It's not completely clear to me when I started to get interested in baseball. I knew the game from movies but did not understand it because in The Netherlands the national sport is football. We do not have the luxury of having Baseball AND American Football AND Basketball AND Hockey on a professional level. What attracted me instantly was the grass, the diamond, the white ball with red stitching as if the game came from another planet. I remember an article in a Dutch newspaper in which the Dodgers were mentioned. I tried to trace it back and I believe it must have been an article about the Dodgers winning the 1981 World Series. I believe there was a picture of Valenzuela as well. It's all a bit blurry. I was only ten but the name Dodgers stuck. It had a nice ring to it, still has.
Now that my interest in baseball was awakened there was this guy that made me a cap wearer. It was the only guy who made wearing a moustache look good: Tom Selleck. I loved Magnum p.i. The Hawaiian setting, the quirkiness of Thomas Magnum and... his cap! I had to have me one of those! It looked cool and I tried to find a shop that sold the things. But no, The Netherlands in the beginning of the '80 did not stock baseball caps. I wanted a fitted cap, not that I knew they were called that. It had to be a Tigers cap (yes, because of Magnum!). But the only ones I could find were these mesh, or trucker, caps. Well, they had to do. I bought a dark blue one and started to wear it to school. In those days no one wore them so it turned some heads and I had to take the cap off in class. Eversince 1984 I've been wearing caps, last twenty years mostly Dodgers ones.
I tried to follow baseball through the newspapers, but they only printed scores (actually, there was only one Dutch newspaper that did it). But around the play-offs short articles would appear. In the autumn of 1988 they did it again! And a rather big article told us about the blue heroics in the World Series.
In 1989 I first visited the US and LA but somehow I only got me an Angels cap. Don't ask me how that happened! In 1990 I visited the US again. This time, the East Coast. Being in America I struck asap and got me a Dodgers cap and Dodgers Jersey. It was the time before the nice Majestic and New Era products, so I probably got some cheap knock offs, but they looked the part and that was good enough for me at the time. After the East Coast we travelled to Louisiana and between New Orleans and Tupelo we stopped for gas at a gasstation straight from 'Deliverance'. They had a shop with some snacks and some books. Much to my surprise they had a book with a blue, white cover, a picture of a pitcher with an LA cap an the title 'Out of the Blue'. This was the final push that would put me in the Dodgers corner forever.
It was only in 2003 I first laid eyes on Dodger Stadium. My first visit to LA was in 1989 and somehow I never came close to the stadium, maybe because my dad was in control of the trip. And to be honest my little brother and I were under the spell of Disney and Universal and the whole Hollywood sh'bang. First time in the USA, you tend to forget stuff. So it was in 2003 my girlfriend and I visited Dodger Stadium, had a Dodger Dog and enjoyed the game. It wasn't a great game (against the Pirates) and I even think it rained a little, but I was there. The place where many great games were played. I really hope to visit Dodger Stadium again in the near future.