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CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

The Dodgers aren't the only ones on a hot streak

Ever go to a day game at Dodger Stadium? If you are from Mercury, you'll feel right at home.

July 29, 2009|CHRIS ERSKINE

I've brought along a thermometer to see how hot it actually is at a day game here at the House of Blue -- and an egg, to see if I can fry it up in a little pan. The forecast calls for a high in the mid-80s, though Dodgers fans know it can get far warmer.

All I know is that before the Sunday afternoon game even begins, the tips of my ears are beginning to sweat, and pores are opening up in my hair. That's right, I am sweating through openings I didn't even know I had.

"This isn't too bad," I tell my 23-year-old son, who's under orders to get me to paramedics when my tongue explodes.

"What if," he asks, "you just look dizzy?"

Well, I'm always a little dizzy. I mean, what kind of idiot goes to a Dodgers game where the seats feel like frying pans and your thighs sizzle like bacon? This kind of idiot. Me. I swear, the things I do for you people.

"If I look dizzy, that's just normal," I say.

"OK," he says.

Now, many Dodgers fans like to complain about how hot day games get, but not me. You just need to take precautions. Fluids. Sunscreen. Heart monitors. IVs.

Really, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than here on L.A.'s sleepy front porch?

There is no sociology class as enlightening as a Dodgers day game, no window on human behavior quite as wide. For people watching, a ballpark beats a city street or an airport. Me, I'd rather go to a Dodgers game any time than to a burlesque show or a strip club, though both feature inordinate amounts of thigh.

I swear, this particular day game is like an episode of "Hee Haw," and I mean that in the most positive way. No one moves much. Everyone slouches. Folks in various stages of undress fan themselves with cardboard food trays and contemplate felonies on their fellow fans. But it's too hot to actually execute the felonies. In that sense, a Dodgers day game is the safest place you could possibly be (unless the Giants happen to be in town).

How hot is it? The little thermometer I've brought says 85 degrees when I pull it out of my backpack. When I set it on the sunny concrete at field level, it quickly hits 105, then keeps rising. It hits 108, and -- like Manny on a hot streak, it's not done yet: 110 . . . 112. It tops out at 120, which is as high at the little thermometer goes.

I open my pack, and pull out the egg. I snap it against my bony knee and pour it into a tiny tin. My little experiment has begun.

If you love baseball, you love day games, for the light is better and everything seems summery good. Let basketball and hockey play out in dank, spidery tombs, officiated by pale people who look like government bureaucrats.

Baseball was built for natural light. Rivulets of sweat trickle down the tanned neck of a fan in front of me. Like champagne.

"IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY!" U2 wails over the PA at the top of the fourth inning.

That it is. I have downed an eight-ounce frozen lemonade ($5) and 33 ounces of Sparkletts finest ($5.75). I don't really need to worry about eating, for my digestive system shut down about half an hour ago. Evidently, the heat is melting my intestines.

"How's the egg doing, Dad?" the boy wants to know.

"Huh?"

Forget the egg, what about me? Twelve rows back in the shade, where my sonis sitting, the thermometer reads a Siberian 85 degrees. In sunny row G, where I am, the thermometer still hits 120.

We decide to move up -- up where we might find a little air. This stadium is old man O'Malley's masterpiece, his Brunelleschi's dome, and he oriented it perfectly, so that the sea breeze runs right up its spine.

Sure enough, in the loge section, it is a mere 115 in the sun.

In the sixth inning, we move to the reserve section in left field, where there is a misting fan blowing in aisle 31. People flock to it as if they were giving away shots of Jagermeister. In the sun, it is still 118 degrees.

This you should know. At Dodger Stadium, the shade falls first over the seats on the third base side. On days like this, best suited to bullfights, it is a full 35 degrees cooler in the shade, and the higher you go, the more pleasant it is.

We end the day in the top deck, where the flags flutter like lizard tongues. What you find at Dodger Stadium is that the higher you go, the cooler and louder it gets.

For the record, the egg never did fry up. It fogged up in the middle and there were only a few bubbles of sizzle. So, no, you can't actually cook an egg on a very hot summer day at Dodger Stadium.

It just sits there -- sunny side up. Just like the rest of us.

Erskine also writes "Man of the House" for Saturday's Home section.

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chris.erskine@latimes.com.

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