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Fields of Dreams


Jon Regardie in the Downtown News this week called for the city to consider or even contemplate the Dodgers moving to still disenfranchised Farmer's Field.

The city presently only knows one major league baseball stadium, the present one, erected at the very beginning of the era when ballparks ceased to be gritty, street-level ballparks and became oversized, antiseptic stadia instead; Regardie wonders if a sequence of events involving AEG might unfold that enables us to know something new entirely, maybe neither a ballpark nor a stadium but a baseball...field.

I have strong magazine memories of Forbes Field and Crosely Field, which even at the time we let go of them seemed part of a past that we let go of with enormous remorse.  (I'm not certain if Regardie was recalling the time when the word "field" naturally appended to the name of a ballpark, as was also the case with Ebbets Field and of course remains the case with Wrigley Field--but by this common semantic tic alone, Farmers Field may be a natural as a baseball host).

The return to ballparks with a more urban feel to them began in earnest in the late 1980s, and the LA Times own architecture critic in the mid-1970s, John Pastier, was at the vanguard of the movement that paid some architectural homage to the old ballparks.  One imagines that if AEG were to become involved with the Dodgers, the field would not become a throwback park like Camden Yard but something new entirely.

It's admittedly hard to imagine a Chavez Ravine without a mound on which Koufax stood; I'm sure there is a natural repugnance for long-standing Dodger apologists to imagine life without Dodger Stadium, but it is also true that in five years, the Dodgers will have been in their present facility for as long as they played at Ebbets.

...But as for me, never a strong Dodger apologist...

The present stadium with its ceaseless noise and blinking bands of lights have cheapened the hallowed grass and dirt and the feel of the sport anyways.

The Regardie plan also calls sticking affordable housing somewhere, as a kind of civic reparation for psychic damage done two generations ago; I'm not for that, but otherwise I don't mind the idea at all.