30 baseball books for April ’16, Day 30: The Dodgers and the ‘70s, a deliciously decadent look

The 1978 Dodgers team photo.

The 1978 Dodgers team photo.

The book: “Dodgerland: Decadent Los Angeles and the 1977-78 Dodgers”
The author: Michael Fallon
The vital statistics: University of Nebraska Press, 472 pages, $34.95. Released April 19
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website. Also, the writers’ website.

  330ProductImageHandler.ashxThe pitch: It’s a fitting quote Fallon uses to start the last chapter – actually, the afterward – in this book about the Dodgers, taken from an August, 1979 edition of Time magazine:
“Nobody is apt to look back on the 1970s as the good old days.”
The Dodgers transitioned from the tumultuous ‘60s (as we just finished reading in “The Last Innocents”) into a spiral at the start of the ‘70s.
We were there. We went through it.
The franchise found some stability with a home-grown infield, a Don Sutton-led pitching staff, and a revived fan base, but all they had to show for it were three trips to the World Series during that decade – all of them losses.
The last two of them — back-to-back painful thwarting by the New York Yankees – are what Fallon holds up for an intricate inspection, clearing away the palm trees to intentionally craft a “Bronx Is Burning”-type narrative that seems to demonstrate that the Dodgers epitomized the concept of “promise unrealized” during a time when strange vibes were channeling their way through Southern California.
With Fallon, who just turned 50 and was in his pre-teens during this time he writes about in Dodger history, we have a Southern Californian native with a vested interest in delivering the story.
His family moved to Pasadena when he was 3. He recalls becoming a Dodgers fan by age 7 and remains one to this day. He lived in and around the east side of L.A. County and did undergrad work at UC Berkeley until leaving for the Peace Corps in the 1990s.
Now residing in Mendota Heights, Minn., just outside St. Paul, Fallon has become an art and culture specialist, with his most recent 2014 book, “Creating The Future: Art and Los Angeles in the 1970s,” providing a layer of foundation for this project that’s as much interpretive as is it reporting what happened.
The four main touchstones to Fallon’s story are four men named Tom:
0314_largeA) First-year Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, trying to impart a new sense of team unity;
B) Writer Tom Wolfe, who coined the phrase “The Me Decade” for this period;
C) Tom Bradley, the re-elected mayor of Los Angeles who, during this period, was focused on getting the 1984 Summer Olympics to his city;
D) Tom Fallon.
If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because it is Michael Fallon’s grandfather, hardware store owner from Alta Loma resident at the time the Dodgers were on this run and whose story is used to try to characterize what many were navigating in real life.

For what it's worth: Davey Lopes auctioned off this 1977 NL championship ring.

For what it’s worth: Davey Lopes auctioned off this 1977 NL championship ring.

The book is also in two parts, covering first the 1977 season (and what out-of-sync events fed into it) and then the 1978 season (and how the Dodgers tried to move on from there).
The main Dodger characters are familiar: Sutton, Steve Garvey, Steve Yeager, Rick Monday, and each of them get special attention. Through their achievements on the field, and exploits off of it. (And, with Garvey and Sutton, even in the locker room, where Glenn Burke and Spunky Lasorda once met).

Also: Steve Garvey auctioned off this 1978 NL championship ring.

Also: Steve Garvey auctioned off this 1978 NL championship ring.

Wolfe is there as one who captures what L.A. was about during that time, watching from his loft in Manhattan. And the perception of California at that time was one of a faux paradise, a dream state of mind that was starting to fizzle, far less perfect than had been propagated.
So, if you’re looking at these Dodgers as if they were an artistic expression, you might say Los Angeles was going through its Blue Period.
Within Fallon’s framework, you might be able to revisit it with a more critical eye and really see it for what it was – far more interesting than maybe we gave it credit for when we lived through it.

More to know:
Fallon explains in more detail through our email Q-and-A about his project — what attracted him to it, why it still resonates and what he thinks readers today can glean from that period:

