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THE SPECULATOR

By John D. Leonard

The second-place Los Angeles Dodgers disembarked one night last week from a TWA constellation at Los Angeles International Airport, and big-league baseball came to Southern California. It was not Milwaukee.

Contrary to newspaper reports, there was no throng of thousands waiting; only a straggling collection of city officials, Senator Knowland, and some curious night-life.

There are four reasons to be skeptical about the 1958 baseball season for the transplanted Bums:

First, Angelenos don't like Walter O'Malley's shenanigans. When he won the mineral rights to Chavez Ravine, he lost the unquestioning trust which the sport-shirted Southern Californian bon vivant gave to open classification baseball.

Angels Are Left Out

Next, as the unsavory newspaper peddler at Hollywood and Vine remarked: "Nobody's them Angels." The Angels are the displaced persons in the westward movement. Last year's Pacific Coast League champs, they had a couple of crowd-drawers--a line-up averaging .304, a pitching staff with four 15-game winners, and a roly-poly slugger named Bilko who swatted 56 homeruns.

Third, the newspaper peddler notwithstanding, baseball fans are few in the Riviera of the West. Beaches are open all year-round. Santa Anita, Caliente, and Hollypark run races every day. Bull-fights and j'ai-lai games are just across the border. And there are too many parks and too much picnic weather.

Finally, of course, from Beverly Hills to Skidrow they don't want second-best.

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