In the 50 years since the moving vans arrived from Brooklyn, and in the 20 since the team's last title, Los Angeles' love affair with the Dodgers hasn't waned. Maybe it's the franchise's lineage of colorful players, maybe it's the allure of Dodger Stadium at dusk. But like sun worshipers to the beach, Angelenos are drawn to the grand ol' game even as it has become big ol' business. As the Dodgers mark their golden anniversary in L.A., we offer 50 ways to bleed blue.
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS
The Dodgers are making quick work of honoring new manager Joe Torre -- his Bobblehead Night is April 25, the first of five doll giveaways for the season. Best of all? Fans vote online for which player will be immortalized in polyresin at the Aug. 12 giveaway. Voting ends April 3. dodgers.mlb.com /la/fan_forum
Nights in Chavez Ravine can get chilly. Among the team's many giveaways is the 50th Anniversary Fleece Blanket on April 16. Ostensibly, the team will be more careful this year than in 2005, when blankets commemorating Dodger titles were emblazoned with the wrong dates. That's 1958-2008, guys.
Not a team player? Singles Night at Dodger Stadium is April 26, so get off the couch, change out of your bathrobe and fake a good attitude. You never know, you might meet your next ex. dodgers .mlb.com/la/ticketing/ supergroup.jsp?group= singlesnight
IT'S OK TO NEEDLE
Don't be surprised if the crowd on June 2 is especially close-knit. It's the National NeedleArts Assn.'s third annual Stitch 'N' Pitch, so be nice to those who bring their needlework. Somebody might crochet you a nice seat cushion. www.stitchnpitch.com
LIGHT MY FIRE
If you haven't been to a fireworks game (this year: May 23 and July 12) at Dodger Stadium, there's nothing like it -- except maybe those series against the San Francisco Giants. Postgame, the outfield turns into one big beach blanket strewn with fans craning to see the colorful explosions amid the palm trees. It's worth it just to see the stadium full in the ninth inning.
LISTEN TO VIN AND JAIME
The comforting cadence of Vin Scully -- "The Voice of the Dodgers" -- has provided the soundtrack to summer for 58 seasons. And with Jaime Jarrin helming the team's Spanish-language broadcasts, it gives the Dodgers the distinction of being the only team with two Hall of Fame announcers. KABC-AM (790), KHJ-AM (930) and various TV affiliates.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS . . .
As a guy who, at age 10, "wanted to be Vin Scully" when he grew up, native Angeleno Jon Weisman has been synthesizing media reports, analyzing between-the-lines drama and occasionally venting on his Dodger Thoughts blog since 2002. If you're looking for online snark, move on; Weisman and his readers merely exude true-blue passion. dodgerthoughts.baseball toaster.com/
. . . OR SPILL SOME VITRIOL
Not recommended for the true-blue fan, or anyone averse to blue language, the decidedly R-rated Dodger Blues website throws darts at players, management, ownership, even history. Like the clock that records "Time Since the Last Meaningful Dodger Moment" (going on 20 years). The franchise's lowlights are "celebrated" with an acidity usually reserved for divorce proceedings. Bitter? Yes. Funny? That too. www.dodgerblues.com
Ernest Reyes, on his extreme-fan-tastic website Blue Heaven, links to countless player and fan blogs, dispenses obscure trivia, posts hard-to-find video and hawks collectibles. Oh, and he does real estate too. dodgersblueheaven .blogspot.com
STAT NERDS? US?
Streaming video via the Internet is great, but true geeks among us "watch" a game using the Gameday feature on MLB.com. Graphics track the game pitch-by-pitch, with a Caltech-ian cartel of charts and statistics.
KNOW YOUR HISTORY
MEET THE 'BOYS'
To appreciate where you are, you need to understand where you've been. Before the Dodgers' 50 years in L.A., the franchise spent some 75 in Brooklyn. No book embodies the Dodgers' special place in lore quite like Roger Kahn's loving 1972 memoir "The Boys of Summer," which offers an eye into the historically significant Jackie Robinson era. Young fans, take note.
THROWS LEFT, READS RIGHT
Not your bullpen-variety sports biography, author Jane Leavy's "Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" deconstructs the myth surrounding the reticent pitcher and dissects what made him the dominant pitcher of his era.
BEST. DAY. EVER.
"Game of My Life: Dodgers," the collection of reminiscences from franchise greats about their best day on the ball field, is rich with detail and humor.
THE WONDER YEARS