Q: What’s your background interest in baseball and how it plays a role in your life?
1947340A:  My interest in, and love for, the sport of baseball is multifaceted — for me it’s familial, territorial, emotional, and intellectual — but baseball memories do punctuate my interior story of my life. As I mention in the book, I am a third-generation Dodger fan, as my grandfather adopted them in New York in the 1930s, and, having long been intrigued by the history of the Brooklyn team, this family history gives me a lot of pride. My dad was a later adopter of the Dodgers, having first had a juvenile attraction for the New York Yankees that waned after both his family (in 1954) and the Dodgers (in 1958) both moved west from Albany.
It was of course easy to fall for the Dodger teams of my dad’s teen years (in the late ’50s-early ’60s) and of my youth (in the later ’70s) — they had the history, the clean blue uniforms, and they won tons of games. But my grandfather also helped foster a love of the Dodgers in my dad by taking him to experience at least one game in person, at the L.A. Coliseum in 1960 thereabouts. My dad later turned around and did the same favor for me at Dodger Stadium. I can still recall the sounds and feel and sights of my earliest Dodger games — the taste of the Dodger Dogs and Cracker Jacks, the cool evening air settling over Chavez Ravine, the smell of the sweat, cigarette smoke, and spilled beer of the fans around us, among many, many other memories.
79-27frI was weaned on the mid-’70s Dodger teams and can still see guys like Buckner, Paciorek, Garvey, Cey, Russell, Baker, Sutton, Rhoden, Rau, John, et al, teaching me about how a professional ballplayer behaved on the ball field and, ultimately, how they won games.
Emotionally, baseball provided many of the highlights of a sometimes anxious childhood. Times were precarious for our lower middle class family, but I remember for example the excitement in the household, my dad and I both jumping around the house and screaming and slapping each other five, when the Dodgers clinched the pennant in 1974. I don’t recall many other moments like that with him throughout my youth. He was always struggling to bring home enough money to keep us afloat, always tired and distant, so baseball was something that helped overcome that.
morgan-76t-llIn time, baseball also helped foster an intellectual curiosity in me as well. That is, I can also vividly recall the time that I, at age 8, made the connection between the value of experiencing the actual game and then later reading an analysis of the game in the daily paper. I can in fact pinpoint the exact day this first happened –August 24, 1974. On that night against St. Louis, Davey Lopes tied the modern NL record for most steals in a game, with five. I found this feat so intriguing as I heard it on the radio, the next day I picked up the L.A. Times sports section and read about it, learning things the history of baserunning in the pre-modern and modern eras, the other players who had equaled Lopes’ feat, the AL players who had stolen more bases in a game, etc. I eventually became hooked on the interplay between the actual game as it was played, the analysis afterward, and how both are enhanced and informed by an understanding of the history and lore and culture of the game.

$_1Q: What ultimately drew you to this subject matter — your grandfather, your following the team — and particularly the ’77 and ’78 Dodgers?
A: All of these factors you mentioned played a role, of course, in my interest in the subject of “Dodgerland,” and I tried to portray how my grandfather gently passed on his love of baseball and of the team to my dad and to me, but there was more to it as well.
I grew up with the Dodgers of the late 1970s as a constant presence in my private life, my family life, and my social life around the neighborhood. We all were — all of us kids on my side of the metro area — Dodger fans in the 1970s.
At certain times of the year it was almost all we cared about. In driveway pickup games of wiffle ball, in sandlot pickup games of tennis ball baseball, and in little league practices we pretended we were our favorite Dodger players and tried to mimic their style and well-practiced technique.
iWe copied batting stances (Garvey’s and Cey’s were the easiest); we argued who was the more deserving All Star; we boasted about whose fan club we belonged to, compared and traded the Topps cards of our favorite players, and marveled the few enterprising among us who’d actually gotten an autograph from one Dodger or another. We listened to the baseball games on the radio as often as we could, and we mimicked (as best we could) the intonations of Vin Scully.
We also constantly mused about the team’s chances of making it to the Series. And we cursed the Reds for being so damn good and constantly killing our chances. With all this circling around us, there was almost no chance that a kid in L.A. those days wouldn’t become a Dodger fan, and I fell right in line.
Within this adolescent love of the local team, the Dodger World Series appearances loomed particularly large. And the pain of losing a World Series, of coming so close, when you’re 11 years old and perhaps over-identify with your team is a particularly acute and exquisite one; it’s a pain that I’ve never really gotten over.
Add to this the feeling of seeing a particularly easy-to-dislike member of your team’s AL rival kill your chances with three straight dingers in the sixth and final World Series game — a feeling that is among the darkest, most gut-wrenching and perspective-changing I’ve ever felt—and it’s clear why I’ve never been able to get 1977 (and to a lesser degree 1978) out of my mind.
Still, I might still have never written “Dodgerland” if it weren’t for a couple of events that occurred a few years ago. Late in 2009, my daughter was born. And in the cliche way of parents since the dawn of time, I found myself wondering about what I had — what was truly important about — to pass on and share with my child. This led me to ponder my own childhood and upbringing, what things were meaningful and had significant, what I wanted her to know about me and where I came from.
77e9bac0879e78f0247ddc163f54a478I realized pretty quickly that the somewhat troubled, transitional years for California in the 1970s loomed pretty large in my identity, and so, in order to understand it better, I began to read about the era — there’s quite a large literature about L.A. and about the 1970s. In time, I began to know more about what I had experienced growing up in that place at that time, and more about what really had been happening to L.A. economically, sociologically, culturally, ecologically, and so on.
As to why this translated into a Dodger book, well, in the midst of all this I happened to catch a bit of the mini-series on the 1977 Yankees, The Bronx Is Burning, being rerun on ESPN.
51NDqE3jrRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_And while some of the pain of that year came flooding back to me as I watched, I was also intrigued by how the story was told — how its mixture of the traditional seasonal baseball narrative (a tradition that goes back at least to the era of Ring Lardner, if not further) with a look at the social, political, and cultural history of the time created a vibrant and dynamic story I thought was greater than the sum of its part.
After I picked up I picked up a copy of the Jonathan Mahler book on which the story was based and read it, I grew even more intrigued. I’m not sure exactly when I made the connection between Mahler’s story and what I had been learning about 1970s L.A. in my wool-gathering research, and when I decided I could write the opposite side of the story of that season, but eventually I did make the connection and I began to write.

