As a little girl, I often fell asleep listening to the Dodger game on a little transistor radio on the nightstand next to my bed. Vin Scully and Jerry Dodgett’s play by play made me feel I was in Dodger Stadium watching all the action. They introduced me to some of the greats like Don Drysdale, Sandy Kolfax, Maury Wills, Frank Howard, and John Roseboro. As I got a bit older, I taught myself how to keep score in the official scorebook and would fill out the details of not only runs, but also balls and strikes, hits, errors, RBIs, and other bits of minutia.I couldn’t get enough of baseball. Because girls weren’t allowed to play on a little league team with boys in those days, I played a street version with my older brother and his friends at the end of our cul-de-sac nearly every day for many years.
I loved baseball and idolized players who often spent the better parts of their careers with just one team. I had my picture taken with Sandy Kolfax when I was 8 years old. I was excited when Steve Garvey and Jim Lafebvre came to speak at my high school. In 1974, my college friend Pat and I cut classes and drove south to the 1974 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Leaving the parking lot after the Dodger’s victory, we spied Dodger owner Walter O’Malley in a nearby car and followed him through the streets of LA before getting him to stop and sign our game program. I still have that program.
I haven’t been to a Dodger game since my kids were little, or any Major League baseball game for that matter. All of the scandals about performance enhancing drugs, outrageous salaries, inflated egos, high ticket prices, and constantly changing lineups have tarnished the game and caused me to look elsewhere for sports entertainment. I still read the sports section and know that the Dodgers are having a pretty good year and I am happy for them. But, like most professional sports leagues, money, both for the owners and many of the players, has changed Major League Baseball in a way that is far from positive. I love baseball with all its strategy, grace and natural power, but now I focus more on the young players who still play the game because it is fun.