Dodgers Boot 86 Year-old Man from his Front Row Seats

Bill Plachke, LA Times

Aisle 25, first row, seats 1, 2, 3, 4.

Numbers to anyone else, but a life’s work for Irving Zeiger, who has had the best seats in the house for as long as there has been a house.

Zeiger mailed his initial deposit for Dodger season tickets while the team was still in Brooklyn, reportedly the first check Walter O’Malley received.

When O’Malley built Dodger Stadium, he rewarded Zeiger by renting him the cornerstone.

His seats were in the first row directly above the Dodger dugout. He was so close he could smell the resin and spot the tobacco stains. He wore a glove not for souvenirs, but protection.

For 43 years he has sat there, placing his diet soda on the dugout roof and autograph-seeking kids at his feet and embracing this town’s last bit of unchanging real estate.

“It may sound funny, but to enjoy these seats with my family, to share them with others, I really had an emotional feeling about them,” said Zeiger, 86.

Then, this winter, he received a phone call.

It was a strange woman from this strange new organization known as, well, the Dodgers.

The voice was cheery. The news sounded good.

The Dodgers had moved the dugout closer to the field and installed four new rows of seats behind it. But Zeiger need not worry, he could retain his four stadium-best seats directly above the new dugout.

It would cost him only $120,000.

You read that right.

It would cost him only $120,000.

Irv Zeiger has cheered for Koufax, screamed for Gibson, pumped his fist for Piazza.

But no Dodger has ever blown him away like that woman on the phone.

“I thought she was joking,” he said. “She wanted $120,000 from me to keep those seats I’ve had for half my life?”

Zeiger was scheduled to pay $20,000 for his four seats, so the new figure constituted a 500% increase.

To move up four rows.

To watch a team that has won one playoff game in 16 years.

To support an owner who spent the winter breaking up a division champion while slashing the payroll.

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h/t + free cat + welch on fire

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