The Third Coast was looking very much like the West Coast recently, at least at the Pfister Hotel. The LA Dodgers were in town and the lobby was teeming with the blue-clad fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. Amid the sea of baseball caps and jerseys sat a couple who sparkled with the enthusiasm that was coursing through the room, being transferred from fan to fan through eager smiles and furtive glances.
Few fans are as devoted as Californian Susie Acosta. A lifelong backer of The Blue Crew, she was introduced to the sport by her father. Growing up, Susie and her dad frequently went to Dodgers Stadium to watch the sluggers knock it out of the field. Together, they sat through countless innings, sometimes of the very edges of their seats, cheering for the team that captured their hearts. These times were special for the father and daughter, and over far too soon. Susie lost her father when she was 18. Her love for the team continued, but without her father, her trips to the stadium became far less frequent.
Before long, Susie met George Vasquez, the man who would one day be her husband. He liked baseball, but the blood in his veins did not run Dodger Blue, the way it did in the Acosta family. The pair watched a few games together and she impressed him with her ability to recall players and stats from decades earlier. Soon, Susie’s passion began to influence George and, in time, he began to join her at the stadium, filling the empty seat next to hers. As their relationship grew, so did George’s devotion for the team that already captured Susie’s heart. The pair eventually wed and the super fans now have a 22 year old son, and a home filled with more baseball memorabilia than is contained in most pro shops.
The couple estimate they attend around 50 games at Dodger Stadium a year, and they catch additional games when the True Blue Crew are on the road. The pair, after years of following the team, have decided they will attend a game in each of Major League Baseball’s 30 stadiums. With this trip to Milwaukee, the couple have now visited 15 of the ball parks. Reminiscing about their time on the road following the team, Susie recalls her favorite stadium away from their home stadium is Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs. She likes the park for its history and its gritty, rough and tumble atmosphere. George’s favorite park is at the other end of the spectrum, Busch Stadium. The St. Louis Cardinals’ home won his affection due to its modern comforts. While they love discovering new stadiums, for both it is Dodger Stadium that will always remain their favorite.
The highlight of their fandom came in 2015 when the pair got to play wiffle ball with Albert Pujols and Clayton Kershaw of the Blue Crew. The couple, winners at a charity event to raise money for player supported children’s charities, ran the bases of their beloved stadium with the celebrated players. They spoke of the event with the same enthusiasm excited children talk about the arrival of Santa Claus. With broad grins and eyes that gleamed with delight in the shared memory, the couple showed me photos of their Dodger Stadium adventure. As I scrolled though pictures of the happy pair it was clear to me that this event etched their hearts with a joy that will likely never be forgotten.
It was a delight to meet these mega fans who love each other, The Pfister Hotel, baseball, and the Dodgers- just not necessarily in that order.