Friday, August 24, 2007

Bread and Circuses at Chavez Ravine

From "Starting pitching among keys for up-and-down Dodgers" by Jerry Crasnick at

PHILADELPHIA -- The Dodgers rank second in major league attendance behind the Yankees this season, but Los Angeles fans will never be described as "passionate" in the manner of the hardcore wackos in, say, Boston or New York.

Chalk it up to East Coast bias and color-coded television images. When every visiting broadcast pans out to show white headlights streaming into Dodger Stadium in the third inning and red taillights leaving the parking lot in the seventh, it reinforces the notion that baseball is a nice diversion on the way to something else.

Pitcher Randy Wolf, a Southern California native, knows a bogus perception when he sees one. In his last start before going down with a sore shoulder in July, Wolf pitched three ineffective innings against Atlanta and received an earful from the home fans. The only thing they didn't do was pelt him with beach balls.

"My mom was like, 'Oh my God, they were booing you so hard,' " Wolf said. "I told her, 'I deserve it.' Dodger fans are die-hards. It's definitely a misconception that they're kind of blasé and aloof and don't care."

Crasnick goes on to break down the Dodgers' issues as follows:

  • Can the little guys lead them?
  • Can Russell Martin hold up?
  • Can they shore up the rotation?
  • Veterans or kids?

But it's Wolf's quote about Dodger fans that is most intriguing. Most Dodger fans (at least the ones who attend games) simply want two things: (1) winning and (2) entertainment—and they hate anything counter to those goals.

If the Dodgers are winning, that's entertaining and everybody's happy. But when the Dodgers are losing?

  • Boo the Dodger who's playing poorly.
  • Boo the ex-Dodger who's beating his former team.
  • Boo the usher who confiscates a beach ball.
  • Boo the section that stops the wave.
  • Boo fans of the opposing team.
  • Eat.

There's no gray area with this crowd. Just ask Randy Wolf.


Steve Sax said...

Hey Orel, shouldn't that be "bread and circi"?