Every year for the past five or six, I've made the pilgrimage either south or west to see my favorite baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I'd be a fan even if the stadium sucked. But it doesn't. Even after 48 years.
The paint on the seats is fading, the scoreboard and Jumbotron (Diamondvision) look like they're relics from the 1970s and parking and ticket prices seem to go up every year, but Dodger Stadium is still as good as it gets.
I was there on another sun-kissed and slightly breezy Sunday afternoon (beat that, Chase Field!), hanging 10 in the Bleacher Beach, a section in the corner of the reserved seats above left field. Seventy bucks on Ticketmaster for a pair of seats there, but consider this: First row on the rail, 40 bucks total in Dodger Dollars to spend on concessions, a floppy hat, a plastic lei, Latin music on Viva Los Dodgers Day, no roof and a pro surfer, Anastasia Ashley (Google her) spraying water on you on request.
Yup, that's me above, soaking it in. All that, and I got on the Jumbotron when the camera showed our section. I'd say I got my money's worth.
It was perfect, really. My team won, 8-3 over the Nationals (the fact that the Dodgers are fourth in the NL West is another matter I shall ignore for now), I didn't get sunburned, I got a Dodger Dog and Super pretzel (No dog in any park is better), and it didn't take forever to get out of the parking lot and onto the freeway.
Los Angeles is such a great city. The food, the vibe, the ocean, the culture, did I say the food? But don't get it twisted - I may like the Dodgers but I'm no Laker fan, and I was disappointed to see a yellow-and purple Dodgers jersey for sale in the team shop. Marketing, what are you gonna do?
Tickets are pretty easy to come by these days with the Dodgers struggling. It's like they're slashing prices in half or more, even for the field level. But I can't wait until next year to return to Bleacher Beach. And I'm lucky to have a wife who loves the Dodgers, too. With respect to the many who were displaced from their homes when the stadium was built, I'm grateful that Dodger Stadium is still the same magical place it has always been for me. Win or lose.