SI Vault
James Murray
August 14, 1961
Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to get in on is a road tryout of a new musical—a mystery. At the moment the title is The Case of the Artless Dodgers, but it may be changed to Damn Dodgers for the Broadway run. The leading characters are Inspector Buncombe of Scotland Yard, played by Jack Paar; Buzzie Bavasi, played by Oscar Levant; and Walt Alston, played by Tab Hunter. The scene is an English moor and manor house. Clumps of fog swirl around the windows. On the living room floor, alive but with a knife sticking in each body, is a group of figures in the uniforms of the Los Angeles Dodgers. As the curtain rises, the inspector speaks.
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August 14, 1961

The Great Coliseum Murder Mystery

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Hold on, what's that you say? Bavasi and Alston want to make a statement? Zounds! A confession? No? Oh, well, show them in.

Now, gentlemen, what can I do for you? You wish to inform on someone? Very well—you first, Bavasi. Who is to blame for this low attack?

BAVASI. The Coliseum, Inspector.

INSPECTOR. The Coliseum?

BAVASI. Exactly. If anything did this to us, to our team, it was the Coliseum. You have to understand that the Dodgers—although you'd never think it to see them lying there—are the fastest team in baseball. This is a team that makes every outfielder in the league wish he had stuck to truck driving. Our boys go from first to third on any ball hit through the infield. They score from second and sometimes from first on a clean hit anywhere in the league. Except the Coliseum. In the Coliseum, the left-field fence is just back of the shortstop. It is the only ball park in the game where the left-fielder and the shortstop can converse in whispers. On a line single in the Coliseum, the runner is lucky if he's not forced Out at second. In fact, a 7-4-3 double play is not impossible.

Our team might as well be running on ice in their stocking feet as in the Coliseum. Add to this the fact that our power is left-handed except for Tommy Davis and the fact that Tommy Davis hits line drives that would be home runs in St. Louis but are line singles off the screen in the Coliseum and you can see where the guilt lies.

You are aware, Inspector, that most pennants are won at home? That a team that wins a championship usually only breaks a little better than even on the road? Well, the Dodgers have won 29 and lost 24 at home. They have won 34 and lost 16 on the road. That's .680 ball on the road—.680! That, Inspector, is a shattering statistic and proves conclusively the guilt of the Coliseum. Ordinarily, .600 ball wins the pennant in this league.

It doesn't matter who held the dagger. If it weren't for the Coliseum, the Dodgers would be so far out of reach, those assassins couldn't reach them with a space capsule.

The curtain falls with the entire company (including the Dodgers, who rise from the floor) singing, "You gotta have heart." In a smash encore Mr. Walter Alston sings a special parody—"The Coliseum is breaking up that old gang of mine."

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