Thousands of Dodger fans decked in blue and white descended on downtown Los Angeles today to cheer for the World Series champions and savor the Dream Season as Mayor Tom Bradley declared it Dodger Day.
“How sweet it is!” Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda bellowed to tens of thousands of fans gathered on City Hall’s south lawn.
Dodger Executive Vice President Fred Claire told the screaming crowd that it would be sweet again next year: “Our goal is to repeat in ’89!”
Die-hard fans began showing up before sunrise to stake out the best seats for the parade along Broadway, and then to rally at City Hall’s Plaza of Champions.
Estimated at 70,000
By the time the parade kicked off at 11 a.m., police officials estimated that 70,000 fans lined the route and overflowed the City Hall lawn to see the World Champions and tolerate the introductions of city officials.
Then the Dodgers took the podium, sometimes two at a time.
Steve Sax and Mike Davis delivered their version of the Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion’s speech about courage. Shortstop Alfredo Griffin spoke in Spanish.
“This is great,” said Joe Cali of Barstow, who was accompanied by his 4-year-old daughter, Brigid.
The crowd, which seemed to grow larger with each passing minute, was filled with teen-agers, many of whom had ditched school for the day.
“It’s sort of an unofficial holiday,” said one 14-year-old girl, who requested anonymity. “It’s the Dodgers. It’s worth it.”
Lasorda With Mayor
First in line as the parade started up Broadway from Ninth Street was Bradley in a vintage Chrysler Imperial convertible. He was flanked by Lasorda and team owner Peter O’Malley.
On the next float was Dodger ace and World Series Most Valuable Player Orel Hershiser, who with Griffin hoisted the World Series trophy as the crowd responded with cheers.
The day may have been for the fans and players, but it might have been more appropriately called “Vendor Day.”
Downtown was transformed into something resembling a bazaar, with vendors lining the sidewalks hawking blue and white balloons, pennants, caps, team pictures, buttons, horns and parade food: hot dogs, peanuts and cotton candy.
Crowd Crontrol Problem
It was also a busy day for police and city workers who had to try to control the crowd. Over the weekend, workers painted big white numbers on the trees on the City Hall lawn so that officials could quickly be dispatched to the appropriate one in case fans fell to the ground. And, officials said, they do fall out at every championship celebration.
“With all the championships we’ve had here, it was about time we came to one (of the parades),” said Jose Rodriguez, 28, who lives in Bloomington in San Bernardino County.
His toddler may not have been a Dodger fan before, but “he is now,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been yelling ‘Yea Dodgers!’ all week,” his wife, Patti, added.
In a Blue Mood
Even downtown businesses were getting into the Dodger-blue mood. Along Broadway one movie marquee declared: “Viva Dodgers! World Champions!”
Homemade signs along the route declared “From Underdogs to 1988 World Champions! L.A. Dodgers--The Dream Team.”
“I made this sign three weeks ago,” said Kent Blair, 32, of Ontario. “I knew they were going to win the World Series. They’re a team of destiny.”
Other signs were a bit spicier: “Dodgers: Your Buns Are the Toast of the Town.”
But not everyone in the crowd was so happy with the Dodgers.
Jean Joneson, stood on the corner of First and Spring streets in her green Oakland A’s T-shirt.
“I lost a bet,” she explained.