We’ve got the entire Q-and-A with Jon Weisman in today’s editions of the Daily News (linked here)…
The book: “100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”
The author: Jon Weisman (forward by Peter O’Malley)
How to find it: Triumph, 299 pages, $22.95
The scoop: Please, don’t die before you read this, or you’ll deprive yourself of an exceptionally entertaining read on Dodger history, culled by someone who should know, having started the DodgerThoughts.com blog that should be daily reading for any fan of the franchise. Or, non-fan looking for some insight into what to dislike about the way they operate.
Weisman, a former L.A. Daily News sportswriter who works now as an associate editor at Variety, has an objective viewpoint and experienced background in documenting the franchise’s timeline, but also a fan’s thirst for more knowledge to find out why things are and unafraid to give an opinion about why things are.
Such as, No. 91: Resist the Suite.
“Let’s not lie to each other. The luxury suites at Dodger Stadium … they’re luxurious. … If you hang out with a bunch of friends of colleagues — one and the same if you’re lucky enough — a suite at Dodger Stadium is a pretty nifty way to do it … But suites and the sport really aren’t a good fit for each other. There’s barely any way to enjoy both at once. To take advantage of what the suite offers is to stuff the ballgame itself into a hall closet, like the toys you hastily hid away when your mom wanted your room clean. The best vantage point for a game is in a fairly conventional seat on te balcony and requires turning your bak on the suite, to the extent that it becomes just a glorified hot dog stand. And to delight in the sutie’s accoutrements, to wallow in them, necessarily pulls you away from the game. It just doesn’t quite work.”
And as for the All-You-Can-Eat Right Field Pavilion:
No. 96: Evil
“An unlimited buffet at a baseball game? Are the Dodgers trying to kill us? Or just make a killing?”
No. 86 deals with the Dodgers parting with Ross Porter, but sheds light on the fact that he was willing to share the microphone with Don Drysdale when he joined the team in 1988. Drysdale was used to working with a partner during previous baseball broadcasting jobs, and Porter was open to it as well. So during the first inning of a spring training game in Vero Beach, they worked together. After they went to a commercial, owner Peter O’Malley called the booth and told Drysdale it was a one-voice broadcast. Drysdale took up the issue later with O’Malley, who stood firm on his “that is the way we do it here” approach, made most famous by Vin Scully. Now, of course, the Dodgers have had a two-man radio booth for the last couple of years, as well as a two-man TV booth in games Scully doesn’t work.
No. 11: Chavez Ravine.
Where did the name come from?
Weisman cites Bob Timmermann, a senior librarian at the L.A. Central Library, who discovered back in the 1880s, a L.A. County Supervisor named Julian Chavez owned a hilly tract of land north of downtown and the place eventually took his name. “For the most part, it was not a part of the city that most people even knew existed or hwo to get to,” Timmermann wrote.
Yes, we could go on about something new we found out about the Dodgers in all 100 chapters. Even No. 1 on Jackie Robinson and No. 2 on Vin Scully.
The beauty of Weisman’s lengthy research leads him to list No. 100 as a resource for more Dodger information, starting with the L.A. Public Library computer access. His bibliography of books, articles, documents, magazines, newspapers, websites and TV/film available on the team is invaluable for anyone who wants to dig into more.
How it goes down in the scorebook: A large “W” for the Jon Weisman Marching & Chowder Society.
Did you know: Triumph also has an issue of “100 Things ….” for fans of the Red Sox, Mets, Tigers and Rockies. Nothing yet on the Angels. Apparently, with them, you can die and it’s OK. We’re waiting for one on the Seattle Pilots.