Re “Next Owner Should Hit Dodgers Out of the Park,” Commentary, Jan. 25: Frank del Olmo writes that the Dodgers’ days as an “elite team and a unifying force” are in the past. Hardly. Despite the team’s lack of postseason success in recent years, it has more often than not been a contender. If the team is not “elite” next season, blame may be laid solely at the feet of the purchase by Boston developer Frank McCourt.
The Dodgers not a “unifying force”? Where else are 50,000-plus Angelenos of all ages and ethnicities found as often as at Dodger Stadium? Season attendance has been over 3 million 18 times in the last 26 years. Yes, those would include recent years, Mr. Del Olmo.
Del Olmo decries the fact that the L.A. City Council has “meddled” by introducing a resolution to keep the team under local ownership. Please. To many, Los Angeles did not truly become a city until the Dodgers and their stadium came into being. Who better than our local leaders to attempt to be saviors of this great civic symbol?
Del Olmo writes of those who lost their homes so that Dodger Stadium could be built. Of course that was tragic. Whatever compensation was made, there could be no true reparations for those families -- and to now rebuild homes on the land would only add insult to injury.
But Dodger Stadium was a true gift to all of Los Angeles. By choosing this spectacularly idyllic setting, O’Malley gave us a structure in which to house our civic pride. As anyone who has sat in the stands on a balmy summer night and looked beyond the field at the breathtaking panorama will attest, Dodger Stadium remains the “crown jewel” of major league ballparks. Certainly Los Angeles needs more affordable housing, and there are many locations available for that. But Dodger Stadium is a castle that belongs to us all.
I have to wonder, when was the last time that Del Olmo set foot in Chavez Ravine? It is, in my opinion, by far the most beautiful place to watch a ballgame. He calls it an “aging stadium,” ignoring the remodel of 2000. A close look at the box scores shows that hundreds of thousands of people come to Dodger Stadium every year long after the team is out of contention. In fact, the Dodgers haven’t won a playoff game since 1988, but the people keep on coming. Obviously the beautiful stadium experience is as much of a draw as the game. Otherwise, the fans would stay home most Septembers.