Take me out to the ball game
I heard the crack Kirk Gibson’s bat sent echoing toward me that sent the Boys in Blue on their way to their sixth World Series crown in 1988.
I barely dodged Mike Piazza’s long ball that found it’s way out of the stadium and bounced into the bottom level of the terraced blacktop when he slapped it over the left field roof in 1997.
I had the best birds eye view of one of the most impressive no-hitters in MLB history when Clayton Kershaw blanked the Rockies in 2014, but this one was different.
It came after the move.
Visitors to legendary Dodger Stadium are no doubt captivated by the history the symmetrical bowl holds, but it’s my fellow flora and me that set this ballpark apart from the rest. The organization acknowledges that.
Nestled between the San Gabriel Mountains to the north and Downtown to the south, I’ve shared my seats with my two sisters for decades, never missing a game and always coming to play.
Even when fans suffer through turmoil like they endured in the 99-loss season of ‘92, it was the three of us that spectators would pose in front of cameras for.
And then, after the 2013 season, I my ticket expired.
When the Dodgers decided to expand on the outfield concourses by nearly four times it’s original size, add more food vendors and even tack on extra seats above the bullpen, I thought I was done.
But if there was a shinning glimpse of hope that would speak for my future, it was Chaz Perea and his team.
The Dodgers are the only team in the major leagues to have an arborist on their staff and the way Perea treats us is tremendous.
Making sure to do daily inspection walkabouts around the stadium and giving me a much-needed trim three times a year is just the start.
Perea makes sure to keep the atmosphere that embodies the essence of Chavez Ravine in tact by avoiding using unnecessary pesticides on the grounds, leading Dodger Stadium to be the only MLB park certified by the National Audubon Society.
This is why when the construction crew arrived in January 2014 and began digging shovels around my base, I can’t deny I wasn’t nervous a silver point would prick my veins, but I was in good shape.
Perea made sure to tie my dangling roots to limit my harm as well as my surrounding sisters and moved us while the concrete pourers made way on the concourse.
Equipped with horticulture experts, the Dodgers wouldn’t settle with just getting rid of all the remaining wildlife in the area either.
Shrubs, exotic flowers and even other palm trees were sent to different vantage points around the hillside cutout to maintain the colorful beauty.
Then, once the relocation process of the 33 palms surrounding the left field gate was complete, Perea made sure to drop enough seeds for three times the amount of growth to sprout by the season’s beginning.
Unlike the rest that had to move from their established homes, I was fortunate to return once again to my beloved seat, where I’ve had season tickets for decades, so I could see the action of the game and the ones in action can see me.
Now, as the lights burn bright enough to illuminate the 56,000-seat complex and the game moves into the later innings with the setting sun casting a purpleish-pink onto the surrounding mountains only describable by Vin Scully, us Three Sisters remain at the forefront of every iconic image, every youngster’s first game, every pitch of Dodger Stadium.
“Down on the field, a ballgame is just beginning. But the sunset becomes a major distraction because it's so overwhelming it's hard to take your eyes off it,” Scully said. “And then the palm trees - there's a group of palm trees on the hill behind left field - they are defined against the sky, and they are turning colors with the sunset. You can't see that anywhere else in a ballpark.”
Hey, that’s me!