Playwright Hopes for a Hit
When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, hearts were broken in Brooklyn as scorned fans bid farewell to their beloved bums.
Across the country it was a different story. A love affair with the team blossomed.
Such was the case with Kitty Felde. Her passion for baseball is rooted in sensual childhood memories from the Dodgers' honeymoon period in Los Angeles: the smell of cut grass as dad mowed the lawn while Vin Scully's silky-smooth play-by-play flowed from a red transistor radio.
Felde's love for baseball has transcended two low points: one, as a reporter, when a major league manager turned and spit tobacco juice on her shoes; and another, her miserable, two-inning failure as a radio baseball announcer, when vision problems made her misjudge the flight of the ball as she described its path to confused listeners.
No wonder that when Felde turns to creative writing, her subject is the nation's pastime.
"Baseball is a whole experience. It smells good, and it's wonderful to watch," said Felde, a 36-year-old radio journalist from Mar Vista.
Felde's fourth play, "Bum's Rush," tells the story of the political dealings that brought the Dodgers to Los Angeles. Hardly the stuff for a romantic comedy, and a musical at that — yet that's how Felde has written it. Glenn Mehrbach wrote the lyrics and music.
A free staged reading of the play, produced as part of the Los Angeles Festival, will be preserved today at 2 p.m. at the Santa Monica Public Library auditorium.
The idea for the play grew out of a news story about the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles that Felde produced for KLON-FM in Long Beach, where she's worked as a reporter for the past five years.
"I couldn't let the story go, it was such a great story," said Felde, now a correspondent for the station's Calnet news program, which airs on public radio stations, including KUSC in Los Angeles and KPCC in Pasadena.
Although a trained journalist, Felde has taken some liberties with the facts while fashioning the play.
The work features a cigar-smoking Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers president who engineered the move to Los Angeles, delivering a discourse about love. Prominent also are two goat herders who refuse to give up their home in Chavez Ravine to make way for a new stadium.
The plot is loosely tied to history. There was a family, the Arechigas, who were the last holdouts at Chavez Ravine. And they did own goats.
Television cameras recorded the grim scene of deputies removing the kicking and screaming clan as the family's 68-year-old matriarch threw stones. The