Don't Get Left Out, Sit in the Left Field Pavilion
By Peter Karl/Special to LAist
Jerry Sands is a lucky man. A baby in the Dodgers starting line-up, Sands is fortunate to have his crib placed in the most exciting location in Dodger Stadium, left field. Unlike other position players surrounded by empty seats, in left field, Sands is not alone.
It’s no secret. Attendance at Dodger Stadium this season has been dismal. Average attendance is roughly 35,429 through twelve home games this season. Through the same number of games last year, they averaged nearly 45,000. These, of course, are team reported figures that don’t account for the no-shows.
But Jerry has good company in left field. Being the highly anticipated prospect he is, Sands will shed his Dodger blue diapers very soon. But that’s major thanks to 3,000 fans who sit in the pavilion seats directly behind him. On his debut against the Atlanta Braves on April 18th, those in the Left Field Pavilion (LFP) welcomed the 23 year-old rookie with chants of “Jer-ry! Jer-ry!” ripped straight from the daytime TV staple “The Jerry Springer Show.”
“I have had that happen in minor league stadiums before, but it's a little different when it's a couple of thousand,” said Sands after his debut.
After his first major league hit, a double off Braves ace Tim Hudson, they cheered. After a sacrifice fly to right field earned him his first major league RBI, they cheered louder. After losing a ball in the unfamiliar lights of his new home and gracefully falling to the turf making a faux-diving catch, they erupted. The Left Field Pavilion even gave Sands an ovation after both of his late game strikeout, albeit after he was buzzed over the head by Atlanta Braves’ pitcher Tim Hudson.
“I didn’t know how to react to that. They were still supporting me after a strikeout so I guess they like me a little bit. I just hope they’re chanting for me on those down days.”
What was Mannywood last season is quickly becoming Jerrywood in 2011. To put it bluntly, if you are planning to go to a Dodger game anytime soon, get yourself a ticket in that Left Field Pavilion. In a stadium that can be eerily empty on weekdays, you can join the unwavering passion that shows up every game. From diehards to families to college kids to the hoards of security officers, the LFP has it all.
You don’t have to give a damn about Frank McCourt. You don’t have to give a damn about Jerry Sands .235 average (for now, at least). You don’t even need to care that the club is 13-13 and in 3rd place in the division (um, for now at least). Just grab a beer and a bag of peanuts, or bring your own food if you want, and join the Dodger faithful and enjoy a ball game. And while you’re there, do notice the ultra-manly saunter of Jerry Sands and show your support for the Dodgers next big star.
“When you have a fan base that’s supporting you like that it’s fun to have them back you,” said Sands, probably adjusting his belt like he seems to do every 5 seconds, “I appreciate them coming out and supporting me.”