It’s time for Dodgers’ baseball!

Well, sort of.

Even though most teams don’t get going until a week from now, the Dodgers’ 2014 baseball season gets underway in just a few hours. The boys in blue go head-to-head against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a pair of games being played in Australia.

It’s an interesting change for the start of the season, despite the fact that “change” of any sort often seems a bit out of place in a game drowning in tradition. It shouldn’t be surprising to those who know me, but “tradition” is one of the things that keeps me close to the game. Or maybe it’s habit, I’m not sure. But I got used to inter-league play, so I’ll be fine with two games down under.

The more disturbing change for the season ahead is related to the way I and millions of other Dodgers’ fans will have to go without watching our team play much. The Dodgers sold their broadcast rights to Time Warner for billions of dollars and now Time Warner has created a dedicated Dodgers cable channel that more than 70% of the LA market does not have access to.

Steve Dilbeck broke it down well in his piece for the LA Times. I don’t really care about a 24/7 Dodgers channel. Frankly, I am pretty damn close to being done with cable altogether. Even though I love the team, and wish I had the station, I completely understand why all the other providers won’t pony up to pay the asking price for the channel.

Even with my love of the team, whether or not this channel is on my TV is not at the top of the list of factors that is determining how I pick a provider, or whether or not I actually have cable.


Baseball is a slow sport. A season is 162 games stretched out over half a year. It’s not really something that works as an “event” by today’s cultural standards. The best thing baseball had going for it–especially Dodgers’ baseball–was that you could always turn it on to make it part of your daily life.

The fact that we are about to go from having the most games on local broadcast (free) TV to having none is just sad. It means I won’t get to see Vin Scully in what might be his last season. It means I won’t get to follow the team as closely as a result. Coupled with the ticket prices (which aren’t too high but still make it a big financial commitment to take the family) it probably means I won’t get to see much of the Dodgers at all.

Of course, I’ll still be a fan. And I’ll still follow the team. I have a radio and I listen to games using the MLB app quite a bit. But what about my kids?

I think this TV mess is going to do long term damage to baseball in LA. While I can enjoy a radio broadcast almost as much as a televised one, for my kids–and the millions of other LA kids who are just learning to like the game–it’s all about the visuals. The majority of them will never step foot into the stadium. And now a majority of them won’t get to even see the Dodgers play with their own eyes.

There is a race/class dimension to all of this, of course. The ones who will really suffer are a generation of working-class, Latino kids growing up without the Dodgers on their TV.

However this resolves itself in the coming months (or years), the Dodgers aren’t losing anything with me. I’m here loving them no matter what, and they got their billions from the deal.

But even one season off the TV screen is going to do something to my kids. They’re just learning the game, largely, by learning to watch it. They’re just starting to develop their love of the sport and, by extension, the team. The inability to watch is going to affect the level of love my kids develop for the team. And that’s a problem for the Dodgers’ future.

Anyways…enough complaining. As the title of this post suggests, I’m going to go now and fire up the radio for some early morning baseball from the other side of the globe. The start of my new tradition.

Posted in Entertainment, History, News, Personal | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Latino SF @ USF (3-18-14)

I’ll be visiting the University of San Francisco this Tuesday to share a from my book, Latinos at the Golden Gate. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Latinos in the city, I hope to see you there!


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Latino SF @ SF State (3-19-14)

I’ll be giving a book talk at San Francisco State University this week! Details are on the below digital flier. If you want to learn more about the history of Latinos in San Francisco, then come on by!


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“Serving the DREAM”

Pomona College will be hosting an event on DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) this Friday, March 7 @ 10AM. Two representatives from USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal department responsible for the program) will be discussing this program, meant to serve undocumented youth, including the new renewal process. It’s a great chance for local schools, churches, and other organizations to connect to reliable information so they can better serve our families.


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Boycott Response

I am proud to lend my name to this letter, a response to the response of our college’s president to the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions. While I feel very passionate about academic freedom and the principles of intellectual exchange, I also feel as passionate about other freedoms, in this case, ones that rise to the level of fundamental human rights.

I share our letter here, with additions for clarity:

Dear Colleagues:

Many of you may have heard of the American Studies Association’s recent resolution in favor of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and the widespread reaction to that call.  David [Oxtoby, President of Pomona College] has joined with over a hundred other college and university presidents by issuing a statement opposing the boycott.  While we disagree with his position, we nonetheless appreciate the temperate nature of his statement about the issue when compared to some of the inflammatory charges about the boycott and the ASA made by others on this issue.  Nonetheless, we disagree that the boycott is, as David writes, “an affront to the principles of academic freedom.” Indeed, we believe the ASA boycott resolution actually will promote the academic freedom of Palestinian and dissident Israeli scholars.

The wording of the boycott resolution (the main section of which we quote below) makes clear that it is a boycott of institutions that in no way obstructs conversation and collaboration with Israeli intellectuals and professors; indeed some of us supported the resolution at the urging of our Israeli colleagues, family and friends, who are themselves legally constrained from participating in boycotts, what they see as an institutional limiting of their freedom of speech. We believe, further, that the misleading public conversation about freedom of academic expression works to conceal the other forms of freedom at stake: the freedom for Palestinian students and teachers to attend and participate in university life; freedom for critics of Israel to speak freely, a freedom we choose to exercise now; and finally, and more basically, freedom of movement, access to water, medical care, safe housing and play spaces for Palestinian women, men and children.

We urge our [Pomona College] colleagues to learn more about this controversy. To that end we thought that it would be helpful to share some of the more thoughtful interventions in this debate:

The ASA resolution itself: “It is resolved that the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It is also resolved that the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.”

