The Dodger faithful planning morning tail gate parties outside of Dodger Stadium before Tuesday’s opening game might have to deal with some uninvited guests: the LAPD. Police concede that they acted too late last year to stop the drinking of alcoholic beverages and double-parking across Elysian Park next to Dodger Stadium. “By the time we got there, it was pretty wild,” said Capt. Dave Lindsey with the Northeast Division. “It was going pretty good even at 9 AM.” This year will be different, said Lindsey, promising to field a team of about 40 officers across the park and around the stadium as early as 4 AM. The large contingent of officers will “keep people from double parking, and we are going to take an aggressive stance on drinking in public. We are going to be issuing citations to anyone that’s caught drinking in public.” The police will also be patrolling nearby streets in Echo Park in case the Dodger fans take their parties and ice chests elsewhere.
The Dodger opening day tail gate parties have developed a reputation for unruliness. In fact, when a group of 1,000 members of a motorcycle club decided to hold a last minute rally in Elysian Park last June, Capt. William Murphy of the Northeast Division said the bikers turned out to be better behaved than the baseball fans: “The Dodger fans are usually worse,” Murphy said. The biker invasion “was nothing like Opening Day.”
On Tuesday, the team does plan to open up the stadium parking lot three hours in advance of the 1:10 PM game time, Lindsey said. That’s one hour earlier than normal but that’s not going to do the tail gaters much good since eating and drinking is prohibited in the parking lot, he said. Fans also won’t be allowed to line up their cars at the gates any earlier than three hours before the game. Officers will also be on hand after the game ends, he said.
The measures and additional officers are not only designed to protect the park and nearby neighborhoods but also to keep traffic flowing, Lindsey said. “We are hoping to get people into the parking lot and into the stadium so they can see the first pitch.”
Photo by Connie