These days, it's cool to say you're a Dodgers fan. It's also cool to be seen at Dodger Stadium, as plenty of Hollywood types and celebrities can attest to. On a relatively nightly basis, the cameras will invariably land on any number of actors in attendance, typically, for one of two reasons: either they really like baseball, or (more likely), they really like being seen at baseball games.
For Wil Wheaton -- actor, writer, Trekkie -- hanging out at Dodger Stadium doesn't come with any pretense or ulterior motives. It's simply a way of life, dating back to birth. For other members of his family, Dodger fandom goes back even further.
"My personal family history is interwoven with the Dodgers all the way back to 1955," Wheaton said.
If there was ever a year to begin a long-standing love affair with the Dodgers, 1955 was it. They won the World Series -- the only title they'd earn as a Brooklyn-based franchise -- with jaw-dropping star power including Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson.
Wheaton's family history is tied directly to the Dodgers of yesteryear. His great-grandmother, Dorothy Morton, was on the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission and helped push through the vote that put Dodger Stadium on the piece of land where it resides today.
So, yes, Wheaton's Dodger loyalty is something he was born into, and it's still as genuine today as it was when he was a kid and took in games from some very good seats at the ballpark.
"My family has actually had season tickets, three rows behind the Dodger dugout, for as long as I can remember," he said.
Wheaton revealed this juicy nugget from the Klondike Suite at Dodger Stadium during a recent taping of "Express Written Consent," an MLB.com venture that invites celebrities to take in a ballgame and talk about whatever comes to mind in casual conversation with host Jeremy Brisiel.
Wheaton, a former child actor best known for his role as Gordie Lachance in the '80s film "Stand By Me" and his portrayal as Wesley Crusher on the television series "Star Trek: the Next Generation," was not at a loss for words while reflecting on a very happy childhood that centered partly around his hometown team.
"I pretty much grew up in this stadium," he said. "It wasn't until I was 10 or 11 years old that I figured out that Vin Scully came out of all the radios that were all over the place. I just figured 'Oh, that's the voice of baseball.' The way that someone growing up in Chicago would think of Harry Caray as the voice of baseball, Vin Scully is very much the voice of baseball for me."
In his adult life, Wheaton's interests extend far beyond acting. He's, in a sense, a "gamer," although not in the way we think of that word in baseball terms. Wheaton, simply, loves games. Poker, Dungeons & Dragons, card games, board games, video games -- you name it, he probably plays it.
He's managed to parlay that love of gaming into a career. His newest venture, co-created with Felicia Day, is titled "Tabletop" and is all about board games. It can be found at youtube.com/geekandsundry.
"The concept of the show is we get together with interesting people we know from TV and movies and music and writers and the internet and we play board games," he said. "Then we just sort of have a really good time doing it. It's a real good way to introduce people to board games. It's one of my lifelong passions and hobbies."
Wheaton's goal: bring gamers and non-gamers together, all in the name of... Monopoly?
"If I could do a thing that would let gamers show their non-gaming partners why we do what we do and maybe put more gamers in the world, that would be, on balance, a really good thing," he said.
Wheaton is never at a loss for words, but he was thrown for a loop during the regular feature called "Start, Bench, Cut," where the celeb is given three topics relevant to his past and asked to rank them in terms of importance.
"Video games, role-playing games, comic books," Brisiel offered.
"That's awful," Wheaton said. "Why don't you just ask me which of my children I want to drown?"
Still, he pushed on.
"I'll start role playing games," Wheaton began. "This is awful. This is the worst decision I've ever had to make."
Then he continued.
"Bench comic books, and I'm going to cut video games. I play video games for story. I should theoretically be getting the same sort of emotional rewarding story experience out of playing role playing games that I get out of the video games that I love. I'm going to give comics a break. Comics will be there when I'm done with my role-playing games."
We'll take his word for it.