Dodgers coliseum days live on
- kerry eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
The recent Dodger-Red Sox exhibition that drew 115,300 spectators at the Los Angeles Coliseum stirred memories for many who were there when the Dodgers played their games there from 1958 to '61, before the construction of Dodger Stadium.
One was Portland's Brian Parrott, whose father, Harold, served as the Dodgers' traveling secretary (1943-50) and ticket manager (1951-64) and wrote a book, 'The Lords of Baseball,' that offered an inside look at one of major league baseball's most-storied franchises.
As a young boy, Brian Parrott was a fixture at the ballpark. He remembers the Dodgers' four seasons at the L.A. Coliseum, a football stadium ill-equipped to house baseball.
'Left field was 250 feet (from home plate),' says Parrott, 60, who runs Portland's America's Best sports marketing firm. 'There was a chain-link fence - they called it the 'Chinese Wall' - that was 42 feet high to prevent home runs. I'd shag balls out there during batting practice. Batters would hit balls off the screen, and I'd get them and throw them back to the pitcher.'
Parrott also would catch for third-base coach Leo Durocher as he was hitting pre-game infield and fungoes to the Dodgers. He got to know the players and coaches well.
'I liked (catcher) Johnny Roseboro the best,' says Parrott, later a top-ranked tennis player in the Northwest who will be inducted into the Seattle University Sports Hall of Fame next month. '(Third baseman) Junior Gilliam had a gap between his front teeth, and he'd spit chewing tobacco through it at me as he came off the field between innings.
'(Sandy) Koufax and (Don) Drysdale were incredible. I never understood how anybody could hit those guys, as hard as they threw.'
• A Portland Tribune source says Oregon State was prepared to offer Mike Montgomery, now Cal's new basketball coach, as much as $900,000 a year to come to Corvallis. The Beavers' package in conversations with San Diego's Billy Grier was more in the $700,000- to $750,000-per-year range.
Grier's recent contract extension at USD calls for him to make a figure considerably less than that, but it was close enough that he chose to stay. 'Why go to Oregon State?' the source says. 'It's the worst job in the Pac-10. It's going to be hard to get it done there. The financial incentive would have to be so great, you'd be willing to take the risks. And there's nowhere near the pressure (at USD) as there would be at Oregon State.'
• The Portland Beavers got lucky with the weather for their Thursday night opener. But really, why doesn't the Pacific Coast League schedule its cold- and rainy-weather teams on the road the first week or two of the season?
Home-field advantage doesn't carry much significance. The Iowas, Salt Lakes, Colorado Springses and Tacomas would surely prefer to have home dates later in the season, when the weather is better and they can draw bigger crowds.
Six of the last eight years, the Beavers opened on the road. It should be an annual thing.
• I'm pulling for Jeremiah Dominguez, hopeful that the recent incident in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, won't derail the remaining season of his Portland State basketball career. What the 5-6 South Salem High grad did in winning Big Sky player of the year honors and leading the Vikings to the NCAA Tournament was phenomenal.
But Dominguez should be careful with the places he visits and the company he keeps. He was at the scene, and included in a police report, of an incident involving ex-Blazer Cliff Robinson outside a Portland nightclub during the winter.
For at least the next year, the senior point guard ought to go to class, to practice and to games and sequester himself at home the rest of the time.
• College baseball in the spring can be an adventure. Such as the recent Oregon State-Washington series, which began with a rainout Friday, continued with a doubleheader that extended eight hours Saturday and then finished with a long, cold game on Sunday, March 30.
Late in the Sunday game, OSU radio play-by-play voice Mike Parker sighed.
'Boy, I'm hungry,' Parker said on air. 'I've been sitting here since … '
Parker paused, and his partner, analyst Jim Wilson, didn't skip a beat.
'Since Friday,' Wilson said, and they both laughed.
The next day, Parker wound up in the booth for another five-plus hours, calling the Beavers' 13-inning marathon win over the University of Portland.
It's a glamorous life, eh, Mike?
• Kyle Singler's little bro, 6-6, 200-pound South Medford High junior E.J. Singler, is getting plenty of attention from college recruiters - and not just for basketball.
Scouts think the younger Singler can fill out and play tight end in college. Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State, California and Stanford have shown interest, and they'll get a better look at him when he attends the Nike training camp at Eugene in June.
Singler also is being recruited for basketball, of course. Truth be told, he'd probably like to join his older brother at Duke. But there is plenty of time for a decision to be made - on which sport as well as which school.