Opening day brings joy, frustration to residents near Dodger Stadium and fans
Daniel Garcia and Marcus Larsen had Tuesday, the Dodgers’ home opener, circled on their calendar for very different reasons.
For Garcia, it was a time to celebrate and have a barbeque at his house on the newly christened Vin Scully Avenue, just down the hill from Dodger Stadium.
“It’s an L.A. tradition, we all want to have fun,” said the 27-year-old, holding a platter of freshly grilled tacos.
But for Marcus Larsen, 48, who lives around the corner on Lilac Terrace, opening day is the beginning of months of crowded streets, loud music and drunken revelers.
“It’s just a pain,” said Larsen, who said he has seen fans fighting in the street after games and can hardly bring himself to root for the Dodgers.
Enrique Hernandez (14) tosses a bat after striking out to end the game as the Dodgers lost their home opener to the Diamondbacks, 4-2, on April 12.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (5) throws from the seat of his pants to put out Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt during the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ home opener.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) gets high-fives in the dugout after driving in the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of a game on April 12.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Reliever Chris Hatcher walks back to the mound after giving up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss in their home opener.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Yasiel Puig gets his left hand on the base ahead of the tag for a double in the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ loss to the Diamondbacks, 4-2, in their home opener.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Catcher A.J. Ellis tags out Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo at home plate in the 6th inning.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) gets high-fives at the dugout amidst cheering fans as he scores on a squeeze bunt to give the Dodgers 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis’ squeeze bunt scores second baseman Howie Kendrick to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second inning.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Kathy Morales of Burbank dances in the crowd on opening day.(Christina House / For The Times)
Robert Rocha of Echo Park shows his Dodgers pride on opening day.(Christina House / For The Times)
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda has a shut out the Arizona Diamondbacks through five innings of play on the opening day at Dodger Stadium.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, left, gets high-fives during introductions during opening day at Dodger Stadium.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is honored at home plate on his last opening day on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at Dodger Stadium. Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley is on the left, and Magic Johnson is behind Scully.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Former Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke is swarmed by the media on his first return to Dodger Stadium as an Arizona Diamondback.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
An American flag covers the field during the singing of the national anthem at Dodger Stadium for the home opener.(Christina House / Christina House)
Dodgers fans wait for the game to start.(Christina House / Christina House)
Marc Ludwick of Santa Clarita takes a photo of the flyover at Dodger Stadium during the home opener on Tuesday afternoon.(Christina House / Christina House)
Dodgers fans file into Dodger Stadium for the home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.(Christina House / Christina House)
The band “Mora Azul” belts out music to set the proper tailgating mood during opening day of Dodger celebrations in Elysian Park.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
The food is still arriving at opening day celebrations in Elysian Park, where live bands, barbecues and fun are all bundled together in a giant tailgate party.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
LAPD mounted patrols are part of an increased presence during opening day celebrations for the Dodgers in Elysian Park.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Dodger fans barbecue at Elysian Park on Tuesday.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Dodger fans drive through Elysian Park on opening day of the Dodgers’ home season.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
LAPD mounted officers patrol Elysian Park on Tuesday during opening day celebrations for the Dodgers.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Opening day celebrations in Elysian Park mean bands, barbecues and cheers for the Boys in Blue.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Dodger fans gather in Elysian Park on Tuesday to celebrate opening day of the team’s home season.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
The smell of burgers on the grill permeates Elysian Park, where Dodgers fans listen to bands and enjoy some tailgating fun before the first home game of the season on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Garcia and Larsen’s differing reactions to the first game of the season show the pleasure and pain of living in the shadow of Chavez Ravine. For all the excitement the contests bring, they also can bring a deluge of unwanted noise and even danger, some residents say.
In 2011, Bryan Stow, a Giants fan from Northern California, was beaten after opening day and suffered serious brain injuries. Two men later pleaded guilty in the attack.
Since the attack, the Dodgers have increased security measures around the stadium and the LAPD has cracked down on enforcing open container laws. There was a heavy deployment of officers at the stadium Tuesday.
An officer stopped Bryan Gonzalez as he walked toward the stadium with a paper cup. “You’re not drinking beer, are you?” the officer asked.
“No, sir,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez and his friend, Alex Arias, said they didn’t mind the extra police presence.
“They want to shut things down, but at the same time, we understand,” Arias said. “We’re just trying to enjoy the game.”
Most fans seemed unconcerned about security issues. Honking cars snaked up to the stadium with Dodger flags in their windows, and musicians played on lawns.
“Arriba, los Dodgers!” shouted the lead singer of a Norteño band.
Karla and Armando Osorio left their Montebello home in time to arrive at Elysian Park at 7:30 a.m. after packing coolers full of tortas, chicken wings and drinks. But when they got there ahead of the 1 p.m. game time, they found that many street entrances were blocked off.
After an hour of searching, the Osorios finally found a parking space and decided to go to the Short Stop bar on Sunset Boulevard instead of picnicing, then walked to the stadium for the game.
Karla Osorio said she was slightly disappointed she wasn’t able to tailgate with her friends but still planned to enjoy the day.
“Because when you’re coming to a game, Dodger spirit will remain positive,” she said.
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