Q: Do those two Dodgers teams kind of sum up your theme of “promise unrealized” that was kind of prevalent in that time period?
A:
One way to look at the Dodgers’ of 1977-78 is through the “promise unrealized” lens, but I think the true story is more complicated than that.
a0e1a10fe2c54ec721e9e30c96c071b0Sure, the Dodgers were favored to win both series against the Yankees, but in reality they had done very well to overcome two very good NL teams — the dynastic Cincinnati Reds in their own division, and the powerful Phillies in the NLCS — and, as rookie manager (and 1977 manager of the year) Tommy Lasorda pointed out, they had no reason to hang their heads even if the World Series losses did break the hearts of many an 11-year-old boy.
I’ve been thinking about this, and I’m not sure if I’ve completely worked my theory out, but in some ways I think what is truly significant about these Dodgers teams is they represented an important point of transition into our current era of modern baseball (this is just as the history of Los Angeles in that era represented a transitional moment in the American way of life).
Baseball, as others have written, and as I try to cover in my book, went through a great amount of upheaval and change in the 1970s, and it was not a completely comfortable shift.
the-designated-hitterBy the mid-1970s, for more than a decade fan interest in baseball (as measured in attendance and TV ratings) had been stagnant, and the game had long been surpassed in popularity by football and was fast in danger of losing out to basketball. This stagnation was partially because of changes to the game’s rules, culture, and economic structure, but also partially because of changes in the wider society.
For many, especially older fans, the grand old game seemed not only to be getting worse, but also to be teetering on collapse. The labor battles between team owners and the players association that led to the first ever strike in American sports and, later, to free agency, contributed much to this situation. And free agency in particular, which finally and fully landed in the league for the first time during the off-season before 1977, worried everyone associated with the game that year: the fans, team management, the players, baseball observers. Old-timers, of course, bemoaned free agency, complaining about the potential economic damage it would do to the teams and the game, about the new era of “me-first” selfishness it was creating in players, about the seeming irrevocable loss of tradition.
andy_messersmith_1As teams across the league struggled to figure out how to deal with the new reality in 1977 in particular, the Dodgers ended up being a pivot point around which the frustrations with free agency (and other changes in baseball) revolved. Walter O’Malley’s team, after all, was among the most beholden to the old order and to baseball traditions — the so-called “Dodger Way,” the era of Branch Rickey, the great pitching tradition of Koufax/Drysdale/et al., and so on.
Because of this, it was no coincidence that baseball’s first bonafide free agent (Andy Messersmith in 1976) was a player looking to escape from the clutches of Dodger tradition, and, some might suggest, Dodger oppression.
This is the same reason that several of the 1977 seasons’ most disgruntled and frustrated players — Don Sutton and Tommy John — were Dodger pitchers looking to renegotiate their contracts to bring them in line with the rapidly rising salaries of other star players that year.
In addition, the team’s new manager, Tommy Lasorda, represented an interesting and wholly modern new kind of manager. At once both refreshingly direct and upfront, as well as deeply complicated and conflicted, Lasorda was the perfect manager for the new era of baseball player. A consummate organization guy and an adherent to Dodger traditions, Lasorda also was an extraordinarily attentive and empathetic player’s manager.
His particular character and approach would provide a lasting template for how to be a successful manager in the late 20th, early 21st centuries—as evident in the number of his former players who went on the manage in the league (e.g., Dusty Baker, Mike Scioscia, Johnny Oates, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and so on).
1977mainThe final aspect of all this was it was probably fated that the team would be crushed, metaphorically if not in actuality, by the single hand Reggie Jackson by the New York Yankees. After all, Jackson was the first great high-profile superstar free agent signing, and the first to truly pay off for the team that signed him. He was also, in most ways, the antithesis of what the Dodgers had represented up until 1977. If the idea of “fate” is a bit of a stretch here, there was at the very least a kind of cosmic poetic justice to having a flashy, self-aware, very modern-ballplayer like Jackson, who actually was a great and secret admirer of the Dodgers and Lasorda, and at best ambivalent about being a Yankee, unceremoniously crush the more conservative and traditional, free agent-averse team while in the process convincing wavering fans and baseball people that the sport of baseball not only would survive the new era of free agency but might possibly be better than ever before.

