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Cheap Seats, Almost Inside the Stadium

Times Staff Writer

Tim Newtson arrived early to secure his place at the World Series. At 9 a.m. Saturday, he parked his rented motor home outside Edison Field, and when the gates opened he pulled it under the Big Red A and set the parking brake.

His plan worked -- for $40, he had the best seat outside the house.

“This is the spot I wanted,” said the 27-year-old from Fullerton, who was joined later by about 20 friends lugging a grill, food and drink. “I just wanted to be here with the crowd.”

The action at Game 1 of the World Series wasn’t all on the field and in the stands. Plenty was happening in the Edison Field parking lot, where hundreds of people without tickets traded the comfort of home for a slab of asphalt and a chance to be at least close to history.

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The lot began filling up four hours before the first pitch was thrown. By 3 p.m., the smell of carne asada, burgers and chicken mingled with the sound of booming hip-hop music and the buzz of airplanes and helicopters overhead.

With tickets going anywhere from $400 to more than $1,000 on the street, the parking lot was the deal of the day. A carload cost you $10, motor homes $40. But if you wanted to spread out, like Danny Frechette did -- he commandeered 10 spaces for his 31-foot rolling tailgate headquarters, a pickup truck, a grill, two tables, a dozen lawn chairs and a 27-inch TV -- no one seemed to mind.

“It’s fun to be out in the parking lot. It’s the atmosphere,” said Frechette, 39, of Bellflower. “Everybody’s excited. Everybody’s wearing red. Everybody’s screaming. There’s no better place to be.”

Well, maybe inside. Frechette and his friend, Noah Musser, bought tickets to today’s game on EBay.

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It set them back $750 -- a lot more than the keg they covered with a blanket Saturday.

“It took me a couple of days to rationalize it,” Musser said of the ticket purchase.

“The way I look at it, I’ve been a halo fan all my life and I don’t know whether something like this will ever happen again. It’s for the memories.”

Mike and Susan Lombardo looked into getting tickets to Saturday’s game, but the price of being inside turned them away.

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So they settled for outside. The Garden Grove couple brought their 11-year-old son and his friend to the parking lot, plopped a satellite dish on the roof of their pickup and a small television on an overturned bucket.

“We’re campers, so we rough it all the time,” Susan Lombardo said as the two boys spray-painted their hair red.

“Rough” is a word that aptly describes 18-year-old Bradley Burtness’ pickup. Nicknamed “White Lightning,” the dented rust bucket sported a giant stuffed monkey on its roof and a series of bullet holes on one side.

“West Hollywood,” Burtness explained. “Scuffle over a parking spot.”

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But the truck’s battery works, and that’s all that was needed to help power the TV that he and about a dozen friends watched during the game.

“We don’t have $800 for a ticket. So we got out the ... tube and came here,” Burtness said. “We’re chillin’.”

As game time approached, Frechette, his friends and their children gathered outside the mobile home, doffed their hats and sang the national anthem. They whooped at the fireworks. They screamed when a military stealth aircraft flew over the stadium, banked and came right over them in a salute that seemed designed just for fans in the parking lot.

“That’s why we’re here,” 34-year-old Darrell Denning said. “That’s hot!”

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