Posted by: marthabernie | August 30, 2012

CONOR MEETS STEVE GARVEY!

Every summer, I take my grandson, Conor, to a Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium here in L.A.  It has become an annual event for us.  I usually get tickets from someone I’ve done business with for years, and this year they upgraded to a Stadium Club membership so we were looking forward to a different experience.

This is the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers at their current stadium in what used to be Chavez Ravine near Echo Park.  Ticket sales have been good since Magic Johnson’s consortium bought the team, and Magic can be seen sitting in the field box section behind the Dodgers dugout at a lot of the games.  There is an enthusiasm for the Dodgers that we have not felt for many years.

Conor and I arrived just before game time and made our way to the escalators that go up to the Stadium Club level.  I had not been in the Stadium Club since 1985 when Dodgers great Fernando Valenzuela pitched against the Mets’ star pitcher, Dwight Gooden!  It has changed a lot since then and is much larger than it used to be!  We managed to get a table out on the patio and settled in for the evening, deciding we would stay there for the game, even though the view takes a bit of getting used to.  As you can see below, you look right down the first base line toward home plate from behind the foul pole.

We had ordered our drinks and were watching the game when Conor spotted former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey sitting next to our table.  We didn’t want to disturb him (he seemed to be having dinner with a large family of people), but our waitress said that he would not mind and that we should feel free to approach him.

Camera in hand, we walked over and Conor asked for an autograph.  Mr. Garvey seemed pleased, signed the ticket Conor had presented, and then turned and smiled so that I could take a photo or two.

What Conor didn’t know is that I met Steve Garvey in 1974 when he spoke at a dinner I attended for a work event.  Actually, I sat next to him throughout dinner until he got up to speak to the group.  Back then there were no cell phones and I don’t think anyone took any photos.

Anyway, I’ve been going to Dodgers ball games since they moved from Brooklyn in 1958.  They first played in the LA Coliseum (built for the Olympics in the 1930’s and used again for the 1984 Olympics), putting a baseball field at one end of what is really a track and field/football stadium.  My father always bought the cheap seats but I distinctly remember going down to what was the right field wall and talking to Frank Howard.  This had to be 1959 or 1960.  It was the glory years, Gil Hodges, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Tommy and Willie Davis, John Roseboro and many other greats.

When Conor was younger, he was amazed that I knew so much about baseball.  He had seen a video tape of Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series homerun, hit when he was injured and suffering from a stomach virus.  Conor could not remember Gibson’s name but was impressed when I supplied name, position, and a description of how  Gibson hobbled around the bases, pumping his fist, after hitting the ball into the right field bleachers.  Conor and I have shared baseball ever since.  Next year we are probably going to go to Pennsylvania to catch games at the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Stadiums, and it’s not that far to Cooperstown….


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