Dodger Stadium: Too hospitable?

Had an interesting conversation with a Dodgers player yesterday — I won’t say which one, because the conversation was casual and off the record, but there was nothing especially controversial anyway. I was interviewing him for a freelance piece on the songs the players select to have played at the stadium when they come to bat or come into the game to pitch, but didn’t need him for long, so the interview was brief. But after that, we just talked for a few minutes, privately, and we got around to the subject of how Dodger Stadium (this relates to the music) should be more intimidating for visiting teams. This is, after all, sort of the Yankee Stadium of the National League, the place with all the history and such. I have seen a handful of games at Yankee Stadium (about 14), all of them in the playoffs or World Series, and none since 2003. So I don’t know if it’s this way for the regular season. But during the postseason, they would always play Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N Roses, the same song the Dodgers used to play for Eric Gagne’s entrance in the ninth inning, only the Yankees would play it (at earsplitting decibel levels) when the starting pitcher was warming up for the first inning, setting the tone right from the start. Yankee Stadium is an intimidating place for visiting teams to play. Dodger Stadium should be the same way. It’s already the loudest place in the league when there is a large enough crowd and that crowd gets sufficiently fired up during late-inning rallies — especially now that the Cardinals have moved out of old Busch Stadium, which was enclosed and held in the noise, to new Busch Stadium, which is open in the outfield and thus allows the noise to float off into the atmosphere. But as much as I love Nancy Bea on the organ — and no, I don’t think she should be fazed out entirely or even cut back any more than she already has been — the Dodgers should come up with some edge, heavy-metal song for the start of the game. This particular player suggested Paradise City, another tune by Guns ‘N Roses. If Welcome to the Jungle is about New York (I’m not sure it is, but it might have something to do with the so-called concrete jungle), then Paradise City would be the L.A. equivalent. Or at least that was this player’s reasoning was, and I agreed with it wholeheartedly, whether it was sound or not. There are certain teams who, when they go into Yankee Stadium, you fully expect them to get swept (Tampa Bay, K.C., etc.), and it’s not a surprise when they win two of three, it’s a surprise when they win ONE of three. Dodger Stadium should have that same aura about it. But I remember coming in here with other teams I have covered (Rockies, Reds), and it just never did. It has always just felt like this pleasant place, with this beautiful, SoCal backdrop and this laidback organ music and all that. Just a thought. Anyone agree? Or disagree?

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