Friend of YF-SF Ivan Drucker,

Friend of YF-SF Ivan Drucker, a native Angeleno and childhood chum of Kevin Millar, offers these words of infinite wisdom in response to today’s post re the state of SoCal fandom: I too was in L. A. (my hometown, but I now live in NY) last week. Man, the climate is nice there. As in, really nice. Paradise-nice. Eden-nice. It just seems to always be between 75 and 90 degrees, not humid, with a gentle breeze blowing. It was so…relaxing. I took in an Angels game (for they are and have always been my team); Edison field was lovely, with its cascading waterfalls erupting into geysers as runs cross the plate. I had a great time; fortunately they were playing the Tigers, meaning they won. Oh, to your post — I almost got carried away reminiscing as I look outside at the rain. I’ll concede your point, in a way; I think that L. A. fans aren’t as rabid, generally speaking, as Sox, Yanks, and Cubs fans. I think they’re just not as rabid, period. They’re relaxed. We of the northeast, and those of the midwest, have to endure unpleasant, occasionally gruelling winters, and blistering, sticky summers, bookended by a brief, teasing spring and fall. Angelenos go to the beach all year round. They can afford for sports to fall somewhere short of religion, because they don’t need their team to distract them from the discomfort of their daily lives, as we do, sweating (or freezing) shoulder to shoulder with other damned souls on the T or the El or the subway. With that said, I know many passionate sports fans in L. A. I don’t know if they call in to radio talk shows or not, but I do know that they’re pulling for the Dodgers with every pitch. They might be perched in their living rooms or locked in their cars, but they’re there. And when I went to Game 2 of the World Series last year, I was overwhelmed, literally, by the passion of the fans. Sure, a lot of that was bandwagoneering, but you could feel that a lot of people had been waiting a long time for that day. And even the game that I went to a couple of weeks ago — an outing between the home team who unravelled and injured themselves to elimination and possibly the worst team in the history of baseball — had 40,000 people there. The Angels and Dodgers are 4th and 5th in average attendance this year, together averaging around 75,000 per game, behind New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. (To be fair, Boston and the Cubs have small ballparks so they rank lower, and when sorted by percentage of capacity, they come in first and third respectively.) But you’re right, there isn’t as much of a culture around pro sports. Baseball doesn’t have a hundred years of roots behind it in L. A., and it seems to me that the cities with the oldest teams have the most rabid fans. When I was a kid, before ESPN and FSN existed, I remember when I’d come to New York to see my relatives and I’d be amazed that not only were away games televised, but home games were too. Almost no home games were televised in L. A. So yeah, you might think it a lack of passion, but it might just be perspective. Life and death just doesn’t ride on the Dodgers (or Yankees or Red Sox), in the end. You might see it as a character defect, but I’m sure they see us the same way. [It might also be noted that the kids in SoCal, the epicenter of youth baseball in the US, are too busy playing baseball to obsess over the big boys.–YF]

Posted by YF on 9/2/2003 02:43:34 PM

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