09/20/2004: Thought for the Day:
No one leaves Dodger Stadium in the 7th inning anymore.
The caricature of the L.A. fan is one who shows up in the 3rd, talks on his cell phone for a few innings, then takes off in the 7th. Not anymore. And there's one reason for the change: Eric Gagne. I'm not sure I've ever seen a city have a more visceral connection with one of its players, and that includes Big Mac in St. Louis, Bonds in San Fran, you name it.
As soon as Tracy calls on Gagne, and the gates open in left field, the whole stadium starts to quake – the loudspeakers blast "Iron Man" by Sabbath, the crowd chants "game over!," the video board vibrates with hypnotic Mao-like images of Gagne's face, and the whole atmosphere becomes so magnetized you half-expect everyone's hair to stand on end. Truly, it's the best thing that ever happened to the franchise. The ninth inning is relevant again!
Unfortunately it's not as fun if you're pulling for the visitors. I understand the fascination with Gagne, and if he were wearing Cardinal red I'd probably get his goggled face tattooed to my ass, but man he brings out the blowhard in Dodger fans. On Friday night a guy sitting next to me – some seemingly mild-mannered O.C.-type guy – keeps chanting "men among boys, men among boys" after every Gagne pitch. His kid kept screaming, at the top of his lungs, "GAME OVER!!!" On Saturday night Gagne came in and set down the first Cardinal hitter, which caused my section to launch into the old standby chant: "Cardinals suck! Cardinals suck!" (If the Cardinals suck, I don't know what that says about the Dodgers, but I digress…) Again, I think all this bloodlust is good for the Dodgers, but like the new bad-boy element up in Wrigley, it's a departure from the que sera sera mood at Dodger Stadium in seasons past.
--Brian Gunn [redbirdnation.blogspot.com]
Len on 09.20.04 @ 05:26 AM CST