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HBO's Ghosts of Flatbush


MadmanLA

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It had its premiere last night, and just with any HBO Sports documentary, this one was well done and very entertaining. Not to give too much away (for those who haven't seen it), the documentary focuses mostly on the 1947-1957 teams, right up to the move to Los Angeles, but did talked a bit about the early history of the franchise. It also featured interviews with Rachel Robinson, Carl Erksine, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, among others, including the late Clem Labine prior to his passing earlier this year. Another major focus of the film was the things that Walter O'Malley had to go through to get a new stadium built in Brooklyn (ironically at the same area where the Nets plan on building the Barclays Center) and dealing with Robert Moses, the head of NYC's Parks and Roads Commissions (and next to the mayor, he was the most powerful man in New York City).

http://www.hbo.com/events/brooklyndodgers/index.html

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I watched that last night. Very informative.

The thing that strikes me as unfair is the way Brooklyn residents blame Walter O'Malley for the team leaving town (one guy said he hated him, and other said he stole the Dodgers from Brooklyn). Now Brooklyn has every right to be pissed over the Dodgers leaving, but all the hate is being directed to the wrong guy.

Walter O'Malley did everything he could to keep the team in Brooklyn. The person all that hates needs to be directed at is Robert Moses. That SOB refused to ok a new Brooklyn stadium, and left O'Malley with no other choice then to head west to LA.

Brooklynites (sp?), Robert Moses is who's to blame for the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, not Walter O'Malley. O'Malley did everything he could to keep the team in Brooklyn.

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Thats the one thing I learned yesterday. I too blamed O'Malley, but looking at that it was clearly Moses fault, O'Malley should have been allowed to build that Stadium at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves. Oh how different things could have been, could you imagine.

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I had never heard about Robert Moses until this show. He is clearly the biggest villain for the folks in Brooklyn, not Walter O'Malley.

All this reminds me of Howard Cosell. Cosell seemed to be the biggest voice complaining about O'Malley moving the Dodgers to L.A. It got so tiring. I used to think, "Get over it, Howard. They're in L.A. to stay."

Now, Cosell always considered himself a great journalist and a learned man, but apparently he knew little about Moses. Or just preferred to vent his frustrations on O'Malley. Anyway, Cosell was being stupid about all this.

Now, what if O'Malley would have gotten his stadium in Brooklyn? What would have happened. Would the Senators have moved to L.A. and the Giants to Minneapolis? How much later would there have been expansion, and how would that have affected Roger Maris' chase against Babe Ruth in '61? Man, the what ifs are endless here.

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The HBO special was one sided to make O'Malley look like the good guy.

btw: Robert Moses was head of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority at the time of the Dodgers move to LA. It's not his fault the Dodgers left Brooklyn the buck stops with O'Malley, his son can spin it all he wants..

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The HBO special was one sided to make O'Malley look like the good guy.

btw: Robert Moses was head of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority at the time of the Dodgers move to LA. It's not his fault the Dodgers left Brooklyn the buck stops with O'Malley, his son can spin it all he wants..

Yes, it is Moses' fault the team left for LA. All he had to do was "yes" and the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn. O'Malley did all he could, but he couldn't get Moses to say "yes", which left him with no other choice then to move to LA.

The buck stopped with Robert Moses. He's the one who should carry the blame for the Dodgers moving to LA, not Walter O'Malley.

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The HBO special was one sided to make O'Malley look like the good guy.

btw: Robert Moses was head of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority at the time of the Dodgers move to LA. It's not his fault the Dodgers left Brooklyn the buck stops with O'Malley, his son can spin it all he wants..

I haven't seen the HBO special yet (though I am eagerly awaiting the chance to watch on HBO On Demand as soon I can). However, I can tell you from several college courses and other outside reading that, regardless of his title at the time of the move, Robert Moses wielded an incredible amount of power in New York. He was the primary architect of the system of belt parkways around New York City and effectively exercised final say in most matters of urban planning.

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I was watching the show last night after running a public hearing, but was WAY tired and fell asleep on the couch around "1951" or so.... I definitely want to catch the rest at another time or on HBO On Demand....

As a city planner, I am very familiar with "master builder" Robert Moses and the inordinate amount of power he wielded in New York during that time. I was also very familiar with his place in the move of the Dodgers from Brooklyn, which (from what I have read), was one of the major reasons that the O'Malleys wound up moving to L.A. Charles C. Euchner, in his book "Playing the Field: Why Sports Teams Move and Cities Fight to Keep Them" had a great section on Moses' involvement with the move and his stated preference for building a new stadium in Queens, in 'a multi-purpose suburban-style facility dependent almost wholly on automobile transport' (p. 17). Michael Danielson, in his book, "Home Team: Professional Sports and the American Metropolis" noted how 'Moses' opposition undercut city efforts to keep the Dodgers, but opened the way for building Shea Stadium on land controlled by his Parks Department' (p. 284).

