Zack Greinke could say one thing about pitching in towns such as Milwaukee and Kansas City: Rarely did he have to sit in traffic when making his way to the ballpark.
Being on the brink of free agency a season ago with the Angels probably got him thinking in earnest about the unpleasantries of driving in southern California. And once he got locked in with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the next six seasons, Greinke definitely set his mind on alternatives to the L.A. freeway system. "Hey," he probably thought. "You're due to make as much as $159 million over the course of this contract. What can we do here?"
Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register provides a possible remedy:
[Greinke] wanted to live on a beach. But the thought of fighting the traffic to Dodger Stadium on a regular basis was so unappealing he looked into another option — taking a helicopter to the park.
"I did. I looked into it but I don't think you can land at the stadium," Greinke said. "It's not as easy as it sounds."
Greinke's right. Even though you have plenty of open spaces at Chavez Ravine — not just the playing field but also the acres of parking lots — you can't just put down a helicopter wherever you want in Los Angeles. This isn't "Blue Thunder" or that "Airwolf." Maybe, once, for an opening-day stunt, or a playoff game, you could have a Blackhawk drop off Greinke at home plate or in center field. If the Dodgers got a permit. But a copter landing behind second base might wreak havoc with the playing surface, or blow Dodger Dog wrappers all over. It could tip over. And that's no good.
And yet, Greinke actually might be onto something here. New Dodgers ownership is wealthy beyond Avarice. And they think outside of the box. If the Dodgers were to construct a multi-level parking garage, they could add a helipad so a Zack Copter could land on the roof. In case of emergencies, another copter (not Zack's — that's his helicopter) could be used to airlift a player or a fan to a hospital (unless it's Zack who needs airlifting). Imagine if Matt Kemp's appendix bursts, or Clayton Kershaw trips, or something. Tommy Lasorda's getting up there, you know.
With a chopper standing by, there's no need to worry about an ambulance getting stuck in traffic on the 110 Freeway. People might make fun of Zack Greinke for this so-called outlandish idea, but it could work. It could easily work. With a helipad. Magic Johnson, you know what to do.