Q: Just a coincidence that all your main spotlight people in the book are named “Tom” … or was that more another theme you were trying to bring out?
A:
My decision to tell the story of this book through four characters named “Tom” was definitely a conscious one, but I’m not sure the choice was meant to point to any particular theme.
amd-tom-bradley-jpgCertainly, I think the name Tom did evoke, in the mid-to-later part of the 20th Century, a kind of friendly stolidity and capability — evoking the corner cop, the grocery store manager, your favorite uncle, the long-lost best friend from your youth — and I may have been thinking about these associations.
(According to the Social Security administration, “Thomas” was the 10th-most popular boy’s name of the 20th Century, but as far as I know the name was never trendy, nor did it ever fall out of fashion.)
But I don’t think there’s much more to the choice than that.
Whatever the meaning, it might be helpful to say something about my the process of building the book. Because I wanted to mimic the narrative structure of The Bronx Is Burning without in any way copying it, I began to think about figures that represented social/political/cultural aspects of 1970s Los Angeles and whose “journeys” through 1977-78 would reveal something about these years.
The first two were no-brainers: Tom Lasorda and his transition to successful manager would tell the baseball story, while Tom Bradley and his struggles to deal with the local tax revolt, crime problem, and failing Olympics bid would reveal something about the politics of L.A. in those years.
As to the social conditions, having thought for some time about my own and my family’s history, I slowly realized that my grandfather Tom Fallon’s story revealed something about what it was like for an ordinary small businessman to be facing the rapid economic and other social changes that were taking place in L.A. in those years. So pretty early on I had a good idea of what the story arcs for these characters, and for the book, would be.
wolfwThe only problem was figuring out how to tell the story of the wider cultural changes that took place in L.A. in the 1970s. It took much longer for me to figure out a figure that might provide a story that hinted at the slow ’70s dissolution of the ’50s-’60s “California Dream.”
I considered various options — Roman Polanski, Dennis Wilson, Frank Zappa, the Eagles, Ted Marche, George Lucas, the Z-Boys, and so on — but none seemed quite right (though I thought long and hard about the Roman Polanski story, and in the end couldn’t quite give up saying something about that).
It wasn’t until I was researching the central role that California’s culture played in the 1970s being dubbed the “Me Decade” that it struck me: Tom Wolfe.
I had read bunches of articles and books by him that delved into the unique culture of California from the 1960s onward, and it seemed to me he was particularly fascinated by the place. Plus, he had the baseball connection (having tried out for the Giants as a youth), and he had a story arc: His struggle in those years to complete The Right Stuff.
So there it was — there were four Tom characters, which to me seemed a neat and (perhaps too) clever package for the book. What it might have meant thematically-speaking, I never really figured out. But I do think I made the right choice of which figures to spotlight in the narrative.

