"DEM Bums" long ago left Flatbush for the fertile fiscal...

Salmagundi

May 14, 1993

"DEM Bums" long ago left Flatbush for the fertile fiscal fields of sunny Southern California. But the memory of Brooklyn's much-cherished Brooklyn Dodgers lingers on.

You could hear the loyal fans cheering recently when a federal judge ruled that the O'Malley family's baseball team had "abandoned" the blue-collar borough when it moved to Brooklyn in 1957.

Thus, the name "Brooklyn Dodgers" stays in New York City.

The judge declared the Brooklyn Dodgers "a non-transportable cultural institution separate from the 'Los Angeles Dodgers' or the 'Dodgers' who play in Los Angeles."

The O'Malleys left town, but the cultural institution never left Flatbush.

So a Bay Ridge sports bar can continue to use the name of "Brooklyn Dodgers." There was no trade infringement.

Thirty-six years after "Dem Bums" last played a baseball game at Ebbets Field, the Brooklyn Dodgers are fondly remembered. The O'Malleys' move to the West Coast was a devastating civic blow to the borough, much like the Irsay heist of the Colts to Indianapolis tore at heartstrings here. But sports teams in America are, indeed, a kind of cultural institution. You can take the ball players out of Brooklyn (or Baltimore) but you can't take the name -- or the spirit -- out of the town.

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