City of Dreams by Jerald Podair

Compared to many people I know, I am not a well-travelled person. I unfortunately have never made it out of North America. Hopefully, one day I can explore more continents. However, I have been fortunate to visit a lot of major cities in the United States: New York, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Orlando and a few others but to me, nothing compares to Los Angeles.

Cue Randy Newman.

No doubt about it, Los Angeles is different. It does not have the edge, vibe, or feel of a major city. There is a downtown area, but there really is not a city center. Los Angeles really is a collection of different neighbors, ideas, and constructs. Los Angeles is city only a mother could love; if you didn’t grow up with it, then you probably won’t love it.

Los Angeles has the best weather in the entire country, yet you would not catch an Angeleno proudly walking anywhere or boastfully taking public transportation. Los Angeles is traffic, tall fences, and home of the Dodgers.

The history of the Dodgers has been well documented, especially the tumultuous move from Brooklyn. But in the City of Dreams, you get the story of Los Angeles when the Dodgers arrive.

Looking back it is seems ludicrous that a Major League Baseball team would run into any resistance from a major city. At this time, a city was defined by their fandom, so why would any citizen fight the Dodgers? The short answer: politics.

If you are interested in the history of Los Angeles, you will love this book. I found it fascinating how events unfolded during the move. It is tough to imagine that Dodger Stadium or LA any differently, but it was very close. Arguments concerning public use and private benefit, eminent domain, referendums, and court cases; a recipe for a classic book if you love Los Angeles.

Obviously, I look back and see that wisdom prevailed. Today, we see taxpayer built stadiums as big goose eggs. Candlestick Park and Shea Stadium, built around this time, were immediately outdated and no one seemed to shed a tear when they were demolished. Dodger Stadium, however, sits beautifully into Chavez Ravine as baseball’s now third oldest stadium. It stands the test of time.

I love Dodger Stadium. I love LA.

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