There's a lot of Dodger history in Los Angeles. And, even before Los Angeles, the Dodgers were playing ball in Brooklyn, New York. Kids everywhere have always loved to play baseball in the streets, in an open field or anywhere else while pretending to be a famous Dodger. I was no exception.
When I was a kid, my father took me to watch as crews built Dodger Stadium. I think we used "Angel's Flight" from a spot somewhere near Chinatown. What a great view for a kid who dreamed of playing in the majors one day.
Whenever we went to a Dodger game, like so many people, I wanted a souvenir to take home - anything. Once, for my birthday, my parents surprised me with a kid's Dodger uniform. Wow! Did I love that gift. I wore it to the real Dodger games and when playing my own baseball games in the yard at home.
Then, when I turned eight years-old, it was time to try out for our local Little League. While everyone else was in tee-shirts and Levi's, my parents suggested that I wear my new Dodger uniform. Really? I didn't want to do it, but they insisted. "You'll get all the attention from the coaches and you'll look like a real ballplayer", they said. So, I wore the uniform. And, boy, did I get attention. But, instead of the coaches, I was heckled by the other kids. "Hey, Dodger!" was the best of what they yelled at me all afternoon. I was so completely embarrassed.
I got the last laugh, though. When I was finally chosen for a team, my first season went rather well, hitting over .800 as I recall. And, I won every game that I pitched. However, I didn't wear my Dodger uniform in Little League play. That uniform was quietly retired to my closet and later my memorabilia box in the garage.
I never made the majors or played a game in Dodger Stadium, but I did warm up in the Dodger bullpen once. No joke! I was there at the stadium for the filming of a baseball movie and had the chance to meet a few former greats including slugger Tommy Davis.
Happy endings are great!