go to many fewer games per season than I used to. I have never been one to root for a uniform. I became attached to the Dodgers because of their history. Their history of stability, innovation, and giving people chances, from Jackie Robinson to their signing of many Asian players. The McCourts are not here to build a winning, high-character franchise. I want an owner who will, even if it's Mark Cuban.
Dan, Berkeley, Calif.