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04/04/2010

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Steven Shiffrin

Patrick
I too am a Dodger fan though you may not count me as a true baseball fan. I am corrupted and compromised by my membership in four fantasy baseball leagues.
In further support of the Dodgers, they have typically had low ticket prices by big city standards and the most diverse crowds that I have seen in major league baseball.
Much as I am a Dodger fan (I get Scully on mlb.com, less than $20 for the full season including all major league games with their home announcers), my prime baseball commitment is to oppose the Yankees - capitalism at its worst.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Steve,

Henceforth we're "blues brothers." (On 'Dodger blue,' please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colors)

Is it asking too much to make opposition to the Yankees a condition for being a member of the blog?

Here's one part of Dodger history that makes me wince:

'The land for Dodger Stadium was purchased from local owners and inhabitants in the early 1950s by the city of Los Angeles using eminent domain with funds from the Federal Housing Act of 1949. The city had planned to develop the Elysian Park Heights public housing project, which included two dozen 13-story buildings and more than 160 two-story townhouses, in addition to newly rebuilt playgrounds and schools.

Before construction could begin, the local political climate changed greatly when Norris Poulson was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1953. Proposed public housing projects like Elysian Park Heights lost most of their support as they became associated with socialist ideals. Following protracted negotiations, the city was able to purchase the Chávez Ravine property back from the Federal Housing Authority at a drastically reduced price, with the stipulation that the land be used for a public purpose. It was not until June 3, 1958, when Los Angeles voters approved a "Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball" referendum, that the Dodgers were able to acquire 352 acres (1.42 km2) of Chavez Ravine from the city. While Dodger Stadium was under construction, the Dodgers played in the league's largest capacity venue from 1958 through 1961 at their temporary home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which could seat in excess of 80,000 people.

Los Angeles-based author Mike Davis, in his seminal work on the city, City of Quartz (1992), describes the process of gradually convincing Chávez Ravine homeowners to sell. With nearly all of the original Spanish-speaking homeowners initially unwilling to sell, developers resorted to offering immediate cash payments, distributed through their Spanish-speaking agents. Once the first sales had been completed, remaining homeowners were offered increasingly lesser amounts of money, to create a community panic of not receiving fair compensation, or of being left as one of the few holdouts. Many residents continued to hold out despite the pressure being placed upon them by developers, resulting in the Battle of Chavez Ravine, an unsuccessful ten-year struggle by residents of Chavez Ravine, to maintain control of their property. The controversy surrounding the construction of the Dodger stadium provided the inspiration for singer Ry Cooder's 2005 concept album, Chávez Ravine.'

Robert Hockett

When I was a teen, I fell in love with a gal whose grandfather had been on the Dodgers when they were still in Brooklyn. One difference between my heartthrob and me was that she was moving toward converting to Xty at the very time I was moving univocally toward Judaism. One temple in which our distinct orientations always were able to find a common home was the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose venerated prophet, for us, was grandfather Sid. Later, I read Doris Kearns Goodwin's charming 'Wait Till Next Year' with great warmth, and sent a copy to my old flame and Sid with the inscription, 'Our Testament.' Thanks for these reflections, Gentlemen.
All best,
Bob

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