CLOSE

How The Los Angeles Dodgers Helped to Snuff Out Communism

2011 has been a difficult year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the owners going through a messy divorce (who gets the house? Who gets the team?) and attendance down, the Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 as Major League Baseball stepped in to assume day-to-day operations of the team. But all this pales by comparison to the drama surrounding the move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and the site known as Chavez Ravine where Dodgers Stadium was built.

In the Beginning

Chavez Ravine was comprised of three neighborhoods: La Loma, Palo Verde and Bishop, which covered about 315 acres north of downtown Los Angeles in the hills Elysian Park. The largely Mexican community developed quietly over the years as immigrants made their way into LA pursuing the American Dream—a better life, a chance for prosperity. At ?rst idyllic, life in Chavez Ravine changed pretty quickly after the city identi?ed the area as a “slum” with substandard housing, prostitution, juvenile delinquency and dirt roads. They saw the neighborhood as ripe for development with the help of the federal government urban renewal programs that would enable them to build freeways and affordable housing. Families living in Chavez Ravine were told they would get priority to move into the new housing development once it was built. That’s when the real trouble started.

The Dodgers Trump Communism

By 1951, certain politicians and businessmen in LA decided that a baseball team would be more economically bene?cial to the city than public housing and they moved to kill housing project plan, which was seen as espousing abhorrent "communist ideals.” Although many of the families by this time had moved out, 12 families refused to leave.

The city was now in legal possession of the land and wanted to transfer it to private corporate interests. Seeking a better location for his team, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley struck a deal with the city, giving him Chavez Ravine as part of a sweet incentive package to bring the Brooklyn Dodgers to LA.

Outraged former residents of Chavez Ravine forced the city to put the matter to a vote in 1958. But the referendum to bring the Dodgers to LA won by a margin of less than 2%. This put the city in a pickle. Not wanting to seem like communist sympathisers (I joke, of course), the city decided to evict the remaining families and used force and bulldozers to show that protests would not be tolerated. Fourteen sheriffs were needed to get the last family off the property. This was way before national BREAKING NEWS dominated 24-hour cable news stations, which didn’t yet exist, but the forced eviction was still caught on camera and aired on local news stations that night. Tensions between dark-skinned people and light-skinned people escalated. The Chicano communists lost. The Irish business owners won. A dark cloud moved over Chavez Ravine that, some say, haunt the Dodgers to this day.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
video
Watch These Surfers Crush Nantucket's 'Slurpee' Waves
iStock
iStock

Instead of hunkering down with Netflix and hot chocolate during the East Coast’s recent cold snap, surfers Nick Hayden and Jamie Briard spent the first few days of January 2018 conquering icy waves in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The frothy swells resembled a frozen 7-Eleven Slurpee, so photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh, a friend of the athletes, grabbed his camera to capture the phenomenon, according to deMilked.

The freezing point for salt water is 28.4°F, but undulating ocean waves typically move too much for ice particles to form. At Nantucket’s Nobadeer Beach, however, conditions were just right for a thick layer of frost to form atop the water’s surface for several hours. Some of the slushy crests were even surfable before melting after about three hours, Nimerfroh told Live Science.

This is the second time Nimerfroh has photographed so-called “Slurpee waves." He captured a similar scene on February 27, 2015, telling The New York Times, “I saw these crazy half-frozen waves. Usually on a summer day you can hear the waves crashing, but it was absolutely silent. It was like I had earplugs in my ears.”

Check out Nimerfroh’s video of surfers enjoying the icy swell below.

[h/t deMilked]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
arrow
Big Questions
Why Is the University of Georgia's Mascot a Bulldog?
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

For licensing purposes and the all-important "aww" factor, collegiate football teams like their mascots—and few are as popular as Uga, the handsome bulldog of University of Georgia fame.

When Herman J. Stegeman took over as head coach in 1920, the team, which had previously been referred to as the Red and Black, became known as the Wildcats. Atlanta Journal sportswriter Morgan Blake took issue with the unoriginal moniker, pointing out that it was already shared by at least two other teams in the south—Kentucky State and Davidson.

"I had hoped that Georgia would adopt some original nickname that would stand out," Blake wrote, adding that, "The 'Georgia Bulldogs' would sound good, because there is a certain dignity about a bulldog as well as ferocity, and the name is not as common as 'Wildcats' and 'Tigers.' Yale is about the only team I recall right now that has the name."

One week after Blake's story ran, Cliff Wheatley of the Atlanta Constitution referred to Georgia as the Bulldogs several times in his recap of the team's tie at Virginia. The new nickname quickly caught on, and it wasn't long before the sidelines began to see a succession of canines offering their moral support. A fan named Warren Coleman took his bulldog, Mr. Angel, to games from 1944 to 1946; another bulldog, Butch, served as a mascot from 1947 to 1950 (before he was tragically shot by police who mistook him for a stray).

The Uga lineage began in 1956, when a dog owner named Cecelia Seiler dressed her bulldog in a children's-sized team jersey and took him to home games. Uga I patrolled the field for a decade before his son, Uga II, took up the mantle. Uga V, who reigned from 1990 to 1999, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Uga X, the current bulldog in residence, has been rooting for the team since 2015.

In deference to the dog's position, the University of Georgia goes to considerable lengths to make sure Uga is comfortable during the game. His doghouse is air-conditioned for the warmer months and his jerseys are custom-made. When one of the Uga clan passes, they're buried on stadium grounds in a marble vault. Apparently, not even death will prevent a loyal Georgia mascot from showing their support.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios