“When the Dodgers moved out of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and into Dodger Stadium in 1962 it was believed that the Coliseum -- constructed in the 1920s for football and track and field -- would never again host another baseball game.... Forty-six years later, the Dodgers will return to the Coliseum one more time to play an exhibition game with the world champion Boston Red Sox as part of the organization's 50th anniversary celebration of its move to Los Angeles.” - Dodgers to battle Red Sox at Coliseum
Let’s see. The significance of the Red Sox jetting to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers at the Coliseum, as part of the Dodgers celebrating 50 sunny years, is…
Oh, I get it. They wanted the BoSox to serve as kind of a bookend on the progressive 50s. The Dodgers wrote the first chapter with the signing of Jackie Robinson. Then in 1958, the West Coast welcomed the Dodgers and the Giants. Throughout the decade more pioneers of color donned big league uniforms. Finally, in 1959, the Red Sox became the last major league team to integrate their dugout.
Ok, my bad, that’s a bit too cynical, and the very good thing is the proceeds will go to charity.
So let’s get to the good stuff concerning this turn-back-the-clock exhibition game. While it has raised eyebrows, I have to admit I think the Dodgers are doing something cool.
That feeling comes mostly from looking at the photograph of the Coliseum, the one currently at the Dodgers site. The baseball set up was way too lopsided to have a future, but as someone who loves quirky ballparks, well, I just sat for several minutes looking at how oddly beautiful the way Coliseum and baseball mixed there.
Another thought is the large crowds that used to fill up the larger venues. It's understandable why ballpark capacities are headed in the other direction, but at the same time, it's a shame to realize those amazingly large crowds are a thing of the past.
The other thing that I thought about in looking at that photograph was the baseball of my youth. When I was a young adult, we used to play pick up games at my high school. One of the variations we used was playing in the middle of the track. Right field was real close but a chain link fence knocked down most of our longer shots. I wasn't much of a power hitter but one day I socked two over the fence. Cheap, but it still felt mighty good to take the rare trot.
Another way we set things up made centerfield really deep. That was our favorite place because of the way you, as the one outfielder, chased down balls and tried to keep a triple from an inside-the-park homer. Either way it was a very exciting play, hitting it or being the outfielder that chased it down and tried to make a good throw to the cut off.
So here's hoping this game turns out to be a lot of fun. The Red Sox will make for an odd opponent, but on the baseball field, odd can be a good thing.