Q: Would L.A. ties for you be helpful or intrusive if you’re trying to use the Dodgers as your example in how this narrative plays out?
A:
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how to answer this question, as perhaps I am too close to the subject matter — as a Dodger fan, and as a L.A. native who lived through the era.
What I intended is for the story to hinge on the Dodgers and what they represented in the culture of Los Angeles, and in baseball, in 1977-78. Or put another way, I wanted “Dodgerland” to be about what the Dodgers meant to Los Angeles in 1977-78, and how the team reflected, and was informed by, what what was happening in Los Angeles in that era.
Furthermore, in writing “Dodgerland” as my second book I consciously wanted to get away from the direct cultural history kind of narrative of my first book (which was about the generation of visual artists who came of age in L.A. in the 1970s).
Instead, I wanted to try to blend various forms and genres to tell a bigger, more complex story. This is why the story combines a straightforward seasonal baseball narrative with elements of memoir — i.e., the pain and pathos of my family’s particular history — along with wider cultural and social historical looks at the changes that were happening in California at the time.
How the Dodgers fit into this story is much as with many sports history books — as both a device to keep the narrative moving through the calendar, and as a metaphorical stand in for, and mirror of, the values of the time. In the end, I hope I’ve put together a book that is somewhat entertaining even as it is informative.

Q: Do you follow the Dodgers at all today in any way?
A: I sure do. I check the team’s box scores nearly every day like I did starting at age 8 — except now it’s on the ESPN app on my phone instead of the copy of the L.A. Times that was always spread out on the dining room table. I also try to catch a radio broadcast of the home team on SiriusXM whenever I can. Like just about every Dodger fan I know, I feel bittersweet about this being the last season of Vin Scully’s long career — as he was the enjoyable summer soundtrack to my life from as early as I could remember in the early ’70s through to when I left L.A. in the early ’90s. I want to get as much of him in my head as I can before he signs off for the last time.

10centbeernightQ: You pin the moment on when baseball changed, maybe lost it innocence, on the 10 Cent Beer Night promotion in Cleveland – baby boomers gone wild. Is this a starting point as well for the narcissism of the “Me Decade” that Tom Wolfe labeled? Any other points in the sports landscape that might have signaled this as well in your thought?
A:
As I discussed above, because the changes happening to the game had been going on for most of the decade I could have started “Dodgerland” at any of several moments — the 1972 strike, for example, was a good candidate; as would have been the story of how Messersmith became a free agent in 1976.
My goal from the start of the story was to highlight the anxiety and frustration that many fans, players, reporters, owners, etc. were feeling in 1977, and to begin to describe how these feelings related to the Dodger teams of the era.
6a011570c3de61970c01a73dd1bc3e970dIn this, the story of the 10 Cent Beer Night had several advantages. For one, it took place in 1974, the same year that the Dodgers’ long efforts to develop a winning team through the (still-new) amateur draft were finally paying significant dividends. The Beer Night after all took place about a month before the surge that led Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey to become only the second write-in candidate to be voted a starter in the All Star Game.
Additionally, the Beer Night riot was a much more dramatic and concise story than a retelling of the 1972 strike or of Messersmith’s fight for free agency would have been, and the Beer Night story led easily into a discussion of the values and character of the fans, players, management, etc.of the time.
And finally, the Beer Night featured a few key figures who would later have key roles in the 1977 World Series — namely, Billy Martin, who would go on to manage the Yankees with much the same take-no-prisoner ruthlessness as he exhibited on that night in Cleveland, and erstwhile Beer Night plate umpire Nester Chylak, an aging but very traditionalist survivor of the Battle of the Bulge whose unfortunate out-of-position miscall in the first game of the 1977 Series probably cost the Dodgers the game.

SMALL8a_lgQ: What was the impact of “The Glory of Their Times” in your baseball foundation?
A:
The moment my grandfather handed me his copy of Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times” was one of the seminal intellectual moments of my childhood. I knew that my grandfather, for various reasons related to his upbringing and life history, was an amateur history buff, but it wasn’t until he gave me the book and told me I should read it that I had any real access or insight into his interest.
In my family, as I hinted earlier, the men in many ways epitomized what you were supposed to be in the middle of 20th Century in America: Solid; dependable; loyal to (but somewhat distant from) your family; and, most of all, hardworking as hell. All my dad and grandfather seemed to do was work, and as a child I often struggled with the fact that they had precious little time to spend with me.
Among the values of the time, however, baseball was an acceptable way to cross the parent-child divide. With my dad, no matter how exhausted he might be at the end of the day he would always make time, if asked, for a game of catch. In his gruff mornings, he could always share a few words about how the Dodgers had done the night before. And imagine how it felt when he made available an entire afternoon/evening to spend with him at a baseball game.
Scan_Pic0015Needless to say, I devoured my grandfather’s copy of Ritter’s book in record time, and through it I was able to piece together a patchwork picture of what his life must have felt like, what the great players of his youth had been like, what his love of the game of baseball was built on, and how his love of the game related to mine.
After I finished the book and returned it to him, I soon found myself visiting the local library far more often than I had ever done before in order to raid the shelves of whatever other additional baseball books they might have.
There weren’t many where we lived, and none were as good as “The Glory of Their Times,” but it didn’t matter. I devoured every clunky, mass-produced, cheap coffee-table baseball book I could take home from the library, and then, once I’d exhausted the supply, I went back and read several of my favorites over again.
This was how I used to know the lifetime averages, hometowns and batting/throwing arms of certain key players; it was how I knew the stories of every great baseball dynasty — from the Cubs of the early part of century to the 1920s Yankees to the Oakland A’s and Cincinnati Reds of my time; and it was how I learned about the great Hall of Fame players and what they were able to accomplish.
I even used to be able to, thanks to one favorite volume, tell you the winners, and the losers, of every world series from 1903 up to the present time (i.e., 1977) — though unfortunately none of this trivia remains with me today.
So, in sum, I’d say reading that book at that age definitely an impact.

