Out of the 18-or-so stadiums I’ve had the chance to visit (that comes off more pathetic than accomplished), there isn’t one that comes close to Dodger Stadium’s disparity between how much I enjoy it and how much I hate it.
This is an awful analogy because not only do I have to reveal that I saw the Sex and the City movie, but I have to reference it in a logical argument about baseball stadiums. But every time I weigh the good and bad sides about going to a game, I have that same plus-minus list that Miranda makes about whether to forgive the cheating baby-daddy/husband-Jew-bar guy and meet him on the bridge.
On the plus side, when I’m at Dodger Stadium, I really enjoy myself. We’ve had good times together in a classic, laid-back, California sort of way. There’s a lot of happy memories that we have together. We’ll always have the beach ball and the wave. An awesome 2009 season loaded with walk-offs and the stadium itself is fantastic.
As in, once you’re in your seat and watching the game, Dodger Stadium is one of the best in baseball. It’s now the third-oldest stadium in the Majors, behind Wrigley and Fenway, and it’s rare that you find any of that mid-Century architecture in all sports, let alone baseball with all its cookie-cutter Camden Yards knockoffs. I love the pastel seats and the sightlines from anywhere are great. No matter where you sit, you can see the entire play.
Plus when you’re behind the plate, you’ve got Elysian Park and the San Gabriels in the distance. You get a perfect California sunset, warm weather year-round and this year’s great team. All-in-all, the experience itself is one of the best in baseball.
But then Dodger Stadium abuses that trust that we’ve built up and the negatives start piling up (let’s throw a basic chemistry reference into an awful joke: Dodger Stadium has more negatives than a carpet’s charged ions in the winter, am I right people?).
It’s as if because the stadium is so great, everything else has to be awful. We can start with the $15 parking fee, which is almost three times more than I paid for the individual ticket in my season ticket package. And if you don’t want to park in the stadium lot, try taking public trans– oh, that’s right, there is no public transportation to the stadium.
Because there is no bus or subway (there was a free bus last year from Union Station but it took ten times longer because you had to go to Union Station, wait for the bus, then sit in the same traffic as the cars), so you never have the fans gathering and the anticipation building as you pick up passengers en route to the game. Nothing beats the packed 4 train with energy building as you emerge out of the tunnel before 161st Street. For the Dodgers, you pay $15 for parking then walk a mile through multiple lots hoping that the entrance is on the same elevation as your parking spot. Or you can try biking up three massive hills.
Plus, Dodger Stadium is one of the only ones that doesn’t let you move around the stadium. Your ticket is only good for the section that you bought. Which – from a rich person’s perspective – makes perfect sense. From my $10/hour perspective not so much. Especially when the entire stadium is empty for innings one through three and seven through nine and all those juicy seats are begging for people to move down for the late innings.
How about, instead of pricing by section, you price by people who care about the game? Dodger fans are the worst. The loudest booing and cheering that you hear is for the success and failure of the wave. If the ump makes the wrong call at a play-at-the-plate and the Dodgers lose, the fans might grumble a little bit. But if someone accidentally hits the beach ball towards the usher who pops it, that’s the angriest booing you’ll hear on this side of the Los Angeles River.
So every time one my weekday games comes up, I have to do that constant fight in my head. I love baseball, the Dodgers are great this year, and the stadium is classic. But do I want to fight an hour across town from Santa Monica to Echo Park, pay an extra $15 to park or walk from Sunset, then endure some of the stupidest wave-crazed baseball fans in the Majors? Is this love? Is this what I married and had a love-child with the Dodgers for? I feel you Miranda. Do you meet the guy on the bridge? I feel you.
But that’s Dodger Stadium: one of the best stadiums in the majors with the worst accessibility and the least-passionate fans. So do you meet the Dodgers at the Brooklyn Bridge or not?