Speaking of "what if?s", did they mention the idea of a Buckminster Fuller dome for the new Brooklyn Stadium? I've read elsewhere that was an idea they had. The Brooklyn Dodgers could've been the first "dome" team if they had been able to stay.

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The HBO special was one sided to make O'Malley look like the good guy.

btw: Robert Moses was head of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority at the time of the Dodgers move to LA. It's not his fault the Dodgers left Brooklyn the buck stops with O'Malley, his son can spin it all he wants..

Yes, it is Moses' fault the team left for LA. All he had to do was "yes" and the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn. O'Malley did all he could, but he couldn't get Moses to say "yes", which left him with no other choice then to move to LA.

The buck stopped with Robert Moses. He's the one who should carry the blame for the Dodgers moving to LA, not Walter O'Malley.

Wow, what happened to hearing both sides of the story?? What happened to being impartial? You got sucked in hook, line and sinker man by an HBO special...wow man, wow...

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Charles C. Euchner, in his book "Playing the Field: Why Sports Teams Move and Cities Fight to Keep Them" had a great section on Moses' involvement with the move and his stated preference for building a new stadium in Queens, in 'a multi-purpose suburban-style facility dependent almost wholly on automobile transport' (p. 17).

That would be completely in keeping with Moses' well known, and often demonstrated, preference for automobiles as the primary form of transportation, in both cities and the suburbs.

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The HBO special was one sided to make O'Malley look like the good guy.

btw: Robert Moses was head of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority at the time of the Dodgers move to LA. It's not his fault the Dodgers left Brooklyn the buck stops with O'Malley, his son can spin it all he wants..

Yes, it is Moses' fault the team left for LA. All he had to do was "yes" and the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn. O'Malley did all he could, but he couldn't get Moses to say "yes", which left him with no other choice then to move to LA.

The buck stopped with Robert Moses. He's the one who should carry the blame for the Dodgers moving to LA, not Walter O'Malley.

Wow, what happened to hearing both sides of the story?? What happened to being impartial? You got sucked in hook, line and sinker man by an HBO special...wow man, wow...

Why should I give a rat's a$$ about what you have to say anyway? You admittedly like to be "the fly in the ointment ", the guy who likes to stir things up, for no other reason then to cause controversy. If we were all blaming O'Malley and letting Moses off the hook, you would be the first to blame Moses.

FTR though, I am being impartial. Between the two of us, I'm the only one looking at both sides of the story. Essentially, as a non New Yorker, I'm able to look at the Dodgers/Brooklyn/Los Angeles situation and not have emotion cloud my judgement.

Bottom line? O'Malley wanted to keep the team in Brooklyn. Ebbets Field was an out-of-date facility. He did everything he could to get a new stadium built in Brooklyn. Robert Moses was the only man he had to convince, and Moses essentially told O'Malley a new stadium in Brooklyn was out of the question.

So left with an out-of-date facility in Brooklyn, no hope for a new stadium in Brooklyn, and a golden offer from LA, what was he suppose to do?

In the end O'Malley did everything he could to get the a stadium built in Brooklyn and Robert Moses did all he could to make sure it never happened. Moses, being the second most powerful man in NYC at the time (perhaps the most powerful man in the city regarding what got built where), won the battle, and killed the possibility of a new stadium in Brooklyn.

It was Robert Moses who drove the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, not Walter O'Malley. O'Malley took the only real option available to him.

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From a pure business standpoint, O'Malley did what he had to do. As with most owners of that time, the Dodgers were O'Malley's primary source of income, and as noted in the documentary, the team was still profitable (one of two profitable NL clubs at the time). However, one glaring omission in the part about the move to Los Angeles that wasn't fully detailed was how O'Malley got the land for Dodger Stadium--immient domain. There was a PBS special from about a year or two ago that talked about how the residents of Chavez Ravine (originally Palo Verde--no relation to the Palos Verdes Pennisula area in southern L.A. county) were forced (mostly by physical means) out of their community to make way for the new ballpark. Also, it was learned that many of the vacant homes and a school were buried under the construction of Dodger Stadium.

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Anyone ever see what the new Brooklyn ballpark was supposed to look like?

brooklyndonexh5.png

This stadium would not have aged well. Looking at the rendering it probably would have been twice as big as a modern day ballpark and thrice as big as a ballpark built before the 50s.

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Anyone ever see what the new Brooklyn ballpark was supposed to look like?

brooklyndonexh5.png

This stadium would not have aged well. Looking at the rendering it probably would have been twice as big as a modern day ballpark and thrice as big as a ballpark built before the 50s.

