The attendance statistics read 35,249, but Sunday's crowd at Dodger Stadium felt even smaller. It's been that sort of year for the congregation at Chavez Ravine, part of the flop that's occured since their owner decided to turn the team into an ATM and Manny Ramirez admitted to a long-term affinity for estrogen.
But in spite of the Dodgers' slow demise, they slid into the All-Star break on a positive note: a sweep of the Padres and two home runs by All-Star Andre Ethier, their sweet-swinging, yoga-stretching, gourmand of a right fielder. Matt Kemp may garner the headlines for his flashy play and his flashier ex-girlfriend, but Ethier's been equally impressive since the Dodgers stole him several years ago in the Milton Bradley trade.
For a music enthusiast, perhaps the most admirable thing about Ethier has been his at-bat music: Delinquent Habits' oft-forgotten 1996 hit, "Tres Delinquentes." Most big league baseball players gravitate toward jock jams, Top 40 hits du jour and, in the case of Carlos Perez, proof positive of everything Dave Chappelle ever suspected.
But in an unusually subtle way, the half-Mexican Ethier, who drove in a run on his only at-bat in Tuesday's All-Star game, acknowledges both his own and the city's Latin makeup -- while big-upping one of the most unsung local rap groups from the early '90s. While Cypress Hill usually elicits the lion's share of love, Los Angeles experienced an explosion of Latin rappers during the '90s: Kid Frost, Lighter Shade of Brown, Funkdoobiest, Johnny J, Mellow Man Ace. Indeed, the playlists of 92.3 FM (The Beat) and Power 106 swarmed with Spanish-speaking rappers.