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The Quick 10: Dodger Stadium

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I've recently decided that I need to see a game at every baseball stadium in the MLB. So far I've been to Yankee Stadium (the old one), the Metrodome, Wrigley, Citizens Bank Park, Miller Park and as of last week, Dodger Stadium. Wrigley's my favorite and I don't think any park is probably going to top it, but Dodgertown definitely has a gorgeous backdrop. Read on for 10 other facts about Dodger Stadium, and let me know in the comments what your favorite ballpark is. Who knows which one I might hit up next! As of right now it's U.S. Cellular Field (the White Sox) in August, but I tend to pick up and go on random long weekends, so your comment could influence me.

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1. Since the demolition of Yankee and Shea Stadiums, Dodger Stadium is now the third oldest ballpark, ranking well behind Wrigley (1916) and Fenway (1912).

2. Dodger Stadium sits in Chavez Ravine, but it didn't get there without a fight. Although the residents of Chavez Ravine were compensated for the values of their land and their homes, some of them were not willing to leave. Things got so bad that the sheriff's department had to go in with a bulldozer and armed guards. The last hold out finally sold for $10,500 (it was the "˜50s) and construction on Dodger Stadium began. The actual ravine was filled in with dirt to create level ground for the stadium and parking lots.

3. Dodger Stadium and the area surrounding it (Dodgertown) will soon be getting its own zip code "“ the L.A. City Council unanimously voted to give it one last year.

4. Dodger Stadium is the only stadium in the whole National League with a symmetrical outfield. And it's one of just four in the MLB. The measurements: left field and right field are 330 feet, medium left-center and medium right-center are 360 feet, true left-center and true right-center are 375 feet, and center field is 400 feet. The 400 feet isn't marked, though "“ you'll just see "395" signs on either side of the dead center mark.

hills5. Hits that might have been home runs during the day don't quite make it all the way in the evenings. Because of the nearby ocean, the air cools really fast at night which results in very dense air. So instead of cutting through the air and flying right out of the park like they might have in the daytime, balls that look like they should have been outta there often die short of the mark in the evenings.
6. Pope John Paul II held mass at Dodger Stadium in 1987.

sign7. A rainout at Dodger Stadium? Don't count on it. Prior to 1976, the only rainout the Dodgers ever had was on April 21, 1967 against the Cardinals. The second time they were rained out, on April 12, 1976, ended a 724-game streak of no rain. And the amazing streak was topped in the late 80s and most of the 90s "“ from April 21, 1988, to April 11, 1999, no home game at Dodger Stadium was rained out. At 856 consecutive games, that's a major league record that still stands today.
8. Since it's L.A., you might surmise that the stadium has showed up in a movie or two, and you would be correct. If you've seen the Star Trek that just came out, look closely at the ice planet of Delta Vega "“ it's a Dodgertown parking lot. In The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker has a scene where he works on his racing techniques. It was filmed at the stadium. The stadium was the victim of a bit of destruction in Transformers when an Autobot's protoform smashes through the upper deck, and apparently there was also a scene from the second Fantastic Four movie shot at Dodger Stadium (haven't seen that one so I can't vouch for it "“ anyone know?).

9. You probably already know that the numbers belonging to Jackie Robinson, Tommy Lasorda, Pee Wee Reese and Sandy Koufax are retired from the Dodgers (and Jackie's is retired from the whole league). But the other retired numbers are those of Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, Duke Snider, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella and Jim Gilliam. The numbers can be found mounted under the roofs behind the outfield fence.

blu10. The Dodgers have very loyal fans and were the first team to get more than three million fans to games in the span of a single season. In fact, they did this six times before any other team did it once. OK, maybe that has something to do with the fact that the stadium can hold between 56,000 and 85,000 people in one game, but I'm sure fans prefer to think it's because they are so dedicated to the team.

And a bonus fact for you: Dodger Stadium sells the most hot dogs of all MLB parks. As of 2005, they were selling 1,674,400 Dodger dogs every year, topping the runner up, Coors Field (home of the Rockies), by more than a hundred thousand franks. My opinion: Dodger Dogs are no different than any other hot dog. I was more impressed with the garlic fries. Also, I'm pretty sure this is the saddest picture of a hot dog I have ever seen.

Hope you all enjoyed L.A. week at the Quick 10 as much as I enjoyed my trip! We'll be back to our regularly scheduled Q10 (i.e.: totally random) next week. If you have any suggestions, feel free to send me a Tweet or leave a comment.

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Food
Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.

HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

WHAT'S WITH THE NIGHT GAME?


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.

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