Back-to-back-losers-rare-and-rarely-forgiven-HMH98SV-x-largeQ: What can Dodgers fans of today who read your book use and apply to this current Guggenheim ownership of the franchise, possibly based on any history repeating itself?
A:
I wasn’t really thinking about the current Dodger ownership or team as I was writing this book, intent as I was on telling a particular story about a particular era. To be honest, I’m not completely sure that what the Dodgers went through in ’77-’78, and what was happening to Southern California in the 1970s, was completely relevant to today.
So much has changed in the game — from the ownership structure of the typical team to the amount of money that teams generate, from the experience of fans to the economics of stadiums and TV rights and so on — there’s not much of a direct through-line to connect the eras in any clear way.
The one unexpected object lesson that I learned about the 1977-78 seasons and that I keep coming back to, though, is is that there are always people who have trouble with how the game of baseball tends to change and evolve.
There are always people who believe that the game is not what it used to be and is on an irrevocable decline even though all evidence suggests that through all the changes baseball continues to survive, even thrive.
To put a finer point on this, I was somewhat surprised to learn that the feelings of fans/players/baseball people in the 1970s were, despite the different circumstances and conditions in baseball between the two eras, very similar to the frustration and anxiety that I sometimes hear from older baseball fans today.
What’s more, these feelings were pretty much the same among the old-timers who appeared in “The Glory of Their Times.” The more things change, I guess, the more they stay the same.

Q: Explain what you’re doing on Twitter to try to get people in the right frame of mind for your book, piquing their curiosity:
twxA:
In thinking about ways to promote “Dodgerland” to potential readers and to Dodger fans as the book release date approached, the history buff in me recalled some Twitter handles that I seen that explored a historical subject by using a “real time” calendrical approach to a particular subject.
The first one I saw, I think, was World War II Tweets from 1941 (@ww2today), which tweeted photos and events that were supposed to have occurred exactly 75 years earlier during World War II.
Other intriguing historical twitter feeds included @wwwtxt (“real time” tweets of the early internet circa 1980-94), @1966_Tweets (tweets from 1966), @falklands82 (real-time Falklands War tweets), @eighty4fly (tweets from 1984), and then, signficantly, @baseball1960s and @baseball70s.
(Note, I didn’t discover the exquisite @JohnnyBateman7, which offers real-time tweets that follow the career of backup MLB catcher Bateman, until after I started my own “Dodgerland” effort.)
In addition, it just so happened that the days of the week in 1977 coincided with post-leap day 2016 — making the real time aspect of my #Dodger77 tweets more authentic than they might have been otherwise.
So my idea was that posting “real time” tweets every day from the 1977 Dodgers season might not only be enjoyable to a certain kind of baseball fan but would make a good historical exercise for me. And so far, both things have turned out to be true. Since I started tweeting the Dodgers’ 1977 season on March 30, I’ve gained 150+ (or +15%) new followers — many of whom are very cool, history-minded baseball fans — and I’ve had a lot of fun trying to find pithy but pertinent things to tweet about from 1977.

10843807_701595173281788_1336305135_nQ: One last thing: What do you want readers to come to realize after they’ve finished your book?
A:
Like most readers, I hope they foremost enjoy the story I have told here, and that they learn something they didn’t know about true story of this particular era of L.A. and baseball history. In particular, I hope I was able to open eyes about what was happening in Los Angeles in those day, and about what role the Dodgers played in baseball’s overcoming of the frustration and anxiety of the times.

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