DODGERLAND: Decadent Los Angeles and the 1977–78 Dodgers

DODGERLAND                                                MICHAEL FALLON

The 1977–78 Los Angeles Dodgers came close. Their tough lineup of young and ambitious players squared off with the New York Yankees in consecutive World Series. The Dodgers’ run was a long time in the making after years of struggle and featured many homegrown players who went on to noteworthy or Hall of Fame careers, including Don Sutton, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, and Steve Yeager. Dodgerland is the story of those memorable teams as Chavez Ravine began to change, baseball was about to enter a new era, and American culture experienced a shift to the “me” era.

Part journalism, part social history, and part straight sportswriting, Dodgerland is told through the lives of four men, each representing different aspects of this L.A. story. Tom Lasorda, the vocal manager of the Dodgers, gives an up-close view of the team’s struggles and triumphs; Tom Fallon, a suburban small-business owner, witnesses the Dodgers’ season and the changes to California's landscape—physical, social, political, and economic; Tom Wolfe, a chronicler of California’s ever-changing culture, views the events of 1977–78 from his Manhattan writer’s loft; and Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’s mayor and the region’s most dominant political figure of the time, gives a glimpse of the wider political, demographic, and economic forces that affected the state at the time.

The boys in blue drew baseball’s focus in those two seasons, but the intertwining narratives tell a larger story about California, late 1970s America, and great promise unrealized.

HUBBY'S REVIEW:
Dodgerland is a book about the 1977-78 Dodgers who made it the World Series both of those years only to be defeated by the Yankees both times. The author takes you back in time from before 1977 to the beginning of the 70’s with how the social climate, economical, and political happenings of the period. You see part of the transformation of the Inland Empire of how Rancho Cucamonga which was known for vineyards, and had more grapes being grown there that you could not see the town. I should know grew up in that area and now there are homes, a freeway, and many, many shopping centers in places that once I hiked around with my granddad. He takes you through the struggles of Los Angeles and how Tom Bradley felt that getting the 1984 Olympics would be the thing that bring us together, not knowing that his hiring of Chief Darryl Gates would have a much more lasting effect on not only L.A. but the whole state. Once you see these you are taken back to a time when Tommy Lasorda was being announced as the new manager of the Dodgers, and they were still owned by the O’Malley’s. That the infield of Gravey, Cey, Russell, and Lopes. I of course was and still am a Yankee fan, but growing up in Southern California I remember the games especially the ones the Dodgers played against the Reds. Those years they seemed to always battle. The author does a fine job of mixing all of the issues together to get a better understanding of what was going on at the time. When he talks about Jarvis and prop 13 I had forgotten that it was during this time. An excellent book about baseball and how everything changes. Also a good look at behind the scenes of what was going with the Dodgers during that time. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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