Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Polman: Why Dodger Fans Leave Early

Well, there goes my “Amelung’s Grabbing a Bat!” theory.

But there I go, blabbing about parking and traffic again. I’m really here to try and explain the bugaboo I’ve always had with the Dodger Stadium experience: why huge numbers of fans routinely show up in the 3rd and 4th innings and leave after the 6th and 7th.

Avoiding traffic? I don’t buy it. Nearly every one of the 17 ballparks I’ve been to have their share of entering and exiting gridlock. Length of the drive? Sorry. People trek to St. Louis Cardinals games from as far away as Arkansas, and I never see those stands emptying out before the stretch inning. As I see it—and I’ve been seeing the evidence around me for over 25 years—many Dodger fans come late and leave early because willfully or not, they are disengaged from the game. Unless it’s a final weekend or postseason contest with something at stake, these fans do not treat the game as a dramatic event but as a social one, like going to a big family picnic or a real cool party where you arrive fashionably late or leave early before the beer runs out. The game is merely the thing going on the background you look up to cheer and boo once in a while. I would never think of showing up late to a play or leaving a movie early, but if I was just in the mood to catch a few scenes, maybe I would.

...I don’t mean to be overly critical of my local fan base, just observational. This is still a free country, and people can attend ballgames for whatever darn reason they want. I have no plans to ever stop going to Dodger Stadium. I have my secret street route that always gets me there on time, and I’ll never tire of the magnificent view of palms, eucalyptus trees, and purple San Gabriel Mountains beyond.

Just don’t bat a beach ball in my direction, because there’s a good chance I’ll pop it.

Repoz Posted: September 02, 2012 at 08:53 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Bob T Posted: September 02, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4225084)
When did Giants fans turn into exemplars of fan behavior when it comes to arrival and departure times? Do all Giants fans watch games with extreme reverence? That would be news to me.
   2. Gamingboy Posted: September 02, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4225210)
When I asked an usher in Anaheim about this once, he said they even have a phrase for SoCal ball fans who leave early to beat traffic: "Front-runners".


That said, I must say this about Dodger fans: Listening to Vin Scully in the car probably is almost as good as being there. Almost.
   3. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 02, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4225219)
Nothing beats the sights of thousands of brake lights in the parking lot as Gibson's ball sails into the bleachers.
   4. TerpNats Posted: September 02, 2012 at 05:12 PM (#4225227)
I have no idea if the Kasten/Johnson/Guggenheim group has any interest in the McCourt plan of creating a year-round shopping/entertainment venue at Chavez Ravine, but if they do, they need to work with Metro in creating some sort of rail spur to the ballpark, either from Union Station or from Chinatown on the Gold line, especially since Los Angeles is becoming more "urban" in its development and more dependent upon mass transit. It's interesting that you almost never hear of fans of Staples Center teams leaving early, and transit may play a role in that.
   5. Bob T Posted: September 02, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4225257)
I challenge anyone to find over 1000 brake lights visible in any shot of the Dodger Stadium parking lot as Gibson is clearing the bases. You will find ONE.

Silent YouTube clip

BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WERE STILL AT THE STADIUM.

You can't listen to Vin Scully in your car on the way home. He's off the radio after the third.
   6. Bob T Posted: September 02, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4225261)
Staples Center has less than 50% of the capacity of Dodger Stadium. And it's parking lots are scattered all over Downtown so, unlike Dodger Stadium, cars aren't trying to exit any one place at one time.

I've taken public transit to Staples Center and it's not all that great. The stop nearest Staples is outdoors with little cover on it. There is one train line that stops there (the Blue Line) and, unless you are heading to Long Beach or other parts south, you have to ride it one stop north to 7th/Metro and then transfer to the Red, Purple, or Expo line. And if you want to take the Gold Line to Pasadena, you then have to ride two more stops on the Red Line to Union Station, where you can transfer to the Gold Line.

There are no extra trains run for any event at Staples.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4225266)

I went to a Jets game a couple of years ago, great seats near 50-yd line. More than a dozen season ticketholders got up with around 6-7 minutes left in a close game - as they apparently always do.

The ones I noticed beforehand seemed engaged in the game until then, but when it's time it's time, I guess. And these are only eight real games all season. My theory would be that these guys get as much out of the tailgating as they do the game itself. At least, that's the best I can do so far...
   8. Bob T Posted: September 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4225280)
Thing is that some people are so intent that there is a "right way" to be a spectator.

As long as you are not bothering the people near you, you should be able to watch as much or as little of a sporting event as you want. You paid money to get in (most of the time). It's your choice about how to spend your time.
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 02, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4225282)
I challenge anyone to find over 1000 brake lights visible in any shot of the Dodger Stadium parking lot as Gibson is clearing the bases. You will find ONE.

I hope that guy got the other light fixed before he got a ticket!

But there are worse ways to miss an all-time iconic moment. Frank Sinatra was at the 1951 Branca/Thomson playoff, and missed the winning home run. Two seconds before Thomson swung, Jackie Gleason vomited all over Sinatra's shoes.
   10. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: September 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4225286)
Old joke:

At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, during the 100 meter dash folks got up to leave after 70 meters.
   11. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 02, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4225306)
But there are worse ways to miss an all-time iconic moment. Frank Sinatra was at the 1951 Branca/Thomson playoff, and missed the winning home run. Two seconds before Thomson swung, Jackie Gleason vomited all over Sinatra's shoes.


I didn't watch Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS and missed Dave Roberts's steal and David Ortiz's home run. I went to the Patriots - Seahawk game with friends but they wouldn't let us in. A friend got tix from a lawyer he knew that had season tickets to Gillette Stadium. Turns out he gave his tickets to a state police cadet for the previous Pats home game. The cadet put them on e-bay. The Patriots cancelled his season tickets and sold the seats to someone else. We had no idea about this until we tried to get into the stadium.