The ASA National Council and members responses

The Journal of Academic Freedom (published by AAUP) special issue on the topic

President David Oxtoby’s statement

Michael Roth (President of Wesleyan and former CGU Prof ) Op-Ed in the LA times

Robin DG Kelley, Professor at UCLA, response to Roth

Judith Butler, Professor at UC Berkeley, response to debate

Signed (in alphabetical order),

Ray Buriel
Phyllis Jackson
Sidney Lemelle
Pardis Mahdavi
April Mayes
Frances Pohl
Erin Runions
Victor Silverman
Darryl A. Smith
Tomás Summers Sandoval
Valorie Thomas
Miguel Tinker Salas
Kyla Wazana Tompkins

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My “book tour”

I’ll be in the Bay Area this week to talk about my book, Latinos at the Golden Gate. It’s the first of four trips I’m making to the city to share my work and sign some books for those who are interested. It’s also my first trip back since the book came out.

This week I’ll be giving two informal talks on the book, covering the history of Latina/o community in San Francisco from the Gold Rush to the 1970s. I’d love to see you there if you can make it!

Wednesday, January 15 @ 7:30PM
I’m the first spring 2014 public talk event sponsored by Shaping SF. My talk will be at the Eric Quezada Center, in the heart of the Mission District, at 518 Valencia. The event is free and open to the public. For more info you can visit their website.

Thursday, January 16 @ 7:00PM
I’m also speaking in Berkeley, at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (2521 Channing Way). This event is part of the California Studies Dinner Seminar series. The dinner and discussion are both free (although they ask for a small donation for drinks) but an RSVP is required. You can find out the details by visiting their website.

I don’t think they’ll be selling books at either event but if you bring a copy I’d be happy to sign it!

Hope to see you this week!

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My 2013 Year in Review

Here’s the problem with my Facebook “2013 Year in Review”: When you spend most of your time on Facebook being a sarcastic idiot, your milestones are the jokes your friends liked the most. . . and your wife’s and kids’ birthdays.

But this year was kind of a big year for me and my family. I haven’t always had the time to write about the milestones here (it’s been a really busy year, too, at least in terms of work), but I thought it would be a nice way to close out the year by making short list, at least for those who might be interested.

My lovely wife and I are the proud parents of three kids–three amazing, beautiful, intelligent, creative, loving kids. When I’m not working, most of my time is spent trying to be with them. Well, even though she didn’t turn 3 years-old until September, the #3 kid went diaper-free last spring. This is the end of an era that began in the fall of 2005 with the birth of our son, #1. I can’t understate what a wonderful development this was for us all and, yet, kind of sad, too.

The Book
This one Facebook got right. For that matter, since I’ve been hitting the social media airwaves with the news of my book’s release since it was released, this one probably doesn’t need re-stating here. That said, MY BOOK CAME OUT THIS YEAR!! It’s an event that I’ve been describing as “surreal” when people ask but the more I think about it, it’s not. I feel very proud and accomplished. I also feel detached, like the book that came out isn’t something I produced. I feel happy, to be sure. I also feel a little disappointed. I wish it were the book I always hoped it would have been, or at least more like that book. While I am happy that a major and well-respected academic press saw merit in my work and agreed to publish it (I would not have a job if they didn’t), I also feel like the “academic-ness” of the book makes it something less useful to the people who are the subject of the book. Complicated stuff, but so overwhelmingly good in the final sum.

Sister moves
I have two sisters, the youngest of which has been living with her husband on the Central Coast since 2008. My wife and I moved down to Southern California (from the Central Coast) in early 2006, so for most of the time that we’ve been down here, she has been up there. Well, this summer she moved back to LA to start working in residential life at USC. My brother-in-law finally joined her just this month. So happiness all around for them and the demise of the long-distance feature of their relationship, but also for us. While we haven’t seen much more of her since she moved, I suspect, in the long run, this will change. And that is a great thing!

I realized this year that I don’t really post many things about the Dodgers on social media. A blog post here and there, a comment to a friend’s post more often, but nothing really that would give you a sense of how much I enjoyed them or this season. It was a really fun one to watch, even though the ending stunk. What made it a lot less painful was that I went into the NLCS already having accepted the fact that the Dodgers were going to lose to the Cardinals. What I’m left with is a season that rewarded the true-blue fan who stuck it out through the heartless years. I can’t wait for next spring.

Big Sur
I also don’t write much about the kids and the family on social media, but this year was one of the best for us, as every year has been. We’re healthy, happy, secure financially and otherwise. Every year (well, for the past 4 years, which feels like a long time to the kids) we take a family camping trip to Big Sur. Ever since my wife and I lived in the Monterey area, that place has been a special one for me. It’s a peaceful place, a recharging place, and a place I look forward to visiting every time. This year we almost didn’t take our trip–we were the victims of a pretty bad hit-and-run just two days before we were scheduled to leave–but we ended up going, just for a shorter amount of time. I don’t have the words to describe how great it was.

There’s a bunch of other things that made this year a special one. Happily, daily life is filled with those. We had a few sad events, too; my grandma passed away last October at the age of 92 and my wife lost one of her life-long friends. Alas, that is also part of life. Some events happened to others but will undoubtedly be good things for us as a family. Like, just this week, my mother-in-law retired. With two retired parents of my own, I’ve come to see this event as the beginning of a new phase of life for everyone involved. And I know my kids are excited to see more of her in the year ahead.

And that year ahead will be filled with more than a few things to look forward to. Professionally, I have a few “book talks” planned in the Bay Area this coming spring. (In the academic world, these handful of speaking engagements might be the equivalent of a “book tour.”) The Summers Sandoval family is planning to change it up this summer and go visit Glacier National Park. And I think I might be moving forward in a big way on book #2.

And who knows what else. . .

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