On April 25th, we met downtown at the Los Angeles Public Library to start our day. Maddie Resch, one of our interns from Occidental College, started us off with a superb overview of Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles history. Neighborhood, controversial site of public housing plans, eventual home to the Los Angeles Dodgers (and, briefly, the Angels) – Chavez Ravine offers a great case study way to understand a great deal about Los Angeles history by way of demography, class, infrastructure, business, sports, and urban identity. Maddie’s talk set us up beautifully for our visit to the stadium. Once there, we all had a great time, though no one more than John Lee, who surely bleeds Dodger blue. Our guide took us deep into the heart of the stadium, we learned about the rituals and histories of teams and players, and we felt like VIPs as we were ushered here and there in special places, spaces, nooks, and crannies. We saw where Mr. Vin Scully broadcasts the games. We felt special in a luxury box. We saw the old visiting team clubhouse, and we got onto the field near home plate to see just how big the place is from the players’-eye view. All in all, this was a very good day in the ways it introduced us to a beloved sports franchise, the history of the Dodger arrival in Los Angeles, and the ways in which professional sports teams foster particular visions of urban identity and culture.
Next up: our last day for this year, a visit to LACMA.