Echo Park - Today was supposed to be the season opener at Dodger Stadium. But the coronavirus lockdown has canceled that. And while the fans we talked to are not happy, they get it.
"It is kind of a sad thing, to be honest," said Kelly Erickson, who lives a 15-minute-walk away from her loge level seat at Dodger Stadium, and attends about a dozen games a year. "But everybody understands why it’s important that this event doesn’t happen,"
The same goes for Frankie Quintana, who grew up only a few blocks away from the ballpark, and has had the Dodgers in his life since he moved to Echo Park at the age of four. "As long as people stay home, that’s all that matters," he said.
But still …
"I’ll be sad for sure," Quintana said. "Everybody looks forward to this day."
It’s a time when people in the neighborhood are usually out drinking and barbecuing with friends; the streets are jammed with fans headed to the stadium and bars and restaurants are busy with customers. Now, it looks like the regular season may not begin until the end of May -- at the earliest.
Going to opening day has been a tradition for Quintana. This year in particular, that first game was going to be a gift to himself for his birthday, which will be on Monday.
Erickson said she’s more likely to avoid the insanity and expense of opening day. But she took her dad before his birthday for Vin Scully’s last day. One other good reason to see that game: It was the Dodgers versus the Giants.
There’s an ongoing tension in Erickson's family, she said. Her father’s side roots for the Dodgers. Her mother’s relatives - from Northern California - are hardcore Giant’s fans.
The two sides of the family have been fighting it out since Erickson was a child, to the point where she’s had to block some family members on Facebook during the baseball season - "Just so I can make sure we can be good family members in person," she said.
For Quintana, his memories of the team also go back to childhood - to when police used to hand out Dodger baseball cards from their cars.
As frustrating as it is to live without opening day on schedule, though, at least the first game will happen … someday.
"As much as we want this to be tomorrow, it’ll happen soon enough," Quintana said.
"There’s going to be an opening day," Erickson added, "whether two weeks or a month from now. As soon as everybody safe, we’re going to have opening day."