Why Jack Should Be a Dodger Fan
Pete Van Vleet is asking every major league baseball team why his infant son, Jack, should be a fan of their club. He’s written letters to all of them and he’s making appeals on Twitter. The Dodgers have yet to respond, so I’ve taken it upon myself to pitch Dodger fandom to the younger Mr. Van Vleet, written to be read perhaps in just a couple of years, when young boy Jack is just aware enough of baseball to start watching games in earnest:
June 19, 2017
I don’t work for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but since they haven’t written you yet, I thought I would, hoping you will want to be a Dodger fan too and join me rooting for the Boys In Blue.
Your parents may not have intended it this way, but I think your first name means you have to be a Dodger fan. That’s because it’s the same name as one of the greatest Dodgers ever. They called him “Jackie” Robinson, but his real name was Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
I know it probably will seem SO weird to you when you get older, but until Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers, major league baseball wouldn’t let players who had the same skin color as Jackie play on their teams. The Dodgers decided that was wrong, and in 1947 he joined the team. Isn’t that great?
Even people who root for the Dodgers’ rival, the San Francisco Giants — that’s a team I hope you will never root for — admire Jackie Robinson. He was so important to the history of baseball, and of our country, that in 1997 major league baseball retired his jersey number, 42. That means that no player playing baseball now wears his number on his uniform. That’s really special.
You probably want some more reasons too. OK, I’ve got a few right here:
· The Dodgers play in Dodger Stadium, one of the most beautiful stadiums around. If your Dad can take you to a game, make sure to get a Dodger Dog. That’s a hot dog that’s really long and just so very tasty!
· Their uniforms are so cool, they hardly ever make any changes. Lots of teams change up their uniform every few years. But if they had a great uniform, why would they change it? I dare you: just put a Dodger cap on, the one where the “L” and the “A” lock in together. Everyone will know what team you like.
· They win a lot — six World Series championships as of June 2017, and they’ve won four straight National League West championships. But I have to tell you the truth — you can’t always depend on your team to win, no matter who you decide to root for. You need to have other reasons.
· They’ve always had a lot of great players. I’m sure whenever you decide to become a Dodger fan, there will be one who is really great to root for. When I was a teenager, my favorite player was Steve Garvey. In 1974, he was the National League Most Valuable Player — that’s an award you get for being really great in one season. If you were a fan of the team as I write this, you might want to really cheer for Clayton Kershaw. He’s a pitcher and some people think he might even be the best pitcher ever. Your Dad might not agree, but I bet if you become a fan you could convince him he’s wrong. :-)
· A man who used to be the Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda, often talks about the “Great Dodger in the Sky.” No matter what, don’t you want to pick a team with its own deity? (Get your Dad to explain that to you, someday. He’s smart, I’m sure he’ll have something fun to say.)
· Los Angeles is a great place to go on a vacation. Why is that important? If you don’t ever live in Los Angeles, you’ll have another reason to go see a Dodger game — they have great beaches and Disneyland isn’t far away. Dodgers, beach and Disneyland? Who wouldn’t like that?
I grew up in Los Angeles, but in 1985 after college I left and have not lived there since. I’ve lived in six different states since then, and now I’m back in California but a long way from Los Angeles. All these years, I’ve stayed a Dodger fan, and I’ve always loved wearing a Dodger blue hat and telling people I’m a Dodger fan.
So if we ever meet, I know what I’ll say first:
Let’s Go Dodgers!