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Hey, LA: How about a Freeway Series?

Hey, LA: How about a Freeway Series?

For five decades, they have sat on opposite ends of a see-saw. When the Dodgers have been up, the Angels have been down. And vice versa.

The Los Angeles area's two baseball franchises have also lived at opposite ends of the cultural and fiscal spectrum. Although the Dodgers came out of Brooklyn only three years before the Angels came in through expansion, the National Leaguers were always the establishment, and the other guys were the interlopers.

The turnstiles, the media, the television ratings all reflected the Dodgers' geographic and cultural upper hand. Put it this way: They never had to consider changing their brand to the Orange County Dodgers of Los Angeles.

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The Angels cowered under a complex. When he was their general manager, Buzzie Bavasi was fond of pointing out that their main foes weren't the Royals or the A's, but the Dodgers, even though that was years before Interleague Play.

Even when it was no contest at the box office, both teams at least had their heydays on the field. But, as mentioned above, not at the same time.

In their first 39 common seasons, until 2000, when Mike Scioscia took over as Angels manager and helped transform them into perennial threats, the Angels and the Dodgers both reached the modest plateau of having winning records in the same season only eight times.

In 2004, they finally tasted significant mutual success, both making the playoffs. They are still apologizing for that one: While the Angels were swept away by Boston and the Dodgers managed one win against the Cardinals, they combined to lose six of seven Division Series games and were outscored 47-24.

Now six Angels remaining from the '04 outfit can personally make amends by making sure to get it right this time. Alas, the Dodgers have no such agents of atonement; their only holdover is Brad Penny, the injured pitcher who will be on the sidelines this October.

Still, without apologies to Chicago and its lingering fantasy of a Red Line Series, Los Angeles awaits the long-overdue Freeway Series, hopefully and confidently.

How can they mess it up again? Wouldn't a Freeway Series be the perfect way to sign off on the Dodgers' year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of their arrival from Brooklyn?

Besides, wasn't this the ultimate objective in constructing the Santa Ana Freeway, the I-5, the "freeway" in Freeway Series? Construction of the major artery linking downtown Los Angeles with the heart of Orange County began in 1947 and was completed in 1956, two years before the Dodgers' arrival.

Or, maybe not: World Series game times are geared toward prime time on the East Coast and set for 5:30 p.m. PT, coinciding with Southern California rush hour, certainly bad enough on its own.

Lest people leave on Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday night's game, that could be a problem, so local folks may have to start thinking instead in terms of a Metrolink Series, or even an Amtrak Series.

Amtrak Series sounds good. There actually is a train station smack in the middle of Angel Stadium's parking lot. And Los Angeles' downtown Union Station is a free five-minute shuttle bus ride from Dodger Stadium.


Ramirez and Guerrero could both wind up in the Baseball Hall of Fame ... but if they want to have a shot at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, they'd better satisfy the Southland's hunger for a Freeway Series.

What could be more pleasant than having Dodgers and Angels fans share a train ride under their dueling Manny and Vladi dreadlock mops?

So now that we've solved the transportation problem, they just have to solve the Red Sox and Cubs problems (for starters).

Shouldn't be a problem, citizens in both counties agree, not surprisingly. In the latest results of an ongoing Los Angeles Times poll, 57.1 percent of respondents like the Dodgers to take out the Cubs, and 61.5 percent foresee the Angels doing the same to Boston.

Even apart from provincialism, a Dodgers-Angels Amtrak Series will pack a lot of appeal. Can Joe Torre, who never fared well against the Angels with the Yankees, do better in blue? Can the Angels, who scored one run in three games against Los Angeles the last time they met in late June, handle Dodgers pitching?

Most important -- are the Dodgers still thinking outside the box, or have they gotten over the fact they had an offseason dinner date with Torii Hunter at the approximate time the free agent was signing with the Angels over some fast-food tacos?

No question, an Amtrak Series would be the best over-the-top way to top off this October.

Although, even tie-dyed-in-the-wool Los Angelenos must admit, Dodgers-Red Sox would not be a weak Plan B.

You'd need a permanent iso-cam on Manny Ramirez, who would be burning his candle at both ends. However high that Series' TV share would be, it would not be as good as Manny's share: Since he was in Boston through July, you know the Red Sox have voted him a big slice; and considering what he has done for them since his arrival, you also know the Dodgers had to vote him a full share.

There would also be the Torre vs. Red Sox Nation angle, and a one-of-a-kind triumphant homecoming for Boston natives Frank and Jamie McCourt. The first October meeting since 1916 between two of baseball's original franchises -- back then, the Brooklynites were still the "Robins" -- wouldn't be bad, either.

But none of it would make it as boffo as a Freeway-slash-Amtrak Series. Local politicians could wager Disneyland against Magic Mountain. The Rally Monkey could be drawn to L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park under false pretenses. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be sure to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Ramirez and Guerrero could both wind up in the Baseball Hall of Fame, which would be nice. But if they want to have a shot at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, they'd better satisfy the Southland's hunger for a Freeway Series. They don't give out those stars just for showing up in the postseason.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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