The562’s coverage of Dirtbags Baseball for the 2022 season is sponsored by P2S, Inc. Visit p2sinc.com to learn more.
There is an inherent old-school feel at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field where the Long Beach State Dirtbags call home and the local high schools play their league games.
Despite the new state-of-the-art stadium lights, fresh paint and other recent improvements to the classic ballpark, it’ll still feel like yesteryear this season with the addition of an organ and Los Angeles Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle who will be playing during the majority of Dirtbags games.
“It just makes it that much more special,” Fee said. “I think the fans and players and everybody is just going to love it.”
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Ruehle, 53, has been the Dodgers full-time organist since 2016 and has also played for the Kings and Lakers.
“I’m aware of the history here so It’s pretty exciting to be part of it,” Ruehle said.
Fee was attending a Dodgers game last August when he took a second to appreciate how good the organ was at Chavez Ravine.
“I thought, ‘Man, this is baseball, and why can’t we do this at Blair?’” he recalled.
Fee looked up who was playing the organ and sent a message to Ruehle asking for information about the possibility of adding an organ in Long Beach and which one he should buy. Ruehle was more than happy to help, and when Fee asked him if he knew anyone who would be able to come play this season, Ruehle replied, “What about me?”
“I didn’t want to insult him,” Fee laughed. “But he was so helpful and I couldn’t pass that opportunity up.”
Phil Ramsdale, the LBSU supporter who took Fee to the Dodgers game, donated the money for the new organ located in the Bohl Diamond at Blair Field press box, and Ruehle has already played two Dirtbags games last weekend. He will be back this weekend as Long Beach State hosts North Dakota State for a three-game series.
“It was just a kind offer to come down, they told me they invested in the organ and they wanted me here,” Ruehle said. “I love playing baseball games so I figured why not?”
Ruehle is familiar with the college game after playing at Loyola Marymount University, but said there’s not much difference between this and Dodgers games.
“Baseball is baseball,” Ruehle said. “I treat it the same way. I just give it my all.”
Last month, Ruehle was in China to play the organ at the Winter Olympic hockey games.
“I’m glad I went, it’s just a lot of work to get there because of COVID,” Ruehle said. “You have to have a work permit, and the athletes couldn’t even take their families so I felt fortunate to be there… The food was great, but after a while I was missing burritos and tacos.”
One of the things that sets Ruehle apart from other stadium entertainers is his creative originality when it comes to playing songs during the game. He will use the events as inspiration and then play a song based on that reference. Like playing the “Game Of Thrones” theme song when someone named Stark comes to the plate.
Ruehle said he’s planning on adding some Sublime and Snoop Dogg to his repertoire at Dirtbags games.
“I guess it’s my personality,” Ruehle said. “It just comes to me. When I started when the Dodgers I was replacing Nancy Bea, and that was big shoes to fill… But you have to be yourself. Just like Joe Davis (the Dodgers announcer), he can’t be Vin Scully, he has to be himself.”
Even if Major League Baseball weren’t canceling games because of the lockout with the players’ union, Ruehle said he can still play during most of the Dirtbags games this season, and if there is a conflict of Dodgers or Kings games he has a backup, Jeff Liffmann, who will fill in for him.
Fee said this unique addition to Bohl Diamond at Blair Field is also something Dirtbags Nation should take pride in.
“When we were at Mississippi State they were playing canned organ music,” Fee said. “We’re better than that, and I will take that where I can get it.”
The562’s coverage of Dirtbags Baseball for the 2022 season is sponsored by P2S, Inc. Visit p2sinc.com to learn more. No. 6 Long Beach State will look to salvage the last game of the series with unbeaten Sacramento State on Sunday. We’ll be bringing you updates from Bohl Diamond at Blair Field starting at 1pm.