Thursday, March 27, 2008

Out of the Blue

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of those iconic stadiums in sports. First opening in 1923, it was built for just under a million dollars. When the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn in the late 1950’s, this was their first home field. Another $950,000 was spent in order to accommodate the team. While they occupied it, the Dodgers hosted an all-star game and three World Series games. In fact, the attendance for each World Series game was over 92,000 fans, a record that still stands today. The stadium was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1984, just before the start of the Olympics hosted in Los Angeles that year.

This Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum. The event sold out almost immediately (92,000) so the team sold an additional 20,000 “standing” tickets for people to mill about during the game in a particular area. This will be sure to break the previous attendance record. Parking should be more fun than it normally is at Chavez Ravine. Just in case you miss that bottleneck, they do offer free parking there for the event and a shuttle to the Coliseum so that you have the full Dodgers home game experience.

Before the Dodgers were anywhere near the venue, USC and Pomona College played the inaugural game back in 1923. It was the university’s commitment to play every home game there that was a primary reason for building the Coliseum. It only makes sense since they are right across the street from the stadium. The Trojans still use this as their home field in spite of a recent threat to leave and play in the Rose Bowl. If you live anywhere near Los Angeles you know how absurd this would be. UCLA also played their home games in the Coliseum from 1933-1981. Most notably, this is the only venue to host two Olympics, two Super Bowls, and one World Series. It was also the first home of the Los Angeles Charges before they moved to San Diego and housed both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders for home games.

Many other interesting events have taken place in the Coliseum as well. Billy Graham, the Pope, John F. Kennedy, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen have all drawn in crowds to the venue. There are annual high school football events and many other happenings throughout the year.

Personally, I’m quite giddy about Saturday’s game. I have fairly respectable tickets in the lower level and already have my outfit planned. The idea is to get downtown early, wear comfy shoes, and take in the sights and sounds of what should be an exceptional event. Opening Day isn’t until Monday so it doesn’t even matter if the Dodgers lose, which I am sure they will since there is so much fanfare around their 50th season in the city.

This season will be one to watch since there are many new additions, including new skipper Joe Torre. Mr. McCourt also opened the wallet a bit and grabbed some new players in the offseason including Andruw Jones. Some fans predict big things, but I will stay cautiously optimistic. From April – July, I’m usually quite stoked on the team since they generally show signs of being viable contenders. By August, I’m usually quite disappointed because they’ll drop a bunch of games. September rolls around and they may be headed to the playoffs, but get bumped in the first round. Call me cynical, but this has happened repeatedly. Perhaps it is a new era – the ownership stopped bleeding the fans and is putting some money back into the team…


Patricia said...

Can't wait to get out to Yankee Stadium...My sister caught a preseason in Tampa so she's ahead of me. Oh well.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Oh yeah - Legends Field across from Raymond James Stadium! Very cool place to catch a game. I'm so excited about Saturday that I can hardly contain myself!