Kinda looks futuristic, but probably the end of the 1970s by the very least, they would have been begging for a new ballpark, if not sooner.

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Yeah but the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn, won in Brooklyn become a Brooklyn institution and by now will be getting ready to build Citi Field a Ebbets Field Throw back nearby the soon to be abandoned dome.

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Yeah but the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn, won in Brooklyn become a Brooklyn institution and by now will be getting ready to build Citi Field a Ebbets Field Throw back nearby the soon to be abandoned dome.

Talk about a lot of what-ifs on a new ballpark!

They were already a Brooklyn institution before the won the '55 Series. Hell, before the Robinson/Duke/Campy group even got to Brooklyn.

The inner cities of America were falling into disrepair by the late 50s. Americans were moving west and into the Sun Belt. Because of this, attendance league-wide stayed flat or fell in the 50s. This had a big hand in the moves of the Browns, A's, Braves, Dodgers and Giants. The Dodgers weren't drawing well and Giants were barely drawing 600k.

That Brooklyn ballpark was a disaster waiting to happen. Even IF they had built the ballpark, would people have gone? The neighborhood the Dodgers flourished in was a vastly different neighborhood just a decade after they left.

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Yeah but the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn, won in Brooklyn become a Brooklyn institution and by now will be getting ready to build Citi Field a Ebbets Field Throw back nearby the soon to be abandoned dome.

It is quite ironic that they are building a replica of Ebbets field in the place where the Dodgers refused to build a new stadium.

I watched the documentary and I must say it was well done. As for the Dodgers move to Los Angeles I came away with it as both O'Malley and Moses have to share the blame. This to me seemed more of an ego thing with both and neither would budge on their position. In retrospect both options on the table were good options and both would have been successful. The Atlantic Yards site would have been a good site for a ballpark and Moses probably should have agreed to it. This is evidence by now Ratner trying to build on the same site (or close to it) now. Then again this is in retrospect where access to public transportation to an sporting venue is emphasized. Then the trend was starting for venues in the suburbs that were pretty much accessible by car only. Of course like wise the site Moses proposed was not bad either. It is where Shea Stadium is now and where they are building Citi Field. Say what you want about Shea and it's design it's site isn't bad. It's not downtown but it still as access to mass transportation and is easily accessible to Long Island which O'Malley wanted. The site is going to be home to a major league stadium for 70+ at least when everything is said and done. You can't call that a bad site. Sure it wasn't in Brooklyn but how many venues (especially being built around that time period or soon after) weren't in the city (or in this case borough) where the team is named after.

I also came a way with the feeling that once the talks with LA started and became a bit serious that he pretty much gave up on staying in New York and didn't use LA enough as a bargaining chip. O'Malley was a bit underhanded about LA as well he said to the LA people at one point to keep it quiet because if Brooklyn found out they would kill him. There is no doubt that he did try hard to keep the team before LA got into the picture. I think if both would have put aside their egos a deal could have been reached to keep the team.

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Yeah but the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn, won in Brooklyn become a Brooklyn institution and by now will be getting ready to build Citi Field a Ebbets Field Throw back nearby the soon to be abandoned dome.

Talk about a lot of what-ifs on a new ballpark!

They were already a Brooklyn institution before the won the '55 Series. Hell, before the Robinson/Duke/Campy group even got to Brooklyn.

The inner cities of America were falling into disrepair by the late 50s. Americans were moving west and into the Sun Belt. Because of this, attendance league-wide stayed flat or fell in the 50s. This had a big hand in the moves of the Browns, A's, Braves, Dodgers and Giants. The Dodgers weren't drawing well and Giants were barely drawing 600k.

That Brooklyn ballpark was a disaster waiting to happen. Even IF they had built the ballpark, would people have gone? The neighborhood the Dodgers flourished in was a vastly different neighborhood just a decade after they left.

I don't think Tank's assertion is far of. Currently the Mets have the second highest franchise value in baseball. Given the Dodgers extended history over the Mets one could possibly argue that the Dodgers both long term and possibly short term would have been better off taking the Flushing site.

I also think the Atlantic Yards site would have been a success (probably more than Flushing was for the Mets). The people to come to the ballpark would be former Brooklyn residents who moved to Long Island. Just because they moved to the suburbs doesn't mean they don't come into the city anymore. I would bet now that most of the Yankee and Mets fans who go to games come from the suburbs. Atlantic Yards has easy access is the site is on top of the Long Island Railroad. In this regard O'Malley was a visionary because this is how venue sites are chosen now. The same reasons why O'Malley wanted a park there were the same as why people want the Barclay's Center built there. That said from what I heard today that site then might have been impractical because the site was owned by the Pennsylvania railroad (there was no MTA) and immient domain wasn't available in New York then.

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