For old Brooklyn Dodgers fans, 1957 is not long ago and far away; it is like yesterday. That is when their team packed up and went to Los Angeles. To them these last 54 years have been sort of a long hiatus. Some became New York Mets fans in 1962, and others chose to pull up stakes and follow their Dodgers to California, but there still are those who cling to the mystique of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who believe that a new field could spring up somewhere in the borough and that their Dodgers will be coming home.
Admittedly, they will tell you it is a long shot, but they still keep dreaming of that day. Recently, with the financial troubles of Dodger owner Frank McCourt in the news, these fans have something to stoke the flames of their kindled dream. They hear rumors of Major League Baseball taking over the Dodgers, and some will come out and tell you that is the beginning of the Dodgers coming home to Brooklyn.
While I don’t take much stock in these fantasies, I have learned that these Dodgers fans are sometimes so earnest and determined that perhaps anything is possible. They talk about the Dodgers building a new field on the spot where Ebbets Field used to be. The existing housing on the site is not seen as an impediment; they are certain eminent domain can be used to get that new stadium built.
Others think the Dodgers could share Citi Field with the Mets. “Why not?” they ask. The New York Mets and The New York Yankees once shared Shea Stadium for two seasons while the old Yankee Stadium was being rebuilt, so anything is possible. They see the fact that Citi Field was built to resemble Ebbets Field as an omen, yet another reason why the Dodgers will be coming home.
Even if MLB does take over the Dodgers, I doubt that Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig would ever condone having three teams in one town. A long time ago New York had three teams, but these days I don’t imagine that would work for most people. New Yorkers might be pleased, but there are many other towns looking for a MLB franchise.
It does break my heart to listen to these old Dodgers fans talking. In between hearing them mention names like Branca, Hodges, Reese, and Robinson, they will discuss the “what ifs” they have been discussing since 1957. They know what happened but still can’t believe it. As a Mets fan, I kind of understand their hopes and dreams and know what it is like to be kicked in the teeth again and again by the team you love.
So for the record, Brooklyn Dodgers fans, your team is not coming home. It is staying in LA for now and I am sure for many years to come. Hold on to the dream if it makes you happy. I still keep thinking about the Mets being in contention this year, so I know all about impossible causes.
If it makes you feel any better, there is the one thing we Mets fans and Brooklyn Dodgers fans have in common: the hope of next year. Mets fans can dream of an injury-free season and a chance for the playoffs; Brooklyn Dodgers fans can keep hoping for that miracle of a return engagement. It probably will never happen, but back in 1955 after Brooklyn beat the Yankees in the World Series, did anyone ever think their team was moving to LA?
Keep dreaming, old Dodgers fans, and hang in there!
Ebbetts Field – nyc.gov.
Citi Field – NY Daily News