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Why Did the Dodgers and Giants Leave New York?

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Wikimedia Commons

In 1957, the face of New York baseball was forever changed when the Giants and Dodgers—two teams that had been playing in the Big Apple since the late 1800s—abandoned the city for California. To this day, their relocation remains a touchy subject to longtime fans throughout the five boroughs. What drove them to leave town in the first place?

In a word, money.

During the first quarter of the twentieth century, the New York Giants had arguably been Major League Baseball’s most dominant franchise. From 1900 to 1925, they won ten National League pennants and three World Series championships, thanks largely to their bombastic club manager John McGraw. Their home field was the legendary Polo Grounds of Upper Manhattan, a stadium which boasted a seating capacity of 55,000.

However, as the subway system took hold, New Yorkers began leaving Manhattan en masse in favor of neighboring boroughs. With the Dodgers residing in Brooklyn and the Yankees ruling the Bronx, fans were increasingly less-inclined to visit the Polo Grounds when another franchise generally played much closer to home. The fact that the Giants started fielding less-than-stellar teams throughout much of the 1930s and '40s did not help matters. When the '50s came around, moving the club became—in the words of Giants executive Charles "Chub" Feeney—an economic “necessity.”

But what about the Dodgers? They were also losing money, but unlike their longtime rivals, the “Brooklyn Bums” still remained among baseball’s richest teams. In fact, they were later cited as the only National League club to have made a profit from 1952 to 1956.

That didn’t satisfy owner Walter O’Malley. To him, the real problem was Ebbets Field, the stadium the Dodgers had called home since 1913. In addition to yearning for a larger seating capacity, O’Malley believed that the surrounding area’s rising black population (which rallied behind Jackie Robinson) was driving white fans away from the ballpark.

Hoping to eradicate these concerns, O’Malley hatched a plan to build a brand-new stadium for Brooklyn at a cost to taxpayers of $6 million. New York Parks Commissioner Robert Moses nixed the idea, claiming that it violated the Title I Housing Act of 1949. The pair never saw eye to eye on this subject, and in October 1957, the Dodgers officially announced that they’d be moving to Los Angeles for the following season.

O’Malley figured that having a second team in California would be a wise business move, so he convinced Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move his club to San Francisco. Thus, the storied Dodgers-Giants rivalry was preserved and the west coast was formally introduced to Major League Baseball.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
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Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:

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