The beautiful people are back, and actor Danny DeVito dropped by the other night, too. Dodger Stadium was always a place to be seen, but now they come because there is really something to see.
A rookie who one minute does something spectacular and the next something spectacularly stupid. A pitcher flirting with numbers not seen in Chavez Ravine since another lefty named Koufax toiled on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers a half century ago.
And now a spot in the record books right next to the 1951 New York Giants.
It's suddenly a good time to be a Dodger fan unless, of course, you have somewhere to be after the game. Fans that for years left in the seventh inning to beat the notorious Southern California traffic are actually staying to the end of the game, lest they miss Yasiel Puig running the bases or running into a wall.
"It's funny but it does seem like it," manager Don Mattingly said. "I notice it because by the time I get out of here there's still traffic and it takes me a while. I guess it's a good thing, though."
It's good time to be a Dodger, too.
"The Dodgers are having a lot of fun right now," utilityman Nick Punto said.
They should be. After coming back from a 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 in the 12th inning Wednesday night, the Dodgers were riding a 40-8 streak that has transformed them from listless losers into the team Vegas oddsmakers now make the favorite to win the World Series. Not since the Giants rallied to win the pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 has a team been this good for this long.
That they've done it mostly without injured star center fielder Matt Kemp is a testament to the depth that a $215 million opening day payroll can provide. Lately they've also been doing it without hot-hitting shortstop Hanley Ramirez, injured while crashing into the stands chasing a fly ball.
It's a far cry from where they were on June 22, when the Dodgers were 30-42 and the speculation in the Los Angeles media was that Mattingly wouldn't last another week. Then Puig turned into a phenom instead of just a curiosity and a pitching staff built for the playoffs started pitching like it was the playoffs.
"I can't say I saw this coming because this is historical stuff," Mattingly said Wednesday. "But I knew we had a good club if we could get healthy and start playing the way we were capable of playing. But this just kind of came out of the blue."
It also came at just the right time for the new Dodgers owners, who spent a whopping $2 billion to buy the team and immediately went on a spending spree to make them contenders. They also spent some money fixing up Dodger Stadium in the offseason but it's been the team, not the improvements at the 51-year-old baseball edifice, that have the Dodgers leading the majors in attendance at 45,000 a game.
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