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Game 100: Minnesota Twins @ Los Angeles Dodgers

The Twins will try to buffer against a Dodgers sweep. (Janitor pun.)

Remember the axiom: when it's -20 here, it's 72 in LA. When it's 100 here, it's 72 in LA. There are a million interesting people in Minnesota, and 72 in LA.
Remember the axiom: when it's -20 here, it's 72 in LA. When it's 100 here, it's 72 in LA. There are a million interesting people in Minnesota, and 72 in LA.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 9:10 PM. Vegas odds: -194 LAD / MIN +177

Weather: Clear, Calm, Start Temp 77°

TV: FSN. Radio: Broadcast Towers Vulnerable To Earthquakes

Opponent's SB site: True Blue LA

Quick, name the three oldest MLB ballparks. Fenway and Wrigley, obviously. Dodger Stadium is #3, dating back to 1962. In its 55 years, it's had Vin Scully, Sandy Koufax, Kirk Gibson -- no shortage of great baseball memories. But as lesscowbell reminded us during yesterday's GT, there's a sad history as well.

Chavez Ravine

Basically, there were people living in a little valley, and minding their business, and they got screwed in a political war between two different concepts of Progress.

Keep in mind that before WWII, the West Coast had essentially one major city, San Francisco. Everything else was largely a market town for farmers. LA was populous, and had the movies, but nobody considered it a metropolis in Chicago or New York's league. I used to know an LA old-timer who'd lived in Burbank since the 1920s; when he grew up, Burbank was ranching territory, and he made saddles for a living. He spoke Spanish and a couple of Native languages; that's the mix which lived in Burbank.

The war, with its huge military contracts, turned Portland (shipbuilding) and Seattle (aircraft) into large cities; LA had both industries, plus nearby military bases full of soldiers being trained to fight in the Pacific. After the war, many returned to LA, drawn by the climate, the abundance of cheap housing, and the excellent university system (housing and education white veterans could get partially paid by the G.I. Bill). Many African-Americans who'd worked in those factories during the war stuck around; LA was moderately better than the South. Between 1930 and 1950, the area's population doubled.

Naturally, the city government had A Vision for how to keep things growing, growing -- Progress was the American religion back then. Industry! Freeways! Once upon a time, LA's freeways were not permanently clogged; they represented a kind of freedom. You could live where you wanted yet work or play somewhere else. (Today, a stauts question asked at LA parties is, "how long is your commute?")

The largely Mexican-American community in Chavez Ravine (that little valley) grew most of their own food, and lived in non-fancy homes. The up-and-comers with A Vision regarded this community as a blight; it wasn't Modern, it wasn't Progress. (In some American cities today, drying clothes on a backyard clothesline is banned, for similar reasons.)

The sitting mayor (who'd bolstered his popularity by arguing for Japanese internment during the war) requested and received federal funding to convert Chavez Ravine into a Modern public-housing neighborhood. Residents were promised that their old homes would be replaced by stylish, affordable new ones. The proposal went through; LA would take over the ravine, new homes would be built.

Then came an election. The mayor's opponent decried public housing as a Communist plot. Certainly, the city should spend money encouraging Progress, but this was best done by handing that money to business leaders. The opponent won. So now the people of Chavez Ravine were on land the city basically owned, yet were no longer going to get new homes.

The new mayor pushed for, and got, a deal transferring that land to Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley. At this time, no city west of St. Louis had an MLB team. Putting the first one in LA would signal that the city had Arrived -- it was a big-league town, now. (The justification used for public giveaways of stadium money ever since). And the people remaining in Chavez Ravine were forcibly evicted.

Stories of this sort are common in American cities, as Coach Farmer sagely noted. LA being our most sprawled-out city, it's had more than average. Ironically, the Dodgers' name came from "trolley dodgers," but by the time they moved, the LA streetcar system had been dismantled under political pressure from the automotive industry. So "Dodgers" makes as much sense as the name "Lakers" does.

There are several terrific movies about LA during this period. Chinatown covers real-estate corruption before the war, Devil In A Blue Dress deals with corruption right after the war, and the dislocation experienced by minority workers kicked out of factory jobs when white veterans came home. Info about a documentary on the Dodgers and Chavez Ravine is here.

Onto Today's Baseball!

I get half the feeling LA is just rubbing it in, now. Scheduled for today was their best non-Kershaw guy, Alex Wood, but they decided to spot-start reliever Brock Stewart. He will be limited to 50-60 pitches, per manager Dave Roberts. Brock throws a mid-90s fastball and effective change, mixing in a slider just to be different. He has all of 41 IP in the bigs, debuting last season. Digits ("career" for Stewart, YTD for Ervin):


My PS4 correctly called the first two games in this series (Colon OK/bullpen bad, then Berrios bad), so just for your edification I'll mention that it said Ervin would be good until the sixth inning and the Twins won't hit worth a damn. Clearly it's not my button-pushing skills at fault. Or the 18-minute delay I took to go get beer.

Today's Lineups

Brian Dozier - 2B Chris Taylor - LF
Zack Granite - CF Corey "Pete" Seager - SS
Joe Mauer - 1B Justin Turner - 3B
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Cody Bellinger - 1B
Eddie Rosario - LF Joc Strapp Pederson - CF
Max von Herr Kepler - RF Logan Forsythe - 2B
Ehire Adrianza - SS Yasmani Grandal - C
Jason Castro - C Yasiel Puig - RF
Ervin "Johan" Santana - RHP Brock Stewart - RHP

No BBux back yet, and Sano's still sore in the wristal region.