The Dodgers Broke an MLB Record for Promos, But It's Not Free of Controversy
The Los Angeles Dodgers broke a Major League Baseball record for most tickets sold to a special event game, all thanks to the promotional item scheduled for the event. The team is hosting Mexican Heritage Night tonight when they finish their series against the Atlanta Braves, and the special ticket comes with a voucher for a one-off Dodgers jersey modeled after the Mexican flag.
The Action Network's Darren Rovell reported that the team already sold more than 15,000 tickets for the special giveaway. Some tickets are still available, so that number is likely to climb as it gets closer to game time.
More than 15,000 special event tickets have been purchased to the @Dodgers Mexican Heritage Night on May 8, which comes with this jersey. It’s already the record for the most ticket packages sold to special event game in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/BQkRzaIonA
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 1, 2019
The jersey, which features the color pattern of the Mexican flag rather than the usual Dodger Blue, will ship out on July 31.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 5, 2019
The Dodgers have had a history of team legends of Mexican descent over their time in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles area boasts a high percentage of citizens of Mexican heritage, as well. This makes it no surprise that the special jersey is a hit among Dodgers fans.
But, as with most things, there's two sides to the coin, and this giveaway isn't without controversy.
Dodger Stadium was built on land that was once a heavily Hispanic neighborhood, and city officials pursued questionable means to coerce residents to leave.
Here's a blurb from the Dodger Stadium Wikipedia entry:
Los Angeles-based Mike Davis, in his seminal work on the city, City of Quartz, describes the process of gradually convincing Chavez Ravine homeowners to sell. With nearly all of the original Spanish-speaking homeowners initially unwilling to sell, developers resorted to offering immediate cash payments, distributed through their Spanish-speaking agents. Once the first sales had been completed, remaining homeowners were offered increasingly lesser amounts of money, to create a community panic of not receiving fair compensation, or of being left as one of the few holdouts. Many residents continued to hold out despite the pressure being placed upon them by developers, resulting in the Battle of Chavez Ravine, a 10-year struggle by the residents to maintain control of their property, which they ultimately lost.
It's poor timing from the Dodgers, too, as May 8 marks the 60-year anniversary of the last Chavez Ravine evictions, marking the end of the decade-long struggle with city officials.
From the L.A. Times archive:
It including a screaming, kicking woman (Mrs. Aurora Vargas, 38, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Manual Arechiga) being carried from the house… children of the family wailing hysterically as their sobbing mother, Mrs. Victoria Angustian, 29, struggled fiercely in the grasp of deputies… the 72-year-old matriarch of the family, Mrs. Avrana Arechiga, hurling stones at deputies as movers hustled away her belongings… an obstreperous former neighbor, Mrs. Glen Walters, screeching defiance at the deputies and finally being forcibly ejected from the battleground, handcuffed, and taken to a squad car. … Mrs. Vargas was the last to leave—making good her threat that "they'll have to carry me."
The Dodgers' decision to host Mexican Heritage night is good for many reasons. It celebrates the cultural history of the area and gives fans an opportunity to proudly display their culture and their fandom. But, it's a terrible oversight by the Dodgers organization to plan the event on the anniversary of an event that conjures up significant negative memories for many Los Angeles families.
Was the timing intentional—a means of trying to make peace with those people? Was it blatant disregard for it? Or was it just a very unfortunate and insensitive ignorance of the history of the franchise's own stadium by the marketing team? We'll probably never know, but the giveaway is still on, and the Dodgers will have a packed house either way.