Monday, April 28, 2008

Commuter Sports

If the move by the Dodgers to Chavez Ravine 50 years ago heralded the dramatic shift of baseball away from subway sports in neighborhoods (Ebbetts Field in Brooklyn) to attracting suburban fans to commute (Los Angeles is the hub of freeway culture), then the proposed $500 million looks like the self-conscious celebration of the auto-commuter lifestyle:

Though the stadium sits near the geographical center of the city, its spirit is wholly suburban. Even more than at other ballparks from the same era, Praeger's design makes it possible for fans to drive right up to the stadium edge, leave their cars and walk directly to their seats.

There is no main entrance -- that would require fans to use their legs more than strictly necessary. You simply slip through one entry portal or another and -- wham -- there is the green field in front of you, with the hillsides beyond. At the end of the game -- or in the seventh inning, depending on the score and the state of traffic on the freeways down below -- you leave your section and hop back into your car.

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