Generally speaking, I don't like to attend live sporting events. Mostly because I'm a big sports fan and while I do get a bit of a rush being there in person, I can't help being aware of just how much of the game I'm missing. I've grown accustomed to all the slow motion, freeze frame instant replays, the oh-so-useful tidbits from announcers (a good example, Reggie Miller explaining what a "titty" is) and thanks to NBA League Pass sometimes I get to see super low budget regional commercials starring average joe ball players.
Sure, I'm super stoked that I was lucky enough to attend Kobe Bryant's 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 but part of me wishes that I watched it in the comfort of my own living room, on my 48 inch big screen TV, endlessly looping Tivo to my heart's content.
So with my dislike of live sporting events established, why did I agree to attend an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum?
Because I'm a moron, that's why.
First of all, exhibition games are worthless. Exhibition baseball games are even more so. No team is going to risk playing their star players in what is essentially a practice game so you usually end up watching players that never actually play (legitimate benchwarmers), or guys that are about to be sent down to the minors. This particular game was even more useless because for some dumb ass reason, the official season has already started for the Boston Red Sox. So get this, the Sox traveled to Japan last week, played two games against the Oakland A's that actually count towards their regular season record, and then they came back to play two totally bullshit exhibition games against the Dodgers.
Had I thought it out I probably would've skipped the whole damn thing but I guess I was too caught up in a "Hey, let's go to a Dodger game!" moment. So not only was the game completely meaningless, but it was being played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The reason is was being played here was that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles and the Coliseum is where they played while Dodger Stadium was being built. Plus this game was promoted to support of the Dodgers' new ThinkCure charity so the tickets had a face value of $2 each with 100% of the proceeds being donated to charity. Which means that the 100,000+ capacity Coliseum sold out instantly.
I already wrote about attending a sporting event with the dregs of humanity a few weeks back. Well, take that experience and multiply it by fifty. I had no idea that the organizers of this event were attempting to break the all time attendance record for a baseball game, which explains the cheap ass price for the tickets. The whole event was a disaster. It was poorly planned and poorly executed top to bottom.
I knew that with that many people attending, getting in and out of there was going to be a nightmare. But I figured, hey, I'm a smart guy, I'll take the Metro! I thought it'd be the best course of action anyway. One, there'd be a ton of traffic so I'd skip that and two, I was meeting a friend there so I'd have a back up ride home in case the Metro was bogus. Which it was.
I remembered Bean Robot's take on public transportation but I thought, how bad could it be? I rode public buses 20 years ago and that was kinda ok, so it shouldn't be that terrible, right? Wrong. Now, the trip itself was surprisingly efficient. One train there from my house, bus stop was right outside the train station, train goes directly to the Coliseum. Easy. Except for the horde of mentally ill homeless people that I was trapped on the bus with. And it got better. Whether it was the muscled Korean dude that held his 85 pound girlfriend off the ground with one arm that got on at Olympic, or the mariachi trio that boarded on Exposition, each stop brought an new and exciting cast of characters on to the bus. It got so fascinating to me that I almost didn't want to get off the bus. Then the homeless guy 2 rows back started dry heaving and I jumped off with the quickness.
I finally arrive at the Coliseum and I call my friend to find out where we're meeting. Our conversation went like this....
"It's Larry. I'm here, where are you?"
"Yeah, I'm not going. Too much traffic."
"You realize that I'm at the Coliseum right now."
"Yeah but I decided to cut my loses and skip it. Sorry."
Fucking great. I thought about heading home but I figured that after all the bullshit I went through to get there, I might as well watch the damn game. But now I was stuck at the Coliseum with no backup plan home. I was totally dependent on public transportation to get home. Screw it, I'd figure that out later.
Inside the Coliseum was another nightmare. Apparently someone thought it'd be a great idea to set up the concession stands in the walkways surrounding the inside of the stadium. This forced people to line up perpendicular to the throng of people attempting to make their way to their seats. It was a natural barrier every 20 feet. Also keep in mind that the Coliseum is almost 85 years old. The gateways and aisles were constructed for much, much slimmer people. I can guaran-fucking-tee you that the Parkinsons never even dreamed that their grand stadium would someday be jam packed with 300 pound parents, in undersized Dodger jerseys, standing in ridiculously long lines just to purchase cotton candy for their already obese children. Anyway, after 25 minutes of slogging through the great unwashed masses seemingly composed entirely of drunken Raider fans, I finally make it to my aisle. Moving up the stairs, an usher directs me to my seat. I'm in Row 90.... out of 93. To give you a better idea of where I am in the Coliseum, I took the picture above, then spun 180° and took this picture. So yeah, I was in the nosebleed section.
For the next 2½ hours I get to watch Dodger luminaries like Greg Jones and Mike Koplove get pounded by Red Sox superstars Bobby Kielty and Jed Lowrie. I wanted to cut out early but before I knew it, it was the 7th inning. And this being Los Angeles, the 7th inning is when a lot of fans start heading for the door, you know, to beat the traffic. Which would be a pretty good plan if 40% of the fans in attendance didn't have the exact same idea. So, again being really super smart, I decided to watch the whole game, figuring that it'd be easier to navigate my way out of the Coliseum with fewer people around.
Another bad move.
Once I got out of the stands and into the outside walkways, I discover that apparently 50,000 other people had the exact same idea that I did. When the game was finally over, all I had to do was head back to the bus stop where I got dropped off at and head over to the train station. 20 minutes tops! More like 20 minutes to get outside the Coliseum, another 40 to make it through the throng of people to the bus stop and then another 90 minutes to get on an actual bus.
Finally, thanks to the kindly assistance of two girls who were far more versed in the ways of public transportation than I, I finally make it on to my train to begin my journey home. More than two hours after the game ended. This experience was so shitty that it actual tainted my view of the Dodgers this year. Something tells me that I'm not going to make too many trips out to Dodger Stadium this season.
All You Can Eat Pavilion or no All You Can Eat Pavilion.