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Take Me (and 115,300 of My Close Friends) Out to the Ballgame

September 25th, 2019 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Did you attend a Los Angeles Dodgers home game this season? If so, you are part of a club record: The Dodgers counted 3,974,309 customers for their 81 home games in the 2019 season. Unprecedented, at Chavez Ravine.

Being part of an attendance record is kinda cool. Especially when you get up into six figures.

I was at a baseball-record-setting game 11-plus years ago, when the Dodgers celebrated their 50th year in L.A. by playing a preseason game against the champion Boston Red Sox at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (photo above)… a one-off event at the club’s first home stadium in L.A. after the 1958 move from Brooklyn.

How big was that crowd of March 28, 2008? The Dodgers said it was 115,301, which makes it the biggest gathering to see Major League clubs play a baseball game.

Ballclubs are known to fudge attendance, but whatever it was, that day, it was an enormous crowd.

The stands were full and thousands more were walking around a wide expanse of grass at the peristyle end — which was about 500 feet from home plate.

The game was memorable because the Coliseum layout for baseball, that day, was even crazier than it had been during the four seasons the Dodgers played there.

Remember, the Coliseum is an oval, and that made for a ridiculously short fence in left field and some homer-killing distances in center and right fields — both well over 400 feet from home.

I would love to be able to credit the person who came up with the idea for the Dodgers to make a one-day return to the Coliseum, but it was just generally attributed to the owners at the time, the McCourts.

Before the game the Dodgers made available to journalists several players who played in the Coliseum, including Duke Snider, Carl Erskine and Wally Moon. Snider and Erskine recalled how difficult it was to play on such a misshapen field. Moon, however, remembered it fondly.

He was the one of the few Dodgers who realized that just getting a ball into the air towards left field … well, it had a good chance of going over the tall fence (think Fenway Park) for a home run. When Wally Moon played there his homers were called, perhaps inevitably, “Moon Shots”. (I saw him hit one there, in a real game, versus the Cubs, when I was maybe 8 years old.)

On March 29, 2008, I wasn’t sure the Dodgers had reached their goal of 115,000, but I conceded it was a very, very big crowd.

I remember it fondly. All those people, so much energy, so much Dodger Blue, such a weird layout. And it was a record.


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