As I sit here pounding on my iPad and watching the LA Dodgers lead the Washington Nationals, 3-0, in the deciding game of the 2019 NLDS, broadcaster Ernie Johnson Jr. is informing the audience the Dodgers play in major league baseball’s third oldest ballpark. Only Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are older.
Has it been that long since the Dodgers left Brooklyn? Yes it has. In fact, as the modern baseball era timeline goes (1900-present), the Dodgers have been in Los Angeles longer than Brooklyn. Yet, for many they will always be the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Dark day in Brooklyn
I doubt that broadcaster Johnson will mention in his discourse that 62 years ago today the borough of Brooklyn fell into mourning, from which some suggest it has never recovered, even though it is arguably more vibrant than ever and home to professional sports franchises. For on Oct. 9, 1957, residents awakened to read the front page news. (Back then, people still got the day’s news for the first time from their morning paper.) There it was in bold type. The Dodgers were leaving Brooklyn, moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
They didn’t even wait for the World Series to end. Game six of the series would be played the next day at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees trailing the Milwaukee Braves, three games to two. The Dodgers were leaving and that was that. Tough luck if they upstaged their rivals by making the announcement, during the climax of the baseball season. The Dodgers were moving west, joining their National League rivals the Giants, who had announced in August of that year they off to San Francisco.
No, somehow, I don’t expect tonight’s telecast will remind us of that dark day in Brooklyn, 62 years ago. It was another time, another era, and some would say another game. I’ll bet many at Dodger Stadium or watching the game on TV haven’t even heard of Walter O’Malley. Just don’t mention his name in Brooklyn, where memories have not faded, even 62 years later.