El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Dodger Schedule - Then and Now

My 1976 Union Oil Dodger schedule, more than likely torn up after an aggravating defeat and then immediately taped back together.

Ricky and I - standing to the side of my Sunset Junction house on our way to a Sunday Dodger game - 1979

In the 1970s nothing entertained me more than following the Dodgers and listening to Rock N’ Roll music. My guide to navigating my pre-teen and teen social calendar during those wonderful Summers was a yearly issued Union 76 tri-fold Dodger schedule that I religiously kept in my pocket at all times, assuring me that I would never miss the start of a game.

Homework, friends, teenage rebellion and spinning records on the family’s turntable played second fiddle to listening to the great Vin Scully call the Dodger games night after night on my portable Japanese transistor radio. If the game was televised, I would have the luxury of turning down the volume on the Zenith console television for a an inning or two and play KISS and Rolling Stones records while I watched the visuals of the game and kept the score in my head. Listening to “Detroit Rock City” to the muted whack of a home run or “Cant You Hear Me Knocking” to the silent whiff of a strikeout made watching the game a unique experience.

When we got a little older, my friend Ricky P. and I would catch the 42 Sunset bus just down the street from my Sunset Junction family home and arrive at Elysian Park Ave in less time than it would take to hear The Who‘s “Wont Get Fooled Again“ on the radio. Upon exiting the bus we would gaze up at the foreboding task before us and subsequently eclipse the steep hill leading to the stadium by foot without ever breaking a sweat. After the game ended, we would review it inning by inning as we walked home on one of those cool and breezy Los Angeles nights through neighborhoods that are much different today.

Times change. Today, I still keep one of those Unocal 76 tri-fold Dodger schedules in my car at all times, but the schedule has an entirely different function for me as an adult living in the densely populated metropolis of Los Angeles. In 2010, that tri-fold Dodger schedule acts as my Summer traffic consultant advising me of the dates and start times of Dodger home games so that I can strategically make alternate driving plans around the gridlock that forms on the Golden State and Arroyo Seco Freeways and on Sunset Blvd during game days. Planning ahead and avoiding the gridlock makes my drive to the Westside to visit family and friends or my arrival at a social event in Downtown Los Angeles, EchoParkLand and SilverlakeLand more timely and enjoyable.

On any given night Dodger Stadium still seats 56,000 Angelenos much like it did when it first opened in 1962, but we live in a more congested city today than we did 35 years ago thus making the commute around Dodger Stadium before and after a game much more challenging. I am still a fan of the Dodgers much like I have been my whole life, but at the end of the day whether they win or lose, my life the next morning remains unchanged as I live, work, and play in the great Southern California landscape.

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