My friends and I rode back to Connecticut. I got home and went to sleep really early. It was a crummy day and the last thing I wanted to do was see the Red Sox get swept by the Yankees.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: September 02, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4225329)

I don't think any Red Sox fan - or anti-Yankees fan - had any great imperative to watch Game 4 or 5 (until after the World Series, of course).

Game 6, maybe, and Game 7 - well, at that point, fun even just to enjoy the pre-game no matter who won. That was cage-rattling of the highest order. Then the circus led off with its best entertainment..



   13. steagles Posted: September 02, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4225344)
does this guy still do PBP after scully leaves the broadcast?
   14. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 02, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4225347)
Yes, it is Steiner and Rick Monday on the radio call. Steiner is good, Monday is average.
   15. phredbird Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:55 PM (#4226753)
i think the arrive-late stuff is true, and that is definitely traffic.

the leave-early stuff is exaggerated. the fans stay if the game is even marginally competitive.
   16. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: September 05, 2012 at 01:32 AM (#4226817)
The stop nearest Staples is outdoors with little cover on it. There is one train line that stops there (the Blue Line) and, unless you are heading to Long Beach or other parts south, you have to ride it one stop north to 7th/Metro and then transfer to the Red, Purple, or Expo line.


It doesn't disprove your point, but the Expo Line stops at Pico. I was walking up Figueroa a few days ago and noticed there were more Blue Line trains than I expected. That's when I remembered the new one existed.
   17. Greg K Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:29 AM (#4226832)
I watched the entire 2004 ALCS (except for game seven) on Fox's online "plate cam". Essentially you had the TV audio broadcast, but the only visual was a camera in the plate looking up Jorge Posada's nose. It actually wasn't until I watched "Fever Pitch" that I saw how close a play the Roberts steal was.
   18. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 05, 2012 at 06:03 AM (#4226834)
the leave-early stuff is exaggerated. the fans stay if the game is even marginally competitive.

I don't know how exaggerated it is -- a lot of people definitely leave early, even if the game is competitive.

It's 9:30, and still in the sixth. It's a weekday, and you have kids with you. Promotion night, Kershaw pitching, 50K+ in the stands. You know the game is going to go until close to 10:30, and then it's ten minutes out to the car, and perhaps 30-40 more before you're even out of the lot. Then another half hour to get home to Canoga Park or wherever. So, close to midnight. You know the choice a lot of people make.

The point of the article is right: the Dodger Stadium parking lot is a cluster****, and it always has been. The writer talks about building a Metro spur line that would take you right to the stadium -- sure, either that or provide free jetpacks with every ticket, I'm not sure what would cost less. My trick was always to park on the street on Lookout Drive or before the Elysian Park entrance and walk in, which in the old days meant walking alongside the cars entering (there are walkways now, but I have heard poor reviews), or bushwhacking your way up the hill. Parking on the Chinatown side and starting the evening there is a fun way to do a Dodger game, but walking 20 minutes through downtownish LA is exactly the sort of thing most Dodger fans are unlikely to do. They could make the walk in to the ballpark from the outside easier, that's for sure. They already provide a cheap shuttle from Union Station. Of course, if the game is running late, you might have to leave early to catch the last train!
   19. Karl from NY Posted: September 05, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4227119)
I went to a Jets game a couple of years ago, great seats near 50-yd line. More than a dozen season ticketholders got up with around 6-7 minutes left in a close game - as they apparently always do.

For Giants and Jets games, you have to. The population of the entire stadium parks in a single garage with two entrances. It takes 90 minutes to exit from the top level when all the cars are trying to leave at the same time. (Not sure if the situation was improved any with the new stadium.)
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 05, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4227257)
For Giants and Jets games, you have to. The population of the entire stadium parks in a single garage with two entrances.

What about all the open air lots?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Mike Emeigh
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogCurt Schilling not hiding his scars - ESPN Boston
(19 - 12:08am, Oct 25)
Last: The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott)

NewsblogHow top World Series players ranked as prospects. | SportsonEarth.com : Jim Callis Article
(21 - 12:04am, Oct 25)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(382 - 12:03am, Oct 25)
Last: steagles

NewsblogRoyals get four AL Gold Glove finalists, but not Lorenzo Cain | The Kansas City Star
(14 - 11:59pm, Oct 24)
Last: Zach

Newsblog2014 WORLD SERIES GAME 3 OMNICHATTER
(513 - 11:58pm, Oct 24)
Last: Snowboy

NewsblogBuster Olney on Twitter: "Sources: Manager Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving the Tampa Bay Rays immediately."
(78 - 11:54pm, Oct 24)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(3733 - 11:53pm, Oct 24)
Last: Group Captain Mandrake

NewsblogJohn McGrath: The Giants have become the Yankees — obnoxious | The News Tribune
(10 - 11:46pm, Oct 24)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogDid Adam Dunn Ruin Baseball? – The Hardball Times
(73 - 11:22pm, Oct 24)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogBeaneball | Gold Gloves and Coco Crisp's Terrible 2014 Defense
(2 - 7:47pm, Oct 24)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(915 - 7:37pm, Oct 24)
Last: CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(871 - 7:22pm, Oct 24)
Last: Jim Wisinski

NewsblogDealing or dueling – what’s a manager to do? | MGL on Baseball
(67 - 6:38pm, Oct 24)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogThe ‘Little Things’ – The Hardball Times
(2 - 6:34pm, Oct 24)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

Newsblog9 reasons Hunter Pence is the most interesting man in the World (Series) | For The Win
(15 - 5:31pm, Oct 24)
Last: zonk

Page rendered in 0.1645 seconds
52 querie(s) executed