I won't be joining the mass baseball party this afternoon at the Coliseum — here's why, from my KCRW commentary yesterday — but those who do should have fun. And it's for a good cause. What's a little traffic between friends? I think our hunger for community, and a bit of nostalgia, explains a lot of why 115,000 people could turn out for a spring training game in the goofiest major league stadium ever. Writing at SportsIllustrated.com, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts has this take: "When it comes to something brilliantly weird and trippy, fans can't wait to get their taste."
"This is more of an event than it is a game," Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner said. "It sounds a little grandiose, but it is kind of like a baseball Woodstock. People are coming to be there not necessarily for the outcome of the game. It's a celebration."
From Alan Schwarz in the New York Times:
[Juan] Pierre, the Dodgers’ probable left fielder (rather, deep shortstop), said he did not believe the dimensions when he was told of them a few weeks ago. He gradually feared for his safety.
“I’ll be like 180 feet from the hitters, and those Boston guys hit the ball pretty hard,” Pierre said. “I might have to wear a cup.”
The web is amazing: In my KCRW commentary, I mention remembering a double play of pure beauty as a young LA Observed trainee. Bob Timmermann of The Griddle, one of the very smartest (and funniest) L.A.-based sports sites, dug out that it had to be this game on April 20, 1961. Stan Musial, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam and Coliseum legend Wally Moon played in the game.
Add The Griddle: Timmermann is an expert on the political fight over building Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine and on April 3 will give a talk about it at the Central Library. By the way, he found a topo map saying the stadium isn't really in Chavez Ravine.
Last add: The Griddle notes the passing of a two-time Los Angeles high school player of the year from Dorsey High. Billy Consolo played ten years in the majors then coached for Sparky Anderson, his Dorsey teammate. Consolo died in Westlake Village at age 73.
On topic: Very good profile of Joe Torre in China (Cool in Any Language) by Eric Neel on ESPN.com.