*Please enjoy this track (in another window) while reading this post.
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Los Angeles fan, but I’m trying my hardest to appreciate the great things the city has to offer, and at the top of most Angelenophiles (did I make that word up?) “things to love about LA lists” is Dodger’s Stadium.
Immortalized in movies like The Sandlot, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, and A League of Their Own AND lest we forget, Major League, baseball is a sport that brings enemies together, impacts the young lives of it’s practitioners, teaches them the principles of team work, essential life lessons about what’s really important in life; love, honor, respect, dreaming bigger than you’ve dreamed before, losers really can be winners, and reminds us never to forget that one summer, or the once unbelievably awesome, Charlie Sheen (thank you for Young Guns, Men at Work and Wall Street). On a macro level, baseball is one of the fundamental things that describes America and symbolizes the principles for which it stands, and on a smaller scale, the Dodgers do the same thing for the city of Los Angeles.
That being said, I’m not an avid follower of baseball and almost never watch unless I’m actually at the game, at which point I love it. I love the feel of stadiums, the hustle and bustle of people, watching the fans, seeing the lights on the perfectly manicured field. I love watching my friends, who are otherwise fairly well behaved people, go crazy when the Red Sox play the Yankees, or in this case, the Dodgers play the Giants. And I particularly love, stadium food.
By no means am I saying this to provoke a Biggie vs. Tupac-style argument (though I do welcome comments in the form of rap). But it’s a simple fact, Dodgers stadium puts Yankee stadium to shame. And even though the Dodgers started as an East Coast institution, moving from Brooklyn to LA in 1958, the Dodger Dog, hands the dogs in New York their ass’. It’s kind of hard to imagine that the dogs in LA would be better than those from the land of Nathan’s and Coney Island, but it’s a fact, Dodger Dogs rule.
A couple of weeks ago I went with my co-workers to Dodger Stadium for a night game: The LA Dodgers vs. the SF Giants. I had no idea that my co-worker was such a Dodgers nut, but I started to see it when we were standing in line to enter the stadium and she made some disparaging comment to a guy wearing a Giants jacket. After the minimal awkwardness subsided, we scoped out our seats and decided to hit the concessions stand.
As we waited in the lengthy pre-game lines, my co-worker disappeared while I ordered two large domestic lagers.
A few minutes later she reappeared wearing a huge smile and a brand new, Dodger blue, baseball cap. We went to our seats and debated which snack to order from the guy going up and down the aisles selling cotton candy and a variety of other snacks. We settled on Red Vines to accompany our beers (yes, a lame choice, I know).
Obviously, the Red Vines didn’t put a dent in my appetite, so it was time to for the big feed (no self referential promotion intended). I carefully investigated my options: traditional dog or super, grilled or steamed. The original 10 inch “Dodger Dog “was created by Thomas Arthur a concessions manager for the Dodger’s from 1962-1991. I ordered a grilled Original and opted for all of the toppings: ketchup, mustard, onions and relish.
I wondered how long I needed to wait before I went back to the concession stand. A solid five minutes passed, and I washed down the last bites with the end of my beer and asked my co-workers, “Does anyone need anything?” The looks on their faces answered, “Are you seriously getting something else?”
I got back in line and decided I was going big. I ordered one more large beer and the super Dodger Dog, grilled. The difference between the Classic Dodger Dog and the Super, is that the Super Dog is 100% beef and the Original Dog is pork and beef.
Asking me which dog is better, the Original or Super, is like asking a mother which of her two kids is her favorite. (The better looking one obviously. I'm just kidding, the smarter one). They are both delicious hot dogs and I like them both equally....
Later that night, someone asked me who won the game, and I paused for a second realizing I didn’t know. To be honest, once I started eating, I stopped paying attention to the game. It turns out the Dodgers won, but that didn’t matter to me, and I thought about the awesomeness of Dodger’s Stadium.
SPOILER ALERT (I’m about to get sappy, so if you don’t like happy endings, stop reading now). I realized that what baseball is to the United States, is like what the Dodgers are to Los Angeles. And what the Dodgers are to LA, food is to me. If my theory is right, then as long as I focus on the food in Los Angeles, I might pay less attention to the things I don’t like and start to discover more things that I do.