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Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox @ The Coliseum, 3/29/08
Yesterday, the Dodgers lost to the Boston Red Sox 7-4 in front of a historic crowd, some of whom spent all day reveling inside and outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The game itself was marred by lackluster pitching and an odd Dodgers outfield formation of two outfielders to try and contain the cavernous center and right field of the old park that originally opened in 1923.
The outing was less a day at the ballpark and more an experience bathed in history. Sitting so far back from home plate, it was difficult to follow each pitch. The ball was a fleck of snow and we were miles away in warm weather.
Still, it might have been the most unique game I have ever attended.
Seeing Vin Scully deliver his signature, "It's time for Dodger baseball" before the game at home plate, watching Joe Torre walk with Tommy Lasorda to deliver the lineup and being a part of an event 50 years in the making with 100,000 blue-clad Angelenos made the day damn near unforgettable.
Getting to the stadium, though, was no day in the park. Coming from the mid-Wilshire area, my group took the Wilshire/Western subway to Pershing Square, where we transferred to a bus that dropped us off in front of the Coliseum.
But if it was easy and relatively quick (30 minutes) getting there, going back was a two-hour trip delayed by poor planning and thousands of fans trying to hop a ride on the MTA. We left an inning and a half early, hoping to beat the rush. At the bus stop, we found a small crowd that grew exponentially with each passing minute the bus did not come.
After 20 minutes, we walked two blocks back to try and pick it up before the crowd. Of course, this was after cabs passed us slowly in the snarled traffic. At least three groups tried to pick up one that trickled past. Two were turned away before the third, who apparently made an offer the cabbie couldn't refuse, got in.
We waited another ten minutes until a bus came. Others fans had the same idea and the 40 line to Downtown filled up quickly, which did not please the people at our former stop when the full bus did not even bother stopping.
A 35-minute bus ride was preceded by a 30-minute wait for the train that took another 20 minutes dropped us off at our cars, tired and weary from a public transportation outing in a city that still hasn't figured out how to utilize its fleet for major outings.
Why would you not run extra buses after the event or set up bus-only lanes to expedite traffic or open another lane to speed things along or run more trains for an event that commanded such planning?
For all the good will generated during the game and all the fuzz from former Dodgers introduced throughout the game - and the throngs seem to lap up the history with passionate applause - the lack of public transportation coordination was less an exclamation mark than a small period for a game that will still be remembered for years to come.
All photos by Jeremy Oberstein